Question Dead Graphics Card?

Dec 4, 2021
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I just want to run this by some other people in the likely event that I missed something:

My computer has been running smoothly for a few years. I recently tried Star Citizen during their free week. My computer barely meets minimum specs, but it was managing well on low settings...at least until the screen went black. Now, the bios will display when I turn on the computer, but it goes black as soon as Windows 10 starts to load. If I remove the graphics card and use processor graphics, everything is fine. I eventually did a complete reinstall of Windows to account for any corrupt software, no change.

System stats:
i5-7500 processor
ASUS H110 motherboard
G. Skill 16GB 2133 DDR4 Ram
Antec 430W PSU
XFX RX 470 4GB video

Additional thought:
The power light on the graphics card is blue (good) when it is plugged in (plus I found that the graphics card only pulls 20W at idle), so it's probably not a power issue?
The bios still displays at startup, so a signal must still be going through the PCI slot?
The card would not even respond to Windows native display drivers during a fresh install, so probably not software?
Without the graphics card, the computer works great. At least I still have that.

I think an equivalent to this 256-bit RX 470 card runs about $600 or more in today's market (I paid $300 5 years ago), so I just want to be extra sure it's really toast before I give up on it.

Thank you for your time.
 

DSzymborski

Titan
Moderator
Unfortunately, it does sound like the GPU failed. What's worrying is that it happened while it was being stressed, because while you don't specify your exact PSU, I'm unaware of any Antec 430W PSU that should ever have been paired with an RX 470.

The ones I know (Earthwatts and Basiq) are both very basic, cheaply made, group-regulated PSUs , which are suitable for office builds, but not for builds with a discrete GPU that can have spikes suddenly requiring 160-170W when stressed. Neither of these PSUs could touch even 400W of +12V power when new (again, we're talking designs for Pentium III era PCs, before powerful +12V GPUs and CPUs were a thing).

Given the age that either of these PSUs are -- unless there's a better Antec 430W that's newer that I'm unaware of -- these should basically be treated as 250-300W PSUs in 2021. In which case, it sounds like your luck finally ran out.
 
Dec 4, 2021
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DSzymborski,
I was afraid of that. Yes, my PSU is an antique. It is an Earthwatts from around 2008. It's dual rail (back when that was more popular) with 360W devoted to the 12V components. I know that's not much, but I've always favored more efficient (and budget friendly) GPUs anyway. My recent research also confirms that PSU efficiency degrades over time. I'm not sure at what rate a PSU degrades, but 250W might be generous after 13 years of regular operation.

As you said, I guess my luck finally ran out.

Thank you for your reply.
 

DSzymborski

Titan
Moderator
DSzymborski,
I was afraid of that. Yes, my PSU is an antique. It is an Earthwatts from around 2008. It's dual rail (back when that was more popular) with 360W devoted to the 12V components. I know that's not much, but I've always favored more efficient (and budget friendly) GPUs anyway. My recent research also confirms that PSU efficiency degrades over time. I'm not sure at what rate a PSU degrades, but 250W might be generous after 13 years of regular operation.

As you said, I guess my luck finally ran out.

Thank you for your reply.
I wish I had better news for you, given how much the GPU market sucks right now. It's also possible that the GPU just happened to fail at this time; the PSU is the lead suspect, but we don't have incriminating evidence!

Should you acquire another GPU, I would definitely upgrade the PSU; even if it isn't the guilty party here, it's really quite old, both technologically and chronologically. The only stroke of good luck is that PSU prices have settled. Last year, PSUs had gotten quite expensive due to various supply issues and while we still have those all over the place, PSU prices have generally come down and you can once again find competent Corsair CX PSUs in the $60-80 range and higher-end ones for $100-$130.
 
Dec 4, 2021
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I'd like to add a quick update for anyone that runs into this thread in the future:
I got a new, modular PSU, which is wonderful. After I made sure everything else works, I decided to give the GPU one last try. I'm happy to say that it works! I guess my old PSU was in the process of failing. I'm grateful that it ultimately didn't take anything else with it.
 
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