ATI XPRESS 200M and the HP mess
September 4th, 2006 by dholm

Everyone that knows me know about the troubles I’ve had with my HP Pavilion zv6148EA laptop and the built-in ATI XPRESS 200M GPU. The chipset has 128MB dedicated RAM but you can configure it to use up to 128MB of system RAM for a total of 256MB RAM. The first issue with this scheme is that there is a problem with either the GPU, the BIOS or the Video BIOS because the device always reports that it has 256MB RAM. The HP-branded ATI drivers that came with the Windows install seems to handle this just fine but when you use ATIs drivers on Linux (you can’t use the official ATI drivers on Windows as they refuse to install) the machine will deadlock unless you assign the GPU 128MB of system RAM so it actually totals 256MB. My assumption here being that HP modified ATIs drivers to properly detect the actual amount of RAM rather than fixing this damn bug properly. I have no use whatsoever for 256MB of video RAM so throwing away 128MB of valuable system RAM sucks big time.
I recently found this blog created by someone with the exact same problem as me which not only confirmed some of my fears but also asserts that this is not an ATI driver problem but rather a video BIOS bug.

13 Responses  
  • Jure Repinc writes:
    September 5th, 200612:08at

    It looks like ATI has a lot of bugs in this ATI Xpress 200M integrated graphics chipset. I have an HP Compaq nx6125 which otherwise works great, but there are quite some troubles with graphics. If I use the open source radeon driver from Xorg I have two big problems. The first is that thanks to ATI not providing enough information there is no support for 3D. Another big problem is that it happens very often (almost always) that when I switch modes or virtual terminals with Ctrl+Alt+Fx combination the screen just gets corrupted. I’ve reported this bug about this, but after reading about all the problems with ATI Xpress 200M it looks like it is something wrong in the hardware or in the video BIOS. And if I use the closed source drivers from ATI the big problem is that when I log out of KDE and go back to KDM login the laptop just freezes (see this bug here). So it looks like there are a lot of problems with the chipset and it is very sad to see that ATI doesn’t even want to help here.

  • ragedookie writes:
    September 26th, 200617:11at

    As the creator of the blog referenced in the above link, I can definately confirm through my own findings that the problem has to do with Video Firmware.

    I recently got the attention of Killersneak, who creates and maintains the DNA-ATI drivers. He released a WinXP driver that does help the problem, but came to the conclusion that driver optimizations cannot help what is clearly a hardware limitation.

    I’ve also received some reports that the next generation, the Xpress 1100m, is having some of the same issues as well.

    We can hope that HP will fix this, but I really doubt it.

  • Ivan Ivanov writes:
    October 12th, 200608:23at

    I’m having at the moment similar problem with my Laptop HP Pavilion zd8019ea and Ati x600.It went into blackscreen and after several restart entries in went into VPU recovery whit a message that the video hardware is deadlock.I tried all new drivers support from Ati and HP but without any result.I format my HD and instaled fresh Windos SP1 as it worked perfect whith it almost an year and more.I contacted Ati Customer care but they sent me a mail that they are not responsible and advice to contact HP. I contacted the nearest HP service in my country but they did the same I did before ( new drivers etc..) So they said “Sorry” and a had to contact the main US support where they said “Sorry” again since they support machines bought in USA only.What I can do?I understand that this is a chipset bug and need some kind of firmware probably to fix it and take from this deadlock mode.I could try the tip you describe hear also, but I do not have an idea how to alocate more system ram (from where)?The main HP bios (last version) does not have an option to change the video ram value, it just displayes 128.Any help or ideas will be wellcome!

  • stephen gmeiner writes:
    November 29th, 200619:55at

    ZD8000 w/ 256MB ATI video. Same problem here. I just sold my computer to a guy I know and minutes b4 I gave it to him, I blew the dust out of it w/ compressed air. He called me a half hour later saying “it doesn’t work”. He brought it back over to me, and sure enuff, I’m having the same issues as described above – deadlock, black screen, works fine when acceleration is turned down. Tried livestating back to a clean install… nope! New drivers….Nope.

    I’ve read some threads about heat being an issue. Could I have blown dust bunnines into the video card which is causing it to over heat now? Still trouble shooting……..

  • Alex Sann writes:
    December 16th, 200622:27at

    Similar problem. Have HP8110us with ATI X600. Just died after a year and a half during an email session. HP no help. New Windows + HP drivers install makes no difference. If start normally, screen goes blank — could only start in safe or VGA mode. Other than tossing out laptop computer, only solution that works is to disable ATI (not uninstall, as Windows will simply reinstall), and operate machine at best resolution apparently available under Windows of 1024×768. At least that allows me to manage basic MS Office and email functions. I am not a technical person, but from what I have been reading, there seems to be no solution.

