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NVidia NVS 440 causes screen to go blank

Posted on 2007-10-03
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-08
I just finished building my new PC with the following specs:

Abit P35 Pro motherboard
Intel Q6600 Quad Core processor
3GB Crucial Ballistix DDR2-800 RAM
WD Raptor 150GB HD
Seasonic S12 650W Power Supply
Windows XP SP2

For my graphics card, I have selected the NVidia Quadro NVS 440. I have two of them.

My monitor is an HP LP1965 19" LCD.

Here's my problem:

When I install the NVS 440 card into the PCIe slot and try to boot up windows, I get a blank screen. I know windows is booting properly, including loading my desktop, I JUST CAN'T SEE IT.   The last thing I see before the screen goes blank is the windows splash screen.

So I went out and bought a PNY NVidia GeForce FX5200. When I remove the NVS 440 from the PCIe slot and replace it with the FX5200 (which goes in a regular PCI slot), the comptuer boots, I can see the screen, windows loads, and I'm ready to go, no problems whatsoever.

In addition, I bought a PNY NVidia GeForce 7300 GS, which goes in a PCIe slot.  Again, when I removed the NVS 440 and put the 7300 into the same slot, the computer POSTs, boots, loads and displays my Windows desktop, and then displays the "New Hardware Wizard".  Exactly what you would expect to happen.

I am using the latest BIOS from Abit. I'm using the latest everything, considering I built it this past weekend.  I've also updated windows with all patches and service packs, etc.  

Since everything works with the FX5200 AND the GeForce 7300GS, I know Windows isn't corrupted. And since it is a new build, it isn't an issue of old/incompatible drivers.

I did NOT install the FX5200 or the 7300GS drivers.

I checked the bios and the PCIEx is set to be the primary display card. The only other option in the BIOS is PCI.

I checked the motherboard, and the auxiallary power for the PCIe slots is plugged in.

I have my RAM set at 2.2V and 4-4-4-12 timing, which is the recommended setting according to Crucial.

When dealing with the NVS 440, I am plugging my monitor into the primary port of the graphics card (the one furthest away from the motherboard), and have my monitor plugged into the primary jack (labeled "1") on the required splitter (DMS-59 to dual DVI-I cable; PNY part # 91004086).

What could be the problem? Is the NVS 440 incompatible with my motherboard? Could the cards be faulty?  Is it a voltage issue that I need to adjust in the BIOS?  An interrupt level incompatibility?  Not enough of a power supply (unlikely, considering they are 2-d cards)?

Should I try installing the NVidia drivers and THEN install the NVS 440?

Finally, it seems I am not the only one to have this issue:


The common link between this fellow and myself is that we are both using Quadro NVS cards and HP flat panel monitors.  I have asked him for the other specs on his machine and will let you know when I get them.

Any help you guys can provide will mean the world to me.  There is nothing more aggravating than looking at $900 worth of graphics cards sit on my desk and not inside my computer.

Question by:kemckay
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LVL 27

Assisted Solution

michko earned 360 total points
ID: 20009203
I have two suggestions:

Start it in safe mode and see if it still blanks out.  If you can get a readable screen in safe mode, then check the hardware for install errors.

Get to the desktop using one of the other monitors.  Lower your display resolution to as low as it will go (probably 800 x 600).  Apply the settings.  Shut down, replace the card, and see if it comes up now.

Author Comment

ID: 20009408
Thanks, michko.  I'll try both of those when I get home.

Someone else suggested it may be a voltage issue and/or a synchronization issue.  Those are two topics beyond my level of understanding, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

"I believe NVS 440 uses system memory, but I think this happens only after the driver is loaded.

I mention this because your system uses DDR2-800 memory.  Perhaps theres a sync problem."

The driver isn't loaded, because the screen goes blank as soon as my desktop appears.  Assuming windows actually recognizes the card (can't say for sure), behind that dark screen is the "Found new hardware" wizard.  

And the NVS 440 has 256MB of DDR3 RAM on the card, so I don't know the extent to which it is dependent on system memory, if at all.

