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Old Dell Dimension 8200 PC giving distorted display

By 3DMonkey
Nov 8, 2016
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  1. This is regarding an old Dell Dimension 8200 PC with 512MB RAM, Pentium 4 processor, 1.5Ghz speed, 40GB Hard Drive with Windows XP Pro SP3. It was running great up till a few months ago when, one night, something inside went bang and there may have been some smoke. Ever since, the computer boots up to the desktop screen, portions of which are distorted and pixellated, and eventually stalls.

    I connected it to a different monitor and power supply to see if it made a difference.
    The results can be seen here:

    Obviously this is not my main PC but it would be nice to have it running again.
    So I would be grateful for any and all advise to fix it back to full health.
    Thank you.


    Attached Files:

  2. yRaz

    yRaz TS Evangelist Posts: 2,146   +1,223

    Well the first thing I would do is get some utilities to check the voltages on different components. The obvious would be the motherboard ones which you can fairly easily check in the BIOS. I don't know if you have integrated graphics or not, so you may have to get a utility specific to your graphics card if it's not integrated.

    Now, upfront, I feel I may have some bad news for you. What you heard go pop was mostly likely an electrolytic capacitor, they are the bane of the electronics world and are usually the cause of most dead electronics. Now, when they go pop the leave a good bit of residue around the area. It's mostly a black splatter but a UV light makes these things MUCH easier to spot.

    Since the symptoms of this problem seem to be video related I recommend looking on the graphics card or near the integrated graphics chip if you have one.

    The Bad:
    If it is a capacitor, you can replace it, but it's not an easy task

    The Good:
    If it is a capacitor it'll mostly likely cost you 20cents to replace if you have a soldiering gun and some electronics skills.

    My opinion is that this is an old rig and there really isn't much way of fixing it since it's impossible to throw parts at it. Fixing the capacitor would be purely as a fun project and not something most people can do realistically. If you need a cheap computer to take the place of that one then I recommend going to a good will store and picking one up for ~$50. Yes, you can get old, working computers at good will for cheap, I even have one myself.
  3. 3DMonkey

    3DMonkey TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks yRaz. Yes, from what I am hearing from most people, it seems to be a bad cap... most probably on the graphics card. I will take a look inside the Dell soon. But I think you are right - it's probably just easier to give it away.

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