Question What are possible reasons for intermittent "no signal to monitor" after new build?

May 12, 2023
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My son needs help, and I'm hoping someone here can help guide him.

His 8th grade project has been to fundraise for and build a gaming PC to donate to a local non-profit that provides day shelter for homeless youth. He earned every penny of his New Egg purchases through manual labor in jobs offered by various people in our community. He has a fantastic mentor who has experience building computers and is retired. He did all the background research (with his mentor's guidance) to build this system on his own. At this point, his system intermittently works, and we are all stumped.

I'm including at the end a list of parts.

This is my summary of the build/troubleshooting history:
  • My son assembled the computer (after lots of prep work/study)...and it did not turn on
  • He and his mentor troubleshot the problem and got it to turn on but with no output to monitor. The thinking was that the BIOS needed to be updated in order to allow the CPU to communicate with the motherboard. We asked a local computer recycling and up cycling shop (1PC) if they would help us troubleshoot by providing an older CPU to use to update the BIOS so that the newer CPU and motherboard could shake hands.
  • 1PC has been awesome (!). 1PC did not have a compatible CPU but he spent a couple of hours troubleshooting with my son. When we left, we were getting output to the monitor and were tasked with installing Windows 11. There was no "Aha! This was the problem!" but, rather, a "Huh.... Maybe the RAM wasn't seated properly...?"
  • We returned home excited...only to experience the same issue (no input to monitor)
  • We returned to 1 PC. Lots of head scratching, now with two 1PC employees weighing in also.
  • We finally got the output to monitor to work again (did I mention how awesome the 1PC people have been?) and they provided Windows 11 to install (as ours was an upgrade stick rather than a boot stick. Oops.). The caveat here is that only one RAM stick was being read (more on this later). Again, we returned home excited. Phew! It's getting down to the wire. His project is due next week. But...again...we returned home to discover no signal to monitor. Double checked everything (cables, RAM, input source as HDMI and not a different source, etc). We are completely stumped.

My two thoughts are:
  1. My son got bum parts
  2. The CPU cooler isn't actually compatible with this motherboard using a 16GB RAM configuration (and/or we got bum parts) because the CPU cooler blocks one of the RAM ports leaving only one option for the two RAM sticks. The RAM ports are 1A, 2A, 1B, and 2B. 1A is blocked by the CPU cooler. Both RAM sticks work individually/separately when in 2A but there is no output to screen when both RAM sticks are in the 2A/2B slots (which is listed as an acceptable configuration for this motherboard, despite our observations to the contrary).
However, (2) doesn't really explain this intermittent behavior.

Do you have any ideas/suggestions for what we can do next to troubleshoot this problem? My son gets home today at 2p Pacific and we plan to spend the afternoon troubleshooting.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this post and ways in which we can move forward! Much appreciated!

Here are a list of parts that came with the New Egg build kit:
  • Open Box: ASRock Rack TPM-SPI TPM 2.0 Module
  • Asus Accessory TPM-SPI SPI 14-1pin Nuvoton NPCT750 TPM2.0 Bulk Pack
  • ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4/ac AM4 AMD B550 SATA 6Gb/s ATX AMD Motherboard
  • Enermax ETS-T50 Axe ARGB CPU Air Cooler, 230W+ TDP for Intel/ AMD Universal Socket, AM4 & AM5 / LGA 1700/1200/1151, 5 ...
  • Corsair 4000D Airflow CC-9011200-WW Black Steel / Plastic / Tempered Glass ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
  • Team Group T-FORCE VULCAN Z 2.5" 480GB SATA III 3D NAND Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) T253TZ480G0C10
  • Microsoft Windows 11 Home (USB)
  • AMD Ryzen 3 4100 - Ryzen 3 4000 Series Quad-Core Socket AM4 65W None Integrated Graphics Desktop Processor - ...
  • OLOy OWL 16GB (2 x 8GB) 288-Pin PC RAM DDR4 3200 (PC4 25600) Desktop Memory Model MD4U083216BJDA
  • ASRock Radeon RX 6600 8GB GDDR6 PCI Express 4.0 Video Card RX6600 CLD 8G
  • MSI MPG A750GF, 80 GOLD Full Modular Gaming PSU, Japanese Electrolytic capacitor, 750W ATX Power Supply
  • AMD Gift - Radeon Raise the Game Bundle [Online Game Code]
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Re-occuring/intermittent "no signal to monitor" - correct?