How would I determine if I need to adjust my BIOS to a different voltage?  I don't know what a sync problem is, but how would I know if it were occurring?  
LVL 27

Assisted Solution

michko earned 360 total points
ID: 20009711
Well, as much as it pains me to admit :), I'll have to say that I don't know.  I've never heard of adjusting the BIOS to a different voltage.  And I don't really think the problem has anything to do with your BIOS as you can see it boot through the BIOS, it's Windows having the issue.

When you open the display resolution, click on advanced options.  Under the Monitor tab check the screen refresh rate.  This should (typically) be set at 60Hertz.

One other suggestion - Did the card come with an installation CD?  If so, boot into Windows with one of the working cards and install software/drivers for the card.   Use the default install locations, it may allow it to pick up the card when it next boots.
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Author Comment

ID: 20009828
See, installing the drivers was something I thought of doing, but everything I've read says do NOT install drivers without the card installed.  But I figure, since I just built the computer, if it bombs, then I just zero fill the HDD and start over.  I have a handful of things to try.  That should keep my busy until about 10 pm tonight.  I'll let you know.

One other thought:  When installing windows, I encountered the oft-mentioned 34 minute hang problem.  If memory serves me correctly, that's the part of the install where windows is "installing devices".  The computer just stopped installing at 34 mintues and the screen went blank.  This happened a handful of times.  Each time, I reformatted the drive and started over.  Finally, I decided to be patient.  The screen went blank, but I let it sit for an hour.  I came back, hit the power button on the computer, and for whatever reason Windows picked up where it left off.  

I wasn't asking questions at that point.  

Now, if Windows is corrupted, why would it work with a PCI video card and a different PCIe video card, just not the NVS 440?  

That's why I don't think it's Windows.  But what the heck do I know.
LVL 27

Assisted Solution

michko earned 360 total points
ID: 20010196
I doubt your Windows install is corrupt, but the card obviously doesn't like something with the drivers it currently has.  Which is why I suggested installing the drivers without the card installed.  Normally I wouldn't suggest that, but it's not letting video go through the card now, so figured it was worth a try.

Lowering the resolution as far as it will go may allow it to boot through.  Sometimes hangup can occur when Windows is trying to show the screen at a resolution not supported without the actualy drivers installed.
LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 20010379
If it works with 2 cards and only failed with NVS440, then you might rule out the card is faulty. Exchange the card and try see if it helps.

Author Comment

ID: 20011063
Booting in safe mode didn't fix the problem.

Lowering the resolution as low it can go didn't solve the problem.

If I put the FX5200 in the PCI slot and the NVS 440 in the PCIe slot and boot, I get the problem.

Right now, I am going to try installing the drivers for the card without the card installed.

It can't get any worse, and my frustration level cannot be any higher.
LVL 27

Expert Comment

ID: 20011098
If the driver install doesn't fix the problem, I'd have to agree with PUNKY - possibly a defective card.  Wish I had something more optimistic to offer.

Author Comment

ID: 20011152
So I tried something else.

As a reminder, there were no problems booting with just the FX5200.  That works just fine.

I put the FX5200 in the primary PCIe slot.  Then I put the NVS 440 in the secondary PCIe slot.

I plugged one monitor into the port on the FX5200.  That's it.  Nothing was plugged into the NVS 440.

I encountered the problem.  It seems just having the NVS 440 in the motherboard causes the problem.

So NOW what does everyone think?  Does anyone know of compatibility issues?  I'll take anything, no matter how far fetched.  Give it your best shot.

LVL 70

Assisted Solution

Merete earned 1640 total points
ID: 20011247
Does your mainboard support dual video card?
Install the drivers for the main video card first.
You can use two monitors with one card.?

check this guide for some insights installing a video card
PNY Quadro NVS 440 / 256MB DDR / PCI Express x1 / Dual DMS-59 / Workstation / Video Card


LVL 27

Expert Comment

ID: 20011266
Good suggestions from Merete (as always).  Let us know how it goes.

Author Comment

ID: 20011274
There are two PCIe slots.  One is x16 architecture/x16 bandwidth.  The other is x16 architechture/x4 bandwidth.

I should be able to use 2 Nvidia Quadro NVS 440's without a problem.

Each of those cards supports 4 monitors.  That's 8 monitors total.

I chose to use two of the same video card and the same monitors to avoid conflicts.  

