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Old 07-30-09, 11:55 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 3
Unhappy Sparkle 8400GS 512MB PCI + Dell Optiplex GX260 = problem

Hello all! Sorry for writing such a long post, please bear with me.

The plan is to upgrade the MythTV HTPC with a HD-capable card (VDPAU support), and since the motherboard had no PCI-E slots I opted for the Sparkle 8400GS PCI Passive 512 MB. I received the package the other day, but I just can't get it to work on my HTPC.

I am confident it is a hardware problem, since one of the symptoms is that I cannot enter the BIOS setup screen. The screen just goes blank and nothing happens (the LED on the monitor is still green, indicating a present signal). POST:ing works fine, and I can even boot a Linux system as long as it remains in the terminal and doesn't use a framebuffer. If I try booting the GUI, or try turning on the framebuffer I get the same blank screen.

The computer in question is a Dell Optiplex GX260 tower with a P4 1.8 GHz CPU, 250W PSU.

My first idea was that it was some kind of a PSU problem, so I borrowed a 480W and installed it, but no avail. It doesn't matter which PCI slot I'm using. I have tried removing all HDD:S, CD-ROMS and all other cards except for the GPU.

When I put the 8400GS into another, newer, Dell machine (still with a 250W PSU) it worked like a charm, so I have become quite confident that the power supply isn't the culprit.

Now, what on earth can make the 8400GS fail on this very computer? The motherboard seems fine, I have been using it for MythTV for several years without a problem. I should also mention that before trying the 8400GS, the computer was equipped with a 6xxx series AGP GeForce card.

Also I have two TV tuner cards (PCI) that are fine, so the PCI bus seems OK.

I also read somewhere that the 8400GS could need more power than the 25W specified for a PCI slot, could this be an issue? I have upgraded the BIOS to the latest version and I have also tried clearing the CMOS.

I hope I have given a detailed enough description of the problem and I really hope that some of you nVidia experts could shed some light on this issue. Thank you very much,


Card: Sparkle Geforce 8400GS 512MB Passive PCI (not pci express)
Computer: Dell Optiplex GX260, P4 1.8 GHz Tower
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