Were other known working monitor cables (HDMI, DVI-x, DP) tried?

Does the problem occur if another known working monitor is used?

Are you able to test the current monitor and cable on another known working computer?

Objective being to determine in the problem follows the monitor or video cable(s).

This CPU?

https://www.amd.com/en/product/11821

No integrated graphics as I understand the specs.

Do you have another known working GPU to test with?
 
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DaleH

Prominent
Mar 24, 2023
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Re-occuring/intermittent "no signal to monitor" - correct?

Were other known working monitor cables (HDMI, DVI-x, DP) tried?

Does the problem occur if another known working monitor is used?

Are you able to test the current monitor and cable on another known working computer?

Objective being to determine in the problem follows the monitor or video cable(s).

This CPU?

https://www.amd.com/en/product/11821

No integrated graphics as I understand the specs.

Do you have another known working GPU to test with?
Good advice.
 
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May 12, 2023
10
0
10
Re-occuring/intermittent "no signal to monitor" - correct?

Were other known working monitor cables (HDMI, DVI-x, DP) tried?

Does the problem occur if another known working monitor is used?

Are you able to test the current monitor and cable on another known working computer?

Objective being to determine in the problem follows the monitor or video cable(s).

This CPU?

https://www.amd.com/en/product/11821

No integrated graphics as I understand the specs.

Do you have another known working GPU to test with?
Yes. Other, known, working monitors/cables were tried. We originally thought this was the issue. It wasn't. I say it wasn't because we took our monitor/cables to 1PC the second time and were using them at 1PC when we installed (and saw visual confirmation of) the OS.

I think so....? The specs seem to match what we have.

This question will certainly show that I'm out of my league here (if that's not already obvious): Would we have seen the Windows Desktop if there was no integrated graphics? (because we did see the Windows Desktop)

Would visual confirmation of Windows 11 mean it's not the GPU? Or are you thinking that a wonky GPU may intermittently work?

Thanks!
 
May 12, 2023
10
0
10
Re-occuring/intermittent "no signal to monitor" - correct?

Were other known working monitor cables (HDMI, DVI-x, DP) tried?

Does the problem occur if another known working monitor is used?

Are you able to test the current monitor and cable on another known working computer?

Objective being to determine in the problem follows the monitor or video cable(s).

This CPU?

https://www.amd.com/en/product/11821

No integrated graphics as I understand the specs.

Do you have another known working GPU to test with?
One more point of clarification: Both times we have gotten it to work were when we were plugged in directly to the GPU.

Also, for kick and grins, we just tested again with a different monitor (that I was using earlier today) and received the "no HDMI signal message." Possibly the cable...but it's the cable that we used when we installed Windows and it worked just fine then. Our ride home was really uneventful and we didn't do anything to the cable that would make me think that it would have become damaged en route.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Could be some fault in the cable. Likely in the plugs.

Not likely visible especially if the root problem is some manufacturing defect: material, design, assembly.

Intermittent problems are difficult to troubleshoot.

To make things more complicated there are situations where Monitor A works and Cable B works but the two together just do not work. Does not take much to cause connectivity problems - just a misshapened plug or port that cannot make a full, solid, and constant connection.

No broken wires required - just a intermittent short between wires in the video cable.

That is why you must very methodically troubleshoot by swapping in known working components.

Change only one thing at a time and allow time between changes.

