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Sudden stop in display

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December 7, 2009 9:51:12 PM

My other computer has been running fine for the past 4 days (since it's been built). This morning after I moved the mouse (to take it out of standby) the screen shows my desktop as normal, but after about 3 seconds the monitor returns to standby mode. The POST code on the motherboard reads 85, I've tried hitting F1 on the keyboard, which in turn supplies a code of 87. The main post cost (85) seems to indicate some "soft-error message", whatever that mean.

I have tried the following methods to obtain video:
1) Use a different monitor
2) Move the video card to a different PCI slot
3) Tried a different video card in each of the PCI slots
4) Removed/Rearranged RAM sticks
5) Removed the motherboard battery for several minutes
6) Used the clr CMOS button
7) Unhooked the hard drive and tried to boot from the windows 7 CD, then tried the CD that came with the motherboard

All of these methods provided similar results. None of them displayed anything on the monitor. It should be noted that when I power on the computer, the screen seems to flash a hardly noticeable different shade of black each time the monitor power LED flashes.

I've checked all the obvious, including wire connections. I just really want to avoid the 'take it apart and build it again' method that I've seen suggested.

My system stats:
ZALMAN CNPS9700 LED 110mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler

Western Digital Caviar Green WD5000AADS 500GB SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 140W Quad-Core Processor

CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V

XFX GS250XZDFU GeForce GTS 250 1GB 256-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP

MSI 790FX-GD70 AM3 AMD 790FX ATX AMD

More about : sudden stop display

December 7, 2009 10:25:01 PM

I'm assuming when you say PCI slots there you're referring to PCI Express slots.

And, just to make sure I understand, you've put your GTS 250 in all four PCI-E slots, and you've put a different graphics card in all four PCI-E slots as well?

And also, just to be clear, the first time you had the problem it was when you were in Windows 7 on the desktop? And then you presumably turned the PC off to try and fix it, but now you can't even get past the BIOS without the screen switching off?

I would say that your graphics card is faulty, but if you've tried a different graphics card and got the same results, then it's probably not that.

I think you may just have to try rebuilding your PC. If that doesn't fix the problem it probably means that you've got a faulty motherboard, and you might need to RMA it.
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December 7, 2009 11:44:48 PM

brutalspoon said:
I'm assuming when you say PCI slots there you're referring to PCI Express slots.

And, just to make sure I understand, you've put your GTS 250 in all four PCI-E slots, and you've put a different graphics card in all four PCI-E slots as well?

And also, just to be clear, the first time you had the problem it was when you were in Windows 7 on the desktop? And then you presumably turned the PC off to try and fix it, but now you can't even get past the BIOS without the screen switching off?

I would say that your graphics card is faulty, but if you've tried a different graphics card and got the same results, then it's probably not that.

I think you may just have to try rebuilding your PC. If that doesn't fix the problem it probably means that you've got a faulty motherboard, and you might need to RMA it.


Sorry I may have been vague, have been working on this for the past 4 hours and ready to scream.

I put the GTS250 in all the PCI-E slots, and then an older 8600GT I had in all of the old slots as well

The problem happened when pulling up the windows 7 desktop out of standby mode, and yes i shut off the PC to fix it. Leading to the problem of not being able to see anything (including BIOS). The monitor power light flashes like its not getting a signal.

I've tried everything I can think of short of rebuilding the whole system (this was my first system I've built and it took me the better part of a day).

Is there any indicators I can go by to see if it is the mother board? It posts error codes and powers up, but I'm not sure if that's usual or not. I don't want to RMA the wrong part and be in the same situation :/ 
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December 8, 2009 3:01:38 AM

For whatever reason my MOBO has stopped with the error code 85 and now fluctuates around the 20's and 30's in sequential order

the code reads:

26 Global for keyboard controller tested
27 Perform setups for vector table initialization
28 Monochrome video mode tested
29 Video (CGA) color mode tested
30 Video adapter tested
31 Alternate video memory tested
32 Alternate video adapter tested
33 Video mode tested
34 Video mode tested
35 BIOS ROM data area initialized
36 Power on display cursor set
37 Power on message displayed
38 Cursor position read


I have tried the video card out of this computer, which is working, but to no avail. The same post codes for that one as well, with no monitor activity.

