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Computer Won't Boot - Dead GPU?

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  • Graphics Cards
  • Boot
  • Computer
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 23, 2010 10:41:22 PM

Hi, this is my first post on tomshardware, I'm new to graphics cards as well. Recently my computer began having crazy artifacts everywhere. When I'm booting up the artifacts obscure the Dell logo and other text. "Boot from disk" ends up looking like "B t fr m D k"

I'm a casual gamer, this happened shortly after an update. Now my computer will not boot but will go to a black screen and stay there until I manually restart it. :(  I can boot in Safe Mode but only with artifacts everywhere. I couldn't reinstall any drivers because the text on my monitor was so obscured.
I have a Dell inspiron 530 desktop
Windows Vista 32 bit installed.
Also 3gb ram.
My old graphics card is a Nvidia Geforce 8300. I've had the computer + GPU for 2-3 years. There is lots of dust in the case (that I dont know how to remove..)

Will replacing my graphics card with say, geforce 8500 or 8400, fix my problem? I don't need anything fancy, just something that will allow me to use my computer.
Will this card be compatible with my computer?
http://www.compuvest.com/Desc.jsp?iid=1156199

I've already done start up repair, system restore, and I've reseated my graphics card, nothing worked.

Right now I'm thinking I'll buy the linked card, switch it out, try to install the drivers with the included CD, and hope it works?

Thanks Everyone.

More about : computer boot dead gpu

a b U Graphics card
March 23, 2010 11:30:20 PM

If you have integrated graphics, try that first and see if you still get the artifacts. Or see if you can borrow a card from a friend to test with. This will eliminate the GPU as the problem if unsuccessful. If successful, then you know it's the card and can replace.

Another problem could be excessive heat caused by the dust. With your computer on and idle, run HWmonitor (if you can get the computer to work well enough) and post the temperatures you see.

To clean dust, you will want to blow with a can of compressed air. Especially in between the fins of the heatsink. If you are unwilling to reseat the CPU heatsink, at least remove the fan to get more easily between the fins. If there is a lot of dust, a simple cleaning will make all the difference in the world.

Another thing I would do before spending $$$ is reformatting the drive and reinstalling windows, to see if it was a driver conflict or something. But I doubt it since you said it's artifacting during the POST before windows is even active.

Link me to your computer on the dell website and I will tell you if the card you linked us to is compatible. Or just look in your case. If you have a pci-e slot, then the new card will work.

Also before spending $$, test the ram using memtest86.

I do, however, think that the most likely problem is overheating caused by dust, followed by a bad GPU.
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March 23, 2010 11:46:40 PM

enzo matrix said:
If you have integrated graphics, try that first and see if you still get the artifacts. Or see if you can borrow a card from a friend to test with. This will eliminate the GPU as the problem if unsuccessful. If successful, then you know it's the card and can replace.

Another problem could be excessive heat caused by the dust. With your computer on and idle, run HWmonitor (if you can get the computer to work well enough) and post the temperatures you see.

To clean dust, you will want to blow with a can of compressed air. Especially in between the fins of the heatsink. If you are unwilling to reseat the CPU heatsink, at least remove the fan to get more easily between the fins. If there is a lot of dust, a simple cleaning will make all the difference in the world.

Another thing I would do before spending $$$ is reformatting the drive and reinstalling windows, to see if it was a driver conflict or something. But I doubt it since you said it's artifacting during the POST before windows is even active.

Link me to your computer on the dell website and I will tell you if the card you linked us to is compatible. Or just look in your case. If you have a pci-e slot, then the new card will work.

Also before spending $$, test the ram using memtest86.

I do, however, think that the most likely problem is overheating caused by dust, followed by a bad GPU.


I'm pretty sure I've got a PCI express slot (I cant find my model on dell) , Is power going to be a problem? As for the dust, could i just spray the CPU fan blades without taking anything out? (No antistatic wristband, so i dont like messing around in the case too much :/  )
I let the entire thing cool down for some hours, could anything overheat fast enough to not allow it to boot?

I could see if anyone's willing to lend me their GPU, what are integrated graphics?

And thanks very much for replying so quickly,
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a b U Graphics card
March 23, 2010 11:57:00 PM

Alright, well you can also tell by looking at your card. If your card pins look the same as the new card you linked, then the answer is yes.
Yeah you can leave it on but it will be harder to get between the fans. It's also not a good idea to make the fan spin without the motor on. So just hold it still and blow air between the spaces.

Dust acts as an insulator. It prevents the heat from the heatsink from transferring to the air; instead it remains on the heatsink and quickly stops the heatsink from being any use. You can clean the GPU the same way as the GPU most of the time.

Integrated graphics are graphics integrated onto the northbridge of the motherboard. It is now a very common practice, especially since not a lot of people are looking for the performance offered by dedicated cards and for them it will save space and power. You can tell if your computer has integrated graphics by looking at the motherboard outputs on the back. If any of them are either VGA or DVI, then you have integrated graphics. (these are the same outputs you likely have on your graphics card).
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March 24, 2010 3:02:04 PM

I found the integrated graphics, the vga output was covered up by a rubber plug, interesting. Anyway, no artifacts with the integrated graphics card, so i think the dead GPU was my main problem.

Thanks for helping me resolve this issue
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a c 173 U Graphics card
March 24, 2010 5:50:02 PM

Full height or low profile? If you only do 2D work (low ress as well) then the integrated gpu will be good enough while you do need to get rid of the dust. If to noobish to use a brush/ canned air to blow it out or barely getting by as some of us are use a vacuum with a hose attachment and just let the dust get sucked in. The card however may not be salvageable but is worth a shot to clean.
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a b U Graphics card
March 24, 2010 6:06:28 PM

Do not use a vacuum. From Cisco:
CAUTION: Never use a standard vacuum cleaner inside a computer case. The plastic parts of the vacuum cleaner can build up static electricity and discharge to the components. Use only a vacuum approved for electronic components.

That being said, I have used a vacuum in a case before and not had problems. But I would never try it on something that I care about.
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a c 173 U Graphics card
March 24, 2010 7:59:22 PM

enzo matrix said:
Do not use a vacuum. From Cisco:
CAUTION: Never use a standard vacuum cleaner inside a computer case. The plastic parts of the vacuum cleaner can build up static electricity and discharge to the components. Use only a vacuum approved for electronic components.

That being said, I have used a vacuum in a case before and not had problems. But I would never try it on something that I care about.



You can but never bump any thing plus some simple measures can be taken to help by grounding the unit. That is the broke and no money solution get canned air as i said and clean if you are jot going to clean the unit you might as well get a new one. People need to learn how to take care of their electronics but hell people don't even take care of their cars these days except street thugs. As for Cisco I am bored with it and after two years of it getting a worthless degree in this economy is a waste of money and time. 20% under employment and 17% actual unemployment is going to catch up sooner or later sending this country into a revolution.
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a b U Graphics card
March 24, 2010 11:49:51 PM

nforce4max said:
People need to learn how to take care of their electronics but hell people don't even take care of their cars these days except street thugs. As for Cisco I am bored with it and after two years of it getting a worthless degree in this economy is a waste of money and time. 20% under employment and 17% actual unemployment is going to catch up sooner or later sending this country into a revolution.

What does this have to do with the Op's question or cleaning a computer?
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