Re: First power-on: monitor blank
What setting is in the BIOS as to the default display?
It should be on PCIe.
Sounds like either the video card does not detect the monitor or just the BIOS procedure does not direct the video out to the correct port.
BTW, if you have multiple plugs, the correct one is the bottom one (closest to the MB).
Also, try disabling the onboard video completely.
As the universe is curved, there cannot be a straight answer...