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I think something in my hardware is ruining my video cards...

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#1 ch1ck3nch4s3r


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Posted 15 October 2009 - 08:53 PM

Hey there, I have a computer which I had assembled at a specialty store about a year and a half ago. Up untill maybe a month ago it had no problems, but I first started having issues when, when I went to boot the computer, it would freeze right after bios while loading the operating system. After a few reboots and system recovery's, I would be able to get the computer running, and the only way to make sure that it would load up after a cold/hard boot would be to reinstall the graphics drivers. For whatever reason, this would solve the problem untill maybe a few weeks after the same problem would happen again, and be remedied by the same solution. Then I started noticing freezing issues in which, while playing a game (it happened in Halo 2, Battlefield 2, World of Warcraft, the game would just freeze the screen and the last sound would sit there stuttering untill I rebooted the computer. It eventually got to the point, that Whenever I would try to update drivers, whether they be from a cd or a new release, it would freeze the computer about halfway into the install process. This card in question was the EVGA 9800GX2. I told this to EVGA and they said to send it in, and when I got a replacement today it was a brand new card, meaning that the card I sent in was most likely toast.

In the meantime while I sent in the 9800GX2, I picked up a EVGA GTX260, and it worked fine for about a day or two untill it began freezeing, the exact same way the 9800GX2 would, where it would freeze the screen, and stutter the last sounds. These types of freezing would happen intermittently across multiple games, untill after about 5 or 6 of these types of freezes, when I went to play battlefield 2, the screen artifacted (sort of went all garbled and pinkish with almost a checkerboard effect) after only a few seconds into the game. When I reset and went to turn it on again, the computer began to POST, but wouldnt finish. My motherboard, the EVGA nForce 780i would show a post code of 26 on its card, but what was weird is that with no video card it would post to FF and then obviously stop because there is no GPU, and with an older household PCI video card, it would post normally and boot the OS.

I took the GTX260 into the store I bought it from, and after they tested it they said it was indeed a problem with the video card where it wouldnt post, and gave me a free replacement under their exchange policy.

So my assumption is that something in my computer is frying the video cards that are at least in PCI-E slots. While I was troubleshooting my first video card, I tried it in the different PCI-E slots, and they all seem to be working. Im now thinking that it is either the mother board or more likely the power supply. I have the OCZ gameXtreme 1010w power supply, and the video card is the aforementioned evga nforce 780i. I have also gotten the impression that for some random reason this could be a hard drive issue, so my hard drive is the Seagate 500gb 7200.11 32MB ST3500320AS . It's a touchy subject because I'm scared to put in either of the replacement video cards I have now because I dont want them to get fried. Any suggestions?

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#2 Sneakycyber


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Posted 16 October 2009 - 01:50 AM

Check the output of your power supply.
The purpose of this procedure is to bypass the motherboard to test a ATX PSU. Some manufacturers Like Dell have used some non ATX PSUs which have a different pinout for the 20/4 pin connector, please confirm that your PSU is a ATX type before using this procedure.

This procedure will involve working with live 12VDC electrical potentials which if handled improperly may lead to electrical shock. Proper precautions should also be taken to prevent electrostatic discharges (ESDs) within the case of the computer. For safety purposes please follow the instructions step by step.

First, shutdown your computer. Then unplug the power cable going into your computer.

Once you have opened the case, touch the metal of the case to discharge any static electricity.

The connector of the PSU which connects to the motherboard is readily recognizable by the number of wires in the bundle. To disconnect it you will need to press on the plastic clip to disengage it and then pull the connector up and away from the motherboard. Please take notice of the location of the locking tab and the notch on the socket of the motherboard, this will only connect one way as it is keyed. This wire bundle will have a memory of the way it has been installed and will want to bend back that direction, you may have to play around with it to find a position that the connector will stay in the same position while you run the test.

Posted Image

From the top left to right the pins are 13-24, the bottom from left to right are 1-12.

Please notice that there are PSUs with 24 pin and 20 pin connectors, the location of the green wire in the 24 pin connector is #16, and the green wire in the 20 pin connector is #14. If you look at the connector with socket side facing you and the clip on the top the number one pin will be on the bottom left corner. This makes the pin out for the 24 pin connector from left to right 13-24 on top, and 1-12 on the bottom. The pin out for the 20 pin connector from left to right is 11-20 on top , and 1-10 on the bottom. If you look at the connectors you notice that these are sockets that fit over the pins on the motherboard where the PSU cable attaches, this is where you will place the jumper. For a jumper you will need a piece of solid wire about the size of a paper clip (20-22 awg), preferably a wire with insulation. It will need to be large enough to fit firmly into the socket so that it will not need to be held in place while testing. You are at risk of electrical shock if you are holding the jumper when you power up the PSU. Insert one end of the jumper into the socket of the Green wire, and insert the other end into the socket of any Black wire.

Once the jumper is in place plug the cord back in. If the PSU is working properly the case fans, optical drives, hdds, and LEDs should power up and remain on. I would suggest that you not leave this connected any longer than is necessary for safety purposes.

At this point you can use a DC Voltmeter to read the different rail Voltages. You will want to insert the black probe into any of the Black (-) sockets, and insert the Red (+) probe in the five different colored sockets, one at a time. Below are the five different colors and their corresponding rail Voltages. The Voltages should be within about ten percent of the given values.

Yellow +12VDC

Blue -12VDC

Red +5VDC

White -5VDC

Orange +3.3VDC

To reconnect the 20/4 pin connector unplug the power cord, remove the jumper, and reconnect the connector. Take a moment at this time to make sure that nothing has been dislodged inside the case.
Chad Mockensturm 
Network Engineer
Certified CompTia Network +, A +

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