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PCIe x16 card no worky :(

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April 6, 2010 2:06:13 PM

Okay, so after moving across the country last Fall my video card stops working. That is, it transmits exactly 0 amount of video to the monitor though the fan is running. The card is a GeForce 7600 GS. My mobo was an ECS Elitegroup C51GM-M. I put in an old PCI card and I get video just fine. I take the video card to a friend's house for him to quickly test in one of his machines. He sticks it in, plugs in a monitor, pushes the power button, and we gots video.

So, I assume that the issue is with my mobo and the PCIe slot getting damaged somehow. Being a rookie, and also a little stupid, I order the wrong kind of mobo, a socket 939 instead of an AM2. Doh! Move on. Just recently I order another mobo, this time an ECS Elitgroup GeForce6100PM-M. It comes in yesterday, I excitedly rebuild my computer with the new mobo putting the 7600GS back in. I turn it on. No video. Plug into onboard video, works fine. Go into BIOS and change default video device to PCIe (was set to PCI). No change. Reseat the video card. No change. Do an ancient wiccan ritual. No change. Drop kick the computer out the window. Haha, just making sure you were paying attention.

I've emailed the vendor for any suggestions, but I thought I would run it by a group of people who won't default to telling me that it must be my video card. Of course, it could just be my video card. One thing I'm not 100% sure about is whether the friend that tested my video card used a DVI of D-sub monitor. I'm currently plugged into the D-sub, so I guess it could just be that connection that is busted. Any and all thoughts, ideas, suggestions, or pictures of hot chicks are appreciated.

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April 6, 2010 10:52:25 PM

I would attempt to use a DVI-VGA adapter and try it that way. It is possible that the VGA output is not working correctly. Another way to verify the PCI-e slot is good is to borrow another PCI-e GPU and try it in your PC. This should narrow down your problem significantly.
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April 7, 2010 1:17:04 AM

flyinfinni said:
I would attempt to use a DVI-VGA adapter and try it that way. It is possible that the VGA output is not working correctly. Another way to verify the PCI-e slot is good is to borrow another PCI-e GPU and try it in your PC. This should narrow down your problem significantly.


First step in troubleshooting is to always try to replace a suspected bad card with a known good one.
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April 7, 2010 1:48:16 AM

flyinfinni said:
I would attempt to use a DVI-VGA adapter and try it that way. It is possible that the VGA output is not working correctly. Another way to verify the PCI-e slot is good is to borrow another PCI-e GPU and try it in your PC. This should narrow down your problem significantly.

I have now tested it with a DVI-VGA adapter and still a no go. I'll have to see if I can find a friend with a card I can borrow to test. Although I'm wondering if that will get me anywhere since this card tested out okay on another machine. I'm wondering if there is something funny about ECS boards, because that's what I've been having issues with. Anyway, I guess I won't know until I try it. I'll let you know once I can find another card to test.
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April 7, 2010 4:33:51 PM

I suggested trying the DVI adapter as a test since his friend had tried the card- a good quick test to see if just the one output was bad that he could do while trying to find a card to borrow and test. If it was just a normal- hey it doesn't work, then yeah- try another card is first.
Bigbluedart- Well, nothing funny about ECS boards, but they are a cheap manufacturer, so their parts are not of the same quality as something like Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, etc. They are cheap, so people buy them, but they will generally not last or perform as well as one of the top tier manufacturers.
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April 7, 2010 5:53:49 PM

I think I know what your problem is. A lot of Elitegroup boards - every one I've had, in fact - do not have a direct BIOS option to disable onboard video (the PCI/PCIe option is not it, though it may look promising). Instead, they use an autodetect feature to determine whether they're supposed to be using a PCIe card for video -- which can cause you a hell of a headache when you've installed the card but the autodetect still thinks you want to use onboard video, which is usually what it seems to do for some reason.