Anyone have any ideas? If it was the motherboard would it still give these diagnostic numbers like its giving me now?
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December 8, 2009 2:15:00 PM

Kickn said:
For whatever reason my MOBO has stopped with the error code 85 and now fluctuates around the 20's and 30's in sequential order

the code reads:

26 Global for keyboard controller tested
27 Perform setups for vector table initialization
28 Monochrome video mode tested
29 Video (CGA) color mode tested
30 Video adapter tested
31 Alternate video memory tested
32 Alternate video adapter tested
33 Video mode tested
34 Video mode tested
35 BIOS ROM data area initialized
36 Power on display cursor set
37 Power on message displayed
38 Cursor position read


I have tried the video card out of this computer, which is working, but to no avail. The same post codes for that one as well, with no monitor activity.

Anyone have any ideas? If it was the motherboard would it still give these diagnostic numbers like its giving me now?


When you say it's fluctuating, do you mean it randomly stops on all of those numbers? Are there any numbers between 26-38 that it stops on noticeably more often than others?

By all means, wait for a second opinion, but I can't think of anything which would cause these symptoms apart from a dodgy PSU, a dodgy graphics card and a dodgy motherboard. Since you've swapped out the other two, by process of elimination you're left with the motherboard :p 

I'm not familiar with that particular motherboard - I'm assuming it stays blank and then lists a 2 digit number that doesn't change? If that's the case, I'd say the diagnostic number is where the motherboard fails (i.e. it doesn't continue to load further). If this is the case, I reckon it's almost definitely the motherboard.

Again, you can wait for somebody else to correct me or agree with me (to play it safe) but I can't see what else it could be.

Hope this helps.

PS: It's fine if it takes you a long time to build a PC for the first time - it just shows that you need more practise ;) 
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December 8, 2009 2:19:25 PM

A "no video" problem can also be caused by RAM issues. Have you tried each stick of RAM by itself in the first RAM slot?
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December 8, 2009 2:32:41 PM

shortstuff_mt said:
A "no video" problem can also be caused by RAM issues. Have you tried each stick of RAM by itself in the first RAM slot?


Ah, that's true, actually - I assumed that the chassis speaker would go crazy if there was a problem with the RAM like that. Kickn, do you have a case speaker? Most cases have it, but some don't (or you might have accidentally not connected it).
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December 8, 2009 4:11:23 PM

Yes, it came with a case speaker, and I _think_ I hooked it up right lol. There was a wire from my DVD player I hooked up to the motherboard that I change out between the case speaker (I assume they're the same? Its the only 4-pin connection that fits the case speaker on my motherboard). I've never heard it beep, even when the computer was functional.

I've tried different RAM combinations, but I haven't tried just one stick at a time in the first slot, I'll give that a try. I don't have a spare PSU or motherboard that I can use to determine if it's one of those two.

The numbers I listed don't generally hang up on any one in particular, but rather count down then count up with around the same time on each. The number LED on the motherboard never stays blank once I boot it up, it goes through the normal motions, then does the 20-30 count.
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December 8, 2009 4:20:45 PM

Just tried the RAM. No go :/ 

So is it narrowed down to either the motherboard or the psu? These aren't symptoms of a failing CPU are they?
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December 8, 2009 4:51:04 PM

Kickn said:
Just tried the RAM. No go :/ 

So is it narrowed down to either the motherboard or the psu? These aren't symptoms of a failing CPU are they?


They are, actually - if the PSU is bad then it won't give enough power (or reliable power) to the components, which could cause it to turn off randomly (or not turn on at all). However, that's not likely to be the case here because it wouldn't stop your motherboard from showing video - either you'd be able to see it start up and then shut down by itself, or it wouldn't start up at all.

Have one last check to make sure that you hook your case's speaker up properly (check your motherboard manual to make sure), then try it without any RAM at all. If your speaker is plugged in properly your motherboard should make the speaker beep constantly to let you know that it hasn't got any RAM installed. If it still doesn't do anything, chances are your motherboard is fried.

If that is the case, the only other thing I can think of is that your CPU isn't seated properly now, which would give similar results. It's an extremely long shot, but it's a last resort before you RMA your motherboard.
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December 8, 2009 7:46:56 PM

I'll double check the CPU, but I think you're right, it feels like my motherboards toast. Guess I need to research precautions so I don't fry the next one. Thanks for your help brutal
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December 8, 2009 7:49:46 PM

I don't think it was your fault - every so often you just get a dodgy motherboard that kills itself. If it was something you'd done then you would have had problems pretty much straight away.

Good luck with the next one :) 
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December 8, 2009 7:58:23 PM

Just checked the CPU, and by doing so I didn't fully secure the CPU the second time around, resulting in a code of "FF"...I guess this goes to show me that it is indeed the motherboard. Thanks again
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December 8, 2009 8:27:55 PM

No problem... just don't forget to choose a 'best answer' so that anybody else with this problem gets the info straight away.
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