PC won't boot past 2nd part of POST


Apr 1, 2009
The problem
My PC gets past the first POST screen (CPU, RAM check etc.), but it doesn't show the second screen. Instead it's black with a blinking cursor, and here's the weird part, a small green block and a "Ñ" next to it somewhere in the middle of the screen. It's like this every time I try to boot. I've never seen that before. Then it won't react to anything and I have to power down using power button.

I can get into BIOS though. My computer worked just fine 6 hours before it happened. I checked mail, the weather, college timetables etc., then turned it off. 6 hours later when I get back, this happens.

What I've tried so far
- Checking all the cables, connections and parts that might have came loose
- Try booting with either RAM stick (neither works)
- Try booting with everything disconnected except GPU, 1 RAM, 1 HDD and CPU
- Cleared CMOS
- Load fail-safe defaults
- Try booting from DVD (it doesn't get far enough to actually attempt this)
- Try booting from USB HDD (same as above)
- Try booting with another sata HDD (same result)

PC specifications
AMD Phenom II X3 720 (tiny OC @ 3,2GHz 1,375V)
OCZ Platinum 4GB DDR3 1600MHz 7-7-7-24 1,7V, always ran at 1333MHz
Sapphire ATI Radeon 4890 (OC @ 910/975)
Gigabyte MA790X-UD4P
CoolerMaster Silent Pro 700W
Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB (C Drive)
Samsung Spinpoint F1 750GB (D Drive)

This setup has ran for 2,5 years without a single hitch, up till now.

I suspect the mobo might be wonky but I'm not sure. I would be very very grateful if anyone knows what the problem might be.


Apr 1, 2009
Are you sure that is the issue? I have tried booting with no hdd connected except for a bootable USB HDD, which only contains my Windows install files.

Also I loathe macs, don't get me started on that :p

Thanks for the input though, I'll try to find a formatted drive to boot with. Just inserting my Windows DVD doesn't work - before I get any of the usual install options my computer hangs at the aforementioned part.
I have a friend who had something similar to that happen. Amazingly his EVGA 9800 GTX video card went bad after 2.5 years (with no signs of going down hill) then one day his computer would not fully post. A friend of his let him borrow a HD 4870 to test with and the computer came right up.

Do you have a spare video card or have a friend who could loan you one? Might want to try swapping it out and see if it makes a difference.

That fact that you are getting past the first post screen is leading me to believe the motherboard is likely Ok.