A couple of times, I've gotten new video cards to be recognized by Elitegroup boards by inserting the card, doing a BIOS reset by removing the motherboard's CMOS battery, and then re-inserting the battery and booting up. If that doesn't work, you can try the reverse -- doing the battery remove/replace with no card, then re-insert the card and try to power on. A less desirable method that's also inexplicably worked for me is to remove and reseat the CPU, either with or without the card in place. Basically, these are ways to give the motherboard a "kick in the ass" so that the autodetect function goes looking for new components.

Also, I bet your original motherboard isn't dead either. It sounds like you have a pretty old machine, which makes it fairly likely that the CMOS battery on the original motherboard went dead (they last 5 years or so, less if you're unlucky). When that happens, a lot of the time everything will be fine as long as the machine stays plugged into the wall, but when you unplug it to move it, the BIOS will be wiped clean and it will forget everything, including that the video card is supposed to take precedence over the onboard graphics. I've seen a lot of threads from people whose older computer suddenly won't work after a move, and half the time, this is why. Replacing the battery may get the old motherboard to work.

A good way to check whether that's the problem is to try booting up with the old motherboard, and the monitor plugged into either the onboard video port or the old PCI card that worked. If the date and time are reset to something like Jan. 1, 2005, there's a 99% chance that this was caused by nothing more than a dead battery.
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April 8, 2010 1:57:46 PM

Thanks for the tips, Taco. I've definitely begun to suspect that my original board was still okay. A dead CMOS battery makes some sense. I was even having some issues with the PCI VGA card being detected at one point, though I was able to get it recognized whereas that was not working with my PCIe card... yet. I'll do some messing around with things tonight after work and let you know how it turns out.
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April 8, 2010 4:18:26 PM

It could be a battery problem, but the thing that confuses me there is- even with a dead CMOS battery, you should still be able to detect a card in the PCI-e slot or PCI slot. It might not want to boot on it if it thinks it should be booting from the IGP, but you should still be able to see it in the device manager in windows. So- you could try booting using the IGP with the card installed and see if you can see it in the device manager.
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April 8, 2010 6:18:10 PM

flyinfinni said:
It could be a battery problem, but the thing that confuses me there is- even with a dead CMOS battery, you should still be able to detect a card in the PCI-e slot or PCI slot. It might not want to boot on it if it thinks it should be booting from the IGP, but you should still be able to see it in the device manager in windows. So- you could try booting using the IGP with the card installed and see if you can see it in the device manager.


SHOULD be able to detect it, yes. But you have no idea how many times I've found myself pulling my hair out about what an Elitegroup board SHOULD be doing with the video card -- but isn't, for no apparent reason. Don't get me wrong, I think Elitegroup makes reliable boards and absolutely kills on price, but installing a video card has been an adventure just about every time. I've given up trying to explain some of the things they do, except to say that the autodetect function can be screwy, and once you get the card recognized, try not to ever mess with it.

Having said that, your idea ought to work -- if he can get to Windows, there ought to be SOMETHING showing up in the device manager, although who knows if it'll identify the specific card right off the bat. Last ECS machine I tried to install a video card on, I would do exactly what you suggested and the thing would show up as "Unknown VGA Device" until I finally got it to fully recognize the card by doing the CMOS battery trick. With a dead CMOS battery, who knows, it might start from scratch and recognize it as "unknown" every time.

Oh yeah, one other thing -- with one Elitegroup board I had, when I installed a new card I also had to disable the onboard graphics adapter in the Windows Device Manager and reboot before it would recognize the new card. That's not standard procedure, but one more little trick to be aware of for ECS boards if you're running out of options and nothing's working. (hint: if you end up doing this, whatever you do, don't disable "vgasave." You will regret it immediately.)
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April 8, 2010 6:26:19 PM

Yeah- And THIS is why I won't buy ECS:-) I prefer to stick with the real name brands, even if they cost a little more (generally they're not even that much more either). I love my MSI boards, and the Gigabyte in my wife's PC is also stellar.
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April 8, 2010 6:41:58 PM

When I put together a new machine next I'll be going with ASUS/Gigabyte/MSI, unless somebody can put together a strong case for a particular ASrock or other board. I am definitely done with ECS. I'll try to play with things a little more. If I'm lucky, maybe the old board will work and I can return the one I just bought. Like I said, I'll let you know how it goes once I get a chance to work on it tonight. I really appreciate the feedback so far, guys.
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April 8, 2010 6:49:43 PM

good luck. hope you can get the old one working and return the newer one ;-)
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April 8, 2010 7:51:15 PM

flyinfinni said:
Yeah- And THIS is why I won't buy ECS:-) I prefer to stick with the real name brands, even if they cost a little more (generally they're not even that much more either). I love my MSI boards, and the Gigabyte in my wife's PC is also stellar.


