PCI-e on a Gateway

Working on a customer's recent model GWay computer. It's an AMD processor, model GM 5088

The on board video is dying. Sometimes it lights a monitor and sometimes not. When you can get a screen to light, the machine has to be on for at least ten minutes - then all of a sudden the screen will light up. If you restart, often you'll get no video again.

I've used three monitors on it and had the same issue with all of them.

The computer has an unused PCI express slot. I plugged in a test card and still got no video - this time from either my add in card or the on board video. Again, I waited a while and saw the CMOS Setup screen. There is no place in the setup screen to disable the on board video.

I look at Gateways' website and they claim it to be automatic; when you plug in a card to the PCI-e, it's supposed to disable the on board one (PHOENIX BIOS).

So could that unused PCI-e slot be dead? Could it be related to the on board video issue? I know, I know it's a Gateway, otherwise known as a used, rebuilt Emachine. But this is a new customer and I'd love to get it done and make him happy!

Suggestions?
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  1. Oh, last time I got it into Windows, I updated the Nvida drivers (it's a GEforce 6100 on board) but of course that had no effect.
  2. It automatically disables the onboard video? So there is no setting that allows you to manually change display to PCIe?
  3. Nope. I looked into the (very VERY basic) BIOS 'til I was blue in the face. nothing there. Also looked on the MB. No way.
  4. Well, the only other option left is PCI video cards...
  5. Yep that's correct. Again, I had a test one available ... but only I think it was 8mb Trident. It wouldn't run the resolution needed for the TV tuner card built in (XP Media Center edition)
  6. I may be wrong, but this sounds like a motherboard problem to me. The motherboards used by Gateway, Emachine, and HP tend to be on the cheap side, and when such machine starts showing problems like this, the motherboard becomes a prime suspect. Since the board is no longer recognizing the PCIe slot and doesn't automatically disable the on-board video, there's not much left. You might try verifying the present parts (video card, ram etc) in a separate machine. If they work in that machine, then they aren't at fault.
  7. A) damaged bridge, rusted solder etc giving a bad connection.
    B) blown/buldging capacitors

    Look for these 2 common causes of spontanious onboard display.
  8. I may have this wrong, but from his original post the OP has stated that he eventually got into the BIOS, but that he had to wait like he did with the onboard graphics.

    If this is in fact the case the problem has nothing to do with the video card, integrated graphics, or the PCI-E slot. What it sounds like to me is that the motherboard is taking a very long time to come out of reset to POST. Most equipment (those that are digital) are held in reset for a small time at power up to stop them from coming up in random states. This small time is usually no longer than a second or so. It seems to me that somehow this is taking a lot longer. It also could be that the Power Good signal from the PSU might not be coming up immediately causing the delay in boot. The motherboard will not start until it sees the Power Good signal. I have seen this exact same behavior on a Dell in our office. I changed the PSU and the problem was eliminated.

    So either you have a problem with the PSU or the motherboard. Easy enough to check the PSU, but motherboard on a OEM system becomes difficult. Hope that helps.
  9. I did consider the PSU as a problem, but why I turned to the motherboard as a prime suspect was that Gateway told the OP that the motherboard should automatically recognize the video card and disable the on-board video. But the PSU is a place to look for sure and the OEM PSUs often are pretty cheap pieces of junk, possibly adequate for the computer when it leaves the factory, but having no overhead for adding any hardware.
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