No video on boot, and possible RAM issue

By Card83
May 8, 2011
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  1. Hi, hoping someone here can offer me a little help. Here's the situation.

    I have an old P4 machine that I bought back in 2001. It's a Sony Vaio, Model # PCV-RX370DS. Somewhere along the line, I upgraded to 512MB of Samsung RAM, swapped in a GeForce FX video card, and added a second HDD. The machine was running Windows XP Pro, and worked fine from when I got it until I more or less shelved it for a new machine about 4 years ago. Since that time, I had put it in an old arcade cabinet I had laying around, and more or less used it as a dedicated MAME cabinet. It wasn't lightning fast, but it did the job.

    Yesterday, I decided to back up everything on the HDD's, reformat, and re-appropriate it into a media center PC. Once I backed up the data onto my main PC, I reformatted the Vaio's two HDD's, and put them back in the case. This is where things get weird.

    I plugged everything back in, turned it on, and everything went to crap. At first, all I would get is a continuous long beep, and nothing else. I tried a few different things, and the only way to get past the continuous beep was to pull one stick of RAM. After that, it seemed to boot more or less normally, or so I thought. I'm getting absolutely no video output. The fans are all starting, the HDD light is coming on, and the optical drives are both turning on. The video card has two VGA outputs and an S-Video output. None seem to work. I tried a video card out of another old box that still works fine. No luck, still not getting video.

    So, to sum it up:
    - Long continuous boot with 2 sticks of RAM, works when only 1 stick is in place.
    - No video on boot, regardless of configuration, and when using a different card.

    I am assuming I somehow fried the Mobo with a static charge of some sort. My only other idea is that the power supply is on it's way out. Any ideas?
  2. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    This page shows the beep codes, a continuous beep would relate to faulty memory, as you have already demonstrated by removing one of the sticks. Did you try swapping them to see what it does with just the other stick in, also try them in different slots. This should determine if it is the sticks or the slots that have a fault. 0 277116751

    The video problem doesn't sound too good. Have you tried it with another monitor.

    Did you earth yourself before touching anything inside the case, if not you may have caused some damage.

    The power supply is a suspect, you need to get the pinouts from the motherboard manual and test all the pins with a volt meter.
  3. Card83

    Card83 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the reply.

    As far as the memory is concerned, it doesn't beep as long as one stick of RAM is in. I tried both sticks individually and in each slot, and it works fine. It's just two sticks (in any order) causes the malfunction.

    And for the video-out issue, I tried both VGA-out ports on the graphics card with 2 different monitors, and tried both monitors on the VGA-Out of the other video card I have. The other video card i have works fine in my other machine, both before and after testing it in my broken PC.

    I generally make a good habit of touching something metal and grounded before sticking my hands in a computer. I wouldn't think that I accidentally discharged some static electricity onto the sensitive electronics, but there's no way to be 100% sure.

    My next step is to swap in a different power supply that I'm not using and see if I get any other kind of result.

    Thanks again for all the help!
  4. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    Lets hope the power supply fixes it, difficult to diagnose a problem with no graphics working.

    Are you using the original RAM, as the manual states it can only take a maximum of 512MB, 2 x 265MB RIMM RDRAM.

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