You got that right. Only time I'll use ECS anymore is when I'm building a machine for someone I know won't ever have a use for anything beyond onboard graphics. Like a replacement for my mother's machine, since all she uses it for is Word and surfing the internet. For my own stuff, not worth the headache. I'm more partial to Asus myself, but yeah, I haven't heard of Gigabyte or MSI causing people too much trouble either.

... and OP, for reference on whatever you buy in the future, my experience with brand reputations has been that you'll find Biostar and Foxconn (with a few exceptions) right down there with ECS in the bargain-basement range, Asus, Gigabyte and MSI at the top, and ASRock and DFI somewhere in the middle. Also, don't buy a board made by Intel unless you want to run into surprise compatibility problems -- I don't even know why they even market those things as suitable for building your own system. You can just rule them out entirely as far as I'm concerned.
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April 8, 2010 7:59:31 PM

I would put Biostar above ECS- closer to ASrock. Biostar has actually treated me reasonably well in the past on budget builds (better than ECS and Foxconn for sure, and even probably better than ASrock). DFI is at times a truly top-notch maker, but they just aren't consistent.
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April 9, 2010 12:51:37 AM

Resetting the CMOS, either by jumper or removing and replacing the battery, did not good for me. The card isn't even showing up in Windows Device Manager. On top of that I'm not even getting internet in Windows with the new board, though I am in Linux. So, time to RMA the POS and go back to using my older POS. I might go have the video card looked at one more time, but I just don't know if all of this is worth the effort any more. I sooooooo want a new computer, but there's no way the wife will sign off on one at least until I finish my thesis. Until then I'm stuck playing games from 2002 on my GeForce 5200.

Thanks for all the thoughts, guys. But unfortunately the only thing that I've learned from all of this is that I hate ECS. A lot.
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April 9, 2010 2:58:54 AM

BigBlueDart said:
Resetting the CMOS, either by jumper or removing and replacing the battery, did not good for me. The card isn't even showing up in Windows Device Manager. On top of that I'm not even getting internet in Windows with the new board, though I am in Linux. So, time to RMA the POS and go back to using my older POS. I might go have the video card looked at one more time, but I just don't know if all of this is worth the effort any more. I sooooooo want a new computer, but there's no way the wife will sign off on one at least until I finish my thesis. Until then I'm stuck playing games from 2002 on my GeForce 5200.


Wait, before you send the board back -- did you install a fresh copy of Windows when you switched to the new board? If you don't reinstall the OS when you put in a new motherboard, the drivers from the old board will still be there, causing all kinds of conflicts with the new drivers. That will do things like ... make the LAN adapter not work so you don't get Internet.

I'm not sure if the same applies in Linux, but that could be a possible explanation for why you're getting Internet on one OS but not the other. As well as an explanation for any number of other problems with the new board. At any rate ... maybe installing a fresh copy of Windows will fix things to the point where you can go back to fighting with the card. But you'll have to decide whether that's worth the trouble for a fix that may or may not work, and I wouldn't blame you if you decided it's not.

I wouldn't give up hope of using your 7600 with the old board, though. At least not until you've tried replacing the CMOS battery and tried a few of the same tricks to get the card recognized.


BigBlueDart said:
Thanks for all the thoughts, guys. But unfortunately the only thing that I've learned from all of this is that I hate ECS. A lot.


