A couple of days ago my trusty old Dell Inspiron 9400 (with the most delightful 1920×1200 screen) died on me. I’m pretty sure, based on the symptoms, that it was a graphics card problem. I tried, with assistance, to reflow the solder on the discrete graphics board, but all we achieved was a completely buggered card and a nice toasted electronics smell. Previously the actual computer part of the laptop worked fine – I could boot and ssh in, just with no display. Now it doesn’t even boot.
Stupid me should have checked the symptoms of the laptop with the card removed when the laptop was working. I hope I haven’t completely destroyed the mainboard in using it with my knackered graphics card (due to my botched repair job). I’ll get hold of another machine and try to swap in the card.
Fortunately, a day previously, I’d ordered from ebay a little 12.1″ second hand x61 Thinkpad to use as an easily portable machine (I did order it on the defunct laptop – laptop suicide due to jealousy?). It arrive yesterday and I have to say its a most beautiful little machine. 4:3 aspect ratio, core 2 duo 2.16 GHz (which is more than the 9400) with a solid chassis, and its in almost mint condition. I guess this sort of laptop is used by corporate types for use on the train, and it rarely actually sees much use but still gets upgraded every 3 years (the keys have almost no usage shine to them!).
Anyway, the temporary abandonment of the old 9400 has demonstrated some bugs in my rendering code – the desktop I’m currently using and the laptop have a newer version of OpenGL. Now follows a few days of OpenGL bug finding. Joy!