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Help Me Out With Some “Laptop Experts” Questions, Win $50

[ This post concerns a paid campaign currently running on the site. ]

By David Ponce

Hey guys, so last week we invited you guys to participate in the Toshiba Laptop Experts campaign. We even offered some giveaways. Well, let’s just say we weren’t overwhelmed by the response, but hey, at least one guy got himself $50’s worth of stuff. So I’m doing it again this week, and I’m offering $50 again to the person that helps most, this time cash (by “cash” I mean Paypal, so you better have an account).

The difference is the questions that follow have not yet been answered. Matter of fact, they’re giving me a bit of a headache. So aside from getting the cash, you can get the warm fuzzies at knowing you helped me (and a poor stranded PC user) out.

First of three questions below, the rest after the jump.

    TOSHIBA M205 SHUTS OFF SUDDENLY THEN REBOOTS. Super quick blue screen of death, can’t even read it as it shuts off too quickly. Driving me nuts. I have 2 M205, I don’t use too much, now it’s doing it!!! Power brick maybe? Trouble is they do it on both power cords. What in the world’s going on?

    I did a clean install of Windows XP Pro on a L305D-S5870 that had Vista Home preinstalled. I have everything working except the SM Bus Controller. On the device manager, this shows up as unknown still. Where can I find this driver?
    I currently have hughes.net for internet service and am thinking about getting an aircard instead. I currently use ATT for my cell phone service. I need good speed since I’m in real estate and work out of my car. What do you suggest?

Your answers, in case you’re wondering, will be posted to the Laptop Experts site, linked below.

[ Laptop Experts ]







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  • http://shadowpioneer.com/blog taubin

    The only one I can come close to answering is the first. Sounds like it could be bad memory, or overheating. Does it happen while doing the same thing every time? For example, running graphics or CPU intensive apps? (photoshop, etc…) Those two would be my best guess without more information on the BSOD.

  • kc

    Re: driver for SM Bus Controller

    Have a look at the following thread, specifically the response from VinnieVen and try the link to the driver (.zip)

    Hope it works

  • kc

    sorry, forgot to add the link:

    http://forums.tweaktown.com/f12/sm-bus-controll

  • Tom

    @ the first question:
    you should disable automatic reboot after bluescreen first. it's enabled by default but what's a bluescreen of death good for of you can't read it :)
    1)Goto Control Panel -> System
    2) Click the Advanced Tab
    3) Under the 'Startup and Recovery' section click on Settings
    4) Under 'System Failure' section uncheck 'Automatically Restart'
    5) Click on 'OK'
    Now you might be able to read out your error. it's hard to guess because it could be anything from an overheatet cpu (usually it wouldn't give you a bluescreen then but did you check the fan? laptops quite often have too much dust in there) to a driver problem.

  • http://www.cmsvergleich.de marmota

    The first question:
    Could be nearly everything. If you follow Tom's advice, the BSOD information probably won't help you much.
    I'd first eliminate any OS issues and do some hardware testing.
    - MemTest (http://www.memtest.org) will find defective RAM
    - StressLinux (http://www.stresslinux.org) will show you if there is a problem with overheating
    If these tests are ok, things are getting difficult. Then there is a good chance that there is a problem on the OS side. Maybe a driver problem or a damaged XP.

  • Jordan

    Like others are saying the first one sounds like bad hardware – either memory or hard drive. I suggest using memtest (as someone else already has) as well as the Hitachi DFT utility – it's one of the better hard drive diagnostic utilities and works on non-Hitachi drives as well.

    The SM Bus Controller driver is most often found as part of the chipset installer package. That model appears to have an AMD M780V chipset.

    The dude(tte) may as well just get an ATT Laptop Connect card – they appear to be pretty good and work over 3G. The alternative is Verizon's 3G offerings or a CDMA-based cell company using EVDO, though 3G is supposed to be faster than EVDO anyway… I think s/he should ask around and find out if the 3G signal from ATT in his/her area works well or not, then base the decision on that.

