Question Graphics Card Causing Black Screen Problem?

MikeA01730

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Hi,

I have an HP desktop model Y1B39AV I bought in 2017. Yesterday when I tried to use it the display was dark and the PC completely unresponsive, and when I rebooted it just stayed that way (no BIOS screen, Windows screens, nothing) with no disk activity. I verified that the display and cable worked fine on a different PC, checked cables, reseated the display card, tried a few other things, but nothing fixed it. One time only I saw the boot selection screen (boot into Macrium disk recovery or Windows) but the screen went blank after that and I couldn't get it to recur. So I tried replacing the display card which didn't fix the blank screen problem, but it seemed like the startup was working. The disk light flickered, external HDs started up, and if I tapped the power button the PC powered off within a minute, but still the display stayed black throughout. I didn't know what else to do so I was documenting the exact behavior, and all of a sudden it started working and stayed working for the next several hours until I was done. It's been fine since.

I'm concerned that this will recur and I'll have no idea how to fix it. it's not clear if the original display card caused a problem or not, what happened when the machine started working again, if the problem will recur, what to do if it does, or how to prevent it happening again. Any ideas how to proceed? I'd like to feel like I can trust this machine again.

Thanks,
Mike
 

MikeA01730

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What variety is your HP?

https://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c05956608#AbT5

Does it have a dedicated video card or just integrated video?
That link is right. Mine has Win10 Pro, Intel i5-6600, 250 W power supply, 16 GB DDR4-2400 memory, 256 GB SATA SSD, Radeon R7 450 FH graphics card (4 GB, PCIe 16), and an optical drive.

When the problem occurred I replaced the R7 450 FH display card with a Radeon HD6450 I had.
 

MikeA01730

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When I first replaced the card it didn't fix the black screen problem but it apparently fixed the failure to boot. Then maybe 45 min. later the display started working too, and its worked fine since. So the exact cause and effect is unclear.
 

MikeA01730

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If you remove the GPU and just use the integrated video, does the system behave normally?
I removed the display card and used the motherboard video port and everything worked fine. When I put the card back, connected the display to it, and booted I got the blank screen, but when I shut down I saw the shut down screen for a few seconds before it powered off. So I powered up again, saw the blank screen, and then shut down and it was blank the whole time. I re-seated the card and since then it worked perfectly fine.

One obvious thought is that I'm not installing the card quite right. That's possible I guess but I'm being careful, making sure that the exposed end of the card is all the way down and the clip on the other end is pushed up to make sure that end is fully seated too.
 

MikeA01730

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Could be you have a failing PSU that is providing insufficient power to the system, that is why I asked about the integrated video.

Have you tested both GPUs in other systems?
Interesting idea. I didn't know PSUs could degrade that way.

I installed the original Radeon R7 450 FH card in the other PC and it ran fine. A couple of glitches initially (I expect from different drivers) occurred but after that no problems. I didn't try the HD6450 I'm running now in my main PC because it works fine now. Also I notice that the HD6450 draws max 18W while the R7 450 FH (that fails) draws max 65w. That all suggests your theory is correct. What do you think?

I've been thinking of getting a more powerful graphics card to speed up photo editing with DxO Photo Lab. From viewing the DxO web site it appears that something like a GTX 1080 would speed up rendering of high noise photos a lot. For that I'd need a 500W PSU which I could get from HP. It needs to be theirs (I've read) because they use some non-standard connectors. They originally offered a 500W PSU in the chassis I have so it should fit. That would solve the possible power supply problem and get me a much more powerful display card.

Thoughts?
 
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