Question PC not booting after graphics card swap

PCTroublez

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Jun 13, 2020
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I recently gave my friend a couple-year-old graphics card, and several difficulties emerged when he tried to boot it up. On the first try, he said there was a BIOS message of some sort saying that the power supply PCIe cable needed to be plugged in (even though it was) and, on the second try, the GeForce GTX light on the graphics card lit up for a second before a snapping sound and the entire computer abruptly shutting down. Now, it's not been able to boot whatsoever with the power supply refusing to even turn on once connected to the motherboard. I've used a power supply tester on the PSU to test if it's even operational still, and it did turn on in that scenario.


I've had two ideas as to the cause of this, but I'm not sure what definitively it is or what should be done to troubleshoot. The potential causes are as follows:
  1. The friend in question lost his PCIe cable that came with his PSU beforehand, so I lent him mine. It had entirely slipped my mind that his PSU was a much different model to mine (his: Corsair CX 550M, mine: EVGA G2 850W) and I remembered the risks of mixing and matching PSU and cable brands. I would think, however, that this would fry the power supply if anything, so it confuses me that it still runs with the tester.
  2. Around a day before I gave him the graphics card, a separate friend actually dropped the card from roughly waist height onto carpet, landing mainly on the metal plate with display ports. The only visible damage was the slots that slide in to the left of the motherboard being slightly bent, but gentle finagling with a tweezer appeared to straighten out the plate. Regardless, I didn't know if it would be possible that the card had damage under the surface and somehow fried any other components.
Apologies for the wall of text, but I'm not entirely sure what to do from here. I ended up buying a new motherboard off of Newegg since it was on sale with the intent to return it if that's not the solution, but I'm also unsure if the motherboard is the issue at all or, if it is, how it went on the fritz in the first place. I appreciate any assistance that y'all can provide.
 

Lutfij

Titan
Moderator
I've used a power supply tester on the PSU to test if it's even operational still, and it did turn on in that scenario.
Can you elaborate on what you used to test the PSU?

2| Might want to include images of the extent of the deformation after the fall.

You forgot to mention the specs to your friend's system inclusive of all the parts that were used to troubleshoot the issue on your friend's end.
 

PCTroublez

Commendable
Jun 13, 2020
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1,515
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I've used a power supply tester on the PSU to test if it's even operational still, and it did turn on in that scenario.
Can you elaborate on what you used to test the PSU?

2| Might want to include images of the extent of the deformation after the fall.

You forgot to mention the specs to your friend's system inclusive of all the parts that were used to troubleshoot the issue on your friend's end.
The tester I used was one that came with an EVGA power supply that just closes the circuit of the motherboard cable to see if the PSU fans come on with it inserted: View: https://imgur.com/a/kWCAZGt


Here's a few angles of the graphics card: View: https://imgur.com/a/k6V4zAE


He does not know all of the exact specs of the PC, but here are some:
New graphics card: PNY GTX 1080 FE
Old graphics card: RX 560, possibly PowerColor
Motherboard: ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4/ac
CPU: 3000 series AMD Ryzen chip, most likely Ryzen 3 or Ryzen 5 of some sort, with stock cooler
RAM: 2x8 G. Skill Ripjaws V DDR4-3200
SSD: WD Black SN750 NVMe
Power supply: Corsair CX 550M (semi-modular)
Case: NZXT S340 Elite

We initially thought the PSU was the issue because it was not turning on or spinning its fan even when the graphics card was completely removed from the motherboard and unplugged, which led to me purchasing a soon-to-be-returned EVGA GA 650 W unit, but it also did not operate, and it came with the tester featured in the first image which led to the discovery that the original unit actually works fine.
 

Lutfij

Titan
Moderator
Power supply: Corsair CX 550M (semi-modular)
Is this what your friend has? If so, how old was the unit?

for a second before a snapping sound and the entire computer abruptly shutting down.
+
The friend in question lost his PCIe cable that came with his PSU beforehand, so I lent him mine.

You gave him the PCIe cable meant for your PSU, not his, correct? Not all PSU's have the same pinout, the noise you've described might be that the PSU knocked itself out and your GPU as well. You could rule my point out by taking the culprit GPU over to your system or another donor system and see if the system POST's and boots to GUI with said GPU. Mind you, you should make sure you have at least 550W of power at the entire system's disposal while that card is populating the first PCIe slot on a board.

The PSU tester you speak of of, is the same as performing the paper clip test, it doesn't indicate how much power a PSU can effectively output. You'll get the same fans spinning result when connecting a dead HDD or a fan or anything that is of no importance to your build, to induce a load on the PSU.

Now comes the fun part, you will need to swap over each part to a known working platform to come to the conclusion of which part is faulty. Use your processor on a known working board to rule out the processor being at fault. Use a known working processor on your friend's board to rule out the motherboard being the culprit.
 
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PCTroublez

Commendable
Jun 13, 2020
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Power supply: Corsair CX 550M (semi-modular)
Is this what your friend has? If so, how old was the unit?

for a second before a snapping sound and the entire computer abruptly shutting down.
+
The friend in question lost his PCIe cable that came with his PSU beforehand, so I lent him mine.

