So I have something quite weird going on that is pretty annoying and just wanted to see if anyone happened to have an idea I haven't thought of. The TL;DR of this is that I either have an unfortunate hardware issue with my 16x PCI-e slot or one of the most bizarre driver issues I've ever dealt with. My specs are available on my profile page.
I recently got an 850 EVO, 6TB Hard Drive, two monitors, and a 1080 Ti, all of which I just installed two days ago. What I did leading up till the issue was basically this:
1) Uninstalled my current Nvidia drivers just to be safe, planning to do an install of the latest drivers after putting in the new card, even though they should be the same (coming from a 770), then removed the old card and temporarily switched to the on-board HDMI port (integrated graphics).
2) I borrowed the SATA connection from my Blu-ray drive to use on the 850 EVO and used Macrium Reflect to clone my previous Intel 520 RAID 0 array to the 850 EVO.
3) Removed the two Intel 520s, permanently installed the 850 EVO and the hard drive, and then set my SATA mode from RAID to ACHI since I no longer had any RAID arrays.
4) Confirmed that the machine booted up fine and that the OS started alright on the new drive.
5) Shutdown, installed the 1080 Ti, put the side panel back on, hooked up the monitors, etc.
This is where the trouble started. I initially thought it had something to do with the drive clone and was second guessing myself that I even made sure it booted OK after so I did the typical boot troubleshooting in the Windows Recovery console, but ended up undoing it all because I realized it was not the issue so all that should be able to be ignored. Additionally, the symptoms are somewhat inconsistent which makes this very annoying.
So, the immediate issue was that my computer wouldn't get past the Windows 10 boot animation. It seems like a display only issue as the drive activity light still appears normal and I still hear the small pop of my speakers that usually happens right before the login screen appears so I believe that the OS is still running (though since I don't have the startup sound enabled I can't be sure). Regardless, what happens is that the display (or perhaps the entire computer) will freeze with the new windows logo and the dots circling right before the transition to the login screen. After rebooting a time or two to make sure it wasn't a fluke I tried booting into safe mode which worked and still works consistently. Then I checked the control panel to make sure the old drivers were gone, which they were (other than the crap that is always left behind, registry entries, etc.). I then downloaded the latest Nvidia drivers and checked off the "Clean Install" option to make sure everything from before was taken care of. After the install I rebooted. This time the screen did not freeze, but rather when the animation finished I simply got "No Signal" on both monitors and they turned off.
Both of these issues (the freezing and screens turning off) are usually tell tale signs of a graphics driver issue so I rebooted into safe mode and uninstalled the drivers using the device manager (though I did not check "Also delete drivers from the system"), hoping I could work from there. Note that I didn't touch the Nvidia control panel or any of the other software installed by the driver package. Upon restarting I was able to get into Windows on a normal boot and login. As expected, the resolution was not correct or anything due to the lack of drivers, but moments after logging in Windows detected that the card was "new" and installed drivers for it automatically. This fixed the resolution and for once everything seemed normal and completely working. I only used my computer a little bit for the rest of the night and then slept it. The next day I woke it up, did some monitor calibration, and then attempted to run the game. The game kept crashing before the main menu would fully load (my guess is there is an issue when it tries to render the 3D objects on the menu because it crashes before they appear). It might be an issue with the resolution settings as it is a pretty buggy game, but I figured that it might have been because I hadn't actually done a reboot since Windows installed the drivers for the card. So, I rebooted and lo and behold I got the freezing on the boot animation problem again. Then I basically repeated what I did before to make sure what I said above was correct, and it seems to be the case. It seems I can go into safe mode and uninstall the driver via the device manager, reboot normally and have Windows install the driver and then get the boot screen freeze with a 100% reproduction rate over and over. While trying various reboots and driver manipulation I also ran back into the issue of the screens turning off a time or two even though I don't think I really did anything differently.
I tried re-seating the card and cleaning out the slot but that didn't work. I also tried booting with each monitor separately (Display Port) and even my TV in the same room (HDMI). I then tried putting my old card back in since again, the drivers should work for both, and surprisingly the issue remained. The last thing I did was put the 1080 Ti back in, go into safe mode and used DDU to completely uninstall everything ("Clean and reboot") figuring I'd try some more stuff after starting on a fresh slate. This should have let me boot in normally with no drivers but the bizarre and really frustrating thing is that I still got the boot animation freeze upon rebooting. I went into safe mode just to make sure the drivers were gone and there were no remnants of them in the control panel and the device manager showed "Microsoft Generic blah blah" under display adapters instead of "Nvidia 1080 Ti". This is where I've left it for now.
For most of this process this was seeming like an incredibly stubborn driver issue, but now that I couldn't boot after using DDU I am getting worried that something is wrong with my 16x slot. I am not familiar enough with how PCI-e works to be sure though. I would imagine that if it was an issue with the slot that the card wouldn't work at all and I would get nothing on display, but I also figured it is possible that only some of the lanes have an issue that isn't apparent when in safe mode without drivers since the card is only working as a basic display adapter. However, this wouldn't explain how I was able to use the machine with the automatically installed drivers (before a reboot of course), but then again the game I tried did crash so it wasn't perfect.
Overall I still think it is a driver issue, but this has gotten pretty confusing. I am going to try the card in the 8x slot after work tonight to see if that works, but I am hoping it doesn't because that would mean the main slot is screwed.
To sum this all up:
- Installed new graphics card with drivers uninstalled (via control panel only, perhaps I should have used DDU to begin with) and had the computer freeze during the boot animation
- Am able to unistall drivers via device manager in safe mode and get into Windows normally most of the time, have it auto-install the drivers again. Everything then seems to work other than gaming, though I haven't tested more than that one game, until the next reboot, upon which the problem returns
- Sometimes (not randomly, depends on the current state of the driver situation) the monitors get no signal and turn off instead of the machine freezing on the boot animation
- Tried re-seating the card
- Tried the old card, have the same problems
- Tried using one monitor at a time and a TV
- Last used DDU to uninstall everything completely but I still have the same problems
I apologize that this is so lengthy but I liked to be as detailed as possible with these kind of posts instead of just "My pc crashes when I turn it on, pls halp".
Any ideas or comments are appreciated.
Edited by oblivioncth, 03 August 2017 - 12:03 PM.