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Erratic display signal turned to no display, even with new GPU.

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June 5, 2012 3:48:21 PM

Unfortunately I don't have the specs on the machine with me right now, but basically my computer started losing the displays sporadically a few months ago. I would be sitting watching a movie or actively searching the internet and suddenly both monitors would go into standby as if the tower had been shutdown. The problem started happening more and more frequently over time until finally, it wouldn't stay on more than 4 or 5 minutes, and then the next day when I turned it on, the GPU fan started surging up and down, then quit, and no display whatsoever since.

I went and bought a cheap replacement GPU, tried it in both the original PCI E slot and an extra one, and still nothing. I've only built two computers ever, so hardware troubleshooting isn't my forte. This computer is about 3 years old now, and I haven't made any new hardware additions for at least 6 months to a year. My MOBO has no internal GPU to attach to. Everything else is getting power, including the new GPU.

My best guess is either power supply or a faulty MOBO, but since my cashflow is limited, any troubleshooting suggestions would be great. Also, ive never had to swap out a chipset and reseat in a new MOBO, but since I'm broke that'd prolly be my only option. How dicey of a move is it? Also, if I want to test the power supply for faults, would I simply check that the voltage is correct, or would I need to monitor over time for large voltage drops?

Thanks in advance for any responses!
June 5, 2012 4:05:55 PM

Can you check what the voltages are coming off the power supply in the motherboard? The 12/5/3.3 voltages is what we need to know. At idle is fine, we just need to see if they are at a good starting point to begin with. They will drop as you get more load on the computer.
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June 5, 2012 4:57:49 PM

I'm of the same mind that it's seems like it could be as PSU issue, can you post your PSU info?
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June 5, 2012 11:45:14 PM

ahnilated said:
Can you check what the voltages are coming off the power supply in the motherboard? The 12/5/3.3 voltages is what we need to know. At idle is fine, we just need to see if they are at a good starting point to begin with. They will drop as you get more load on the computer.



So the multimeter is reading a solid 12.14 V, and the lower V output was at 5.12 V.

PSU is an antec 850. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6817371009

Thanks a lot for the replies
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June 6, 2012 1:53:55 PM

So, given that there is nothing wrong with the voltages (and you don't have a junk PSU), we can't safely point a finger at the PSU (but it's definitely not in the clear). Do you have a spare PSU you can test with? (if you use a wimpy gpu, you can get away with pretty low wattage)
That is likely the only way you can rule out the PSU as a potential cause.

You can do a visual inspection on the mobo for bulging caps or any kinds of generic badness.

Another thing you can try, unhook one of your monitors and verify that each of the monitors will show the same symptom by itself, it's possible that one of the monitors is causing a fault that brings down the GPU (seems unlikely, but it's worth trying for free before you drop money into some parts). If you've got an old monitor around, you could also try removing both of the monitors from the equation and using it.
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June 6, 2012 3:52:58 PM

djscribbles said:
So, given that there is nothing wrong with the voltages (and you don't have a junk PSU), we can't safely point a finger at the PSU (but it's definitely not in the clear). Do you have a spare PSU you can test with? (if you use a wimpy gpu, you can get away with pretty low wattage)
That is likely the only way you can rule out the PSU as a potential cause.

You can do a visual inspection on the mobo for bulging caps or any kinds of generic badness.

Another thing you can try, unhook one of your monitors and verify that each of the monitors will show the same symptom by itself, it's possible that one of the monitors is causing a fault that brings down the GPU (seems unlikely, but it's worth trying for free before you drop money into some parts). If you've got an old monitor around, you could also try removing both of the monitors from the equation and using it.



I dont have a spare supply to try at the moment, I did try each monitor individually with each GPU in both PCI E slots. The newest GPU was a much lower power unit, the old actually required a direct connection to the PSU and this one fed off PCI power only. I dont have a third monitor around to try either, but both of the ones I am using have been used on other computers with no problems. Ill do a visual inspection of all the caps and such when I get off work and let you know if I spot anything.

Thanks again
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June 6, 2012 9:12:41 PM

OK, so I had a bit of a brain fart and remembered as I was sulking and hunching over the tower that there's a CMOS clear. I gave that a try and reseated my new GPU, and it seems to be working now. Im gonna try and find a voltage logger and hold my breath that nothing else goes wrong.
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June 7, 2012 12:20:03 PM

Weiiirrdd... be sure to post back if that fixed it :)  (I hope that it does, but I can't think of a reason why it would, so feel free to include some theories)
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June 7, 2012 2:40:58 PM

djscribbles said:
Weiiirrdd... be sure to post back if that fixed it :)  (I hope that it does, but I can't think of a reason why it would, so feel free to include some theories)


Well, it made it through the day yesterday with no problems. As for theories, I really have no idea why the clear would have made it start working, the best I can do is give the sequence of things I did before it started working.

Removed old video card, installed new card in it's slot, attempted boot but still no signal. Removed the new GPU and put it in the next slot down, tried another boot, still nothing. Opened up the case, read some voltages with the multimeter, dusted everything off (heat sink fan was totally clogged), unplugged all peripherals except mouse, keyboard, and monitor, hit CMOS clear, booted fine. I assume it could also be the unplugging of peripherals, but the only two were a printer and a micro wireless adapter, both of which I plugged back in again right after the boot. Using a voltage logger I monitored all night with everything plugged back in, and voltages stayed good. Otherwise, I think that's the first time Ive ever even had to use the CMOS button, so I dont have any theories other than something being wonky in the BIOS after the GPU failed and not letting the system switch over to the new card as it normally would have?? Clearly I'm not so good at this stuff haha.
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June 7, 2012 9:00:35 PM

Do you have the 12v power connectors onto the motherboard? Read your manual about this and connect the appropriate connectors then install the non working video card.
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June 7, 2012 9:39:40 PM

ahnilated said:
Do you have the 12v power connectors onto the motherboard? Read your manual about this and connect the appropriate connectors then install the non working video card.


Im not sure which you mean, I have the MOBO connected to the MOBO specific connector on the PSU. Also, the computer worked no problems as is for 3 years before I started having the issue, and once it started it escalated pretty rapidly, so I dont think it would have been how the PSU was connected.
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