Way back in 2006, I bought a brand new HP Pavilion dv8000 laptop. It was a gorgeous computer running Windows XP Media Center Edition, with a large 17″ screen, an AMD Turion processor, integrated ATI Radeon Xpress 200M graphics, probably 1GB of RAM and 80 GB for a hard drive if I had to guess. Which I do, because I was too young to know the difference. It worked great! I don’t remember having any issues with it.
Well, not until I did, that is. At one point, maybe a year or less in my ownership, I spilled a little bit on the keybord! I tried to clean it out, but in the midst of pulling keys off, I didn’t know how to get it back on. Again, I was too young, so what wound up happening at that time was sending it to HP for them to look at.
The dv9000 – A New Replacement!
They replied saying that they did not have that part anymore for the system, so they’d give me a new HP Pavilion dv9000! I accepted this upgrade. I was now running Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit on an Intel Core 2 Duo T7200, a dedicated Nvidia GeForce Go 7600 graphics chip, 2GB of RAM, and a 160GB hard drive.
Unfortunately, the first problem with this unit was that it always ran kinda slow. No doubt this was due to Windows Vista’s inefficiency in comparison to Windows XP, which often performs a fair bit better on even an early Vista-era system. It definitely ran better when I installed Linux on it, so I kinda alternated between Vista and whatever Linux distribution however I saw fit.
Everything was fine for a good two years or so… until my unit fell victim to the first common HP dv9000 failure – the hinges! One hinge seized & the casing busted open. Following this, I wound up performing my first-ever laptop repair, and replaced the lid.
After this, everything was smooth once more with the laptop.
Well, at least for a while – in March of 2010, I was using the laptop while running OpenSUSE Linux on KDE 4. I was in the Firefox web browser, doing research related to the recent failure of my Acer Aspire M5630, when all of a sudden, all the text started turning garbled! I saw enough of this happening in the browser that I then closed it, opened the file explorer app, and was met with more garbled text. Confused, I rebooted the system.
I was then met with the screen pictured above. Clearly, the GPU failed. What a shame! Oh, and the hard drive decided to fail right after that, too. Like as if a dead graphics chip wasn’t enough.
I did some searching around, and I found some people talking about ‘the towel trick,’ which was a (terrible) procedure of wrapping the device inside of a towel and letting it run for about an hour, then turning it off, letting it cool, and then you are met with a working device.
Well, I decided I’d try it. Much to my amazement, I was greeted with the HP screen!! I was VERY excited! But…as with anything that is only a workaround and not a solution to address the real problem at play, it didn’t last. After a few days, I got a nvlddmkm.sys BSOD, followed by the above gray screen again at bootup.
The system sat for three long years being unused. I’d often think of the laptop – the memories of using it, what I liked about it, how it ran and even how it sounded in use. (Old computers have such character to them!) It was probably the highest-end laptop I had ever owned at this time.
Eventually, a need came up for a secondary laptop. So, I decided it was time to stop making jokes about the good ol’ dv9000, and finally seek repair for it. I turned to Brickfence of eBay, who does BGA reballing service.
I know that the system’s board had to go back three or more times between 2013 and 2015, and is now on its third GeForce GPU chip. But since then, it’s never had a problem! I’m using it to type this article, all these years later.