And you are quite justified. ECS boards are fine if you set-once-and-forget, but no fun at all to mess with. There have been many times when one of them confounded me to the point where I thought I must just not know what I was doing ... but all along I was actually following the correct steps for a regular motherboard, it just wouldn't work with an ECS board. Infernal machine.
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April 9, 2010 4:05:56 AM

capt_taco said:
Wait, before you send the board back -- did you install a fresh copy of Windows when you switched to the new board? If you don't reinstall the OS when you put in a new motherboard, the drivers from the old board will still be there, causing all kinds of conflicts with the new drivers. That will do things like ... make the LAN adapter not work so you don't get Internet.

I'm not sure if the same applies in Linux, but that could be a possible explanation for why you're getting Internet on one OS but not the other. As well as an explanation for any number of other problems with the new board. At any rate ... maybe installing a fresh copy of Windows will fix things to the point where you can go back to fighting with the card. But you'll have to decide whether that's worth the trouble for a fix that may or may not work, and I wouldn't blame you if you decided it's not.

I wouldn't give up hope of using your 7600 with the old board, though. At least not until you've tried replacing the CMOS battery and tried a few of the same tricks to get the card recognized.

I need to do a fresh install of Windows with the old board now, too. All kinds of funky driver soup going on there. I may mess with trying to get the 7600 working again at some point, but I've definitely decided that getting a new ECS board puts me in no better position than the old ECS board. RMA and off it goes.
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April 9, 2010 6:47:52 AM

BigBlueDart said:
I need to do a fresh install of Windows with the old board now, too. All kinds of funky driver soup going on there. I may mess with trying to get the 7600 working again at some point, but I've definitely decided that getting a new ECS board puts me in no better position than the old ECS board. RMA and off it goes.


Definitely agree.

But hey -- since you have to reinstall Windows anyway, and you've already spent a few bucks on a motherboard ... have you considered sending the ECS board back for a slightly better board by a different manufacturer? Something like the Asus M3N78-VM is in the $60 range, and comes with the GeForce 8200 onboard graphics adapter instead of the 6100 ... so even if you can't get your existing card to work (though you probably can) the integrated graphics are going to be much better than they were. In fact, they're probably pretty comparable to the 7600GS. Not great for intense gaming, but then again, neither is the 7600.

You'll at least achieve compatibility with all the modern standards that way and be able to get by. Then later on when you need a better video card and have the cash for it, you can just drop one in and not have to worry about all the ECS bullcrap.
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April 9, 2010 1:24:58 PM

I think I'm just going to save my money for a completely new system. What I have now should work fine for internet, word processing, budgeting, etc. My new rig can be a completely new gaming system and media center. I'm thinking of going with an 890 chipset and a quad core with perhaps an HD 5770. That system should be pretty upgradeable for a few years, too.
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April 9, 2010 7:31:48 PM

If you do that, an AM3 board will remain upgradeable well into the six-core era, maybe octo-cores too. Besides being cheaper, AMD seems to have the CPU socket forward/backward compatibility issue worked out in a very user-friendly way this generation. Intel, not as much; I wouldn't be surprised to see them make another clean break at some point, like they did with LGA775.
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April 9, 2010 8:36:50 PM

Yeah, I'm at least a little optimistic about the AM3. But I'm trying to not get too anxious about upgrading right now, either. I may wait awhile yet to see if USB3 goes native first, though the 850 southbridge with native SATAIII looks nice.

I think I just might go ahead and keep upgrading my current system with the intention of turning it into an HTPC. First I'll pick up a 785G DDR2 mobo which should work with my current memory and cpu. Newegg has a combo up right now for a Gigabyte mobo and an OEM Athlon II X2 for just $30 more than the mobo, so maybe I'll do that as the processor would be more powerful and produce less heat. I also might need to replace my PSU as my current PSU only runs a 20-pin main connector. I've heard I can still use it on a 24-pin board, but not sure I want to screw with that.

The next step would be picking up a tuner card. Then comes the blu-ray drive (assuming I have upgraded my monitor and/or gotten an HDTV by then). An HTPC case for it all will come after I build a new system to fully replace what I've got.

I'm liking the sound of this...
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