M17X R4 Common Motherboard issues and symptoms?

VRTX

Member
Apr 30, 2021
21
0
South Africa
Hi Guys,

I'm interested in finding out what the most common Motherboard issues are for the M17xR4 as well as the symptoms and troubleshooting tips. I have become the new owner of one of these recently, a pre owned unit that was literally given away to me by its previous owner as they could not part with the money to get it going again. although there is a fair bit of work to be done on it (missing harddrive/s, casing screws, DVD rom drive, Cmos battery and ram) I feel that for me its worth getting it back to working condition again. From what I can see its using the AMD 7970 HD GPU, and i7 CPU.

I seem to be getting the 7 beeps with no boot or lights or anything, searching the web all I get is the common 'bad CPU or motherboard' explanation but no other indication of how to check if its the Motherboard (as well as what components may have gone bad) or if its the actual CPU and to be honest there is nothing very specific (at least that I was able to find) for this model.

Perhaps if you could share your experiences as well as what might have solved the issue in your specific case it could help point me ( as well as others ) in the right direction? I've read about some models being wrapped up and left to beep for 10 mins as well as "reflowing the motherboard" by placing it in an oven (LOL, I can see that going very wrong if I tried it) but somehow these don't seem like very viable options. I'm handy with a soldering iron so I would be interested to know if perhaps there is a specific component that fails that could be replaced.

Apologies in advance if I have duplicated this thread as I was unable to find anything related to the '7 beeps' issue on this forum at the time of posting.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 

MattyB

Moderator
Mar 19, 2012
3,089
124
Adelaide, Australia
I'd say one of the most common terminal issues is the 7-beep CPU error that you have. I have seen it many times. Intel CPU's are all but bulletproof so this CPU error almost always means that the motherboard needs to be replaced. I have had one 4910MQ that failed on a 17 R1 but it's very rare. The only real way to know is to find a working CPU to test. A 2nd or 3rd gen mobile i5 should be cheap enough just for testing. You can always sell it again later.
Other than that there is GPU failure as another common issue but that's not really system related. They just go bad after a while.
Those items that you're missing should be easy to find. The CMOS battery will just be a standard 2032 lithium battery which you can buy from the supermarket for $2. I'm sure that the CD drive can be found on ebay but I would have a spare to sell if you're desperate. Shipping from Australia though.
I definitely wouldn't suggest the old wrapped up blanket xbox fix.
 

VRTX

Member
Apr 30, 2021
21
0
South Africa
I hear you, probably best to test CPU first. Ill have a look around, unfortunately South Africa isnt very friendly with shipping fees and 8 times out of 10 the postoffice here will loose the package, but no choice really as no one has anything locally. Ill reach out when im ready for the optical drive, no point getting it now at least until i can get the machine to respond with something other than 7 beeps.

Is it possible to get the results im getting from a bad bios update? Ive seen a few of these cases but those machines still turn lights and fans on so its not the same symptoms as mine.
 

VRTX

Member
Apr 30, 2021
21
0
South Africa
Just researched this esata port method, will give it a try later today and provide feedback. In any event, ill keep tinkering around with it and provide updates and feedback here. Im hell bent on getting it running again but have to figure out what exactly has failed.

Out of curiosity, do these machines work well with windows 10 or should i rather keep it on windows 7? I would hate to upgrade and then loose functionality, seen alot if guys complain about windows 10 on these but the videos are quite old so not sure if W10 has started to play nice since then.
 

VRTX

Member
Apr 30, 2021
21
0
South Africa
Ok, progress update...

I have opened it up and taken it appart... Big problem. Seems that the CPU has been incorrectly forced into place in the socket. I have never seen this level of incompetance and am still shocked at what i saw in there. One of the CPU pins have been bent completely flat as a result. See attached pics.

I assume that turning the system on with the CPU mounted completely back to front has resulted in the failure of the CPU or the Motherboard or more than likely BOTH.

Ive bent the CPU pin straight again and proceeded to correctly fit it to the socket however im getting the same 7 beeps with no lights or screen. So next steps are CPU replacement, then test and if i still get 7 beeps ill move to motherboard replacement. Let me know if anyone has a CPU laying around that i could purchase for a reasonable amount.

Did some reseach on the CPU its using (there is no indication other than product codes on the CPU) and it seems its an intel celereon B800??!! I was expecting an i7 of some sort... did any of the m17xr4's come with this processor? And are all CPU's compatible with this socket type compatible with the motherboard?

Lastly does anyone know what the GPU model is in the pic ive uploaded? From what i have searched its a 6970m but cant be sure...

Thanks in advance for any assistance.
 

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MattyB

Moderator
Mar 19, 2012
3,089
124
Adelaide, Australia
Someone has butchered that poor machine. That Celereon is a Sandy Bridge mobile CPU so technically it should work but I've never heard of someone using one. They definitely didn't come from Dell with them. It's a pretty crappy CPU so it's possible that the board was already faulty and they bought that cheap CPU to test with.
That is definitely an older gen AMD card but I can't read what's on the die. I'm not sure if it's a 6970M though as I thought the die's on those were seated on a diagonal on the PCB. I could be wrong but I think it's even older than that.
 

