Dell Optiplex 980 VGA Port does not work....

Rojosho used Ask the Experts™

I have a Dell Optiplex 980 SFF which was purchased from Amazon.  The  unit appears to be in good working order, EXCEPT for the "on-board" VGA port does not work - the unit came with a graphic card and now I know why.
> I removed the graphics card because it was running very hot and for this application that this workstation will be used, simple VGA will work just fine.
> Connecting to the on-board VGA port, there was not video during POST and after a time, I could hear Windows familiar chime when completing it's boot up.
> I started to troubleshoot.
> After having to deal with a dead CMOS Battery, I was able to configure the BIOS to use only the on-board Video (aka the VGA port) and after several attempts, the only way I can get Video at POST is with the graphics card.

So, I purchased a new(??) Optiplex 980 System Board (Which also had a dead CMOS battery, which I replaced with a new one) and low-and-behold, it TOO has a faulty VGA port.  So, now I have to ask myself...
> Am I doing something wrong?
> Is this a class issue with the Optiplex 980 SSF models?
> Was the second system Board a "used" one with the same problem?

So, I thought I would reach out to the nebulous and see if this is me or something else.

Inquiring minds need help....

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Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software Engineer
The Optiplex series was supplied with the low-end on-board graphics that was part of the Intel chipset.  It wasn't very functional or fast, but it was there and it was essentially free.

Users quickly discovered that decent graphics performance could be obtained by adding a graphics card such as the low-end Radeon 5000/6000 series (around $20).  This also supplied HDMI instead of VGA or DisplayPort.

That being the case, the on-board graphics could go bad and nobody know as the system used the add-in card.  It is unusual to find two boards with the same problem but coincidences do occur.  If your motherboard has a DisplayPort port, try that instead and see if it works.  If it does, your VGA cable or display may be at fault.

As a side note, certain Optiplex models had thermal control of the power supply fan and it didn't work well.  If you find that the top of the power supply has hot air slowly drifting out while the bottom is still cool, then I recommend worth pulling the supply, cutting away the front grille and rewiring the fan power to a cheap fleabay DC fan controller instead of the internal thermal sensor.
Most Valuable Expert 2013
What CPU are you using?  The Opti's Q57 chipset isn't fully compatible with Intel's IGPs so with some processors - certainly the i7's - you won't get output though the built in VGA which is why so many of them have separate graphics cards.
RojoshoRTCC-III Level-2 Support


Based on my reasearch,  I find that BOTH of these responses are on the mark... THANK YOU for confirming what I found after placing my question.

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