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  1. #1
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    Video card or motherboard failure?

    Suddenly on reboot my monitor comes up blank, no input (DSP) (tried another monitor and another output on video card (DVI), same result), the system appears to boot (CPU fan changes speed, hard drives engage, and the drives connected on USB flash, so I am inclined to think video card, but I hate to order new and find out it was something else. The power supply light is green and the light on the ethernet connection is flashing, but I don't get any beeps or anything else from the system to know what is going on. Any ideas on how to continue with diagnosis? Dell XPS 9100, Intel i7, ATI Radeon 5870, Win7 Thank you for any help you can offer. RB

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    RB,

    Have you tried booting into Safe Mode? If that works it is most likely a driver problem, have you done Windows Update recently and do you allow WU to install new drivers? (a bad practice BTW).

    I can't tell from just querying xps 9100 if the i7 has embedded graphics or not but if it does (you can check using your express service code at the Dell site) remove the Video Card and see if you can get video that way.

    HTH
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    Not sure how to boot into safe mode when I don't know where I am at or what is going on without video.

    The only Windows Updates that I recently installed were related to NET Framework and I booted successfully after that, so I don't think it's a driver issue.

    A prior system inventory shows that chipsets to be Northbridge: Intel x58 rev13 and Southbridge: Intel 82801JR (ICH10R) rev00 with graphics interface of PCI-Express, which I assume to mean no onboard graphics (that and the fact that there is no discernable output).

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    RB,

    Ok, so you get no video from the get go. The next thing I'd try is to open your case, remove the video card, reinsert the video card, try again. While you have the case open you might want to clean out any accumulated dust with a can of compressed air (insert a pencil in the fans to keep from spinning while doing this just to be safe). Make sure the card is firmly seated and be careful not to wiggle the card when reattaching the video cable.

    A funny thing about this is I had a friend call me this morning wanting to borrow an extra monitor for the same problem. When he got home everything was working just fine...go figure!

    HTH
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    Usually tapping F8 as you switch on will get you into the advanced boot options to select Safe Mode.

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    I take it that you never get any BIOS or EUFI boot messages? If you see those and can access the BIOS, that supports the idea that the problem is with Windows, or your video driver.

    If you cannot see BIOS messages or access the BIOS, that points towards a hardware problem.

    Just remember, a lot of configurations suppress BIOS boot messages as a way of saving a few seconds on the bootup time. Or to discourage casual users from nosing around in the BIOS and messing things up in there (note that this is very much a thing in the corporate world).

    So don't automatically assume that if there are no BIOS messages, there is no video output. Actually test your BIOS access ability. Try the F1/F2/F3/F10/Delete or whatever key activates the BIOS configuration on your system. And remember, the window of time you have to do this is extremely brief, never more than a few seconds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbcarter View Post
    ...The power supply light is green and the light on the ethernet connection is flashing, but I don't get any beeps or anything else from the system to know what is going on...
    Often blank screen after power-on is caused by tarnished contacts on the video card.

    Pull the card and clean the contacts by rubbing them gently with a soft white pencil rubber/eraser then brush off any particles using a clean soft brush.

    It would be a good idea to also clean the RAM contacts by the same means while you have the case open.
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Check your monitor too. I've had the exact same thing, (black screen monitor upon bootup) and it actually was the monitor.
    Attach the monitor to a different computer or laptop to test it.

    Boot down into BIOS/EUFI and see if you can enable the "onboard" graphics.
    (Not your monitor if you can do this)
    Remove the video card if you DO have onboard graphics, then replace and test.
    REMOVE and RESEAT the video card, make certain the gold contacts are clean and intact...and try various PCIe slots.
    Remove and INSPECT the graphics card very carefully for damage.
    Inspect the cable connecting the monitor to the GPU very carefully, I've had broken pins on a number of occasions
    that'll "black screen" the monitor.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2016-02-22 at 23:20.
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    You tried a different monitor. Did you try a different video cable?

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    Definitely hardware, nothing from the gitgo, tried a different cable, what I need is to see if I can't scrounge up another video card. I will try removing, cleaning, re-seating the current card in the meantime (although I am not likely to be home long enough to do that until later in the week). Thanks for all the help!

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbcarter View Post
    Definitely hardware, nothing from the gitgo, tried a different cable, what I need is to see if I can't scrounge up another video card. I will try removing, cleaning, re-seating the current card in the meantime (although I am not likely to be home long enough to do that until later in the week). Thanks for all the help!
    From reading this thread I suspect the problem you are having is probably caused by your Power Supply Unit (PSU).

    Your PSU might be supplying invalid voltages, so I suggest connecting a known-good PSU then try again.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbcarter View Post
    .... see if I can't scrounge up another video card. ...
    Or move the suspect card to another PC and see if it works.

    Coochin's comment on the PSU possibly being responsible is another quite possible parameter.

    edit: 2 x 6-pin PCI-E connectors and a 188W (15.7A on +12V rail) max. graphics power before any overclocking. 525W original PSU.
    Last edited by Fascist Nation; 2016-02-23 at 11:32.

  13. #13
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    The possibility of a PSU problem did occur to me, however, I have no spare to try out. As measuring output is somewhat complicated, I may first look for another video card and try that before tampering with the PSU (as to transferring the video card in question to another machine, as my wife's computer is the only one operable at the moment I am loathe to risk fate and chance screwing up her machine as well). Is it possible to test outputs one at a time without disconnecting everything first or is that asking for trouble? I appreciate all of the help, it is good to have new ideas and a reality check.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbcarter View Post
    .... Is it possible to test outputs one at a time without disconnecting everything first ....
    Test how? Looks to me that you are out of options except buy and replace one part at a time....expensive.

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    I have now tried removing the video card, cleaning everything and re-seating to no effect, I am considering removing my wife's video card and trying that as it looks like I could do it without risking her machine. As to testing the power supply, I mean using a VOM to look at the output of critical outputs, although I have no idea where to find information on the pinouts, which is obviously essential. I agree the alternative of buy and replace looks expensive and not exactly trivial to implement.

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