What have I missed troubleshooting my VGA problem?
December 31, 2008 3:50 PM   Subscribe

I'm getting a video display error when i try and boot up my computer. Is there a solution I'm just not thinking of? If not, can I still buy a Socket 939 motherboard to replace a malfunctioning one?

A little history. I built my computer a few years ago, and Its been fine. I finally decided I wanted to upgrade to a newer video card, and that was an ordeal in itself because I need an AGP card, and can't afford to upgrade my CPU, Motherboard, RAM and Video Card all at once.

Basically, I put in the new video card, and booted up. It looked and sounded normal at first, beginning to boot up, but stopped checking memory. I turned off the computer, fiddled with the ram to make sure i didn't dislodge it at all, reseated the video card, and tried again. the next time i didn't even get that far.

Now when I turn on the computer it beeps at me. One long, and two short, followed by a lower mid length, and a still lower tone. i've heard the "long-short-short" before, and in fact, when I looked it up in the motherboard manual, it says Video Display Error. I've tried my old AGP card and even the video card I had before that, and all 3 cards get the same error.

I also have an old linux box i play around with from time to time, so I've tried all 3 video cards in there, knowing that the latest one shouldn't even boot up since it require more power than the old PSU puts out. It did start booting up and got all the way up to initializing the video card (which it failed, but i'd expected it to.

At this point, I'm assuming there is something wrong with my Comptuer's AGP slot on my main computer's motherboard. I don't have access to a PCI video card, or I'd try that out to see if that worked.

I'm hoping i'm forgetting something stupid, so let me know what I missed!

Assuming it can't be fixed, the other problem I have is that I can't find a Socket 939 motherboard anywhere to replace my old one.
posted by Kraki to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure where you are, but there are a fair number of Socket 939 motherboards on ebay. Also, let me check around the shop at which I work to see if we've got any -- we probably don't, but it's possible. I'll MeMail (MeFiMail?) and let you know.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 4:01 PM on December 31, 2008

You can buy a new Socket 939 from Directron. They've been a reliable retailer in the past.
posted by plinth at 4:20 PM on December 31, 2008

Can you get into the BIOS? If so, is there an option in there relating to the AGP slot/graphics hardware? I once managed to prevent a computer from functioning by inadvertently setting the graphics memory to 0MB in the BIOS; thereafter, it rewarded me with a blank screen and some sort of Post code every time I booted it.
posted by sinfony at 5:07 PM on December 31, 2008

Response by poster: unfortunately, I don't even get far enough to see anything. the only thing that happens is the beeps.
posted by Kraki at 7:02 PM on December 31, 2008

The pattern of beeps may give you diagnostic information. Look up "socket 939 post codes" to see if they mean anything.
posted by zippy at 8:47 PM on December 31, 2008

Hit an online forum for both a PCI video card and a s939 motherboard. I frequenct HardForum, 2cpu (login required), and Ars. You can probably get a PCI video card for the cost of shipping (well, you definitely can, because I've got one lying around that you can have). I've never had an s939 gear myself, but my impression is they are particularly inexpensive at the moment.. It might be because DDR ram is starting to become expensive (relative to DDR2, that is).

Also, there are a surprisingly large number of AGP "standards". You might figure out your issue by comparing wikipedia's AGP compatibility section to your card and motherboard.
posted by Chuckles at 9:06 PM on January 1, 2009

Best answer: Surprisingly, It started working again two days later. I ended up borrowing a PCI video card from a friend. I started up the PC before putting in it for kicks, and it worked. I have absolutely no idea what happened, and I never figured out what was wrong with it in the first place. I obsessed about it for another week, before deciding I would never figure it out since I couldn't repeat the problem anymore.

Thanks for your great suggestions!
posted by Kraki at 1:10 PM on March 30, 2009

« Older Anyway to develop iPhone/iTouch apps without...   |   Saving Money by Keeping Hot Water Heater on "Low"? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.