Next time the video cable is connected to a known working monitor work your way along the length of the video cable from one end to the other. Back and forth.

Gently twist, pull, squeeze - especially around the plugs. Hopefully the monitor will display even if briefly somewhere in the process. The cable then being the culprit.
 
May 12, 2023
10
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Could be some fault in the cable. Likely in the plugs.

Not likely visible especially if the root problem is some manufacturing defect: material, design, assembly.

Intermittent problems are difficult to troubleshoot.

To make things more complicated there are situations where Monitor A works and Cable B works but the two together just do not work. Does not take much to cause connectivity problems - just a misshapened plug or port that cannot make a full, solid, and constant connection.

No broken wires required - just a intermittent short between wires in the video cable.

That is why you must very methodically troubleshoot by swapping in known working components.

Change only one thing at a time and allow time between changes.

Next time the video cable is connected to a known working monitor work your way along the length of the video cable from one end to the other. Back and forth.

Gently twist, pull, squeeze - especially around the plugs. Hopefully the monitor will display even if briefly somewhere in the process. The cable then being the culprit.
I appreciate your help.

Let me clarify some details.

We were very methodical in troubleshooting and swapping out components.

We used the same monitor and cables to/from the machine when we installed windows and had visual confirmation that we are using now. The computer is connected to a know, working monitor.

The only cable that is different is the power cable to the monitor, but the monitor is showing that it's getting power (i.e. displays an error message), so I don't think this is the problem. Agreed?

As far as a faulty HDMI cable....we will try your suggestion to
Gently twist, pull, squeeze - especially around the plugs
Curious if you have any suggestions for determining whether:
the root problem is some manufacturing defect
and which component you might be suspicious of...?

Thanks!
 
Last edited:
May 12, 2023
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The HDMI cable is passing the test on my other computer/monitor when I use it with my USB-C to HDMI adapter, no problem. Seems very much OK.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Fair enough. :)

I would be most suspicious of the HDMI cable.

Especially if multiple known working monitors are reporting "no HDMI signal".

This GPU?

https://www.asrock.com/Graphics-Card/AMD/Radeon RX 6600 Challenger D 8GB/

Any way to test the GPU via the DP ports?

= = = =

Being overtaken by events - was away from my PC for a bit. Above post now being a bit moot.

= = = =

This:

"The HDMI cable is passing the test on my other computer/monitor when I use it with my USB-C to HDMI adapter, no problem. Seems very much OK."

That is good and meaningful. However another variable, the adapter, was introduced.

Consider that the USB-C to HDMI adapter resulted in a more secure, solid connection to the HDMI cable plug being used.

(Versus direct HDMI cable plug to monitor HDMI port.)

So if the adapter connection resolves the monitor problems then the cable remains suspect. And the plug end in particular.

Especially if the problems return with the adapter not in the HDMI cable connection path.

Seems to be narrowing down.
 
May 12, 2023
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Fair enough. :)

I would be most suspicious of the HDMI cable.

Especially if multiple known working monitors are reporting "no HDMI signal".

This GPU?

https://www.asrock.com/Graphics-Card/AMD/Radeon RX 6600 Challenger D 8GB/

Any way to test the GPU via the DP ports?

= = = =

Being overtaken by events - was away from my PC for a bit. Above post now being a bit moot.

= = = =

This:

"The HDMI cable is passing the test on my other computer/monitor when I use it with my USB-C to HDMI adapter, no problem. Seems very much OK."

That is good and meaningful. However another variable, the adapter, was introduced.

Consider that the USB-C to HDMI adapter resulted in a more secure, solid connection to the HDMI cable plug being used.

(Versus direct HDMI cable plug to monitor HDMI port.)

So if the adapter connection resolves the monitor problems then the cable remains suspect. And the plug end in particular.

Especially if the problems return with the adapter not in the HDMI cable connection path.

