Archive for August, 2010


Ordered myself a USB 3.0 expansion card and a 500GB 2.5″ USB 3.0 external hard disk.
From the benchmarks, USB 3.0 looks at least 3x faster when it comes to external hard disks (70-80 MB/s vs 20-30 MB/s for a 2.5″ drive).

USB 3.0 hasn’t hit the mainstream yet.
But there are already USB 3.0 flash drives, external HDDs and external HDD boxes available. USB 3.0 will definitely replace USB 2.0, probably just like 2.0 replaced 1.0.

Will update the blog when my new hardware arrives.

Two dead laptops

At last I’ve found some time to update my blog.

A week ago, I got two laptops for repair.
Laptop 1 was a custom build based on Asus board. It had a Core Duo CPU with ATI video (pre HD Radeon) This one was stone dead. Even running with only RAM and CPU did not work.
The strange thing is that the CPU was getting hot as if the system was working but there was no disk activity and the screen was blank.
Either way, I did not bother trying to repair this system. My suspicions are that either the processor or the mainboard is toast and the system is not worth fixing.

Laptop 2 was a Dell Latitude D620.
This one was semi-working but had video problems. The system did work and boot (there was disk activity) but the screen was blank.
I’ve managed to get the video to work (sort of) by using an external monitor but the video was corrupted (Windows XP boot screen was all messed up. Even the BIOS setup screen was slightly corrupted).
Then I’ve tried disconnecting the external monitor and the internal screen suddenly started working but the video was unstable (the screen was turning itself on and off like crazy)
and had artifacts. After some time the video stopped working at all (both external and internal monitors).

It seems this is a common problem with some laptops. The graphics chip (mostly nVidia chips) BGA (ball grid array) soldering cracks and stops making contact.
The system still works (sort of) but the video is dead or unstable.
This problem can be fixed by replacing the graphics chip but it is usually not worth it because this requires special tools for working with BGA chips and, of course, a new graphics chip which is expensive.

The owner has asked me to backup all data on the hard disk. Fortunately, the HDD was SATA so I have connected it to one of my desktop systems and backed up all data to DVDs.
After the backup was complete, I’ve returned the system and backup DVDs to the system owner.

This ends today’s story.

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