Possible graphics card failure(?)

Discussion in 'DIY Computers' started by Zxs, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. Zxs

    Zxs Guest

    My PC blue screened today, reset and then froze on the loading Windows
    screen. Then when I turned it off and on again the fans started up
    but there was no display on the monitor.

    I left it a while and then turned it on again and this time it booted
    up OK. I started using it (copying a large file over the network) and
    then it blue screened again. This time I noticed that the blue screen
    crash report was referencing a driver file RTL86WIN7.SYS which is the
    network card driver. However the PC won't display anything on the
    monitor again and no amount of leaving it off "to cool" helps.

    I suspect the video card because of the lack of display and also
    because it's a nVidia 8600 GTS which I think is affected by the
    overheating nVidia GPU problem.

    I might buy the cheapest PCIe card I can find just to confirm that it
    is the graphics card at fault. Maybe this:
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/247432

    Then get something better later on. Or what would be a good 2nd hand
    replacement for an 8600 GTS? I don't mind buying something a bit
    older that offers similar or better performance, just not an nVidia
    8xxx series. Would probably go for an ATi this time.

    My GTS has a heat pipe cooler (no sound whatsoever!), so something
    passively cooled would be great.

    Any suggestions?
     
    Zxs, Jun 14, 2011
    #1
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  2. In <>,
    Do you mean it won't work at all now, or you get a display each time you
    switch it on until half way through the boot sequence? If the latter,
    you could be on the right track about the network driver. I had one
    fail, the symptoms were slightly different. Windows appeared to be
    booting, but the activity bar was moving very very slowly. Safe Mode or
    whatever showed that the network driver was the last thing to load
    before it went wrong and IIRC a Linux CD booted but networking wouldn't
    work. I disabled the adapter in the BIOS and bunged in a spare old PCI
    card.
     
    Tony Houghton, Jun 14, 2011
    #2
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  3. Zxs

    Zxs Guest

    It won't work at all now. The PC comes on, the fans and drives all
    spin up, but there's no display and it doesn't start booting. Oddly,
    there's no beep error codes either.

    I've been looking at video cards and it seems a Sapphire 4670 or 5670
    "Ultimate" version would be a good replacement as these are both heat
    pipe cooled and a little faster than the 8600 GTS.
     
    Zxs, Jun 14, 2011
    #3
  4. Zxs

    > Guest

    Might be the caps failing on the motherboard.
    A good visual inspection can usually determine this.

    For what to look & with some good example pictures check this Wiki website:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitor_plague

    Also might be worth trying an alternate power supply if you have one to
    hand.
     
    >, Jun 14, 2011
    #4
  5. Zxs

    Zxs Guest

    Good thinking re the capacitors. I've had a good look at the ones on
    the motherboard and they look OK. I haven't got another suitable PSU
    so I think I'll just try a new graphics card and hope for the best!

    The whole PC isn't that old (September 2008) and the only component
    with a known inherent fault is the graphics card so I'm betting it's
    that. The rest of the kit is pretty good quality - PSU is Antec
    Earthwatts 500W so not a cheapie.
     
    Zxs, Jun 14, 2011
    #5
  6. Zxs

    Zxs Guest

    Would you expect the PC to boot up with no graphics card installed?
    I'd expect no boot and a series of beeps, but I'm not getting that
    either!

    This 8600 GTS is passively cooled with a series of heat pipes leading
    to a large radiator mounted on the reverse of the card, so it probably
    does (did) regularly exceed 70C.

    The PC is 3 years old, but actually has only had 2 years of use.
    Between June 2010 and June 2011 it wasn't used at all. I've only just
    started using it again. 2 years is about right for nVidia GPU
    failure. That's how long it took for the GPU to fail in my HP laptop.

    I must admit the blue screen with the network driver does make me
    think it could be the motherboard, so I might try and pick up a dirt
    cheap PCIe graphics card off feeBay rather than spend a lot on a new
    one, just to check whether it is that.
     
    Zxs, Jun 15, 2011
    #6
  7. Zxs

    Chris French Guest

    In message
    Probably not.
    Rather suggests Mobo or PSU then?
     
    Chris French, Jun 15, 2011
    #7
  8. Zxs

    Zxs Guest

    Just tried turning it again and it is functioning now (sort of). Got
    a message saying that the CMOS settings had been reset. Went into the
    BIOS and sure enough date & time etc were lost. I'm now thinking it
    IS the motherboard! Checked the reported voltages for the PSU and
    they're all OK.

    It started going through POST, very slowly - took ages to detect the 4
    USB devices that are part of the card reader. Then got to the
    "Starting Windows" screen and froze up. Pressed reset and this time
    it went through POST quickly and straight into Windows. Been up and
    running fine for 10 minutes or so now - even copied that big file onto
    it that blue screened it before. Just sitting here now waiting for
    another blue screen!

    Ran PC Wizard in the meantime and checked GPU temperature - 56 deg C
    idling in Windows doing nothing. This thing does run a bit warm, but
    I agree this does NOT look like GPU failure now!

    This is the weirdest problem ever...
     
    Zxs, Jun 15, 2011
    #8
  9. Zxs

    Jeff Gaines Guest

    If it was unused for a year the CMOS battery could need replacing.
     
    Jeff Gaines, Jun 15, 2011
    #9
  10. Zxs

    > Guest

    Yes indeed, I've known systems unable to boot if the CMOS battery voltage
    is too low.
    Also capacitors have a habit of failing when given a rest - 1 year is
    quite a rest.

    From all the discussions I very much doubt it's the gfx card.

