Jun 30, 2013
I was asked to fix a friend’s laptop with a very strange behavior. While the laptop is booting up you will see that the display screen is split into multiple parts. The screen is divided into 6 visible screens with a resolution of 800 x 600 pixel resolution. At first you might think that this could be an indication of a driver display problem, but it’s not. To find out, I tried rebooting the laptop several times to access the BIOS screen hoping that the screen problem will go away. The result of this test would somehow eliminate the notion that it is a display driver problem. But after several attempts, even the BIOS screen exhibits the same problem.
By the way, the laptop I’m talking about is a Haier T68 series laptop that comes with a Windows Vista OS. It runs on a Dual-core Intel processor with NVIDIA 8400 GPU. Further physical examination of the laptop does not reveal any other clues of the problem. But since the problem somehow relates to a GPU problem, I decided to clean the fan as well as to put a thermal paste between the heatsink and the GPU. I also apply some paste on the CPU heatsink hoping that it will minimize the alleged overheating problem on the GPU.
After removing the back cover and a lot of screws, the heatsink covering the vital microchips was finally exposed. Then, I carefully remove the tiny power cable of the fan giving way to removing the whole metal heat absorber revealing the CPU and NVIDIA GPU underneath. I put some thermal paste above the chips and then put everything back in place. After turning the laptop on, I become so frustrated that the screen still exhibits the same old problem. I was about to shut the laptop down but I decided to give it a couple of minutes.
Surprisingly, the multiple split screen problem goes away after approximately 25 minutes. From this experience, I can say that some cleaning and putting some thermal paste on the GPU solve this problem. However, I did try to reproduce the error by removing again the thermal paste. I even disconnected the heatsink fan to prove that the problem is related to overheating. After using the laptop until it reaches over 80 degrees; I shut it down immediately. I failed to reproduce the problem so I cannot guarantee that it can solve all multiple split screen problem on all laptops equipped with NVIDIA GPU. But since it does solve my problem on a Haier laptop, it’s worth giving a try.