desktop sparkles then goes black

July 6, 2011 at 04:59:33
Specs: Windows 7 - 64bit, AMD® Phenom™ X4 processor/8gigs
hi, I just started having an issue with my Gateway DX 4200-09 desktop. Sometimes when I start it up, I see "sparkles" on the desktop, best description I can come up with, then the screen comes black for about 5-10 seconds then comes back on. it continues to go on and off with no apparent pattern until I reboot the computer, then it seems fine. Doesn't happen everytime I start it just maybe 2-3 times a week.
I'm running Windows 7, 64bit and I have tweeked the computer a little. added 2 extra internal 300gb harddrives, maxed out the memory to 8gb, and added a second dvd burner.
I also just recently added a new video card. An MSI R4350, I wanted something with an hdmi output to watch online tv on my lcd tv through the desktop. I've only had this card since Christmas,12/15/10. I'm thinking it's a defective card but not sure. never had a video card go bad before. I've downloaded the lastest drivers, didn't make a difference.

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July 6, 2011 at 05:12:26
If I had to guess I would say the power supply is failing. Gateway computers usually use Bestec PSUs which are poor quality. In addition to that they usually only install a PSU with enough capacity for the shipped hardware. You added a number of items that pull power from the 12V rail.

DO NOT continue attempting to run the computer as is. You may blow up the PSU and ruin the motherboard with it.

Post the brand and all the information about voltages, amps, etc. here for help in selecting a better, more powerful replacement.

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July 6, 2011 at 05:19:55

We can not fight new wars with old weapons, let he who desires peace prepare for war - PROPHET.

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July 6, 2011 at 06:43:46
Thanks for the quick reply, I never thought of the power supply. mine has a Lite-on:
LiteOn PS-6301-08A
12V1 10A
12V2 13A
Combined 12V 20A (240W)
300W max DC Output @ 25C & 270W @ 50C
I think these are the specs. you asked for.
Any suggestions for an upgrade? I'm little low on funds right now, had some medical expenses recently, So I yanked the pci video card and disconneccted both extra drives for now, until I can get some cash for an upgrade. Do you think it will be okay for a little while like this?

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July 6, 2011 at 07:27:25
correct me if im wrong but he has 2x12 V rails with 10A and 13A respectively which gives a total of 23A. this should be enough to power the pc, but the power supply is of bad quality, there is a lot in that pc like 3HDD's 2DVD burners,etc...
the best psu i would give u is what kuwese posted in his link

computers are a second home

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July 6, 2011 at 07:41:11

Where did you find specs on the PSU. The specs I found were very generic.

That said, the new Graphics card can draw 8A@12V by itself so there isn't much cushion, if any. As you stated, a single rail PSU is a better choice.

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July 6, 2011 at 07:42:33
Thanks to all of you for your help!!!
I'll definitely have to go with the Corsair from Newegg, I shop there a lot, good price, free shipping,Thanks again

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July 6, 2011 at 07:49:33
"MSI R4350"

It has a Radeon HD 4350 video chipset.

From the AMD web site:

ATI Radeon™ HD 4300 Series System Requirements

300 Watt or greater power supply (350 Watt for ATI CrossFireX™ technology in dual mode) is recommended

"LiteOn PS-6301-08A"

Acer 300W Power Supply - PY.3000B.001

Notes: 24PIN, NN (POWER SUPPLY 300W W/ O PFC LITEON PS-6301-08A)
Condition: New

That ad lists it as for $39.xx brand new, so it's an el-cheapo power supply.
You are much more likely to have problems with an el-cheapo power supply

(The Acer Group of companies includes all Acer, Gateway, and emachines computers.)

Your power supply must have at least the minimum capacity required to support a system with the graphics card you are using installed, or the max graphics card you might install in the future.
(Onboard video - video built into the mboard - IS NOT A CARD ! )
If that info is not in the ad for the video card, you can go to the video card maker's web site and look up the specs for the model - often under system requirements - the minimum PS wattage, and, more important, the minimum amperage the PS must supply at 12v is stated. If you don't find that, any card with the same video chipset including any letters after the model number has very similar minimum PS requirements. Some power supplies have two or more +12v ratings - in that case, add those ratings to determine the total +12v current capacity.

If you're a gamer...
In most if not all cases, the max capacity rating of the PS is an intermittent rating. It's recommended that you do not load your PS to any more that 80% of that rating if you are going to be using something that puts a constant load on it, such as playing a recent game for hours on end. In that case, you multiply the min capacity stated for the system with the particular video chipset on the card by 1.25 to find the min. capacity of the PS you should get.

