Installing GeForce GTX 280, need some advice

Back in November I got an H.P. Pavilion Elite. It only had its onboard video, but was a great price for having a quad Intel Core 2 and eight gigs of RAM, so I figured that I could add a video card a little later when I could afford a nice one. So I did, and now I am the proud owner of an Nvidia GeForce GTX 280. It took a bit of work to get it in there, since it barely fit in the box and I had to completely replace the power source with one that supplies higher watts, but I finally got it installed.

Now all that remains is to actually get it working.

First of all, when I try to start it up with the card slotted in, I get a blank screen no matter what port I have my display plugged into. It seems likely that this is a conflict with my onboard hardware and I need to disable it. The trouble is, I am not sure how. It still starts up with a display as normal from the onboard when I pull the card out of the slot, and I have used that oppertunity to go into the BIOS setup. I see no options for disabling the onboard there, but I did change its primary video output from "Onboard" to "PCI-E x16", which is where I have the card. I thought that it might be a driver issue as well, but when I try to run the Nvidia driver installation wizard, it gives me an error saying that there are no drivers available for my hardware configuration. I worry that this is a bit of a catch 22, since the only way that I have hardware that the wizard could do something with requires that I have the card physically installed, but if I have the card physically installed I cannot reach the wizard. I wondered if maybe the fact that I am using Vista Home Premium x64 might have something to do with it, but I doubt it.

Anyone have any suggestions on how to resolve this?
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  1. Do not attempt to install drivers or use different BIOS options until you actually get an output to the monitor from that video card.

    Make sure you connect the power connectors to the video card.
    Also check to make sure the card is firmly seated in a PCI-E slot.
    What power supply are you using?
  2. I am positive that the card is recieving enough power. The light on the back of it is green (would be yellow or red if the power was insufficient.)

    As far as being firmly seated in the slot, I think that it is. Feels like it is, but I could be wrong. The fit is pretty tight, with the holders for the RAM chips on one side and a data cord to the motherboard on the other side, it is possible it will not fit all the way. But like I said, I think it is in there. The card feels snug and level, and I can screw it tight to the back of the case.

    The power supply is a Corsair TX650w, lots of black nylon mesh around the cables making them resemble a bundle of snakes.
  3. best solution overall is to reinstall your vista 64bit; in lieu of trying to find the promblem which probably drivers ect. take less time to just reinstall OP and now you have a fresh start which is always nice :bounce:
  4. +1 on a reinstall of the OS. That should get you up and running just fine.
  5. Alright, I will make some backup discs and try reinstalling the OS.

    And no, the default power supply for a Pavilion Elite is a Delta Electronics model. The TX650W was an after market power supply that I got when I realized that the included power supply was insufficient for the card.
  6. Okay, an update.

    Insteall of "re" installing my OS, I just installed a fresh copy of Vista Ultimate x64 that I had lying around, overwriting the Home Premium x64 that shipped with the computer.

    Unfortunately, the issue remains.

    It is worth mentioning that when started up with the card is slotted in, I wait for a while but do not even hear the Windows startup sound play, which suggests it is more than just a blank visual output, it is blocking all output. Granted though my speakers are built into the monitor (I know such speakers are usually poor quality but I listen to most of my audio via a nice Plantronics USB headset anyway,) so that might have something to do with it, but they are connected to the standard audio-out port so I would doubt it. But the fact remains that I do not get so much as a startup spash screen when I turn the power on.

    Any other ideas?
  7. Quote:
    HP Pavilions come with Corsair TX650W power supplies?

    read the OP...

    since it barely fit in the box and I had to completely replace the power source with one that supplies higher watts,

  8. At this point, I am starting to think that my expensive new card is defective. :(

    It is worth noting that when I start the computer up with the card installed, not only do I get a blank screen, but the HDD access light does not even flicker. As I cannot even see the BIOS, this is certainly a hardware issue rather than a software one, and since there is no obvious reason why this card should not work as the rest of the hardware meets all requirements, I can only guess that the card itself is faulty.

    I suppose I will have to take it back and see about getting it replaced under warrenty. And if anyone was wondering, yes, I took proper anti-static precautions when handling and installing this card.
  9. well not every 280 has to be perfect :lol: my moneys on a defective card too... you never mentioned which brandi t was? EVGA or XFX ftw..
  10. Oh yeah, it was an EVGA. I have heard that they are pretty good about customer support. I am going to have to give them a call during business hours.

    I hope their customer service line is open on New Years...
  11. well it should be... 24/7 service. if not just email?
  12. Is it? I recall the manual saying something about that, but it seemed to be implausible. Maintaining round-the-clock call centers (even if in different parts of the world) seems to be a rather expensive thing for a company to do.
  13. Ah yes, according to the site here:

    Special New Year's Notice: The offices of EVGA will be closed on Thursday January 1st, 2009 in observance of the New Year Holiday.
    Normal business will resume on Friday January 2nd, 2009 at 12am for tech support, and on Friday January 2nd, 2009 at 9am for office/warehouse.

    Guess they are close at New Years.
  14. still they really do have 24/7 support... you can call them at 4 AM if you want :P especially useful if you're in a different country different times...
  15. True, but their site also said that I had to make a good faith effort to get it replaced by the retailer I bought it from before they would help me with it, so that is what I intend to do. Fortunately, the retailer in question is open on New Years.
  16. I know that this thread has not been posted to in a while, mainly because there have been no new developments in that time, but yesterday there was some news so I thought that I would give a concluding update.

    After determining that my GTX 280 was defective, I sent it back to EVGA to have it replaced under warranty. While they were not unhelpful, it was more of a chore than I had hoped. For example, their RMA submission system does not all a person to have a seperate billing and mailing address. This is troublesome for me, since I have moved several times in the last few years and thus I prefer to keep my billing address at my family's home until I own a home of my own to make into a permenant residence. As a result, I had to use my parents as a proxy, having them return it to their address instead of my current one.

    However, after eventually getting it to them, I recieved it back yesterday and promptly installed it in my computer. It started up with no further hassle and worked exactly as intended. I ran through the tech-test in F.E.A.R. at maximum settings and it gave my lowest FPS as 78, my average as 153, and my highest at over 400. I installed Crysis after that and even at its highest settings I encountered no slowdown at all.

    So I would like to happily announce that my issue has been resolved, and wanted to thank everyone for their sound advice. :)
  17. cool, great to hear
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