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Acer Aspire 7745G dead ATI HD 5850M, probably even worse issues

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#1
Hello to everyone! :) This is my first post here but I'm a long time reader. I have an Aspire 7745G which history I don't know at all: it comes from a lot and the only thing I know for sure is that it has a damaged lcd but unfortunately there is a lot more than that...
First of all the one and only way to make the laptop boot properly is doing the reset procedure EVERYTIME, even after a simple reboot. To reset this laptop it's necessary to remove the RTC battery and short two pads on the motherboard (almost impossible to do when using the laptop) so I've put two wires on the RTC battery socket and now I can do the reset procedure more comfortably from the outside. This way I can 'use' the laptop and everything works fine. No overheating, no lock-ups, everything seems fine apart from the fact that the HD 5850M has completely disappeared from the system. It isn't recognized even as a generic VGA card, the only video card found by device manager, cpu-z, gpu-z and everything else I've tried is the Intel HD Graphics, only one video card and not two like it should be.
I've thought of a corrupt ATI bios so I've extracted the ATI bios from the latest bios for the laptop (what's strange is that the bios size is only 60Kb, not 128Kb like the others I've seen and RBE says that it hasn't overdrive settings while all the rest is perfectly fine) and I've made a check both with atiflash and ati win flash to no avail: no ATI cards found (no matter how many switches I try, I've tried everything that makes sense).
I'm not new about ATI firmware flashing and recovery but this is the first time I'm facing it on a laptop and I fear that the approach could be slightly different because of the presence of switchable graphics but I couldn't find any clear advice about that, I don't know.
I'm confident that the problems (the need to reset the bios at each reboot or power on and the disappearing of the ATI card) could be related; it could be a faulty motherboard too but it is at least strange that a laptop with a bad motherboard has a so selective fault while it is working fine for what concerns all the rest (though not impossible for sure).
My question is "is there something to do or not?". I'm running out of ideas and I hope that someone around there could give me an hint. Thanks in advance! :)
 
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#2
Hello again. I see that quite a lot of people has read my post but unfortunately there isn't still any reply though I think that the subject could be considered interesting... There is very small 'literature' (or nothing at all) about this kind of issues with laptop switchable graphics so why isn't anyone replying? Should you need some further clarifications, I'm here to reply to all of your questions. Thanks! :)
 
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#3
Do you have any access to the motherboards bios? if so try Disabling onboard graphics so that the intel HD does not interfere with the radeon card,as far as no one answering might be because most people dont know a great deal about laptops (includeing me).
 
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#4
Hi and thanks for your reply! :) It was the first thing I've tried: it is possible to do but unfortunately saving the changes to bios means rebooting and this means that I can't no longer boot the system properly (as already explained, the laptop works ONLY at the first boot after having reset the bios settings).
I don't know if it is possible but the only possible way is to flash a modded bios in which the default is switchable graphics disabled but there are two issues in this approach: the first is that I don't know if it is possible to mod the bios to achieve this, the second (even worse) is that if the ATI is dead I would end up with a laptop with no video output...
 
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#5
Hi and thanks for your reply! :) It was the first thing I've tried: it is possible to do but unfortunately saving the changes to bios means rebooting and this means that I can't no longer boot the system properly (as already explained, the laptop works ONLY at the first boot after having reset the bios settings).
I don't know if it is possible but the only possible way is to flash a modded bios in which the default is switchable graphics disabled but there are two issues in this approach: the first is that I don't know if it is possible to mod the bios to achieve this, the second (even worse) is that if the ATI is dead I would end up with a laptop with no video output...
Well it sounds like quite a mess,i cannot suggest any corse of action since my knoledge of laptops is limited,at this point i would take it to a professional for repair.
 
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#6
It isn't worth the effort. A professional would tell me to change the motherboard for hundreds of $ for sure: I don't need one to know that, I already know it by myself but I'm confident that there is something less 'conventional' that could be tried. Thanks anyway.
 
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#7
Unfortunately anyone hasn't given me any advice so this thread is more or less useless. Could I at least ask if someone around here happens to have an Aspire 7745G like mine and could send to me a backup copy of its bios? I hope that someone could help me at least this way. Thanks anyway and have a good day!
 

stinger608

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#8
Have you tried opening up and account and problem thread over at notebookreview.com? Excellent site for finding answers and parts for laptops of all kinds.

Here is a link to their forum site.

http://forum.notebookreview.com/

Good luck, welcome to TechPowerUp, and keep us posted on the progress.
 