  • Joe writes:
    December 18th, 200604:51at

    I have been having similar problems with my gateway laptop with a ati x600. Whenever I play new games that require me to run my card at full specifications it crashes and goes into hardware deadlock. I’ve reinstalled the the drivers but to no avail. I am going to try and allocate more memory and make it 256 but i’m not quite sure how to do this. if anyone can send me a link to an faq that would be great. cheers

  • Dickie writes:
    January 10th, 200708:25at

    Hey Guys, With this pain the bum lockup issue this is what i have discovered. If you have done a bios update and tryed both old drivers and new driver for the graphics card( They have to be HP drivers cas HP have butched both the chipset and the driver to fit onto their boards) After all this, rip the laptop apart and see if there is a dust build up. The x600 on the 8000 series have caused a big problem. The dust build up heats the chip up and havin no senors and cut off switches on the chip ( not like CPUs) its only takes some gaming or some heavy use of the graphics card to cook itself. I know there are actual bug with the driver themself but what im sayin is if you cant fix it look at the hardware. I did one yesterday where the chip was cooked and the die out of the IC was running ( if there is die in it ) IF anyone has a 8000 series laptop with the ATI chipset make sure that you get the dust out of it as offen as you can cas once it cooks your lookin at a new board costin almost a grand Last point i wanna say is that ATI doesnt not support there chipsets in HP cas of what i said about them butchering the chipset. ( Thats real great) Poor consumer

  • Dickie writes:
    January 10th, 200708:41at
  • stephen gmeiner writes:
    February 22nd, 200705:04at

    Just ran across my old post while Yahoo! ing myself… WOW…. that doesn’t sound so good. Anyway, Update: I wound up having HP replace the motherboard. After a few phone calls and talking to the right person, they did it for FREE!!!! Plus they gave me a new battery and a new keyboard!!! Yes, I’m writing this on my new HP and my next computer will be an HP too.

    Original post was Nov 29, 2006

  • Mike Olivieri writes:
    March 11th, 200818:09at

    The problem is not DUST; the problem is hacked up HP Firmware. I have a ZD 8000 with a P4 3.4 GHz CPU 2 GB of 533DD2 and the infamous X600 Mobile VPU. I had not the first problem with my system until I made the fated mistake of installing Window Vista Premium, as I am sure you all know if you have had any dealing with Vista mistake is an understatement. I ran Vista for roughly six months and had no problems what so ever with my video, the problem was that I am an engineer and none of the modeling software and cad software I use was compatible with this horrible operating system. I decided to go back to XP as we all know it is a rock solid OS for the most part and Blammo! No video once the daggone driver installed. I have tried updating all of the Intel Chipset drivers for the bus and pretty much ever driver known to man and have had no luck. I decided to test an idea and re-installed Vista and sure enough, I had no problem with the video. I have gone back and forth between Vista and XP now four times, every time I install Vista my VPU works like a charm, and every time I install XP, it craps out. This is not because of dust, drivers, or even the PCIE Bus drivers it is plain and simple a NO GOOD HP HACKED UP ATTEMPT AT FIRMWARE! They need to fix this problem and they need to do it yesterday! This Laptop was a desktop replacement for me so I could work on Aerospace projects on the fly and what have we all ended up with? A P.O.S. that while running XP is nothing more than a lap heater and when it is running Vista it is still a lap heater that will drive you nuts because none of your software will run. The thing with Vista is I have Autodesk ACAD 2006 and it is not compatible, neither is Solid Works 2007, which is a 15K software package. Oh well I just wanted you to know that unfortunately there is one sure fire fix for the VPU problem except Vista but trust me when I say Vista will open a whole new can of worms as well as a whole new blog. God Bless and good luck. Mike O. (I will be watching to see if one of you can figure out the XP dilemma as well as if I find something I will be sure to come back to post it.)

  • pnorbert writes:
    May 24th, 200815:14at

    The Deadlock Bug Finally Solved

    I had the same problem for a year or so. I used vista in the meanwhile, but after a 3D bug I got upset and decided to try fix this bug, finally succeded in it. I’m sure it has something to do with the memory, but still there’s a mistery……..

    The solution :
    It can be a little wierd, the softwares i used are : ASO – Advanced System Optimizer 2.2 and Mobility Modder 1.0 Final.

    Step 1 (ASO) : In the windows optimizer at the
    System Performance #2 I turned on the :
    Improve Core Kernael Performance
    Enable Large System Cache
    (I made the cache size 1,024 – not sure if this was necessary)
    Theese options were to force the system to write the swap on memory instead of your HDD

    Step 2 (Mobility modder) : First download a new Catalist Driver from anywhere on the net, then the modder from :

    This software is quite handy because you can use the latest catalyst on your mobility radeon.
    After The modding I’ve set the Graphics memory on 128MB -from (it was 256 earlier) –

    The only thing left for you now is to install the newly modded catalyst and enyoy the advancements of your 3D card again.

    Not sure if step 1 is necessary, but my problem was solved after step 2, so my 3D card was back form the DeadLock and Infinite loops, and finally running smoothly on XP again.

    Btw I have a HP zd8000 with x600 mobility too.

  • Julio Maduro writes:
    January 27th, 200922:05at


    My problem is with an hp compaq nx6125. It doesn’t see the harddrive when it boots. Bios don’t recognize de drive. I have try everything; bios update, boot from outboard drive (windows doesn’t straat). Im honest if I remark that it does boot ones but den the machine turned off. I need the orginal frimeware to turn de bios back in orignal state to see what will happen or some other tips to solve this problem.

    Thank you!

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    April 13th, 201018:51at

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