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Showing posts with label Hardware. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hardware. Show all posts


Decoding hardware information of a PC

Checking out machine hardware information is no more a geeky thing of olden days where you need to go through the hardware specification documents or to open up a physical machine to find out the hardware details if the specification documents are missing. Now we have some really cool handy software tools to help us out.

I thought to make a page with some important tools which help us in decoding the hardware related information on a Linux Box. Feel free to drop a comment with the tool names I missed out in this post.

NOTE: All of them are ordered in alphabetical order and I am trying these tools on a Ubuntu machine running in virtual box. So some of the tool outputs might be displaying names likes VirtualBox and Oracle Corporation.


Beware of NVIDIA Graphic cards in Laptops

NVIDIA famously known for its high end graphics cards which makes everyone to own a machine with NVIDIA graphics card. But beware of NVIDIA graphics card as they suffer OVER HEATING issue because of weak die/packaging material. It seems NVIDIA G84 & G86 graphic chipsets had this problem.
According to our sources, the failures are caused by a solder bump that connects the I/O termination of the silicon chip to the pad on the substrate. In Nvidia’s GPUs, this solder bump is created using high-lead. A thermal mismatch between the chip and the substrate has substantially grown in recent chip generations, apparently leading to fatigue cracking. Add into the equation a growing chip size (double the chip dimension, quadruple the stress on the bump) as well as generally hotter chips and you may have the perfect storm to take high lead beyond its limits. Apparently, problems arise at what Nvidia claims to be "extreme temperatures" and what we hear may be temperatures not too much above 70 degrees Celsius.

What supports the theory that a high-lead solder bump in fact is at fault is the fact that Nvidia ordered an immediate switch to use eutectic solders instead of high-lead versions in the last week of July.
Major laptop manufacturers like DELL, HP has accepted that there are some issues with laptops shipped with a NVIDIA graphics cards.

According to NVIDIA
, these affected GPUs are experiencing higher than expected failure rates causing video problems and it is because of weak die/packaging material set, which may fail with higher GPU temperature fluctuations.

If your NVIDIA GPU fails, you may see intermittent symptoms during early stages of failure that include:

* Multiple images
* Random characters on the screen
* Lines on the screen
* No video
* Black Screen

DELL agreed that some of its laptop models namely Inspiron 1420, Latitude D630, Latitude D630c, Dell Precision M2300, Vostro Notebook 1310, Vostro Notebook 1400, Vostro Notebook 1510, Vostro Notebook 1710, XPS M1330, XPS M1530 are facing the issue and released a BIOS upgradation to minimize the effect of the GPU failure problem and new systems are being shipped with the updated BIOS revisions.
DELL is offering an additional 12-month limited warranty enhancement specific to this GPU failure issue. For all customers worldwide, DELL plans to add 12 months of coverage for this issue to the existing limited warranty up to 60 months from the date of purchase for the given list of systems.

DELL's BIOS fix is simply turning on the laptop fan much more than usual as a result laptop battery is drained. The 'fix' keeps the fan on much more and destroys battery life.

HP also identified a hardware issue with certain HP Pavilion dv2000/dv6000/dv9000 and Compaq Presario V3000/V6000 series notebook PCs, and has also released a new BIOS for these notebook PCs.
HP says"This service enhancement program is available in North America for 24 months after the start of your original standard limited warranty for issues listed below; otherwise your current standard limited warranty applies. Customers who already have a 24 month or longer warranty period will be covered under their existing standard HP Limited Warranty."
Apple is also facing the same problem with the macbook pro's.
Apple says, NVIDIA assured Apple that Mac computers with these graphics processors were not affected. However, after an Apple-led investigation, Apple has determined that some MacBook Pro computers with the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics processor may be affected. If the NVIDIA graphics processor in your MacBook Pro has failed, or fails within two years of the original date of purchase, a repair will be done free of charge, even if your MacBook Pro is out of warranty.
Customers are really angry as the OEM's are not providing a permanent solution to the GPU problem and also not including some of the laptop models that are facing the same issue. Even some of the customers sued NVIDIA to repair their laptops with faulty graphics cards.

We can see still DELL is shipping laptops with defective NVIDIA graphics card.


How to: Checking Hardware Configuration of a Computer

Whenever we buy a Laptop or a Desktop we will configure our DREAM machine with certain hardware specifications .. like x GHz processor, Graphic card with y memory and so on. But once we receive our shipment we don't know whether our DREAM machine is fitted with right configuration or not.

Since there is a chance of getting wrong hardware components during the time of assembly of our PC let us see one of the easy way to check the PC/Laptop hardware configuration without unscrewing it by using a PC audit software named Belarc Advisor.

Coolest thing about Belarc Advisor is it produces a detailed report of not only about the hardware configuration but also builds a detailed profile of the installed software, missing Microsoft hotfixes, anti-virus status, CIS (Center for Internet Security) benchmarks of your PC. The output is finally displayed in a webpage. And all these services are provided by Belarc Advisor in free for personal use.

So stop thinking about how to know the hardware configuration of your Laptop/Desktop and start using the Belarc Advisor.

Checkout the site: http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html"