So - your HD 4350 requires your system has a recommended 300 watt or greater PS capacity, and your power supply capacity is stated to be a max (total combined output) of 300watts.

In this case, when you have the MSI R4350 installed, your power supply is being loaded to 100% or nearly so of it's capacity much of the time

El-cheapo power supplies frequently can't actually handle being loaded that much.

Your problem could possibly be caused by a poor connection of the card in it's slot - you could try removing the MSI R4350 card, wiping off it's contacts, don't touch the contacts after that, and installing it again, making sure it's all the way down in it's slot,
- but if that doesn't help, you probably need to replace the power supply with one that has more capacity.

If you need to get a PS with more capacity, you can usually replace it with any decent quality standard sized standard ATX PS.

Standard (PS/2) power supply size - 86mm high, 150mm wide, 140mm deep, or 3 3/8" h x 5 7/8" w x 5 1/2" d , or very close to that, though the depth can be more or less for some PSs.

Don't buy an el-cheapo (in quality) PS.
See response 3 in this:

Note - I may have mentioned Coolermaster in that - I have recently found some models have only a 1 year warranty, some are known to have premature fan failures, some are known to develop failing electrolytic capacitors.

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July 6, 2011 at 09:59:26
Tubes, the following is from the first post "I also just recently added a new video card. An " This most definitely IS an add in card.

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July 6, 2011 at 10:47:15

I saw he stated he has a MSI R4350 card - I looked that up to make sure it was a video card and not a mboard model.

You haven't noticed that before ?

I always include that line in that block of text I copy

"(Onboard video - video built into the mboard - IS NOT A CARD ! ) "

because people often say they have a video CARD when they don't, whether or not they have stated they do have an actual card.

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July 6, 2011 at 11:15:18
I really appreciate all this help,
You're info was very helpful, I didn't expect it to come with a great PSU from the factory, and I thought it was big enough for this video card. I guess I never thought about the extra juice the extra hard drives and dvd burners would use on top of it.
I don't play any games on here at all, the 2 extra drives, I use one for back-ups and one for storing music and movies. I do burn some movies, watch streaming video, that kind of thing.
One last question, If you could, How do feel about the Corsair brand that was mentioned earlier, decent brand?
Thanks again

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July 6, 2011 at 12:22:53
Hard drives and optical drives require very little power.
USB devices require a max of only 2.5 watts from the USB port (500ma@5v) each.
Burning a CD or DVD does place a significant additional processing load on your system, which draws more power from the PS, especially burning a DVD .

"How do feel about the Corsair brand that was mentioned earlier, decent brand?"

See the last part of response 7.

I prefer Enermax PSs myself - I have installed at least a half dozen of them over 10 years or so and none of them have had any problem .

If the better Antec models that also have a 3 year or longer warranty were cheaper where I am, I would prefer those. Antec has excellent support if you ever need to make a warranty claim - you send it to a place in the US, if you're in North America. If your claim is found to be valid when they inspect the PS, they ship a new PS to you a fast way (no cost to you) in a short time.

(Antec has two lines of power supplies these days - a cheaper line with a shorter warranty period, and a more expensive line with a longer warranty period , for the same or similar capacities - it used to be they only had the latter, and those had an excellent reputation.
The quality of Enermax PSs is about equal to the better Antec line models, however, depending on where you are in the world, if you need to make a warranty claim for an Enermax model, it may have to be sent to Taiwan or wherever it was made.)

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July 6, 2011 at 12:48:04
Corsair PSUs are some of the best. That particular one is in their builder series. So there is a 3 year warranty. Some Corsair PSUs come with a 5 year warranty.


Yes, I have noticed that before.

So are you saying there is a graphics card installed or not. Because that model is definitely a card. I provided a link to it. Near as I can determine that card is a low power consumption card but still pulls almost 8A from the 12V rail.

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July 6, 2011 at 13:13:22

"So are you saying ...." that whether "... .there is a graphics card installed or not. "

Yes, because it's very common for people to call all video adapters a video CARD.

Even here, there is no Video Adapters forum under Products but there is the Video Cards one.

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July 6, 2011 at 13:18:52
Still confused. Do you concur that in this case we are dealing with a card?

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July 6, 2011 at 13:24:04
Yes it is a PCI video card ,That I installed. It came with a ati hd 3200 on the motherboard, which I disabled when I installed the card.
I installed the pci card because I needed an hdmi output to connect to my LCD TV.

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July 6, 2011 at 13:27:56

"Do you concur that in this case we are dealing with a card?"


I didn't include a link to the card in response 7, but I did say in response 9
"I saw he stated he has a MSI R4350 card - I looked that up to make sure it was a video card and not a mboard model."

