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No graphical display, weird mystery


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#1
Junkman

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At least it's a very weird mystery for me, I hope not for all of you. It's a bit of a long story but please bear with me.

Last week my computer had a hiccup. While I was gaming I got some error message and the game shut down. I didn't think much of it as it was the same sort of error I've had a hundred times before. But then I noticed a little yellow triangle in the system tray (Vista by the way). Looked it up here to be told that means some kind of hardware malfunction. Followed the advice I read here to check device manager and look for the triangle, but found nothing. Still wasn't too worried about it though, I assumed it would disappear when I restarted.

So the next time I started up the computer, it beeped horribly, and nothing at all came up on the monitor. The screen said "no display" and switched itself to standby mode. After a long series of trial and error experiments unplugging various components, I got beeping sounds every time I started up, although they did vary a little depending on what hardware was plugged in.

What's really perplexing is that with the speakers plugged in, I can hear windows starting up just fine. It even shuts down if I press the power button once. I think the mouse was working OK too as it was lit up, but the keyboard was not, and pressing Alt-F4 and then the doown arrow and then enter didn't get the computer to shut down, so I don't think the keyboard was being registered.

So I took the computer to a local repair place, thinking it must be the graphics card but not having any spare equipment to test the theory. So in the shop we replace the graphics card, and still no display. Replace the RAM, no luck. So the guy there tells me it must be the motherboard, or the PCI Express slot in the motherboard. We figure it can't be the harddrive or CPU or RAM since the computer does seem to boot OK (based on the sound). This is further supported by the serious beeping noises. I ask if he's sure, because he doesn't seem to be, and this will mean investing in a new board, but he says he is. So I go out and I order a new mobo.

After a long week with no computer, it arrives and I install it. When I try to start it up, the same beeping and no graphical display. I plug the speakers in and sure enough, windows is starting up.

So, someone please tell me, what the [bleep] could this be? :) He replaced the RAM and graphics card and that didn't fix it. I have a whole new mobo and still no go. And Windows starts up and shuts down! I'm no computer wiz but this has me totally stumped. We've had bad experiences with this repair place before, so I'm loathe to take it back there, and I'm not sure if there's another one in town. Seems it must be a hardware failure, but in which piece?

I have an MSI Neo-F (old mobo) and now an MSI K9A2 CF-F (new mobo), ASUS x1950Pro GPU, 2 gigs of PC2 6400 Corsair RAM, Athlon X2 4600 CPU, Tripower powersource (can't remember the details of this off the top of my head, can find them if someone thinks it matters). Running 32-bit Vista home premium.

Please help me :)
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#2
dsenette

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does either the new motherboard or old motherboard have a video port built in?
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#3
rshaffer61

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Did you try a different monitor?
Beep codes can tell you what the problem is.
Here is a list of the codes and what they can potentially mean.

How to Interpret Computer Error Beep Codes

When the computer makes those funny sound via the system speaker, it's not doing it because it wants to be heard.
The computer is trying to talk to the operator/technician and tell them what's wrong.

Beep Codes:

No Beeps: Short, No power, Bad CPU/MB, Loose Peripherals

One Beep: Everything is normal and Computer POSTed fine

Two Beeps: POST/CMOS Error

One Long Beep, One Short Beep: Motherboard Problem

One Long Beep, Two Short Beeps: Video Problem

One Long Beep, Three Short Beeps: Video Problem

Three Long Beeps: Keyboard Error

Repeated Long Beeps: Memory Error

Continuous Hi-Lo Beeps: CPU Overheating


Thanks to alandemartino for this tutorrial.
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#4
Junkman

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No, no built-in video port. I'm convinced it's not the monitor both because of the beeping (which I should add happens even with no peripherals plugged in and the GPU removed) and because the guy at the shop tried it on their monitor and got nothing.

The beeping is hard to identify, it's several beeps, some long and some short, I think. Thankyou for those codes, and I will try and listen and use them (at a friend's right now, computer's at home), but I'm not too hopeful that I'll be able to identify the problem since the beeps are many.
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#5
Junkman

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Someone on another board suggested I try running the system barebones outside the case to check for a short, and there seems to be something to it, cause I tried that and there's good news and bad news. The good is that this is the first thing I've tried which has gotten rid of the beeping from the motherboard, which perhaps confirms the theory of a short I think, yes? The bad news is, the display still shows nothing. I added the hard drive and speakers and sure enough, things are all working, I heard the chime of windows loading and shutting down without problem. Still nothing at all on the display.

