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Monitor ports keep DYING. Replacing motherboard doesn't help.

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February 13, 2012 8:25:56 PM

This is getting expensive and complicated for me. Complicated I can understand, because I'm trying to save money building my own system, something I've always done before. Expensive because this is the second time I've run into this problem and Newegg has refused to refund my first RMA.

Details now: I built the following system. With a new monitor, I was able to get Win7 loaded up and the system worked fine for all of one day. The next morning, it was seemingly dead, although nothing had changed. Further examination showed that

1) The Windows music still played and the front panel lights blinked.
2) But the output from the graphics card output-1 was producing no signal with neither the new Acer monitor nor with my Panasonic TV.
3) The output from the onboard IGP graphics VGA port was equally producing no signal.

The full system that I built is detailed below. Jiggering things around by extracting one piece at a time, replacing all cables, resetting the CMOS, etc., got me nowhere. Still no signal. I regret, though, that I never tried the second graphics card monitor output port.

I RMAed the motherboard to Newegg for a refund and ordered an exact replacement so I could pick it up and rebuild things as quickly as possible. I put everything back together, exactly the same as before. It booted up fine, I got monitor signal the first time, and everything was fine and dandy. For almost a week...

And then the same exact thing happened. I woke up yesterday, turned on the system, and got the No Signal message on the monitor. Switching to the IGP got me the same. Windows music still played. Leaving the system on for a few hours so it could warm up and then trying again didn't help. I haven't tried it on my TV set and haven't pulled any parts, but I strongly, strongly suspect that I'm encountering the same problem and that it's not the motherboard itself, although the motherboard might have been fried by whatever is causing the problem.

Dicking around with the cables, though, I discovered that I COULD get signal from the second monitor port on the graphics card. This got me back into the system last night. Going to the Win7 Screen Resolution got me a screen that I think is different from the one I used to get. When I click Detect, it shows the monitor on port 1 just fine, but a text message saying "Another Display Was Not Detected." That's true -- there's not another display hooked up -- but that message doesn't seem familiar.

Here's a provisional list of possible problems I've considered. I need your feedback on this before I start hassling Newegg:

1. The Power Supply may be flaky.
2. The monitor may be flaky.
3. The motherboard may have a basic design flaw making bother motherboards flake out the same way (seems unlikely but possible).
4. The graphics card is flaky and is, in its own time, frying the circuitry on the motherboard associated with conveying graphic signals.

I'm leaning towards #4, that there's something flaky but intermittent about the graphics card that is damaging the motherboard. It would explain why a new, identical motherboard worked for a while but experienced the same problem. If it was just isolated to the graphics card, if that was all I had to replace, then why would the onboard IGP monitor port not work anymore, even when the card is yanked?

My plan right now, and it's an ugly one, is to disassemble everything and RMA it back to Newegg.

To complicate matters... The first motherboard that I RMAed (identical to this one) had the refund REFUSED because, as they claimed, the CPU socket pins were bent. Well, it's not impossible I bent some pins removing the CPU chip, but a badly installed CPU (correct me if I'm wrong) with bent pins would not have worked at all. And the CPU worked fine in this motherboard for a week, before it croaked the same way. I would have to be spectacularly clumsy in installing the CPU both times to be experiencing the same problem, therefore I don't believe this is what is causing this problem. And I'm going to fight Newegg on this.

System Specs (all new from Newegg):

13-130-616
MB MSI|H67A-G43 (B3) H67 LGA1155 R

14-161-389
VGA HIS|H687FN1GD HD6870 1G R

17-371-031
PSU ANTEC| NEO ECO 620C 620W RT

19-115-077
CPU INTEL|CORE I3 2120 3.3G 3M R

20-220-570
MEM 4Gx2|PATRIOT PSD38G1600KH R

Same motherboard type both times.
a c 78 B Homebuilt system
a b C Monitor
a b V Motherboard
February 13, 2012 9:03:18 PM

I once heard about a problem where the graphics were defaulting to the motherboard port even though there was a graphics card installed. The person tried it with onboard HDMI and it worked. They had to go into the BIOS and change the default graphics output to the video card for some reason.

Something like that could be coming into play here.

I would like you to take out the power cord, take out the battery a whole 30 min, and then put both back in in the reverse order and see what happens when you turn it back on.
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February 13, 2012 9:22:24 PM

Thank you. I will try that.

It seems strange that it would do this intermittently of its own volition, though. The system had been working fine for almost a week. Both times, with both motherboards, the system had been turned off overnight, having functioned perfectly the night before.
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February 13, 2012 10:38:02 PM

Didn't even need to try that!

I got the other port working. How? There are two power supply cables that attach to the single Radeon 6870 card. Before messing with the CMOS, I decided to see what happens if I switch those two cables and restarting.

The other graphics card port came to life! In fact, both ports work fine now.

This leads me to believe that the problem can be further isolated to the power supply or the graphics card and their connectors. It's interesting to note that if ONE of the two power supply connectors are flaky, that one of the graphic card output ports won't work and the other one will. Interesting because I would have thought the whole card would not work!

Give me feedback, because I have to make a command decision on this very soon. What should I return to Newegg? The power supply, the graphics card, the motherboard, or all three?

I could also use some advice with regards to talking to Newegg customer service to get them to honor my first motherboard RMA refund. From what we have discovered today, it would seem that the original motherboard might have been sound, but the power supply and/or graphics card connectors were flaky. In that case, their refusal to accept the motherboard for having "bent cpu socket pins" seems rather facile. I could test that out by swapping motherboards, but I don't want to risk my CPU chip that way, in case they flubbed up the CPU socket at the Newegg returns office. It's not impossible that I damaged it when removing the CPU chip, but I can testify that same CPU chip works fine in another motherboard, so it wasn't damaged.

I made my initial purchase on 1/20, so I'm running out of time to take action on this, so strategy advice would be very much appreciated. :) 

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a c 78 B Homebuilt system
a b C Monitor
a b V Motherboard
February 14, 2012 1:18:24 AM

Power problems can be very weird things. They can show up hundreds of different ways and they can disguise themselves as problems with anything else, because they touch every part in the whole computer through their normal workings.

I am more inclined to believe it is a power problem than anything else, but without being able to test I can't be sure.

I also haven't heard of Newegg refusing to allow returns on things, but I guess I could see them doing it if they thought you damaged it.

I would just try to be nice and sincere about it and hope they believe you.

I don't think you have to worry too much about breaking the CPU by putting it into a given motherboard.

Whatever the problem is I would guess it was either from the PSU or the power, probably 90% PSU 10% video card.

It would be nice if you could test with a relatively equal PSU or a relatively equal video card.
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February 14, 2012 4:42:54 AM

Thank you. I'm going to RMA both the PSU and the graphics card. The graphics card just in case it's a weak flaky connector on the card.

I fought with Newegg over the RMA on the original motherboard and its refund refusal again. Spoke to a manager, tried to bluster my way through it, got nowhere. HOWEVER, as I mentioned at the top, I ordered a replacement motherboard, so I have another box and another invoice number for the same item... So I could ship it back again.
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a c 78 B Homebuilt system
a b C Monitor
a b V Motherboard
February 14, 2012 12:48:07 PM

If you are sure the "broken" one works, you could just use the broken one and ebay the working one. You could probably get back 75% or more of the cost on ebay.
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