Do you know of any mboard that has Radeon HD 4350 onboard video ?
Some do have Radeon HD 4200 .


"Yes it is a PCI video card, That I installed. "

PCI cards often draw less power for the same video chipset than when it's on a PCI-E X16 card, but not much less.

"It came with a ati hd 3200 on the motherboard, which I disabled when I installed the card."

For the main chipsets on most mboards, you can't actually disable the onboard video in the bios Setup with any setting. When you install a video card in a dedicated PCI-E X16 slot, or on older an AGP slot, installing the card causes the bios to disable the onboard video automatically.
When you install a PCI video card, the onboard video is NOT disabled automatically.
You can disable the onboard video in Device Manager, however, it will still be sharing ram installed in the mboard.
All changing the Primary video or Initialize video first or similar setting does in that case is inform Windows which type of video adapter you want Windows to be set to.

However, if the main chipset on the mboard is one of the ones that supports Hybrid video, then you CAN actually disable the onboard video in the bios Setup with a setting.

E.g. I have an Asus M3A78 Pro mboard, it has the AMD 780G main chipset, Radeon HD 3200 onboard video, and the main chipset DOES support Hybrid video. (It already has a HDMI port for the onboard video, or via a HDMI to DVI adapter in that port, for DVI video.)
I MUST change default bios settings to disable the onboard video because I get no video from a card due to default bios Setup settings - the AIW HD PCI-E X16 card (Radeon HD 3650 video chipset) I have installed does not produce video when the onboard video is enabled because it doesn't have one of the few ATI video chipsets the Hybrid video feature the 780G main chipset requires.
When you install a PCI video card, the onboard video is NOT disabled automatically.

If you have an available PC1-E X16 slot, why did you buy a PCI card rather than a PCI-E X16 card ? The latter performs much better, and the PCI-E X16 card version is often cheaper than the PCI one.

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July 6, 2011 at 13:46:54
Based on all of your recommendations, I found these on 3 on newegg that are in my price range right now. Corsair and the antec both have 3year warranties, the cooler master only has a 2 year.
can you gentlemen give your best choice?

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July 6, 2011 at 13:59:59
The antec neo is better.

We can not fight new wars with old weapons, let he who desires peace prepare for war - PROPHET.

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July 6, 2011 at 14:33:30
The Corsair and Antec are about equal but the Corsair has a $20 mail in rebate that ends today. You need to call newegg to see if you are still eligible for it. You can print the form from the link you provided.

I would go with the corsair anyway. $5 cheaper and Corsair have little problems. Some Antec units in the past had problems.

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July 6, 2011 at 15:38:14 only delivers to the US..

If you're in Canada, will not deliver to Canada - use instead - they will. It comes from the same place in California, there is no Canada customs delay when it crosses the border or customs fee, but you pay GST, or that and PST, or HST .

You can often buy a suitable PS locally in any case from a place that has lots of computer parts - a smaller place that builds custom generic systems is more likely to have a better price - most local places have a web site - see your yellow pages in their ads, or search for local computer parts on the web to find the web addresses - if you have to pay shipping when you order on the web, it may cheaper overall if you can pick it up locally even if it costs more locally.

I don't recommend you buy a Cooler Master PS. See near the end of response 7

"Some Antec units in the past had problems. "

When ? With which models ?

Antec has been making PSs for a long, long time, so there may be a few models that had problems.

Corsair and Cooler Master have not been making PSs for anywhere near as long.

As I said in response 11....

Antec has two lines of power supplies these days - a cheaper line with a shorter warranty period, and a more expensive line with a longer warranty period , for the same or similar capacities - it used to be they only had the latter, and those had an excellent reputation.

You may have problems if it's a model in the cheaper line.

In any case, you can search the web with the model to see if you find mentions of problems.with it.

If I had done that when I helped my friend build his system with a Cooler Master PS, I would have never bought it ( I planned on him buying an Enermax model but he picked the Cooler Master model because it was cheaper). It was dead less than two years later.

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July 6, 2011 at 15:57:17
I just wanted to thank you all for your help, advice and especially your time. I would have been replacing my video card, and probably in the meantime fried my motherboard.
I'm just a "young" man of fifty years old, and I've only been tinkering with these things for a short number of years, with no outside training for this, mostly trial and error.
This is the first time I've tried going online and asking for help, and it was a very eye opening experience! I've learned a lot!!
Thank you all again!!!!!

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July 6, 2011 at 16:06:34
We're glad to have been of help.

I'm 59 myself, I'll be 60 near the end of August, self taught regarding computers, in Canada.

Are you in Aus or NZ ?

If you're not in the US or Canada the Newegg web sites won't ship to your location .

