Alienware M17x R3 7 Beeps + Black Screen


Sep 13, 2013
I was recently given an M17x R3 which is exhibiting the 7 beeps + black screen indicating a bad motherboard or CPU....I am interested in fixing it, but not sure how to tackle the troubleshooting. The guy that gave me the system said it was working fine until after thunderstorm, during which he forgot to unplug it. The system is out of warranty, so calling Dell is out of the question...

Is there some way to differentiate between motherboard and CPU issues indicated by the beeping? Everything I've read has said basically just trial and error replace 1 part at a time until it works.....this is terribly inefficient cost-wise as both the motherboard and cpu are 300+ each, so if there were some way to narrow down which component is bad prior to investing in a replacement it would be most helpful. It might still be worth replacing both these components to get the sytem operating again, but I'm concerned there may be additional components that have gone bad (gfx primarily, as its another 400+ to replace).

I plan to do a full teardown in the next couple of days to see if there are any obvious signs of the problem....outside of burnt capacitors, are there any other components I could visually identify as bad?

Any insight/help is greatly appreciated!
Laptop boards are a little more difficult to troubleshoot, but the consensus is right: swapping components is the most practical way to determine the faulty component(s), even if it's not the most fiscally practical method. This is how most RMA processes go, too.

Since it won't start, there's not a lot you can do to test. If you have a multimeter, you could try testing the voltage readings or for continuity.