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Video Card Upgrade Install Guide

Troubleshooting Video Card Problems

For any NVIDIA video card question or problem, I suggest first hunting for it on the enormous GeForce FAQ page. It's very comprehensive and informative. Another excellent resource for NVIDIA based video cards is the NVIDIA Frequently Asked Questions.

If the information I have here is insufficient for the problem you are experiencing then you can tap into a vast wealth of NVIDIA and ATI video card experts at the Guru 3D Forums.

Problem. Just after turning on the computer, you get power and you can hear the fans but then these problem symptons occur:
  • The computer's internal speaker emits a "one long beep two short beeps" error code.
  • The monitor is blank and the monitor indicator is orange or blinking orange.
  • Nothing further appears to be happening. The computer just sits there.
The beep error code may not occur and you could still get the other two symptons. The beep code described is the beep code commonly used for a computer to signal that it can't "see" the video card on boot.

One thing to consider if this type of problem occurs is whether or not the power supply in the computer is sufficient in terms of quality and wattage as I discussed on the My Super PC - Video Card page. If it should be sufficient then it could be that the video card is not installed properly or it could be that you have what I call the "video card boot problem". And it's possible that the video card and motherboard are incompatible, even though it would seem that they should be.

If the computer never sees the video card, not when it is physically cold, not when it is physically warm, not when you first power on, not if you hit the reset button - never - then the video card may not be installed properly. Reinstall the video card.

If the computer some times sees the video card but not always then you have the "video card boot problem". The "video card boot problem" should be consistent in one of two ways. The "warm video card boot problem" is when the computer consistently does not see the video card after the computer has become physically warm, but the computer always sees the video card when the computer is reset. The "cold video card boot problem" is when the computer consistently does not see the video card when the computer has cooled down, but the computer always sees the video card after the computer has warmed up by waiting five minutes or so and then pressing the reset button.

The "cold video card boot problem" is more common than the latter, but the fix for either one is the same. From my observation, the GeForce2 GTS video card is the type of card most frequently involved, but it has been known to happen with other video cards as well. The number of possible solutions is almost infinite, from changing BIOS settings to upgrading the power supply. The solution I recommend is to get a new video card, preferably an upgrade from the video card giving the trouble, but at least a different make of the same video card. It's also agreeable with some to just live with the problem, especially the "warm video card boot problem", since the computer boots on reset and occurs infrequently.

It's also possible that a video card is simply incompatible with a motherboard. I've seen this happen when using a newer model video card with a motherboard made several years prior. The video card tends to get upgraded much more quickly and much more often with newer, more powerful video card models than does the motherboard. The example I've seen is that myself and others were not been able to get an ATI Radeon 9800 Pro video card to work with an ABIT KT7A motherboard. It may just be our bad luck with our own particular components. Or there may be some consistent incompatibility generally between the two components. In any event, it can happen and the solution short of expert-level diagnosing is to choose another make and model of video card.

Problem. After the new video card and drivers are installed, the computer locks up running a test such as one of the Futuremark benchmarks. If this is happening when the video card is overclocked then use the default clock values. The number of possible solutions is almost infinite, from changing BIOS settings to installing new video drivers. The best bet is to try different video card drivers. Use GoBack to restore your hard drive to the time prior to any drivers being installed, swapping out the new video card and re-inserting the old video card if necessary. If the video card still locks up then I suggest returning the video card and getting a different make. See also:
GeForce FAQ: My GeForce keeps on locking up or drops me back to the desktop during 3D applications. How can I fix it?

My system keeps crashing/locking up. How do I fix this?


Problem. Artifacts are evident. For example, black text on a white screen can show some number of scattered black pixels that come and go as the screen is refreshed by scrolling up and down. This is a sign of overheating. Your computer should have an intake case fan and an exhaust case fan. If it does and the problem still occurs then is the video card being overclocked? If it is then use the default clock values. If the video card is not being overclocked then either add more cooling, such as a slot fan, or return the video card and get a different make.

Problem. Under DXDIAG, on the Display tab, the tests run by pressing the "Test Direct3D" button do not all pass successfully. Try this: Run DXDIAG. Go to the Display tab. Click the "Disable" button for "Direct3D Acceleration". Exit DXDIAG. Rerun DXDIAG. Go to the Display tab. Click the "Enable" button for "Direct3D Acceleration". Retry running the Direct3D tests.

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