Alienware M17x R3 black screen and 8 beeps

nE0n1nja

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Hey guys,

A few weeks ago something strange started happening to my laptop. When I turn it on, sometimes the screen fails to turn on/remains black and the laptop beeps 8 times. I searched and I found out that this beep code means "LCD Failure". But the strange thing is that the LCD is otherwise working perfectly normal - once it manages to get past that beeping stage.
Sometimes it takes several restarts, sometimes only one, and other times it just boots up normally like nothing is wrong.

So I'm not sure what to do, has anyone had this issue before? How can I be sure that the LCD screen is failing, when this happens at random? Like, I thought it somehow got fixed by itself since was booting up normally for almost a week and then today it happened again and it took 4-5 attempts to get it to boot.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

MattyB

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It could possibly be a GPU failing or maybe the LCD is slowly failing. You can try to run the pre-boot assessment. Instead of going into the BIOS during startup you can press F12 which take you into the boot menu. There is an option there to do a hardware test. This could pinpoint the issue for you.
Maybe it's a loose connection or a crimped cable. Try opening her up to check your cables.
 

nE0n1nja

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May 6, 2013
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It could possibly be a GPU failing or maybe the LCD is slowly failing. You can try to run the pre-boot assessment. Instead of going into the BIOS during startup you can press F12 which take you into the boot menu. There is an option there to do a hardware test. This could pinpoint the issue for you.
Maybe it's a loose connection or a crimped cable. Try opening her up to check your cables.
Thanks a lot! Didn't know about the pre-boot assessment option. I ran the tests, both in normal and in "thorough mode" and everything passed (except the battery, which has been dead for a while now).

IMG_20190529_110334.jpg

I also recorded a video of the problem


So I don't know, I'm hoping it's just a loose cable or something.. Weird thing is that it randomly decides to boot up after an X number of attempts, without me adjusting the lid or anything like that.. If the LCD was slowly failing wouldn't that cause some other symptoms as well? It's literally working perfectly, can't notice anything wrong - once it decides to turn on.

Might try opening her up, but I've never done that before (except the back cover) so I'm not sure what to look out for. I'm just praying it's the cable thing, or the GPU in the worst case scenario.
 

MattyB

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I had a feeling. I am leaning hard to a failing GPU then.
The 120hz machine does not use Optimus so it is always running off the dedicated card. Optimus machines will use the intel graphics until more graphics power is required and then the dedicated card will kick in. This means that even though you're getting a LCD beep code error it could still be the GPU as it is running the LCD.
It's hard to be certain but it's my guess. It may not come up with a GPU error when you run the test because the GPU is actually working when it can get to this stage. Firstly I'd remove the GPU and heatsink, repaste and reseat it. Maybe it's not sitting in the MXM slot well. Hopefully it's something simple like this.
I'm not ruling out a bad LCD or connector or even mobo but my money is on the GPU.
 

nE0n1nja

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Maybe it's not sitting in the MXM slot well. Hopefully it's something simple like this.
I really wish it will be this simple but considering the laptop has just been sitting on a stand for almost a year and during this time has never been moved, shaken or anything like that, I kinda doubt it. But I'll open it up this weekend and see what can I do.

Btw is there a way to completely disable the discrete GPU (maybe by taking it out) and switch to the integrated GPU, so I can see if it will beep again? If it doesn't then I'll know it's the GPU for sure.
 

MattyB

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I don't think there is for your's because you got the 3D screen.
I'd try to pick up a cheap card and see how it goes but it's your money. A 560M would be dirt cheap but if you want a bit more power then a 780M would be a decent upgrade. That's only assuming that a new card will fix it. Your machine is probably only worth about $300 in working order. I refreshed my M17x R3 with a new paint job and gave it to my wife to use
 

nE0n1nja

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I don't use the laptop for gaming anymore so I don't need a more powerful GPU. I only use it for graphic design/illustration work and for general browsing, YouTube, that sort of stuff.

Weird thing is that I've been intentionally turning it on and off a couple of times per day this past three days and the problem hasn't occurred even once. So I didn't open it up, I'm waiting to hear the beeps again, which is kinda weird because I also don't want to hear the beeps ever again, but I know I'll have to since the problem won't fix itself magically, although I somehow hope it will... Lol o_O
 

MattyB

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You never know, but it's highly likely it will get worse. There's a chance it was just a bad connection somewhere.
 

nE0n1nja

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I'll post here as soon as I have an update on the situation. Thanks for all the help :)
 
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