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July 6, 2011 at 16:23:27
I'm from Pittsburgh, PA.
I'm been shopping from newegg for quite a few years, great company. All I have locally to purchase computer parts from is Best Buy and there prices are high, lousy service, and they hate to return anything!!
I also help my friends and family out when they have small computer issues, no charge of course, just trying to help them out if I can, so what I learned today, will help some others too!

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July 14, 2011 at 10:48:01
I don't know if you'll get this reply or not, but, I installed the new PSU today. Computer Started up perfect and was running fine. Put in the Video card, MSI R4350 card PCi card, and started it up again, after running for about an hour or so, the sparkle, came back and the screen started going blank again.
I did want to state that after our discussion last week I pulled out the MCI video card until I got the new PSU, so I could use the computer. The sparkle and screen going blank, didn't happen all week.

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July 14, 2011 at 11:17:37
We are still here. Does the video card have a fan on it? If so, watch to see if that fan is turning fast, as it should.

When a graphics card overheats it usually develops what are called artifacts. These are the same thing you see on your cable TV when the satellite feed get interrupted. Would what you call the sparkles fit the description I just gave? Does the light on the monitor turn Amber when the screen goes black?

Try running the computer in Windows Safe Mode by tapping F8 at start up. That will force the graphics card to only run in the basic VGA mode.

You may have identified the issue as a defective graphics card. If the only problem is the fan on the card that can be changed or lubed.

If I understood your explanation you ran the computer for a week using the integrated graphics and all was well during that time?

We all learn new things. I didn't know lite on sold power supplies. They are known for their optical (CD) drives. I can't say if the original power supply should have been replaced or not but you should feel confident with the Corsair unit.

BTW, I am 67, that is why I am OtheHill.


In reference to the two 12V rails in the original PSU. You need to calculate the load on each rail independently. So, If the graphics card needs 11A and the 10A rail is feeding it, things are not going to work right even if there is a surplus on the other rail. That is why most knowledgable folks now recommend using a single 12V rail PSU. The concept of multiple rails is good but when using power hungry graphics cards the individual rails that supply the graphics may be insufficient. Some high end cards can draw in excess of 300W, which equals over 25A@12V.

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July 14, 2011 at 11:57:16
First question, No, the video card doesn't have a fan, just large heatsink.
Second, no, does not look like digital breakup, at least that's what I call it, on the TV. Literally looks like the sparks that come off a sparkler, only stationary, not moving down or across the screen. kinda bizarre, never saw anything like it before.
Third, not sure about the power lite color on the monitor, but I think it stays blue.
Yes, I Pulled out the graphics card after our first discussion on here last week, so I could still use the computer, and screen never went blank or sparkled all week.

And I don't mind buying the new power supply, I'm sure I'm better off with a quality PSU over the lite-on, I didn't know they made anything but cd/dvd drives either, as per our discussion last week, with the extra hard drives and dvd drive, a bigger PSU only makes good sense.

I'm off tomorrow, I was going to call MSI about the card, and see what they say.

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July 15, 2011 at 08:07:09
So replacing the PS didn't cure the problem. Oops.

"And I don't mind buying the new power supply..."
We're glad to hear that.

Inadequate or defective PSs are much more common than a new video card being defective, so if the symptoms seem to fit, we tend to suggest replacing the PS, or a least trying another PS if you can, especially when the quality of the original PS is questionable, rather than replacing the video card, or trying it with another computer or trying another one in your mboard if you can.

I'm assuming, of course, that you unplugged the computer or switched off the AC power to it otherwise, while you were fiddling with plugging in / unplugging the video card, at ALL times, as you are required to do. If you didn't do that at ALL times, you may have damaged the video card's or the mboard slot's circuits, yourself. Some places on the mboard including sdome of the contacts in the mboard's slots are always powered as long as the PS is receiving live AC power, even when the computer is not running.

It sounds like the card has an issue related to it's heating up.

You could try blowing out it's slot, and/or wiping the card's and the slot's contacts, but that probably won't help.

I've seen that with some video adapters that the video may briefly go black while booting or briefly show artifacts while booting or you may only see that briefly while loading Windows after the specific video drivers for the video chipset have been loaded, but in that case the symptoms are always the same and the video is always fine while booting and in Windows otherwise, so that doesn't jive with your symptoms.

You mentioned your mboard has ATI (Radeon) HD 3200 onboard video.
Does it have a PCI-E X16 slot ?
If yes, why did you buy a PCI video card, assuming you know what the difference is between a PCI and a PCI-E X 16 card / mboard slot is ?
PCI-E X16 cards that have the same video chipset on them are often cheaper and they definitely perform better

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