So now it's turning into an episode of House; there are explanations for all the observations, but it's very hard to think of one that explains them all.
If there was a short with the case, why isn't the display working outside the case?
If the problem is the GPU, why didn't the one at the shop work? I have noted that the card is turning on and running its fan, and it does this even when I unplug he extra six-pin PCI-E power connector, which would support the possibility that that power connector is to blame and the card wil turn on but not function properly without it. But the card he used at the shop was a smaller one that didn't require the extra power connector, so if that was the fault then I would think that would have worked? Also, this theory would require a simultaneous failure of the GPU as well as a short from the case, which seems unlikely. Unless the short might have damaged the card, and then caused the system to fail even with the replacement card because the system was still in the case?

If the problem is the power supply then that is also a strange coincidence with a short in the case configuration.

That's a lot of speculation but I hope some of you have been interested enough to follow. Please give me your further thoughts.

Thankyou
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#6
rshaffer61

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Another possibility is the PSU not having enough power to power the GPU.
Can you give us the make and model of the PSU?
Should be on the sticker that is on the top of the PSU. You may have to take it out of the case to see this.
You can try the next instructions to determine if your PSU is enough or not.

Go here to run Extreme PSU Calculator to check if you have enough wattage to correctly run your system.
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#7
Junkman

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It's an Antec Truepower Trio 550W. http://www.antec.com...uct.php?id=NjE=
But I've been uing this build without problem for 2 years now, so the problem must be the result of a malfunction I think, rather than an inherent inadequacy.
Wish I had the stuff I need to test the PSU and other components. I'll probably end up having to take it all back to the shop to try again, unless anyone can come up with a definitive answer for me, or some tests that will lead to one. I'd rather not order a new PSU only to discover that wasn't the problem either.

Oh, and the beeps by the way, before they stopped, were two short, then a pause, then eight short, then a pause, then one more short. Good luck to anyone hoping to decipher that :)

Thanks for sticking with me :)

Edited by Junkman, 21 July 2009 - 01:54 AM.

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#8
rshaffer61

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Let's check your memory and make sure there is no issue with it. Download memtest86 from the link in my signature below.


Get the file that is named Download - The one you want is "Download - Pre-compiled Bootable ISO (.zip). When it downloads, it will be labeled memtest86+2.11.iso.zip
Unzip the file once you download it. You should have a .iso file in the unzipped directory. It will look like a zip file in some cases but the file name will now be memtest86+2.11.iso

if you don't have a burning program that will burn .ISO files get burncdcc in my signature below.

NOTE...do not put a blank cd in until burncdcc opens the tray for you
1. Start BurnCDCC
2. Browse to the ISO file you want to burn on cd/dvd ....in this case its memtest86.iso
3. Select the ISO file
4. click on Start

Make sure the bios is set for the cd drive as the first boot device
Put the cd in the cd drive and then boot your computer.

Running the Diagnostic Program:

The basic diagnostic screen has five main sections of relevant information. Three at the top which are labeled, PASS %, TEST %, and TEST #. This will basically show you the total progress of the current test, the overall progress of the diagnostic test, and the test number is currently performing.

On the middle left hand side of the of the program interface there is a “Wall Time” section that will keep track of how long the diagnostic test has been running for. This just gives you an idea if you are not attending the testing process.

The main section to look for is the lower half of the screen which is usually blank. As long as the memory testing is going ok with no errors this section of the screen should remain blank. If the diagnostic program finds any serious faults in the memory you will see it display a memory dump of address’s in this section. This is similar to what is displayed on your screen when you encounter a blue screen of death.

You now have most everything you need to know about setting up and testing your memory with diagnostic programs. This guide should help you get to the source of any intermittent problems related to your memory.


Run memtest for at least 2 hours
If it starts showing any errors during that time then you will have to replace the memory
If there are no errors after 2 hours press Esc and that will end the tests
We will then try other options
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#9
Junkman

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Long story short: It was the GPU all along, I took it back to the stop and they found this, and could offer no explanation as to why their first examination determined this wasn't the case. So I got a new one and now things are cool. Oh well. Not a great resolution to the story, but thought I'd let people know how it turned out, and say thanks again for the help.
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