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Video Card Issues


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#1 straightupwv

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 11:11 AM

I have an older Dell Optipex GX270 with a 2.8 GHz P4 processor that runs XP Pro.  I’m not a gamer and I don’t have the funds to buy a new computer with a newer OS.  I’ve made some hardware upgrades over the years: 450 watt power supply, 500 GB hard drive, 2.25 GB of RAM, Aureal 8830 sound card and an AGP GeForce FX5200 video card.  A few weeks ago, my screen just went black.  I thought maybe it was the video card so I swapped it out for an old Windows 98 era 32 MB card.  It worked just fine so I bought a NOS GeForce FX5500 and installed it.  I got a black screen again so I thought maybe I had some sort of motherboard issue.  I found an exact replacement and installed it.  Still no luck so I thought maybe the video card arrived DOA.  I took it to a friend’s house and tried it out in her computer, (it’s a bit older than mine. It has a 650 watt PSU and also has an AGP slot).  It worked just fine.  Now I’m confused.  Yes, she has a more robust PSU than me but the GeForce FX 5200 worked beautifully for years with my 450 watt unit.  Does anyone have any idea what might be going on here?


Edited by straightupwv, 24 February 2014 - 11:26 AM.

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#2 zingo156

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 11:27 AM

Check for blown or bulging capacitors on the main board: https://www.google.com/search?q=blown+bulging+capacitor+motherboard&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=FHILU_LeKKaOyAH6v4GIBQ&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=986&bih=513

 

If everything looks ok on the board, it could be power supply related. Was there no post screen at all? What happens when you power the computer on with the FX5500? Are there any lights or fans running?


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#3 straightupwv

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 12:09 PM

This computer IS from the era when Dell was having problems with its capacitors.  I checked both the original and the replacement motherboards for bulging capacitors and didn't find any.  Powering on the computer with the FX5500 gives me the same results as the FX5200.  There is no post screen.  The PSU fan and CPU fan both run.  The power indicator LED on the power switch lights up as does the Num Lock LED on my keyboard.  My experience with power supplies is they work or they die.  I've never had one that went a little bad.


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#4 rebbael

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 12:16 PM

Perhaps and odd question to ask but: does your GPU need additional power cable you maybe forgot to plug in? Another thing, did you make a full uninstall of the previous card? Ran something like Revo Uninstaller where with it you get rid of all the old registry keys and so on and so forth. Is the fan if an active one plugged in and working? Tried VGA and DVI to your monitor both? Perhaps one of them is faulty.  Did you try out the monitor on an another computer?

Another thing, you might have an AGP Pro slot and the little plastic separator that is inside the AGP Pro slot so you can install AGP slot cards is not placed correctly. Check that out.



#5 zingo156

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 12:32 PM

It is some hardware related issue for certain because we have a no post situation. I have seen many power supplies go a little bad and consequently destroy other hardware. They can completely fail or cause wild dips and spikes in voltages etc.

 

Because the card works fine in another computer and an older win98 card works in yours. It would seem likely it is the PSU or possible power issue to the slot through the main board. If your friend would allow you to test your computer with their 650w psu that would at least rule that out. You can put the 2 computers close together and just connect the mainboard 24 and 4 pin connectors and power on. 

 

The video card is supplied power through the main board if it does not require an extra plug directly from the psu itself. A very old win98 card likely uses very little power and might have higher tolerance to voltage spikes/dips than a newer more modern card.


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#6 straightupwv

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 01:02 PM

I thought of doing just that but I've read that Dell wires its 24 pin connector differently.  Do you know if that's true?  I built her computer in 2004 from a barebones kit from Tiger Direct.  It uses real-world as opposed to proprietary parts.  I don't want to run the risk of blowing up my computer or her power supply.

 

The video card is supplied power through the main board if it does not require an extra plug directly from the psu itself. A very old win98 card likely uses very little power and might have higher tolerance to voltage spikes/dips than a newer more modern card.

That makes sense.


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#7 zingo156

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 01:07 PM

I thought of doing just that but I've read that Dell wires its 24 pin connector differently.  Do you know if that's true?  I built her computer in 2004 from a barebones kit from Tiger Direct.  It uses real-world as opposed to proprietary parts.  I don't want to run the risk of blowing up my computer or her power supply.

 

The video card is supplied power through the main board if it does not require an extra plug directly from the psu itself. A very old win98 card likely uses very little power and might have higher tolerance to voltage spikes/dips than a newer more modern card.

