Computer won't boot. Possible video problem. Maybe PSU? Help!

By Xandir
Aug 4, 2005
  1. So, I have a Radeon AIW 8500DV, on an ECS K7S5A board, Athlon XP 2000+, 1 gig of RAM, blahblahblah. Connected to a lovely mitsubishi LCD, the model of which i couldn't tell you at the moment, since I'm at work and it's not. Running Windows XP SP2

    Anyway, my problem. I was in Windows yesterday, watching a video (the card was in theatre mode, so i saw my desktop with the windowed video on my monitor, but full screen video on my tv). Suddenly, the computer locks up, and the display is distorted hardcore so that it looks something like this.

    I thought "hey, that's lame" and rebooted. The system hung during boot, with a black screen. Rebooting fixed it. It worked okay for a while, but in the process of that crash, an external drive had gone wonky. (It's not relevant to the problem in question here, but is necessary to mention, for timeframe). I mucked around with it for a while trying to fix it, and then the video f---ed up again. Booted back into windows no problem.

    At this point, I decided I needed to jump into knoppix to fix this drive, so I booted from my knoppix live cd, and did stuff for an hour or two (it's about 4 hours since the original graphical distortion/system lock up). While running dosfsck on the drive, the system hung and the display distorted into those vertical lines again. Rebooted back into knoppix, no problem. Decided after a while that I needed to be back in Windows, so I rebooted.

    Then it all hit the fan. First, I could get the XP loading screen, but when it tried to load the Welcome screen, it would hang, either with a black screen, or with those vertical lines, or sometimes "check boards". The more I tried to reboot (hoping it would randomly work at some point), the faster this crash/distortion occurred. Next, it would happen when switching to the XP loading screen. Next, it would happen immediately after the memory test.

    I left the computer off overnight, and tried again. I thought maybe the video card was just overheating, as it was hot, and the computer had been on all day. This morning, I tried again, this time booting into Knoppix. It got as far as loading my window manager, and then the screen blanked and the system hung. After that, it was always mid-boot at best, immediately after the memtest at worst.

    So, my question to you: wtf is wrong? Did my AIW crap out magically? Is it a mobo/RAM problem? Is it just heat, or is the card actually f---ed?

    I can't find anything on google, most things with "Vertical lines" end up being display corruption, but they can still boot up, and stuff. If I could do that, I'd be so pleased, right now.

    it was suggested that, maybe, the power supply was on it's way to dying. I decided to try unplugging some unnecessary things and then trying to boot. You know, that extra cdrom I never use, the secondary hard drive, the superfluous case fans, etc.

    Yeah, if I do that, then it doesn't POST.
    Now it's to the point where, sometimes, there'll be no video at all when it starts up, even though it's posting fairly normally (until it freezes trying to boot an OS), and when there IS video, it's only temporary, because the minute it gets past the initial memcheck/hardware detect screen, it'll freeze.

    I can still get into the BIOS... at times. Often, when I'm lucky enough to have display on the POSt screen, and I press del to get into the BIOS, instead of the BIOS, I get the lines.

    The thing is, it's not an OS problem. It's OS independent. Knoppix is affected, winxp is affected, the BIOS is affected.

    Anyway, thanks for your help.
  2. vegasgmc

    vegasgmc TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,377

    What you're describing sounds like a hardware problem with the video card or motherboard. The K7S5A seemed to have alot of problems. Make sure the video cards cooling fan is working. But I would boot into Safe Mode and remove the video driver. Then boot into Windows and reinstall the driver. Also update the motherboard chipset drivers.
  3. Xandir

    Xandir TS Rookie Topic Starter

    No, you don't understand, I can't boot into windows. It dies long before anything windows related actually starts. The same problem exists with knoppix. It's fairly OS independent, so reinstalling the drivers is (1) impossible and (2) won't help. I agree that it's a hardware problem.

    The cooling fan on the radeon IS working, but there's every possiblity that it's just not designed for the type of heat currently being experienced (it was 37C in my apartment yesterday, meaning ambient case temps were getting up to 45C in the region of the vid card, meaning the gpu itself would be even hotter).

    To my mind, the video card is borked, and i should replace it, or the power supply is messed up (i don't really know much about power supplies, but when the BIOS is reporting Vcc5v at 4.515, nearly 10% under what it should be, that doesn't bode well), or the heat is affecting one or both of those.
    It could be a motherboard problem too, because they often manifest themselves in ways that aren't intuitive, AND as you've said, the k7s5a has turned out to be less reliable, as a model.

    I don't wanna drop money on a vid card if i don't have to. Can anyone comment on the power supply thing? Thanks for your help.
  4. Xandir

    Xandir TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Replacing the power supply did the trick. Thanks.
  5. 0009

    0009 TS Rookie

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