Author Comment

ID: 20011315
I remember reading something about the Abit IP35 Pro being 2-3% overclocked out of the box.  Would that make a difference?

Author Comment

ID: 20011370
I installed the drivers for the NVS 440, put in the card, booted the machine, and it still isn't working.

I give up!

Author Comment

ID: 20011407
This just gets weirder and weirder as the night goes on.

After it didn't work the last time, I just hit tab a couple of time while the screen was blank.  Then I hit Enter.

And the damn thing brought up my desktop.

Except now, there is a giant white block full of rainbow color dots acting as my mouse cursor.  I rebooted, but that didn't solve the problem (the reboot didn't stall or encounter any problems, at least none that I can see).

So again I ask - any ideas?
LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 20011425
Return the card and get other though.

Author Comment

ID: 20011458
I can't.  They were a birthday gift.  PNY will not deal with anyone other than the original purchaser.  Orginal purchaser = person with the recipt.  No recipt, no help from PNY.

Doesn't matter that they were brand new, wrapped in cellophane.  That's "they", as in "two of them".

No receipt, no help.

There is SO MUCH vitriol directed at PNY by yours truly.  But that's beyond the scope of what we're doing here.
LVL 70

Assisted Solution

Merete earned 1640 total points
ID: 20011518
I'd start fresh if possible there is a strange madness to installing video cards, some require a clean formatted hdd as the onboard directx gets corrupted with xpsp2 directx thats why it is important to install the drivers first before inserting the cards,
now you have to remove all traces of these cards drivers, to start fresh.
Do you have an onboard video card you can use?
Remove the card/s
when you reboot tap F8 then choose start my computer in VGA mode uninstall the drivers everything related to the cards
reboot but tap F8 again and boot into safemode, install the drivers for one card, I think you migh thave to make sure the cd belongs to the right card just incase there is some connection.
Do you have the manual?
Are you power off before inserting the cards laying the tower on its side, degauzing yourself?


Author Comment

ID: 20013761

You are right.  I installed the drivers for the NVS 440 with only the FX5200 installed and then rebooted the computer.  I then booted with just the NVS 440 in the PCIe slot (no other graphics card in the machine), hit tab a couple times, pressed enter, said a small prayer, and then the computer brought up my desktop.

But the mouse had some sort of weird white block as a cursor.  Other than that, I could right click and get into NVidia's Control Panel.

So I stuck my second NVS 440 in my second PCIe slot (x16 architecture/x4 bandwidth) and booted.  

That didn't work.  I could get to my desktop, but the resolution was something like 400x400.  I did get the pop-up box in the lower right corner that said "New Hardware Found: NVidia Quadro NVS 440".  So, windows recognized the hardware.  The drivers were installed, but the second card threw it for a loop.  The second card caused it to stop using the drivers.  When I tried to reinstall them with the second card installed, the install program asked me if I wanted to overwrite the files.  So the drivers were still installed, they just weren't being used/recognized.

I don't understand why.

Is there some specific protocol for installing 2 graphics cards?  I just figured since they were the same card, and the drivers were already installed, that there wouldn't be any problems when I put in the second identical card.

I figured wrong.


A large part of me wants to just start completely from scratch, zero filling the drive and then reinstalling windows.  But I'll forgo that until I know it's aboslutely necessary.

BTW, I ran memtest and Western Digital Lifeguard Diagnostics last night and both came back error free.
LVL 70

Accepted Solution

Merete earned 1640 total points
ID: 20018972
kemckay I have never tried installing inserting  2 different video cards ...Not a good idea. You can't just swap video cards around.
re-reading everything,
unfortunately I think you have more serious problems and have spent an exhaustive time on this and its time to look over what has happened, lets just go thru them see if we can put them in some type order:

you have had problems installing windows to start with,
>When installing windows, I encountered the oft-mentioned 34 minute hang problem.  <
 if one of the slots on the mainboard is not functioning properly  may have caused the 34 minute wait. Hardware fault.
Setup stops responding with 34 minutes remaining

Did you have a full functioning AV before activating the OS on the internet? the Balaster worm warning.
Did you actually delete the partition prior to installing windows? this a clean install.
Otherwise you performed a repair reinstall.
 Steps to Clean Install XP

How big is the PSU? To run 2 cards you'll need a minimum of around 460 watts.
Otherwise windows will disable the card to save resources for itself.