You gave him the PCIe cable meant for your PSU, not his, correct? Not all PSU's have the same pinout, the noise you've described might be that the PSU knocked itself out and your GPU as well. You could rule my point out by taking the culprit GPU over to your system or another donor system and see if the system POST's and boots to GUI with said GPU. Mind you, you should make sure you have at least 550W of power at the entire system's disposal while that card is populating the first PCIe slot on a board.

The PSU tester you speak of of, is the same as performing the paper clip test, it doesn't indicate how much power a PSU can effectively output. You'll get the same fans spinning result when connecting a dead HDD or a fan or anything that is no importance to your build, to induce a load on the PSU.

Now comes the fun part, you will need to swap over each part to a known working platform to come to the conclusion of which part is faulty. Use your processor on a known working board to rule out the processor being at fault. Use a known working processor on your friend's board to rule out the motherboard being the culprit.
The power supply, along with the other specs, is the one in my friend's computer, and they're no more than a couple years old (I think either from 2020 or 2021).

I was a little hesitant to transplant any of his parts to my PC or my parts to his PC because I didn't know if that would put any of my parts at risk. Would there be any danger of frying other parts if I were to bring his graphics card and CPU over or my CPU into his?
 

Lutfij

Titan
Moderator
Apart from the PSU that was present during the outage, I don't think anything will be detrimental to a donor system. Might want to also bring out a magnifying glass to inspect for any bulging/swollen caps when inspecting the motherboard.
 

PCTroublez

Commendable
Jun 13, 2020
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Sorry for the fairly late reply. I haven't been able to test out any transplanted components yet as I'm waiting to pick up some thermal paste tomorrow to reapply on the CPU transfers. I was doing some research, though, on the risks of installing faulty graphics cards, and it seems like it's not at all unheard of for damaged graphics cards to damage motherboards or other components, which I would certainly not want to risk on my PC. Is there any other way to test if a graphics card is faulty without putting any motherboards at risk? I was thinking I could just plug the PSU tester into the motherboard cable, plug in the PCIe cable to the graphics card, turn it on, and see if the fan spins and light comes on, but I don't know if that would work without the graphics card inserted into a PCIe slot of some sort. Would this or an alternate method work to avoid endangering any additional components, or is there truly no risk that this circumstance would damage my PC?
 

PCTroublez

Commendable
Jun 13, 2020
8
1
1,515
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Sorry for the fairly late reply. I haven't been able to test out any transplanted components yet as I'm waiting to pick up some thermal paste tomorrow to reapply on the CPU transfers. I was doing some research, though, on the risks of installing faulty graphics cards, and it seems like it's not at all unheard of for damaged graphics cards to damage motherboards or other components, which I would certainly not want to risk on my PC. Is there any other way to test if a graphics card is faulty without putting any motherboards at risk? I was thinking I could just plug the PSU tester into the motherboard cable, plug in the PCIe cable to the graphics card, turn it on, and see if the fan spins and light comes on, but I don't know if that would work without the graphics card inserted into a PCIe slot of some sort. Would this or an alternate method work to avoid endangering any additional components, or is there truly no risk that this circumstance would damage my PC?
Update: I tried the graphics card in an old system I had laying around, and it is fully operational, including a working fan, LEDs, and successful video output. Could I now be certain that the issue is the power supply--despite its fan coming on with the tester--and that it took down at least one other part with it?
 

PCTroublez

Commendable
Jun 13, 2020
8
1
1,515
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Apart from the PSU that was present during the outage, I don't think anything will be detrimental to a donor system. Might want to also bring out a magnifying glass to inspect for any bulging/swollen caps when inspecting the motherboard.
I have successfully troubleshooted every part of my friend's computer, and have deduced that the CPU and motherboard are bust, but that the SSD, RAM, and graphics card are all fine. I'm now waiting on some replacement parts to arrive from Newegg. In the meantime, thank you so much for helping walk me through this and teaching me a fair bit about computer hardware and troubleshooting in the process. I'll update when the new CPU and motherboard come and get installed.
 
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PCTroublez

Commendable
Jun 13, 2020
8
1
1,515
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I have successfully troubleshooted every part of my friend's computer, and have deduced that the CPU and motherboard are bust, but that the SSD, RAM, and graphics card are all fine. I'm now waiting on some replacement parts to arrive from Newegg. In the meantime, thank you so much for helping walk me through this and teaching me a fair bit about computer hardware and troubleshooting in the process. I'll update when the new CPU and motherboard come and get installed.
Okay, the new motherboard, CPU, and power supply are all now here and installed, and unfortunately, some new difficulties have emerged. The good news is that the computer does turn on, the power supply fan runs, and the case power light comes on. The bad news is that the CPU and DRAM debug lights on the motherboard light up and it does not actually boot. From some Googling, it seems like it is somewhat common on some ASRock boards for those two debug lights to come on and for nothing to happen, but I haven't found much in the way of concrete solutions. Some posts I've seen imply that the issue is that the motherboard needs a BIOS update, which would make sense as the motherboard is B550, and the newly purchased CPU is a Ryzen 5 4500. Today, I'm planning on using an old Ryzen 5 3600 to see if the PC will boot and, if so, install a new BIOS firmware version.
 

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