That makes sense.

It might be a proprietary psu, or it might be standard atx. I do not know off hand without seeing both of them. You can take a picture of both psu's and I may be of more help.


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#8 zingo156

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 01:09 PM

A new psu would be my first test, if a new psu did not work then I might suspect a problem with the main board itself. Older cards and newer cards make use of different pin outs for the same slot.


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#9 straightupwv

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 01:27 PM

It will be more than a few days before I can take a picture of hers.  Please stay with me on this.


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#10 zingo156

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 01:33 PM

No worries... If you can get a decent picture of the stickers on both psu's that would be most helpful for example: https://www.google.com/search?q=power+supply+sticker&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=JpALU9_3NaHF2QWw-oCYAg&sqi=2&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1142&bih=734


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#11 straightupwv

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 03:36 PM

As I said, it will be a while.  In the meantime, I compared the color coding on the 20 pin connector, (yeah, it's a 20 pin.  My mistake), to this diagram.  http://image.pinout.net/pinout_network_rj45_files/connector_pinout.php?image=20-pin-atx-pinout.gif&pinout=%2020%20pin%20atx%20colors  They're identical.  Does that help?


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#12 zingo156

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 03:56 PM

If they are identical it likely is just a standard atx connector. In some rare cases proprietary psu's had different voltages on rails. If you look at your dell power supply and the voltages are the same for each rail as the other psu, then either should work. Since the other computer was a tigerdirect kit, I suspect that one uses a standard atx... Also a 24 pin connector should work for a 20 pin connection, usually the extra 4 pins are on a separable piece. The connections are keyed so it would be very difficult to plug anything in incorrectly.


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#13 straightupwv

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 07:45 PM

I'm back.  I was never able to get back over to my friend's house to take a picture of her power supply but I thought I found a solution.  I found this power supply on E-Bay.  http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-480W-POWER-SUPPLY-for-Dell-OPTIPLEX-TOWER-GX270-/260829944700?pt=PCA_UPS&hash=item3cbaad1b7c  It's a higher wattage psu than the one I ran for years with the FX5200 video card.  I installed it and powered up the computer as-is just to make sure it worked.  It did so I installed the FX5500.  Nothing.  My budget is now shot so I won't be able to buy any new stuff to try out.  Ironically, for the amount of money I've put into this thing to try to correct the problem, I could have bought a kit from TigerDirect and built a new computer.  The only things I didn't replace were the hard drive, the DVD burner, the sound card and the case.


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#14 zingo156

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 08:37 AM

It is unlikely these components but you should disconnect them anyway and retry:  hard drive, the DVD burner, the sound card and the case. You should at least be able to get a bios post screen without a hard drive. They worked with the windows 98 card so it seems unlikely they are causing a problem but because it is free to pull them out and retest it is worth a shot. If you have not already done so, resetting the cmos may help as well... You can pull the power cord and remove the cmos battery from the main board, or you can find the reset cmos jumper and use that.

 

When you got a replacement main board was that  "new" or used? Did you use your old cpu in the replacement board? It is possible it is either the main board still or the cpu... Because the card works in your friends computer, I would call the card ok. If you did not use a different cpu, this might be the last piece of the puzzle and a good cheap item to try, just make sure you get one with the same socket as your current cpu, about 2 years ago I was selling these cpu's used for around $5. If you can get a used one from a local shop, they may let you return it as well. That would be better in case it does not work.

 

One thing about new vs older video cards is that they both will likely use different pin outs from the main board. Each will potentially use different voltages from the same slot etc... You can read about agp slots here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerated_Graphics_Port

 

With issues like these unfortunately it is a replace one part at a time until you find the culprit. The good news is you have a solid no post situation, there are only so many parts you can replace.

 

I agree, with computers that are the age of this optiplex it is always a question of if it is worth throwing money at.


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#15 straightupwv

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 03:49 PM

I have to keep this running.   As I said, I don't have the funds to buy a new one.

 

I have a new theory based on an experiment I tried.  It turns out that I have a friend who also has a GX270 with an upgraded psu.  I took the FX5500 to his house and tried it in his computer.  Same result: blank screen, no post, etc.  I now think that my FX5200 just died and the FX5500 is not compatible with my computer.  Thanks for all of your help.  I think we can close this now as I've reached a dead end that only I can get myself out of.


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