Had an odd hardware failure on my Toughbook and was looking for some advice. This post is rather long, but wanted to give as much background as possible.
Toughbook CF-52SLGBD1M, which from my reading is a mk4
Processor: Intel Core i5-2540M
Graphics Card: ATI/AMD Radeon HD 6750M/6650M/6630M/7650M (WHISTLER PRO/LP) [Matsushita Electronics]
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional (x64)
12 Gb RAM
256 Gb SSD
External monitor - Dell 24"
I use my Toughbook as my main workstation for business. Not a gamer, but do use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop frequently plus a VM and the usual MS Office apps.
I walked away from the computer for a little while and I come back to find both the external and laptop screens are blank. I could not get Windows to come up again. Well after much rebooting, fiddling & frustration, it appears the discrete video card has failed.
The only way to use the laptop is with an external monitor, but with the discrete video card disabled from within Windows. I can not find a setting in the BIOS to disable the video card system wide. Basically the external monitor is running off the embedded graphics chipset on the CPU. When using it this way, nothing appears on the laptop and the external monitor has blue vertical and horizontal lines throughout anything "darker" on the screen. So it has limited use when viewing pictures or working with illustrations. Also the external monitor can only be used in 4:3 resolutions. I've tried booting from CD and USB to linux and various toolsets, but the laptop monitor never displays anything on it's own without the external monitor plugged in.
I've ordered a new laptop to replace this, but would still like to use the Toughbook in some capacity. Plus the new laptop won't arrive for 3-4 weeks.
Would this Toughbook be a candidate for an eGPU hooked into the Express Card slot (probably a EXP GDC Beast)? I've researched this a fair amount, but understand it is very much system dependent and have not found any postings for a CF-52 with an eGPU.
Also any suggestions on a cheaper video card to work with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop? As I mentioned, I'm not a gamer so don't need a high end graphics card.
One last question, am I missing a way to disable the discrete video card from the BIOS? Then I could at least use it as an actual laptop now and then.
Thanks for any and all help / suggestions.