VRTX

Member
Apr 30, 2021
21
0
South Africa
Well, to be honest I dont know what the exact differences are between the R3 and the R4. The motherboard model number on this one is LA-8341P... not sure if the same MB is used in the R3? It has a service tag sticker on the bottom case (see attached picture) that says its an R4 but its not fool proof, anyone can put that on there to make a quick buck.

I agree with your thinking, this MB is definately fried somewhere.

I also noticed it has an mSATA ssd, is this used as a OS boot drive on these units?

Im definately keen on the 3620QM you have, but want to do some more digging to make sure i dont need anything else. So far from what youve told me I am keen on both the 3620QM as well as the optical drive, we can see what the shipping will cost in the interim and sort those out. Thank you.

From what I have seen so far, still need a Motherboard, a GPU that can actually run recent and some current games and still dont know if the display actually works as i cant even get the backlights to respond with this set up. So if anyone has any spare parts that they would like to sell... please let me know.
 

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MattyB

Moderator
Mar 19, 2012
3,089
124
Adelaide, Australia
If you have an mSata slot then you definitely have the R4, which is a good thing. The R4 has more GPU upgrade options while the R3 is limited to the 880M. The motherboards are the same physical shape but very different. A 980M is a decent upgrade but you can get a 1060 or 1070 to work as well. There are some things that need to be done to get any of these cards to work but I can help if you need. Finding a 1060 or 1070 is the hardest part. I wouldn't usually suggest Chinese sellers as the quality control is poor.
The mSata can be used for a boot drive. Originally it was used as a cache drive for a large 2.5" HDD. They'd put in a small 32 or 64gb mSata and use the Intel RST program to accelerate the mechanic drive. SSD's were very expensive back in 2012. You will need to change some settings in the BIOS but it's pretty easy to grab a larger mSata and install Windows on it.
I don't have a working R4 motherboard unfortunately. It's hard to know what you'll need until you can find a CPU to test first. I'd be surprised if the LCD was bad but you never know.
You are best to search for another broken R4 that you can use for parts. It will be much cheaper than buying parts separately but if you need anything from me then I'm happy to help.
 
Thanks MattyB,

thats a relief... was starting to think I was troubleshooting the wrong unit. I'm scratching around locally first to see if I can find a working CPU that I can test with and I will post updates as soon as I get one.

In the interim, im still missing more items on the board which i need help identifying. On the attached pic, circle 1 is missing, from the user manual it says its a blutooth module or something and im guessing it will plug into either circle 2 or circle 3... which leaves me with an open connector that i have no clue what do with as i dont see anything in the manual for it.

Then there is also an open connector next to the one for screen... what gets comnected here?

Lastly, on the second pic where the red arrow is pointing (ignore white circle)... what gets connected here?

Thanks in advance for any assistance.
 

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MattyB

Moderator
Mar 19, 2012
3,089
124
Adelaide, Australia
There is often not a bluetooth card installed in these machines. Usually the wifi adapter already has bluetooth included.

I think you uploaded the same photo twice. The Wireless HD was not the best tech and it didn't stay around for long. It was an option in the M17x R3 and M18x R1 but I don't believe they even offered the option in your R4 and the M18x R2 even though they put ports on the motherboard. It basically streamed the laptop display onto your TV but you needed a receiver plugged into the TV as well. It only worked off the Intel graphics so you couldn't stream your games, despite how it was advertised.
If you decide to get one of the cards then there is a different part number for the R3 and R4 and you need to get the right one. There are two parts to it, the card itself and the antenna cable that gets fixed inside the LCD assembly. I have the parts for the R3 and M18x R1 but not the later model like yours. Never hooked it up though.
 
ok understood... so I shouldn't worry too much about that then.

going back to the CPU you mentioned you had, the 3630QM, what would the shipping cost to South Africa? I would rather buy from you than take a chance else where to be honest. I want to get this thing working properly again and parts are almost non existent locally. I don't think I can test this properly without at least knowing that the CPU is working along with the rest of the parts. I'm praying that the Motherboard is not fried but ill cross that bridge when I get to it I guess.

I'm keen to buy it off you so let me know your thoughts around how you want to do this. if you also have an optical drive that will work (ill need the connectors for it, looks like a ribbon cable if I'm looking right) then give me a price on that too and shipping on both items if possible, then I can work out the rest from my side.

Thanks
 

MattyB

Moderator
Mar 19, 2012
3,089
124
Adelaide, Australia
Ok, I'll try and work something out today. I just need to check that I have the spare optical drive and test it. I have a whole heap for the 17 R1 but I should have one for your R4.
Once I work it all out with a shipping price, I'll let you know.
I do sell my refurbished machines and spare parts on ebay here but not internationally. Here is a link to my feedback page, just in case you're not sure about me. ;)
https://www.ebay.com.au/fdbk/feedback_profile/mattyb_79
 
Awesome!

There's no rush so take your time. I'm mostly worried about the shipping cost so try and see all options from your side preferably on the more affordable side.

Also, just realized that the optical drive also uses some kind of a frame that holds it in place which I also don't have.

Thanks for all the assistance so far.