  • LHFixer

    I used to have a Sony Vaio that did the same thing. I had to buy replacement chips and soldier them to the board. This was a well known, especially to Sony, use of bad chips. Might want to look around for a pattern. I would also check to make sure that your air intakes/exhausts aren't clogged up with anything, you wouldn't believe how much Husky hair will fit into a laptop.

    I have rolled back my HP to XP and it isn't officially supported wither. The first time I did it I was never able to find the SM bus controller driver, the second time (yesterday) I was looking for the right Graphics driver from Nvidia and I downloaded one off of their website, it installed the SM “co processor” driver, and Ethernet driver and something else that I was planning on cobbling together with separate drivers. What it didn't install was a graphics driver, so it might be an option eventhough video on the M205 is intel based.

  • Pete

    1. Tosh M205 – Most likely a bad stick of ram. But a replacement stick at a local shop (hell, get a bigger stick – not a bad time to bump up, ram is cheap). The Portege M205 has two ram slots, so check each in turn.

    2. The “SM Bus” controller (system bus). This is a part of the AMD chipset (AMD M780V) on the motherboard. Unfortunately, I don't think there is an XP driver for this chipset.

    3. Your choice of “broadband” wireless provider depends heavily on your location, but you'll probably be choosing between two providers – AT%T and Verizon.
    AT&T's 3G wireless (HSDPA) has a pretty limited rollout so far compared to Verizon's (EV-DO). Check the service maps to figure out which one wil best suit your needs-
    AT&T – http://www.wireless.att.com/coverageviewer/
    Verizon – http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/CoverageLoca

  • Tim

    I'll answer the first one first. I agree that it sounds like overheating, but with it shutting off in the exact same spot every time, I don't think it is. It really sounds like a memory issue. When the computer begins asking for more memory, it tries to access a sector that is bad. Replacing the memory may help.

    Second, many computers shipped with WIndows VIsta do not have XP drivers. THe manufacturers have chosen not to support XP with a computer designed for Vista. I have experienced this with some HP models.

    Thirdly, I have a Verizon modem that I use with my laptop that gets great coverage and is at least giving me DSL speeds, and sometimes faster. I hope this helps.

  • no

    turn off auto reboot on bsod and see what the problem is

  • Kouroth

    Does the laptop crash randomly after some time of use or does it happen right away? Does the bios allow you to adjust the fan speeds manually? What are you doing when it crashes?
    Need more info but my first guess is a heat issue, one of the fans might be dead or blocked.
    -
    It doesn't look like Toshiba made an XP driver for that PC. http://www.laptops-drivers.com/ might have a hacked one.

  • Kouroth

    Another thing for the “TOSHIBA M205 SHUTS OFF SUDDENLY THEN REBOOTS.”
    You could try running a scandisk by booting up off the XP cd. The drive might have errors, don't know if you did a full format but it is normally a good idea with laptops just to be sure.

  • prizrak

    1: need bsod fault data.

    2: need vendor and device data, for smbus controller :
    win+r -> devmgmt.msc -> select the smbus controller -> right click -> properties -> open details folder -> select device instance id and look for strings like VEN_???? and DEV_????
    then google for it with both of this strings, and look for the driver in another
    drivers pack.

    for example look here for smbus driver/inf:
    http://www.station-drivers.com/page/amd%20chip.htm

  • prizrak
  • prizrak

    1: need bsod fault data.

    2: need vendor and device data, for smbus controller :
    win+r -> devmgmt.msc -> select the smbus controller -> right click -> properties -> open details folder -> select device instance id and look for strings like VEN_???? and DEV_????
    then google for it with both of this strings, and look for the driver in another
    drivers pack.

    for example look here for smbus driver/inf:
    http://www.station-drivers.com/page/amd%20chip.htm

  • prizrak
  • prizrak

    1: need bsod fault data.

    2: need vendor and device data, for smbus controller :
    win+r -> devmgmt.msc -> select the smbus controller -> right click -> properties -> open details folder -> select device instance id and look for strings like VEN_???? and DEV_????
    then google for it with both of this strings, and look for the driver in another
    drivers pack.

    for example look here for smbus driver/inf:
    http://www.station-drivers.com/page/amd%20chip.htm

  • prizrak