    My bet:
    1) Motherboard
    2) PSU
     
    >, Jun 15, 2011
    #10
  11. Zxs

    Zxs Guest

    Does it make any difference that the machine was off for the best part
    of a year? I thought the drain on the battery was constant,
    regardless of use. The motherboard is only 3 years old and batteries
    usually last for much longer than that. Normally when batteries go it
    just keeps complaining about lost settings whenever you power it on.
    I don't think that would be causing the blue screens or complete lack
    of display.

    Strangely the PC is working fine now. I've just installed a new
    version of AVG, which required a reboot, and it came back up fine.
     
    Zxs, Jun 15, 2011
    #11
  12. Zxs

    Zxs Guest

    I'll try a new battery as that's a very cheap diagnostic fix to rule
    that out. I'll wait until it misbehaves again though, as strangely
    it's working fine now.

    Although it had 1 year unused, it has been used for a number of days
    without any problems until yesterday.

    I agree, it is not the graphics card.
     
    Zxs, Jun 15, 2011
    #12
  13. Zxs

    Mark Guest

    Have you tried powering up with no graphics card installed?

    Can you boot in safe mode?
    --
    (\__/) M.
    (='.'=) Due to the amount of spam posted via googlegroups and
    (")_(") their inaction to the problem. I am blocking some articles
    posted from there. If you wish your postings to be seen by
    everyone you will need use a different method of posting.
     
    Mark, Jun 15, 2011
    #13
  14. Zxs

    Zxs Guest

    I went off an left it doing a full AVG scan, came back and it was
    frozen on the "Starting Windows" screen. Must have blue screened
    again, reset and then locked up when rebooting. Pressed reset and now
    it's back to no display and no boot, so no, I can't boot in safe
    mode :)

    I've tested with the graphics card unplugged and the symptoms are the
    same. Fans and disks spin up, but there's no error beeps and from the
    complete lack of hard disk activity it clearly isn't booting.
     
    Zxs, Jun 15, 2011
    #14
  15. Zxs

    Zxs Guest

    Plugged graphics card back in and powered on. Got a message
    "Warning !!! The previous performance of overclocking is failed and
    the system is restored to the default setting. Press any key except
    'DEL' to enter setup......"

    Of course I misread that and pressed DEL, at which point it locked
    up. Pressed reset and this time it booted back into Windows, only to
    blue screen after waiting a few seconds at the password prompt.
    Pressed reset again and it's back to no display, no boot.

    This thing is very ill...!
     
    Zxs, Jun 15, 2011
    #15
  16. Zxs

    > Guest

    Have you a voltmeter to test the CMOS battery?
     
    >, Jun 15, 2011
    #16
  17. Zxs

    Daniel James Guest

    If the machine is off but connected to the mains -- so the 5V standby
    power from the PSU is present on the motherboard -- then the CMOS
    battery has nothing to do as that 5V supply will keep the CMOS alive.

    If it's unplugged (or physically turned off at the PSU, if your PSU has
    a switch) then the battery has to work for its living.
    It's possible that you had a bad/dirty connection, somewhere, that
    you've fixed by pulling things out while looking for the fault.

    Cheers,
    Daniel.
     
    Daniel James, Jun 15, 2011
    #17
  18. Zxs

    Zxs Guest

    It's been off at the wall so the battery will have taken some serious
    drain over the year then. Surely this wouldn't be causing the blue
    screens and resets when it's up and running? When I've had CMOS
    batteries go in the past, all that's happened is every time you power
    it on it's lost the date/time and all the settings and it'll moan at
    you, but everything still works OK.
    It's back to no display and no boot again now, so definitely something
    still awry.

    Unfortunately I'm away from the machine for a week or two again now,
    so will have to sort it out when I'm back. I may start by replacing
    the battery and if that doesn't work I'll get a new motherboard.
     
    Zxs, Jun 15, 2011
    #18
  19. Zxs

    Daniel James Guest

    It seems unlikely. If the CMOS memory had started to degrade the most
    likely result would be a checksum error at power-up and your having to
    run setup to reset the clock and maybe other settings.

    If the CMOS memory had degraded in such a way that its checksum happened
    still to be correct even though the contents had changed (a 1 in 64k
    chance, if they use a 16-bit checksum) then anything might happen ...
    including the sort of error you reported, but more likely something more
    immediately fatal. I'd still expect the clock to be wrong, though ...
    Try carefully dismantling and reassembling the whole thing. Undo all
    motherboard connections, all cables, everything. Check for any obvious
    dirt or corrosion and clean carefully where necessary, then reassemble.

    If the fault is an intermittent bad connection that should fix it.

    You might want to try reseating the CPU (and renewing the thermal
    compound) as well.

    Cheers,
    Daniel.
     
    Daniel James, Jun 16, 2011
    #19
  20. Zxs

    Zxs Guest

    Thanks, I think I'll start by taking it all apart as you suggest.
    I'll get it set up out of the case and see if I can get it working
    again. If that doesn't work I'll swap the motherboard. To save time
    I'm going to get another motherboard first as I don't want to take it
    all apart and then find I need one anyway. I can always sell the
    replacement if I don't need it. There's no dirt or corrosion in there
    though, barely even any dust. It looks much the same as it was when I
    built it 3 years ago.

    Looking at motherboards on eBuyer it seems you can't buy any with the
    Intel P35 chipset that mine has got. All the ones on there are Gxx
    with ICH7. Mine has ICH9, so it appears things have taken a step
    backwards. Perhaps this is because all the new S775 boards are firmly
    placed at the budget end of the market now.
     
    Zxs, Jun 16, 2011
    #20
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