Display corruption even on Bios screen, not monitor or graphics cards

Posted on 2009-05-07
Last Modified: 2013-11-09
I have a desktop HP, 3 years old which suddenly developed screen corruption a couple of weeks ago.  I have uprated to a new PSU, tried a different monitor and tried each of the two GE Force 8500 cards individually (and each card in each of the two possible slots).  I think this may be a motherboard problem but would be interested in input.  

I know there's not likely to be an out and out solution so points will be awarded for helpful ideas / confirmation or otherwise of it's possibly being a motherboard issue.
Question by:simongv
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LVL 62

Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 24330455
Can you elaboarate on "tried each of the two GE Force 8500 cards individually (and each card in each of the two possible slots)" ?

Because you are getting the effect even on the BIOS setup this is clearly not a driver problem so it's a question of identifying the faulty hardware.

You say the issue developed suddenly so assume all has been well and then you are getting the issue without any warning.
Is it possible you can post a screen shot of the problem?

Does it look like any of these ?

Author Comment

ID: 24330557
Normally the two cards (call them A and B) are in SLI slots 1 and 2.  I've tried card A in slot 1 and in slot 2 and tried card B in slot 1 and slot 2.

All was well then I had slight screen corruption a couple of times during a game (fable) and it crashed, then this problem started even on bootup.  I'll see if I can get a shot using a camera and post it - no way of screen shotting as the PC now doesn't boot properly.  

Author Comment

ID: 24330594
Just checked out the screenshots and yes - it does look a bit similar to the first, the same pattern but it's patchy.  If it's left on the BIOS screen then the corruption seems to get worse over time.
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

ID: 24330943
I am inclined to think that corruption on BIOS screens in general is due to the video card, and video RAM is usually the chief culprit.  Overheating of the card is another possibility.  Please tell us why you don't think it's the cards - this will help us zero in on the problem.

Author Comment

ID: 24331753
As there are two graphics cards I completely removed each one in turn and tried the remaining in each slot.  It seems unlikely that both would develop the same fault at the same time (though SLI stopped working a few months ago so maybe the other card developed the problem earlier).  

I don't think it's overheating as it happens immediately on booting from cold.  From the link vido ram dos sound like a likely cause.  It only had a 400MW psu when the manufacturer minimum is 450 - could that have caused damage over the years?
LVL 69

Accepted Solution

Callandor earned 500 total points
ID: 24331855
>It only had a 400MW psu when the manufacturer minimum is 450 - could that have caused damage over the years?

Oh yes - when you try to draw more current from a power supply than it is able, it becomes unstable and can send surges through whatever is connected to it.  Never connect an underpowered power supply to your equipment, because it can fail and it may cost you everything.  Now you should suspect your video cards and your power supply and replace them.

Author Comment

ID: 24331906
This was an HP standard PC that I havn't addd anything too, so I'm less than happy to find they underpowered it.  It looks like the disk might have issues too.  Oh well - the psu is now more than powerful enough and it looks like I'll be buying a new graphics card tomorrow.

Thanks for the help.

Author Comment

ID: 24345147
Just to confirm that it was the graphics cards, by the looks of it because of the underpowered power supply.  With a new graphics card (and of course the new, high powered PSU) everything is working correctly.

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