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View Full Version : G73JH-A2 Hard Drive Controller(?) Problems and More



NDUDE
06-24-2014, 10:37 PM
Just a heads up, this is going to be a long read. I put a brief summary at the bottom of the post, though.

After dealing with a whole host of issues with ASUS customer service regarding my G73JH-A2, I was recommended by a friend and Republic of Gamers forum member to contact a customer loyalty representative on the RoG forums.

I bought my laptop in July 2010 with a two-year warranty. In those two years, I have had to request an RMA twice: once for an issue with a rattling fan in 2011, and again for a failing hard drive in 2012. Late 2012 (after my warranty had already expired), I started experiencing even more issues. The biggest problem was that my computer would freeze after anywhere between five and thirty minutes (usually after around twenty). A couple of times, I noticed that one of the hard drives would disconnect right before freezing; Windows would notify me through a prompt bubble, then freeze. I asked around about this issue, and I received similar answers about a possible hard drive controller failure. I removed the secondary HDD, and the problem persisted at first but then went away. I used my laptop without its second drive for months without any issues regarding freezing. I would like to note that both HDDs are provided by ASUS: the secondary is the stock HDD that came with the laptop, and the primary was replaced by ASUS during the second RMA request.

A second problem was that the battery would no longer charge. At first it would indicate an incorrect charge percentage, but then it finally would not charge at all. From my understanding, it is fairly common for laptop batteries to start failing after two or three years, but it was another problem to add to my list.

The third and most minor problem was that the LCD had a few small brown blotches and a couple of dead pixels here and there. It seems that the brown blotches are due to moisture being trapped in the LCD over time, and it has happened to my previous laptop. Again, this is really minor, but I figured since I was sending my laptop in anyway, I might as well mention it and see what happens. Who knows, they might fix it, but if not, that's totally understandable. Anyways...

Finally, after months of keeping my laptop (I was a college student, and I could really only send my laptop in during the summer) and dealing with these issues, I made an RMA request and sent my laptop to ASUS in June 2013. I knew it was out of warranty, but I felt it would be better for an authorized ASUS repair crew to work on my laptop. I shipped my laptop on June 10th, 2013, and they received it on June 17th.

A week later, I was told that I would have to pay for the service because the laptop was out of warranty. This was expected but unwelcome since I already had to send them my laptop twice before. The initial quote was rather absurd:

"Cost of repairs (all amounts are USD) – enter amounts on credit card form PRIOR to printing the form:
Parts - $278.00 (Video Graphics Card- $109.00, Battery- $139.00, Heat Sink- $10.00, & Keyboard- $20.00)
Labor - $65.00
Shipping – please select one shipping method only on credit card form"

The graphics card came out of nowhere as I had no issues with it before, and I did not mention it at all in my original repair request. The heat sink and keyboard were also unexpected. I am assuming that the keyboard was mentioned because a couple of the keys' LEDs are a little dim, an issue that showed up after the keyboard was replaced (for some reason) during the second RMA. The only relevant part was the battery, which I eventually ended up buying on eBay for a little over $20 (it is third-party, but it works just fine). There was nothing about the hard drive controller or the LCD display.

I emailed ASUS customer service back and forth for several weeks, explaining the issues multiple times even after including the repair request summary with the laptop itself. I asked them to test the hard drive controller with both drives docked. They kept saying my hard drive (singular, not plural) and OS tested fine. I had to tell them that I knew that already (they had replaced the primary hard drive in the second RMA), and that the issue was not with that hard drive, but rather with the controller when both hard drives were plugged in. They eventually told me that the hard drive (again, singular), hard drive controller, and motherboard all tested fine, and that part of the issue was dropped.

I asked about the GPU and what the issue was, and they said that it had problems regarding overheating and needed to be replaced. I also asked why the LCD was not mentioned in the quote, and I was told that the "faulty" GPU was causing the display issues (which I highly doubted).

After much frustration back-and-forth emailing, they finally waived the cost of shipping, labor, and heat sink and keyboard replacement (since those two were replaced in a previous RMA). The final quote was $109 for the GPU.

I FINALLY got my laptop back August 6th, 2013 (technically August 8th due to missing FedEx, but I digress), over eight weeks after I first sent it in, with no noticeable repairs. The repair summary mentioned replacing the GPU due to a faulty fan, but, unsurprisingly, the LCD issues they said would be fixed by replacing the GPU were still there. The repair summary also stated that the keyboard replacement was canceled since the customer could not be contacted. This is completely untrue as I emailed ASUS frequently and confirmed the repair and payment details before going through with the repair. The repair summary also did not list the heat sink, which I was told would be replaced free of charge. The only thing that replaced was the GPU. Also, the button that controls the LEDs (the blue LED bar beneath the monitor and the backlit keyboard) does not work properly. Nothing happens when I press it; I believe the changes take effect after I wake my laptop from sleep mode. This was not an issue before I sent ASUS my laptop.

I was thinking the LED button not working could be a driver issue, but updating the ATK Package did not fix the issue. It is the button above the Ethernet port in this picture, the one that looks like a light with a line through it:

http://ynot2k.com/store/products/laptops/ensemble/g73jw/G73Jw_KeyPad3.jpg

I updated the ATK Package from 1.0.0001 to 1.0.0005, but that did not solve the problem.

The biggest problem of all persists: my computer still freezes with both hard drives docked. I did not notice any issues for the first couple of days I had my laptop back, but then it came back again today (this problem was erratic before, and it is showing the same signs). I had to, once again, remove my secondary HDD in order to prevent this freezing. I would actually consider this a loss since, after over eight weeks and $149 (including $40 for the initial shipping), I got my laptop back with the same issues and a faulty LED button.

Fast forward to now. I again put up with just using one HDD (and a faulty LED button) for several months since I needed my computer for school. I still need my computer, but another problem popped up: my computer randomly BSODs every couple of days or so, and when I reboot it, I get the "insert boot disk and press any key" screen...even though my HDD with my primary OS is plugged in. Usually if I unplug my laptop and take out the battery then leave it alone for a few hours, the issue will resolve itself, and it boots Windows normally. Checking the Event Viewer after one of these crashes, I see this error:

"The ATKGFNEX Service service depends the following service: ASMMAP64. This service might not be installed."

I looked into that, and it seems like one of the possible problems is faulty hardware. So there's either an issue with my HDD, or, and this seems more likely considering my past experiences, the HDD controller is getting worse.

SUMMARY:

- Sent my G73JH-A2 in last year due to possible HDD controller problems (crashed with both drives plugged in, worked with just primary OS drive plugged in), battery problem (fixed with a new battery), and minor LCD problem (at this point just disregard it)
- Tech support instead replaced GPU, said HDD/controller was fine, said they would replace keyboard and heat sink as well
- Got laptop back after two months, HDD controller was not fine, keyboard and heat sink not replaced, LED button no longer works (new issue)
- Random BSODs, computer now does not recognize OS drive at first when booting up after BSOD

I contacted cl-Albert a while back (after I got my laptop back), and he offered to take a look at it at his Fremont office. Unfortunately, that was when classes started, so I couldn't really do that. I just dealt with using one HDD and having a faulty LED button.

So, any suggestions? I just want to see what other forum members have to say, but I'll likely just send it to cl-Albert and see what his repair team can do.

Thanks, and sorry for the gigantic post.