Graphics cards in PCI-e slot not working


I have been researching this issue for the past three days and have probably visited 100+ different threads on various websites reporting similar-but-not-exact issues that I have been having.

I purchased an HP Pavilion m7580n back in 2006. Here are the product specifications:

Everything has run very smoothly for me since the purchase. A couple of days ago, my monitor was unable to get a signal from the computer. I tried the basic things (i.e. checked cable, held power button while unplugged, etc), but with no luck. I wondered if my video card had went bad, which was the GeForce 7300 LE that came with the machine and plugs into the PCI-express slot. The computer did not have an on-board graphics card, so I fished through old graphics cards I had and found a Radeon PCI (not PCI-e) card. I installed the PCI card and it works, but it is a bit too old to display my Windows Media Center Live TV.

Before ordering a new PCI-e video card right away, I wanted to research the issue. The three major scenarios I could find were that either the PSU was going bad, the motherboard went bad, or the graphics card was dead. I didn't have other PCI-e cards to test, so I did the voltage test on the power supply (without it being under a load) and it seemed fine. The power supply only supports a max of 300 watts.

The fan on my GeForce 7300 LE card was still blowing even though the system didn't recognize it. I decided to order a GeForce 210 card since it was affordable and should be capable of doing what I'm interested in (TV), and the power supply requirement was 300 W. When I got the new card and plugged it in, the same thing happened as the old card -- nothing whatsoever appears on the monitor, but the fan on the graphics card is spinning. I can hear the machine booting perfectly fine in the background; after a minute, I know I can press the Enter key (it is the password screen even though I can't see it) and then I start to hear the desktop appearing and everything that I normally hear.

I put my PCI-e and PCI graphics card in at the same time so I could check out Device Manager. Windows XP and Device Manager do not even recognize that a card is plugged into the PCI-e slot.

Other things I have tried include the following: reseating my RAM, clearing CMOS, and cleaning any bulky dust (I did not thoroughly clean dust out and I did not use a spray can or anything).

My primary hypotheses right now are the following:

1. After five years, what I now know to be considered a 'weak' power supply (300 W only) has gotten weak to the point where it won't even allow Windows to detect the graphics card. But the fan still spins on the graphics cards, and the PSU is strong enough to run everything else fine.

2. The PCI-express slot on the motherboard suddenly went bad. But the fan still spins on the graphics cards.

I've already wasted money on a graphics card that wasn't the issue, so I figure I have a 50/50 chance of "not" wasting money if I choose the correct option above. I don't trust my experience, so I'd rather "poll" you guys here to see what you think. Also, if there is anything else you think I should try to fix the problem (besides getting an entirely more modern PC, lol), please let me know.

P.S. Just remembered one other possible symptom that I'd feel silly for not mentioning in case it meant anything: occasionally when I am watching Live TV (maybe once a week), the TV will freeze and then the computer automatically reboots. This usually only happens when my # of free GB on the hard drive gets low, so I suspect its related to that, but I thought I'd better mention it in case its related to a potential PSU problem.

Thanks! :)

EDIT: Wasn't sure exactly what forum to place this thread. If there is a more appropriate one, please move it there!
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  1. psu is defiantly small and from 06? Im surprised its still running and when the card says the min specs they just consider the card in your mobo.... they dont take into account of everything else you are running...and how could they. I would point you in the direction of at least a modern 500watt does not sound like you yous you pc for gaming I got that you basically watch videos....if it was me I would go for the power supply first...its just too old and has lasted you along time and your drive space should not be a problem unless you have it at 99% full then you will run into some different problems at that point..
  2. Chris,

    I am having pretty much the exact same problem. I went ahead and upgraded my PSU from a 350watt to a 600watt, primarily because i was running my on board graphics and need to do an upgrade. I had 2 freidns willing to supply vid cards. After placing either vid card into my machine, I found I was having the exact same problem. Fans run but unrecognized by the system. I how some one can point you in the right direction. But, for now.. my only advice is to potentially start pricing out viable motherboards to replace yours. Thats the best I got... best of luck however.
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