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Solved: Screen goes blank, freezes, artifacting at BIOS & cannot boot up Windows afte

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by phoenixxx86, Oct 18, 2008.

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  1. phoenixxx86

    phoenixxx86 Thread Starter

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    Hi guys,

    Need your input on this.

    Yesterday, while I was using my PC, the screen suddenly went black, and tried to 'restart' itself - ie it would go black, and turn on again, but there's no image, so it would go black again. After a while it would freeze and I would have to do a hard reboot.

    It rebooted normally and I could use it again - for a few hours. This time, the same thing happened, except that at the BIOS screen, there were graphical anomalies (Checkered boxes with vertical lines) on the screen. This went on to the Windows XP boot up screen (the one with the progress bar), and then the blue login screen. The blue login screen was in fact blank without the Windows XP font in the middle.

    However as soon as it got to my desktop, it would freeze and the same screen-blank-and-restart (forgive me for lack of a better term) thing would start looping again. Basically I cannot boot up Windows.

    At first I thought it was an overheat issue so I let it to cool down for a few hours before turning it back on - but to no avail.

    I did some searching on the net then and tried the following:
    - switch out RAM sticks
    - disconnect power supply to other less essential parts like CD rom and secondary hard drives (In case there wasn't enough power) for the GPU
    - uninstalled graphics drivers (to which it allowed me to boot normally without artifacting and freezing. However artifacts were still present at BIOS and XP progress bar screen). However once I reinstalled the drivers, the same problem occurred again.
    - I am unable to swap the GPU to another computer as I am studying alone at another town. I will try that as soon as I get the chance to visit a computer shop.

    Most of the sites I went through seem to narrow out the problem to three things: a dying PSU, GPU, or RAM sticks.

    I would like to know if there are any other methods to try because the 1-year warranty has lapsed (My computer is about 1 year and 3 months old) and I don't want to waste money on new hardware if the present one is still salvageable.

    My specs:
    WinXP SP3
    Ati Radeon HD 2900 XT
    2 GB RAM
    550W PSU

    I have two fans (front and side) blowing air into the casing and two exhaust fans (back and top) and the fan on my GPU still works (even when the system froze, the fan would periodically speed up when it became hot - the humming is very evident - no weird sounds from my system as well).

    I do periodically update my drivers but this is happening quite some time from any driver changes - it just came.

    I apologize for the long post but I thought it'd be best if I give out as many details as possible to give a clearer picture. Feel free to ask me for any other details that you need.

    Thanks!
     
  2. leroys1000

    leroys1000 Banned

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    Any time I have had artifacts on the BIOS screen,the video card was bad.
    Might want to see if you still have a warranty on that 2900.
     
  3. phoenixxx86

    phoenixxx86 Thread Starter

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    Can I just clarify that 'BIOS screen' means the motherboard's logo screen (and not the one where you can navigate and change BIOS options)

    Sorry about that - which did you mean?
     
  4. leroys1000

    leroys1000 Banned

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    Same thing.
    Usually,if the card is bad,you will get artifacts on all low level screens.
    The ones before any drivers are loaded.
     
  5. phoenixxx86

    phoenixxx86 Thread Starter

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    Is there any way to confirm that? Because everything runs fine in safe mode. (No artifacts and freezing)

    Thanks!
     
  6. leroys1000

    leroys1000 Banned

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    Only by trying another card.
     
  7. Rich-M

    Rich-M

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    leroys is quite right it's got to be a video card. By any chance does the board have onboard video that you can take the card out and then try that? Short of that taking the card to a shop and having it tested or trying another one is about all you can do I'm afraid.
     
  8. phoenixxx86

    phoenixxx86 Thread Starter

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    The board does have onboard video - but the thing is I use a LCD screen and the package does not provide a converter so that I can plug it into the normal video port.

    Is there any chance this could be a PSU or RAM-related problem? With regards to RAM I will try Memtest, but is there any indication of a failing PSU?
     
  9. leroys1000

    leroys1000 Banned

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    If the power supply is failing,it will usually cause shutdowns and intermitent problems.
    Usually,you won't get artifacts from that.
    I just had a power supply do the above to me.
    It could no longer handle the load and kept shutting down and freezing the computer.
    Ram would also cause intermitent problems and freezes/shutdowns,but
    should not cause artifacts in the video.
     
  10. Rich-M

    Rich-M

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    It really feels like video and you can buy those adapters, they are not expensive.
     
  11. phoenixxx86

    phoenixxx86 Thread Starter

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    Thanks leroys and Rich.

    Will pay the shop a visit whenever I can. Also, I just found out that the 2900 has a three-year warranty. Woo hoo!
     
  12. phoenixxx86

    phoenixxx86 Thread Starter

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    I brought my PC to the shop today and they have confirmed that the graphics card is the culprit.

    Need to wait for a month at least for the warranty process, however :(

    Anyhow, thanks for the help guys :)
     
  13. Rich-M

    Rich-M

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    Yeah it had to be...why not mark this solved in the first post.
     
  14. phoenixxx86

    phoenixxx86 Thread Starter

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    Already did that right after I posted the message :)
     
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