Seems to be narrowing down.
The adapter was to/from my laptop, not the monitor. The monitor connection wasn't with an adapter in the scenario that I described. I really don't think it's a HDMI cable issue or a connection to monitor issue. The only way I see the HDMI connection being an issue is with the GPU port. It's possible that the GPU port is wonky. I/we will try to get our hands on a DP cable to try those ports, as you suggest above. Thanks.

My sons friend also suggests trying a "CMOS jumper pin reset." In your experience, could a CMOS jumper pin issue cause intermittent functioning of display?
 
May 12, 2023
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The issue with the RAM (recapped below) still seems to point to a motherboard issue...? We may have two different issues here.

Issue with RAM:
- Two, working RAM sticks (tested separately)
- Display only works when one RAM is in port (2A port in a 1A, 2A, 1B, 2B config)
- I thought that the CPU fan blocking the 1A port may be problematic but my son has shown me that with his particularly configuration only the 2A/2B slots will work. We have seen display when either RAM stick is in 2A (tested both) but the computer doesn't work (no display) RAM is in both 2A and 2B. This seemed to be a pretty robust and repeatable test with the RAM configuration. When we installed Windows, we only used one RAM in the 2A slot. We kept it this way and didn't change anything on the very uneventful drive home, where the computer is no longer displaying. The GPU HDMI port may be an issue with display but not being able to use both RAM sticks is also an issue.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Likely that your son's friend is referring to clearing CMOS. Doing so reconfigures BIOS back to the default values. In other words a BIOS "do-over" starting from the factory set default values.

There are a couple of ways to clear CMOS but I prefer and recommend using the applicable motherboard jumper etc. in accordance with the motherboard's User Guide/Manual.

I do not see the CMOS jumper pin being an issue barring some physical damage to pins or jumper.

As for RAM very much the same response. Refer to the motherboard's User Guide/Manual to ensure: 1) that the installed RAM is supported, and 2) that the RAM is installed in a supported combination of slots. Some motherboard's require that the first physically installed RAM stick be installed in a particular slot.

And of course verify that the installed RAM sticks are from a matched set/kit for dual channel use.

With the CPU fan blocking 1A (another potential problem) you may be being forced into using some RAM combination that is either not going work or be problematic thereafter.

= = = =

With so much (CPU fan, RAM, and display) going astray I recommend a full do over of the build. Do a few more tests, swaps, etc. as you feel are warranted.

Then take the build apart other than removing the CPU.

Then start reinstalling everything again being very sure to follow the motherboard's User Guide/Manual and paying close attention to all notes, warnings, and other fine print. Do the same with respect to the applicable component User Guides/Manualsl and other installation instructions.

Most manuals include some general language referencing the need to visit the manufacturer's website for more up-to-date information. Do so even if not mentioned in the documentation.

If something is not as expected or something is not clear then stop and resolve before proceeding.

Take your time keep notes. Post accordingly.

And remember that you can post images/photographs here via imgur (www.imgur.com).
 
May 12, 2023
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Thank you so much for all these thoughts and ideas!

Here are some thoughts/responses.

As for RAM very much the same response. Refer to the motherboard's User Guide/Manual to ensure: 1) that the installed RAM is supported, and 2) that the RAM is installed in a supported combination of slots. Some motherboard's require that the first physically installed RAM stick be installed in a particular slot.
According to the user manual, the RAM slots we are using are absolutely the right ones. We have now had three different people who build computers question this very thing and all three have confirmed that, according to the manual, the A2/B2 slots are the correct configuration for this setup.

And of course verify that the installed RAM sticks are from a matched set/kit for dual channel use.
Great idea! They were sent as part of a New Egg build kit and assume New Egg got this right...but...I'll suggest this to my son as something to check on b/c the computer ONLY works with one RAM, not both, and this idea is a possible explanation.

Posting images is also a great idea! I'll work with my son on this...hopefully later today.

Thanks!