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#9
Thanks for your reply but unfortunately I've already signed up with them and opened a thread there too but things have gone even worse than here: no replies at all.
I only hope that someone somewhere could at least send to me a copy of a working bios. The reason why I'm searching for a backup copy coming from a working system is because the bioses downloadable on Acer support site are EXACTLY the same for 7745, 7745G and 7745Z and they contain the video bios for ALL the graphic cards used in those systems (I suppose that the choice is made at flashing stage by the programming software) while I need the bios actually written on the flash of a working system like mine so already with the right video bios programmed, the one for a discrete ATI HD 5850M with 1Gb of DDR3 dedicated memory. I think that this is the reason why I couldn't succeed in doing anything with Atiflash & co. That's because with a laptop the bios for the video card is embedded in the system bios.
That's the last try left. Have a good day! :)
 
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Bo$$

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#10
Thanks for your reply but unfortunately I've already signed up with them and opened a thread there too but things have gone even worse than here: no replies at all.
I only hope that someone somewhere could at least send to me a copy of a working bios. The reason why I'm searching for a backup copy coming from a working system is because the bioses downloadable on Acer support site are EXACTLY the same for 7745, 7745G and 7745Z and they contain the video bios for ALL the graphic cards used in those systems (I suppose that the choice is made at flashing stage by the programming software) while I need the bios actually written on the flash of a working system like mine so already with the right video bios programmed, the one for a discrete ATI HD 5850M with 1Gb of DDR3 dedicated memory. I think that this is the reason why I couldn't succeed in doing anything with Atiflash & co. That's because with a laptop the bios for the video card is embedded in the system bios.
That's the last try left. Have a good day! :)

Give me a couple hours when i get home i'll check my HP Envy 13's switchable graphics.

but it sounds like your Bios settings are getting fucked up, which in turn means that the bios setting 'switchable graphics' is off rather than switchable. Try and get a replacement RTC battery, that MIGHT solve the first issue you have. otherwise it'll be dead gfx card...


Edit: know it sounds dumb (and isn't really the issue) but have you tried this for a start? http://forum.notebookreview.com/acer/612118-aspire-7745g-upgrade-graphics-drivers.html
Edit2: found some sort of bios http://translate.google.co.uk/trans...a=X&ei=K7yGUPDLL9KT0QX2oYC4BA&ved=0CEcQ7gEwAw
 
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#11
Thanks for your detailed reply but unfortunately I've already tried all of that to no avail. By now, the ATI discrete simply doesn't 'exist' and this could be due only to two possible reasons: bad vga bios or bad vga card and I'd like to rule out the first one.
I've also tried to change the RTC battery (I've tested it with a multimeter and it gave a 2.86V reading so I've replaced it but it didn't solve anything).
As already explained, the bios downloadable on Acer support site is some sort of 'universal bios' suitable for all the models of that family (7745, 7745G, 7745Z). I've stripped it down and it contains the vga bios for ALL the cards used by those systems, maybe the selection is made by the programming software at flashing stage I don't know but I'm going to desolder the flash from the board and program it with a programmer so I need an image of the bios actually written on the flash (the one with ONLY one vga bios, the one for the right card that mine has).
Probably it wouldn't solve anything but this is the last try left and I need a bios image taken directly from a working 7745G with a working ATI HD 5850M to make a try, not the one downloadable from Acer.
 
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#12
Thanks for your detailed reply but unfortunately I've already tried all of that to no avail. By now, the ATI discrete simply doesn't 'exist' and this could be due only to two possible reasons: bad vga bios or bad vga card and I'd like to rule out the first one.
I've also tried to change the RTC battery (I've tested it with a multimeter and it gave a 2.86V reading so I've replaced it but it didn't solve anything).
As already explained, the bios downloadable on Acer support site is some sort of 'universal bios' suitable for all the models of that family (7745, 7745G, 7745Z). I've stripped it down and it contains the vga bios for ALL the cards used by those systems, maybe the selection is made by the programming software at flashing stage I don't know but I'm going to desolder the flash from the board and program it with a programmer so I need an image of the bios actually written on the flash (the one with ONLY one vga bios, the one for the right card that mine has).
Probably it wouldn't solve anything but this is the last try left and I need a bios image taken directly from a working 7745G with a working ATI HD 5850M to make a try, not the one downloadable from Acer.

Tried posting here?
http://forum.notebookreview.com/acer/529939-acer-aspire-7745g-owners-lounge-3.html
 
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#13
This is a great advice, thanks! I've missed it... I'll post a request there immediately, let's se what would happen. I'll keep you updated. Thanks again! :)