I have an eMachines ET1161 with Windows Vista Home Basic. I wanted to be able to hook it up to two monitors at once, so I bought a Radeon HD 5450. I installed the card, but the monitor wasn't getting any input - it never came out of power save mode. The system also clicked seven times when it was booting. (I don't know what that means, if anything.)
I have a VNC server on this machine, and I was able to remote into it to see that it had actually booted into Windows, but was having serious problems with the graphics driver. I was down to 8 bit color and 640x480 resolution. I figured I needed to install the driver for it, but had a hard time doing that because the driver installation utility wasn't made for a resolution that small so the Next and Cancel buttons were not visible, so I did a Windows Update and let it find the driver for me.
However after a reboot it was even worse. It made the same seven clicks, didn't bring the monitor out of power save, and I couldn't even remote into it this time. The numlock light was lit on the keyboard, but clicking the numlock button didn't make the light turn off.
I put the old card back in (I already had installed a custom video card years ago, but it still didn't support two monitors at once), got blue screens when it tried to enter Windows, even in safe mode, and eventually had to use System Restore to get it to properly boot again.
I did some research online and thought that maybe it was a power supply issue, so I bought a 400w power supply. I installed the power supply first and verified that my machine worked properly, then I tried to install the card again. Same seven clicks and no signal to monitor. Again, I could remote into it. Again, I tried to install the drivers, but this time I did it myself instead of letting Windows Update do it. Because the dialog wasn't sized for my resolution I had to use the tab and enter keys to try to click Next, and sometimes I'd click Cancel by mistake. It was a pain in the neck, but I eventually got the driver installed. However, after a reboot it did the same thing as before - seven clicks, unresponsive keyboard, unable to remote in. I put the old card back in and did another System Restore.
What do you think the problem is? Do I have a defective card? Is it not compatible with my motherboard? Is it not compatible with Vista (I doubt that's the case, because I get problems as soon as I boot before it gets a chance to load the OS)? Something else?
If it's a card compatibility issue, what card would you recommend for an eMachines ET1161 that allows two monitors (specifically one VGA and one HDMI connection)? I use this computer for watching streaming video (like Hulu) and recording cable TV, no video games.