You mention you have 2 nvidia 4400,>>
I should be able to use 2 Nvidia Quadro NVS 440's without a problem.<< but  you swapped one around with the FX.<< may have corrupted the PCI slot.

If I put the FX5200 in the PCI slot and the NVS 440 in the PCIe slot and boot, I get the problem.<< yes

>>There are two PCIe slots.  One is x16 architecture/x16 bandwidth.  The other is x16 architechture/x4 bandwidth.<< and you swapped the one of the nvidia with the FX.
You said>>
Now, if Windows is corrupted, why would it work with a PCI video card and a different PCIe video card, just not the NVS 440?  << maybe the driver for one of  the nvidia is still in memory.
Since the 2 nvifdia cards are the same you woudl have to remove all of them so windows knwos what is what.
Have you downloaded the latest drivers? and not installed them off the cd,

It is not  easy to resolve this problem or pin point it in type unfortunately  so you'll have to do some reading.
As mention on the web page forwarned is forearmed
Video/Graphics Cards : ISA - PCI - AGP - PCI Express Adapter Cards - Page 1

As i see it you need to ensure your windows is functioning properly , use the most up to date drivers only.
Test out the video card/s nvidia,
install one only at any time to another computer or get a Tech to test them individually.
Then that would rule out the nvidia, you may have damaged the mainboard or corrupted the pci slots on the mainboard hot swapping them over and around with the FX
Do you have an onboard video too? or is that the FX?

you may have clean install your windows.
uninstall the FX before installing the nVidia4400, install the nvidia drivers before inserting the Nvidia cards.
Good Luck, if I missed anything awe shucks :)

Author Comment

ID: 20019086
Hello Merete.

I have spent untold hours on this, probably approaching 70 at this point.  I certainly did not plan for this.

As I write this, I am zero filling my hard drive.  It will take all night, according to Western Digital.

My power supply is a Seasonic S12, 650W.  Should be sufficient.

My mainboard does not have onboard video.

When I installed Windows for the first time, I had the NVS 440 installed.  The screen went blank after 34 mintues.  I thought the NVS 440 was causing the Windows installation issue, so I inserted the FX5200 instead.  A reboot of the computer and that card seemed to fix the problem.

After my drive is finished zero filling, I plan to try this all again.  I will unplug everything that isn't necessary.  Just one graphics card, one hard drive, one optical drive.  And I'll see how that goes.

Do you suggest I use the NVS 440 or the FX5200?

In the Microsoft article and elsewhere on the web, there are instructions on how to open a file that will tell you what is causing the problem with Windows.  If I run into the problem again, maybe that will give me my answer.

I think part of my problem is trying to use 2 x16 version of the 440's.  What I should be using is 1 that is x16 (in the x16 electrical slot) and one that is x1 (in the x4 electrical slot).  

If this doesn't work, I will find a local tech and let him/her figure it out.  I have wasted entirely too much time on this.  I need to move on.

Thanks for the well wishes!
LVL 70

Assisted Solution

Merete earned 1640 total points
ID: 20023151
Hi kemckay,
Thank you for taking the time to read my links, and your patience.
The FX5200?
At this stage don't insert any other cards until we have the right procedures.
Get all the facts about these nvidia cards first as you are trying toinstall 2.. if done properly it should install with no more problems.
We have access to just about any guides needed.
yes maybe> I think part of my problem is trying to use 2 x16 version of the 440's.  What I should be using is 1 that is x16 (in the x16 electrical slot) and one that is x1 (in the x4 electrical slot).
I think it maybe  problem with one of the dimms now, if you have inserted an incompatible card I hope it hasnt caused damage it.
you'll soon know if your windows setup stalls again.
Please dont connect to the internt before you have a fully updated AV.
Good luck.
Look forward to your feedback and progress.

Author Comment

ID: 20308543
As it turned out, the problem was a bad slots on my motherboard.  Because I am using 2 video cards that are x16, I bought a motherboard with an X38 chipset for my new board, just to be safe.  

This has solved my problems.

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