Unfortunately this is becoming a more common fault with these laptops, however reballing the Graphics and Southbridge chips is pretty much a permanent repair even if it costs a little bit.
You are obviously aware of Nvidia chip problems with other laptops (summary of issues here
). Also, very unfortunately, ATI chipped models of the same age are now beginning to appear with unsoldered solder balls, and if you're looking to buy a used laptop around this era there's a good chance you're going to get one with these problems.
Ignoring Nvidia Chipped laptops, reballing these ATI / Intel chipped laptops is very effective. This is being typed on a fully reballed (ATI GPU and Intel Southbridge) T40-"something" that has since been absolutely hammered and it just keeps on going, and I would really recommend getting it done for Malawi. Also bear in mind that TP's are generally very robust - possibly the left hand hinge excepting - and all parts are available.
I was in Malawi in 1986 having driven down in '85 from Algeria. At the time the "Dictator" (who started life as a Medical Doctor in South Shields in North East England) at least made sure the people had access to cheap bread, a cow for each family and cheap vetinary care (for the cow); I'll not comment on the other side of his rule but we felt very safe throughout the country.
We entered from Tanzania - Mbeya? - and travelled all the way to the south of the country - Blantyre, Livingstonia, Cape Mclear, all points in between, and also spent some time on a Sugar Cane plantation owned by Tiny Rowland.
Due to politics we were unable to safely travel further south before we returned north for Kenya again.
I'm horrified by what the country has decended into since the president's demise - part of my heart is in Africa and I'm often thinking of the delightful people we met.
Check your PM's in the next hour.
All the best for the New Year as well.