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trouble-shooting video problems

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by downriver, Dec 18, 2004.

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  1. downriver

    downriver Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2004
    Messages:
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    I am having problems with my video display and cannot seem to isolate the issue. I have video on the mainboard, not a separate card, with 65 Megs Ram (of 256) dedicated to video. The box is Asus Terminator P4.

    Symptoms are several / differing:

    Sometimes the monitor just goes black and I have to turn it off and back on. It always bounces (BOING!) right back. More serious issue is that sometimes (and unpredictably) I will click some/anything and get a screen full of vertical colored bars and a whole-system lockup. The only way out is to re-start at the power switch level, go through scandisk, etc., and I'm back in business. Until it happens again...

    I haven't tried the obvious test of using a different monitor, mainly because the problem is so sporadic and unpredictable. The only extra monitors I have are small-screened, and my eyes don't work well with them... so I'm hesitant to tie such into my system for an indefinite time period. (I do my work on this machine, every/all day.)

    One fairly knowledgable person, on hearing about the vertical colored bars and system freeze, immediately went to the on-board video as the problem -- but that goes to replacing the motherboard (i.e., building a whole new system...), and I don't want to go there on spec... This box is only a little over a year old.

    This machine has only two PCI slots, one with the modem and the other with my ATI TV tuner card in it. I have an "old" Rage Pro video card I could plug in, but then I'd lose the TV card... I don't do gaming, but I do like to watch TV while I work. But more important, I imagine that if the video on the mainboard is going out, then the rest of the board may also be on the way to complete failure...?!? In that case, it makes no sense to throw money at it when I need to be starting over with a new box/board et al.

    One suggestion made to me has been to upgrade that TV card to one that is also a general purpose video card (a $200 ATI item, but still cheaper than a whole new machine).

    Anyway, if somebody can help walk me through testing and isolating this / these problem(s), that would be great. I don't know exactly what system info is relevant, but will post whatever is needed.

    Thanks
     
  2. winbob

    winbob

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Messages:
    3,370
    Downriver,

    You may be up the river. My 'guess' is that the problem rests with the onboard video controller rather than the monitor. So a new MOBO may be in your future.

    My reasoning is that if the problem was a failing monitor, it would be unlikely that your entire system would lockup. Afterall, you can turn off the monitor without affecting the system.

    That is not to say that it is 100% impossible for a monitor error to lockup the system, but less likely. "Decent" video cards are not expensive. Cheap video cards are really cheap...so you could get one to trouble shoot with. Likewise, older ATI combo cards can be had for a lot less than $200! They are better than what you have now for video as well.
     
  3. downriver

    downriver Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2004
    Messages:
    262
    ... yeah. Your logic's impeccable, unfortunately. In this case, I think I'm actually looking at re-building the whole thing. This particular box (Asus) doesn't lend itself to re-working internally, and I'm not sure it would be worth it anyway -- too small, not enough PCI slots, etc. The thing is so small I have to be extremely careful that the drive cables don't get tangled up in the system's fans..! It's like working on a new car with zero room for human hands, for a guy who's used to old Chevy trucks where you could literally climb into the engine compartment to work on things...

    Old Man Downriver...

    Thanks for the input, even though it's bad news...
     
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