Extremely Mysterious Startup Problem is Plaguing my PC

Jan 13, 2019
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When my PC is booting up there’s no video, and the one and only way to fix this is to take out my GPU and reinsert it. I’m facing this issue for about a year now between pauses of 3-6 months. The problem is random, and I don’t know who the culprit is, or how to permanently fix it. Really mysterious and frustrating. That’s the long story short, now I’m going to tell you folks the long story long to make sure no relevant detail is left out. I apologize in advance if it is too long.

I built this gaming PC, which for now is my first and only, about 4 years ago in 2015. Below is my actual configuration, with the only difference being that back in 2015 when I first built it the GPU was a Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming 4GB, which was replaced by the GTX 1080 Ti last year. From 2015 to 2017 I never had any problems at all with my computer. I’m extremely cautious with it, and do a deep cleaning every 6 months. I never took the CPU, PSU and mobo out of the case though.

CPU - Intel Core i7 4790k - 4.4 GHz - Devil's Canyon
GPU - Zotac GTX 1080 Ti Amp Extreme - 11 GB
Mobo - Gigabyte Z97X-UD3H-BK - Black Edition
RAM - Kingston HyperX Fury Black - 8GB 1866 MHz - Dual Channel (2x 4GB)
HD - Seagate 1 TB and Seagate 500 GB (Divided into Disks C,D and E)
Watercooler - Corsair Hydro Series H105
Power Supply - Corsair CX 600W
Case - Thermaltake Urban S41 Black - Mid Tower

The problem started last year when I upgraded to my GTX 1080 Ti. When my PC boots up it makes the usual “PC booting up noise”, and after about 2-3 seconds it gets louder due to all of the fans spinning. My GPU has leds that change from red to blue, with red meaning something is loading. The colors can be changed or lights turned off, but that’s just the default preset from factory. Whenever the problem happens there’s a small 2 seconds pause before the fans start spinning and there’s no video on the monitor. The lights in my GPU stay red, when in reality they were supposed to turn blue when the fans start to spin and video is loaded on the monitor. The only way to fix this is to turn everything off, open up the case, take the GPU out and then put it back in. I also apply some pressure in all of the cables on the mobo, just to make sure they are properly inserted. When I turn my PC on again the small pause happens again, but this time video is loaded. This problem happened for about a week, and every day I had to do the above-mentioned procedure for it to work again. Simply rebooting the PC or turning everything off and on again doesn’t work no matter how many times I try it. After that week the problem mysteriously went away for about 3 months. The PC always booted up normally, with no pause at all and video always loading - like it’s supposed to.

When the problem randomly returned I took the PC to my best friend’s place to do some testing. But before that I used the PC for a couple of weeks without GPU, and the problem never occurred. That makes you think the culprit is my GPU, but things are not always what they seem. The first test was his ROG Strix GTX 1060 6GB on my PC, and guess what, the problem happened - which kinda leaves my 1080 Ti out of the equation. He did other tests, like changing PSUs, and my PC passed them all. Back at my place it was all working fine again for about 6 months, when it returned at the end of december. I did another deep cleaning cleaning last week and the problem once again randomly went away, but that only lasted 2 days when it randomly returned again. Here I am facing it for the past 5 days, always having to reinsert my GPU before booting up, otherwise no video is loaded.

Now whether the problem is my GPU, Mobo, PSU or anything else, that still doesn’t explain why I have to take out the GPU and reinsert it every time to make the PC work, or why the problem randomly disappears and comes back. It is almost as if doing this procedure resets something back to another state. That pause is also very mysterious. I must have done this at least 50 times by now. I’m tired of all of this reinserting! It is really frustrating not knowing who the culprit is, what causes it and how to solve the issue for good. I also fear this might permanently damage my PC very soon, especially the 1080 Ti. I’m in need of great help.

Any help or insight will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
 

shknawe

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Oct 22, 2016
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Try this, go to settings, click on system, click on power and sleep, click on additional power settings to your right, click on any change plan settings settings, click on advanced power settings a box will pop up, scroll down to pci express, click on that a sub menu powe state management will open, click on that, make sure it is set to off. You can also try changing your power state to high performance in power plan to see if that helps too. Restart and see if it helped at all.
 
Jan 13, 2019
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My best guess is that the culprit is either the mobo or the psu, or both. I think 600w is a little bit on the edge for a i7 4780k + GTX 1080 Ti, but a faulty mobo would explain it all perfectly too. I'm a little skeptical about the problem being my GPU, but who knows? I really need to confirm this as fast as possible because I still have 1 year of warranty from Zotac.

Thank you for your reply.
 

shknawe

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Oct 22, 2016
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One last thought your power supply is a very basic unit meant really for a prebuilt type of computer. With two sata's, a cooler, a 4790k which loves to draw power and a power hungry 1080ti thrown on top which runs around 200-290 watts, you may be asking too much from that psu.
 

punkncat

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My thoughts would be that if PSU the computer just wouldn't post at all. I agree that it is a value unit though.
Would not explain why it didn't operate properly on the card that requires MUCH less power.

Unfortunate that in this situation you may have a hard time finding a selection of worthy motherboards to replace with. Might have to scour the used market a bit and hope for an honest seller/good feedback.
Great excuse to bite the bullet and purchase a new build around that card. Some aspects of your build are still somewhat valuable to recoup some costs.
 

shknawe

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Oct 22, 2016
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Not necessarily, at startup everything is at idle and draw little power. As the computer is starting to be used it starts to draw more power. The problem is random so it could very well be the psu is trying its best to keep up but from time to time the computer is used in a way where the power demand is too much for the psu. When he pulls the gpu and replaces it it starts up which tells me it resets itself to idle power draw when removed.

 

punkncat

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Apr 3, 2018
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If nothing else, it would be a cheaper/easier item to troubleshoot, and worthy of a later build if it isn't the issue.

 

shknawe

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Oct 22, 2016
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4790k 125watt draw at 4.4, 1080ti 260 watt draw on average up to around 295 max, motherboard 50-150 watts, memory 2 sticks 30 watts, two hard drives 18 watts, cooler 5 watts. So on a budget psu you are dancing on a razors edge IMHO. And since you say your trouble only started when the 1080ti was brought on board, tells me you have to rule out the card, which it wasn't and power draw, which you haven't.
 
Jan 13, 2019
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I'm planning to buy a new PSU next month, and I'll probably go with at least a 800w one. If the problem persists then the mobo is most certainly at fault and I'll buy a new one. I would not be losing money with the PSU because with a setup like mine I should already have a more powerful and secure power supply in my possession. It might even be the perfect opportunity to upgrade my RAM to 2x 8GB sticks so I can have 16GB of RAM.

From now on I think I'll be using my PC without the GPU until I buy the new PSU, to prevent any damage of occurring due to all of the reinserting and so on. Better safe than sorry.
 

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