Question 7-year old PC failed, replaced nearly everything, but now my GPU won't produce video. Need help troubleshooting.

archimago42

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Jul 14, 2013
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I built a gaming PC back in 2013. At the time, it was pretty cutting edge. A few days ago, the screen went white and then the PC wouldn't respond. Shortly thereafter, it fell into a boot-loop and wouldn't POST. I eventually gave in and stripped it down to the motherboard, CPU, and one ram stick (alternating between both sticks to test). Unfortunately, the boot loop persisted. I initially misdiagnosed the problem as a PSU failure (read the pinout upside-down like an idiot and thought the values on my multi-meter were off on the motherboard power pins). So, I replaced it and that didn't solve it, which is when I realized my error. So I just went ahead with an upgrade figuring it was the CPU or motherboard and I needed to replace both anyway. The new motherboard then required new ram and I ended up replacing everything but the drives and GPU basically. Here's where I am now:
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77-DS3H -> Asrock z390 Taichi ATX
  • Ram: 4 gigs x 2 A DDR3-1600 -> 8 gigs x 2 G.Skill Ripjaws DDR4-3200
  • CPU: i5-3570K -> i7 9700K
  • PSU: Roswill Capstone 750W 80 plus gold -> EVGA GQ 1000 Watt 80 Plus Gold ATX
I kept the PSU figuring 7 years was tempting fate for failure if I was upgrading everything anyway. I did not replace the GPU, because my plan has been to upgrade when the next gen comes out in August/September. So that is still:
  • GPU: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 3 GB Ghz edition (relabeled and still sold, now as R9 290x)
The drives are unchanged:
  • 250 gig SSD Boot drive with Windows 10 pro 64 bit installation on it
  • 1 TB HDD for storage and programs
  • 1 TB HDD for storage and programs
Issue:
I put the new PC together and it POSTS and runs totally normally off the on-board graphics via HDMI. So I know everything is working besides the GPU/PCI Express.
If I add the GPU, I get no video through either DVI-D or HDMI (I don't have a VMI cable). As is typical, having the GPU installed turns off the on-board video, so I can't see what it's doing. But I can see that I get an "A2" code on the Taichi motherboard, which means it is waiting for me to hit F1 to continue so it can boot. If I hit F1, the code disappears, so it likely boots. Again, I can't see that. Before I add the GPU, I clear CMOS, so it detects the hardware fresh every time. I can see it do this and then reboot each time.
In Uefi, I have confirmed that the PCI Express slot is given priority. The GPU is seated properly and in the correct slot according to the manufacturer. I also tried it in another PCI slot and got the same result. I cannot independently test the GPU, because my old motherboard and CPU combo wouldn't POST. I have no other system I can test it on. It's possible the GPU is toast, but I honestly don't really think so. I found murmurings online that ASRock may sometimes have issues detecting legacy cards not equipped for Uefi, and my card may be legacy only, but I can't confirm that. I can see that CSM is enabled, so that shouldn't be a problem, but I don't know for sure.
So I'm stuck not knowing with certainty whether the GPU works and whether the motherboard PCI slot works properly. I also don't know if both work but there is some sort of compatibility issue in the way. I don't really know what to do next. I could take it apart and return the motherboard and get a different brand, but that's a lot of work for an option that may lead nowhere. I've also considered taking the CPU out again and replacing the old one on my prior motherboard just in case it's the i5 that failed and not the prior motherboard. In that case, I could test the GPU, but once again, that's a lot of work for an unlikely hope.
What other options do I have? Is there any way to narrow down the culprit further? Anything I haven't thought of? I'm really dreading tearing this thing apart over and over and over and driving an hour to and from microcenter over and over without any idea what I'm trying to fix.
 

boju

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It's possible the old system copped a surge, affecting the motherboard and or gpu as well. You're better off getting physical help with this. Testing the 7970 on another machine (Uefi or Legacy board) at a PC/service store, i'd say they should have the parts to work with and come to the correct conclusion for you. And test your current motherboard with a newer card.
 

archimago42

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Jul 14, 2013
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It's possible the old system copped a surge, affecting the motherboard and or gpu as well. You're better off getting physical help with this. Testing the 7970 on another machine (Uefi or Legacy board) at a PC/service store, i'd say they should have the parts to work with and come to the correct conclusion for you. And test your current motherboard with a newer card.
Hmm, thanks. It is starting to look like that may be the case unfortunately. I didn't think about taking the GPU to a service store to test. That's a decent idea.

On the other hand, I'm starting to think I might just pick-up something like this until the next gen drops: Gigabyte Radeon RX 580 Overclocked Dual-Fan 8GB GDDR5

It's basically a $180 loss for me, which does suck, but I didn't quite realize how old my card had gotten. That card should perform drastically better in the meantime (I have that right, correct?), so I would get some benefit at least. Assuming the current card can't be evaluated totally for free, I'm really starting to get diminishing returns by fussing with it in both time and money I'm realizing. You can't even buy it's analogs anymore.

Do you think that makes sense?
 

archimago42

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Jul 14, 2013
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I think it makes sense. 580 is still decent for the money.
Thanks, I ended up going slightly higher with a MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ventus XS Overclocked Dual-Fan 6GB GDDR5 PCIe 3.0 Graphics Card from Micro Center today. It installed without issue, so the mobo was fine. I took a little bit a hit of $230 to replace the burned card, but I ended up with an upgraded system and still have plenty of incentive (and system capability) to go top-of-the line later this year when next gen drops.

Thanks for the help!
 
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