Bad on-board video, Can't see to set BIOS

One of my older computers has a problem.  I think the on-board video adapter quit.
There were earlier indications that it was going bad.  When I left the computer on for very long times, the monitor would complain of no-video-signal.  A reboot would bring it back.
(I verified by trying a working monitor on this computer -- still doesn't work; and by trying the original monitor on another computer, which works fine.)
I suppose the computer itself may be completely dead, though.  Possible, but unlikely, I think.

The computer is a HP Pavilion 8570C.
The specs say it has "ATI Rage Pro Turbo graphics with AGP slot".

The BIOS info ( ) indicates that there is probably a "Default Primary Video Adapter" setting on the "Advanced" menu.

I'd love to just plug in a cheap video card and see it work.  Is it likely this will work?
If not, how can I reliably change my BIOS setting without seeing it?

Can't see it, so I can't set it.
Can't set it, so I can't see it.
Help me out of this infinite loop!
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farsightAuthor Commented:
By the way, here's the product specs for that computer in case it helps:

Also, I still have Win98 on this old machine.
Well, you can try just installing a PCI video card and see if it comes up.  Borrow one from another machine or a friend, but that PIII-450 is getting long in the tooth, so maybe it's a good time to upgrade to a spiffy 2GHz+ system.

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Most, but not all (and HP can be strange), BIOSes default to PCI slot first when looking for video adapters.  If that's the case, a PCI video apapter should work.  Be sure to install the video card in PCI slot 1 which usually is the one closest to CPU.

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Your system will automatically default to the AGP slot when populated with an AGP card. I doubt the PCI strategy will work because of the malfunctioning unit already on the PCI bus. Besides the old 2X/4X AGP cards are a dime a dozen.
Does not have an AGP card (on board ATI Rage) that is "AGP" device.  The video discovery sequence is controlled by the BIOS.

I have installed PCI cards in similar PCs with on board video and, so far, they all have worked.

In other words, been there - done that.

farsightAuthor Commented:
  I'll try those ideas.  I already have a loaner from a friend set up, but it's just taking a lot of time to get together.
  I'll post followup questions and/or results as necessary.  It's not top priority, so it's take a while.

> PIII-450 is getting long in the tooth
Yea, but it's is such a great multi-purpose energy consuming, noise making, dust collecting heater!  I keep it around just for one particular client who has some special configuration needs, and a once-a-year task for me (coming up soon).

if you can get it to boot with a pci video card (remove the agp card) - get into the bios and disable powersave options.. also if theres option for energystar compliant monitor... disable
This is a cut and paste from another question that I answered.  Answer was accepted, so must have worked for them.

Actually this is a rather simple and straightforward procedure.

Step 1 - Configure BIOS Settings
Most BIOSes have an Integrated Peripherals section where the settings you need are located.  There should be an Initiate Display First setting.  Ensure it is set to PCI.

Step 2 - Install PCI Video Card
With power cord unplugged or master switch off, install card in PCI slot 1 (usually slot nearest CPU, but check mobo markings or manual).  This should prevent IRQ conflicts.

Step 3 - Connect monitor to PCI video card.

Step 4 - Boot PC
You should now have a display.  Windows XP should load its own drivers for an ATI Rage card automatically.

Step 5 - Disable on board video if you so desire and  BIOS or mobo has settings/jumpers to do so.

If this doesn't work, BIOS is different, or you have some other problem, let me know.


Unfortionately unless you can actually SEE the bios it is difficult to set the video boot device.  From this point there are really two options:
Put in a PCI video card and hope it boots to it.  Equally important is to hope that it boots every part from it, there are situations where the main boot sequence (until it starts loading windows) will be on the onboard and the rest will be on the PCI card.  
The second option is to do some research on the particular bios type, this will lead to some hazardous and tricky manipulation.  While I would try to avoid doing this, with enough information about the bios menus it is possible to change a setting or two blindly.  Again, you'd really only feel comfortable doing it if you had another system with the same bios right there to allow you to see what you're doing, but it is an extreme option.  If you ever can see the bios, what willcomp suggested should allow you to eaisly install a video card fine.
Thought monitor was working for awhile and then going off.  If you can't see anything at all, just omit step 1 and go from there.  PCI slot first is default for every BIOS I have seen that allows selection.

Youve got an ISA slot. Isa slot video cards can somtimes boot board after faulty bios flashes. Would let you reflash bios or in your case change settings. Old isa cards aren't worth anything you just have to find a few different ones and try them.
farsightAuthor Commented:
(1) Tried PCI video cards in slot 1.  Result: nothing.
(2) Tried AGP video cards in AGP slot.  Result: nothing.
(3) Tried ripping out everything but the MB, CPU, memory, and speaker.  Result: nothing, not even a beep.
(4) Concluded MB bad (probably ... but I need to move this along).
(5) Bought new MB, CPU (2.4 Ghz P4), memory.  Decided to buy decent, though not top-end video card.  Used friend's case.
     [Callandor: Thanks.]
(6) [stumble  :-)  ]  Power supply in case unusable because MB requires that newer 4-conductor ATX power plug for P4 in addition to the long power plug.  Friend's power supply doesn't have that plug.  I need a new power supply.  Since the power supply is a little underpowered, I decide to just buy a whole new case with new power supply.

--- Basically, I have a whole new system -- except for drives.  ---

(7) Successfully got (one of my multiple) boot drives working (an old "scratch" Win98 drive).
(8) [stumble  :-)  ]  Blew it by upgrading from DirectX 9.0b to DirectX 9.0c.  There are no drivers for GeForce FX 5700LE that are compatible with DX9c on Win98.  (Beta is currently available for DX9c on WinXP or Win2003 only.)
(9) Currently wiping and rebuilding that scratch drive, since DX9c is not uninstallable.

Thanks everyone
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