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Dell Dimension 2350 graphics card problems


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#1
charliedog

charliedog

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I really had to work at it, but after a great deal of time and effort, I managed to end up with a BlackSOD-no signal to my monitor at all. As the title says, my unit is a Dell Dimension 2350, about seven years old, in which I installed a dedicated graphics card-PNY GeForce 8400 GS-which sounded like a good one based on what I had read on several forums.

I read several sets of instructions before beginning, and I noticed quite a bit of variety in how to do it, which was quite confusing. I tried installing the drivers first from the nVidia site, but got the error message that there was no hardware to match up to the driver. I installed the card and tried again-still no hardware regognized.

I read somewhere that the integrated graphics had to be disabled and the PCI graphics enabled, so I thought maybe that was the problem. After many attempts to get into the BIOS at startup-DEL didn't work, ESC got me into a screen that gave me less than 5 seconds to do something before it loaded Windows, finally F2 got into the BIOS. I disabled the integrated graphics and enabled the PCI graphics and still no change.

I was going to swap the graphics card with the wireless card I had installed and which was working fine, when I realized the graphics card was not COMPLETELY snapped into place. When I did that and restarted the machine, it caught the new hardware, brought up a wizard and told me to insert the CD that came with the hasrdware to install the driver. When I did that the installation of the driver went about 50% and froze up. No response from mouse or key board, so I forced shut-down.

The next time I started the machine I had my wallpaper on the screen but no task bar or any desk top icons. I forced shut-down again, thinking I would try to get into BIOS at the next strartup to re-enable the integrated graphics, but now when I start the computer there is no signal at all to the monitor, just a black screen. I tried attaching the VGA cable to the new VGA output on the graphics card, but the result is the same. The monitor is idling with no signal. Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated.

If you're wondering why I'm doing all this with this old machine, first of all the streets and roads are too bad, and too salty, to ride my motorcycle. Secondly we have some new computers running Windows7, and I was thinking maybe to install that on this machine and set up a work station in our finished room in the basement. It passed the Win7 upgrade tests except for graphics.

TIA

Larry aka Charliedog :)
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#2
Samm

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Welcome to G2G

Please follow these instructions carefully:

1) Unplug the power lead from the back of the PC & open up the case

2) Disconnect the main (20 pin ATX) power connector from the motherboard

3) If you haven't already done so, remove the new video card from the system

4) Locate the cmos battery (this is the round silver coin battery near the bottom right corner of the motherboard). Directly below it you should see a plastic jumper cap. This cap should currently be covering pins 1-2 of the 3 pin CMOS jumper. Move the cap so that it covers pins 2-3 instead.

5) After about 30 secs, return the cap to it's original position (pins 1-2)

6) Reconnect the ATX power connector to the motherboard, connect the monitor lead to the integrated video card & power the system back on.


The above steps will reset the bios & make the integrated video card the default card again. Let me know if you now have a picture on the monitor before we go any further.


Assuming that you are using the original Dell power supply, I noticed according to Dell that this is only a 200W PSU. You may find that this is not enough to run the new video card.

Also, re. Windows 7, I wouldn't recommend putting Windows 7 on this system. I don't know how much memory you currently have in it but the maximum that machine will take is 1GB. Windows 7 with 1GB of ram is not going to be a pleasant experience...
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#3
Ferrari

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Hi Charliedog, Welcome to Geekstogo! :)

I'm not exactly sure what has caused this. I think you need to try clearing the CMOS/BIOS. The easiest way for me to explain how to do that via forum is to take the CMOS Battery out of the motherboard. This will bring the BIOS back to it's default settings.

Step 1.

Clear your CMOS:
  • Unplug your computer from the wall
  • Open the case up, usually the left panel comes off
  • Locate the CMOS Battery (See Image)
  • Use a small flat head screw driver to pry it out
    CLICK HERE TO SEE HOW
    BE CAREFUL and Gentle!
  • Wait 5 minutes while pressing and holding the power button
    a few times to release any left over electricity in the system
  • Pop the battery back into place
Please Note: You will have to reset the time and date in the BIOS upon first boot.
Posted Image

Step 2.

Take out the video card, and try to boot with the onboard integrated graphics port.

Step 3.

Enter the BIOS
  • Start the computer/press the power button
  • Immediately start tapping the appropriate key to enter the BIOS, aka "Setup"
    (Usually shown during the "Dell" screen, or "Gateway" Screen)
  • Once in the BIOS, set the time and date
  • Leave everything else alone
  • Press F10 to save and exit
  • Agree with "Y" to continue
  • Your computer will simply just restart
Did you get video?

Posted Image

If you can get to this point, I'll help you install the graphics card. Let me know how it goes and report back any problems. Good Luck. :)

Edited by Ferrari, 05 March 2010 - 08:30 PM.

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#4
Ferrari

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You are too quick SAMM :)
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#5
charliedog

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Thanks for the advice, better late than never. Unfortunately I'm not a very patient person, so I muddled thru on my own before your replies arrived. Yes, I unplugged the machine and removed the CMOS battery and left it out over night. When I reinstalled the battery and plugged in the machine, it automatically went into the BIOS setup screen where I made sure the integrated graphics was enabled. Then I downloaded and installed the drivers for the graphics card. Then I went into Task manager and verified both the PCI and integrated graphics were enabled. Then I went into the BIOS startup and set the PRIMARY graphics controller as PCI. Then I hooked up the monitor to the VGA connection on the PCI card and verified that everything was working ok-which it was. Then I went into Task Manager and dis-abled the integrated graphics. I haven't gone into the BIOS startup screen yet to see if the integrated graphics is dis-abled there also, or if I need to dis-able it there. I'm not sure if I even want to dis-able it there.

Also, regarding the 1 GB limit of memory: My Dell Dimension 2350 is running fine with 2 GB of OCZ Value RAM installed. I've seen it mentioned more than once on other forums that the motherboard can support 2 GB even tho Dell and Crucial say it won't. I'm not sure why they would do that. I'm running PC-3200 RAM since it was more readily available and less expensive than the older PC-2100 that was originally installed. The computer runs it at PC-2100, but it definitely recognizes the full 2048 MB according to CPU-Z.

Also, regarding installing Windows 7 on this old machine: The Win7 advisor that I ran before making any changes said everything would pass except for the integrated graphics. It even had 1 GB of RAM at the time. After installing the dedicated graphics card it said everything passes. I realize passing the requirements and running and working smoothly are all different things. I'm not saying that I will definitely intall Win7, but it is tempting to do it just out of curiosity.

Regarding the weak oem PSU: It died about a month ago. I replaced it with the least expensive unit I could find, $28 from 911forPC's IIRC, and it's 480w. Replacing that-seven connections and four mounting screws-got me to thinking about playing around with other changes.

I know I get frustrated at times, but overall it's been fun. Maybe if the weather gets better, I'll go back to riding my motorcycle and get out of everybody's hair here...

Larry aka Charliedog
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#6
Samm

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Glad to hear it all seems to working ok now.

Samm
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