Another PC Issue

Well, when it rains, it pours. Last week, I had to re-install Vista due to excessive HD corruption. Now, while reading a website this morning, my monitor suddenly went into stand-by mode (no video signal detected). I also noticed the HD light on my tower was steady on. Multiple Ctrl-Alt-Dels did nothing, so I pressed the tower’s reset switch. System wouldn’t reset.

I then held down the power switch on my tower to turn the system off. After waiting 30 seconds, I turned it back on. All the chassis fans came on at 100%, which is normal until POSTing starts, but they remained at 100% while the system beeped several times after about 5 seconds. The monitor still didn’t detect a video signal and the HD light remained steady on.

I then turned the system off via the power switch, unplugged the AC cord, reset the BIOS via a jumper on the MB, and turned on the system. Same results.

After turning the system off, again, I unplugged the AC cord and removed the CMOS battery. After waiting 30 minutes, I re-installed the CMOS battery and turned the system on. Same results.

I then moved the video card and memory sticks to alternate MB slots. Same results.

Since I had a spare MB by ASUS (Formula Striker II) that supported the same CPU and memory, I installed it and had the same results. So, I’m thinking I have either a dead CPU (Intel E8400) or a dead video card (EVGA 9800 GTX).

Based on my troubleshooting notes, does anyone have any idea what might be wrong? I’d like to order either a new CPU or video card, but not both. Help me, Obi Wan! You’re my only hope!

My first instinct is either power supply or motherboard, but you ruled out motherboard. My money’s on PSU, with a slight chance it’s the GPU.

Well, the first MB has three LEDs that turn on when the proper voltages are received by the MB. All three of them were on, as were the video card fan, chassis fans, CPU fan, PS fan, and MB fan.

Turns out the ASUS MB has an LCD display that allows me to view the POST. Everything is processed correctly during the POST, and no errors are displayed. Also, the video card fan is the one that’s cranked to 100% and stays there during the POST. This is not normal, as it cranks down right after POST begins. So, all of this, coupled with no video output, leads me to believe the video card crapped out. The system’s two years old to the day!

Your elimination process seems reasonable to me. To make sure, if you have a video card on your motherboard, you could remove the potential dead one & see if the system starts up.

In my experience, power supplies have failed more often than any other part, so I’d lean toward that if the computer won’t start correctly even with the onboard card.

I thought of the onboard video, but the nForce 780i MBs I have don’t have onboard video.

Yes, I’ve narrowed it down to either the PS or video card. Since the MB POSTs (and the HD light remains on for about 45-60 seconds, likely booting up Vista), the video card fan stays at 100%, and there’s no video output, I’m pretty certain it’s the video card. If I had another video card lying around or onboard video, I’d know for certain. Too bad my girlfriend gave away our spare video card 2 weeks ago.

how much ‘headroom’ do you have on your systems PSU, with all your hardware?

It does indeed sound like a GPU issue, but like Sidd_Budd i also generaly run across more PSU-cause issues with faulty hardware than most other problems. Maybe(i’m thinking), if you are close to maxing-out or stressing your PSU that could be part of the problem why your GPU died?

Oh, and is that free GPU thread still up for grabs? make your plea.

My system uses an Ultra 1000W PS. Besides the MB, CPU+fan, and 2x2GB memory, it also powers a 9800 GTX+, a SB X-Fi XtremeGamer Fatal1ty Pro, 5 HDs, 2 DVD drives, and 7 case fans.


The problem was, in fact, a dead video card (EVGA GeForce 9800 GTX). I purchased a new one (EVGA GeForce 9800 GTX+), and it’s a better card than the GTX. It has only one power connector and runs a lot quieter. God bless the smaller die size.

Sorry to confuse, someone was giving away a free video card in another thread in this forum and was asking for takers(it’s been taken now). At least you got to the bottom of the issue and have fixed it.

Jeezebus. Get moar RAM.

5 HDs? Are you running them in a RAID configuration, or do you just like having all that space?

4 GB is enough for most systems. It doesn’t sound like some fatal bottleneck.

Well at least if you live next to an airport your PC will drown out the noise of the jets taking off.

Since when is 4 GB not enough?

Vista OS on 320 GB HD, back-up files on 500 GB HD, and programs on three 320 GB HDs in RAID 0 array.

All case fans are barely audible, as I purchase the ones with very low dB specs. The loudest fan, by far, is the one on the video card (9800 GTX+), but the one on the now-bad 9800 GTX was even louder.

4GB is sufficient for most users; and right now RAM prices are (too) high. Plus if he’s on a DDR2 MB, he might not want to buy more RAM until his next system upgrade.

5 HDs?

Pfft - 5 is nothing. I’ve got ten in a single PC. I just kept adding them and adding them and…well, it got a little out of hand, I’ll admit. Good thing I had a jumbo-sized tower case.

The irony is I can - and already have - replaced them all with a single 2TB HDD and ended up with moar disk space to boot. Ahhh, progress.

I draw the line at 4 case fans. You have your CPU fan, your PSU fan(s), your GPU fan – wow. More than 4 on the case alone is just too much, but if you’re willing to go that far, do silent refrigerated cooling (more energy efficient, too!). It’s just… just… no.

Four of them are mounted on a hinged panel that blow directly on the entire MB. One is mounted to the rear of the tower for exhaust. One is mounted to the top of the tower for exhaust. And one is mounted to the front of the tower to blow directly on the 4-HD bay. All of these mounts are part of the tower design. That’s why I’m surprised the video card failed after two years with so much air circulating in the tower. Previously, I’ve never had a video card fail in any of the PCs I’ve built, and I’ve built many.