No video under certain conditions

August 21, 2011 at 15:11:19
Specs: several
I built my computer about a year ago. Early on I discovered that
it has two major problems, which have very similar symptoms, but
which I'm almost certain are separate. I'm mentioning both here
just in case they are connected, but I'm really asking about just
one of them. I'll ask about the other in another thread.

When I boot the computer under certain conditions, no signal
reaches the monitor. A friend tells me that a video card can
get confused about where to send the signal. I'm guessing that
that is what's happening.

When the computer has been off for a long time and I first turn
it on there is never a problem. If I go into Windows 7 or Ubuntu,
then restart, the video signal is almost always absent during the
power on self test (POST). The video *often* comes back on when
Ubuntu's "Grub" program begins, when there is a blinking cursor
on the screen just before it displays the boot options. (Which
let me choose to run Ubuntu or Windows 7.) Sometimes it does
not come back on until well after the OS has started. Sometimes
it goes out briefly soon after the OS has started.

If the video is not working during POST and I press the key to
bring up the BIOS settings, the video does *not* come on.

If the video is not working during POST and I put in a floppy
with DOS (the BIOS set to use it), the video will *sometimes*
come back on when DOS starts. If it does come back on, I can
restart the computer and the video works during POST.

So the video nearly always works when I first turn the machine on
and when I reboot after using DOS, but almost never works when I
reboot after using Windows, Ubuntu, or the BIOS.

The other, similar but -- I think -- unrelated problem is that
when I have the computer on for a while, then shut the power to
the motherboard off for more than a few seconds, it will not
start again for about half an hour. Instead, the two lights on
the motherboard flash. I have not been able to find any mention
of those flashing lights in any documentation for the motherboard.
A person on the independant support website for the motherboard
suggested trying a different power supply, but that would be
hard to do and I can't believe there is any problem with it.
I have been avoiding this motherboard problem by only shutting
down when I don't plan to use the computer again for at least
an hour. Amazingly, that has worked very well.

My questions: Will replacing the video board with a different
model likely fix the first problem? What about replacing it
with the exact same model? Are there any other possibilities?

Video board: Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 Vapor-X 1GB GDDR3

It has VGA, DVI-I, and HDMI outputs. The problem seems to be
identical using any output. A different computer attached to
the same monitor never has this problem. Only one connector
has ever been plugged in at a time.

Motherboard: ASUS P5Q-E
Monitor: Dell 2408WFP

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#1
August 21, 2011 at 17:14:14
The power supply is a real possibility. It may not be bad but one of the connectors could be loose. Reset the connector to the mother board & make sure that none of the others are loose.

Reset the video card as well.

How do you know when a politician is lying? His mouth is moving.


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#2
August 24, 2011 at 18:06:51
I reseated the video card and the power plugs to the video card
and motherboard. No apparent change in behavior.

The video always works when I first turn the machine on and
when I wake up the machine after either Windows or Ubuntu has
suspended because of inactivity.

The video almost never works when I restart the computer after
using Windows, Ubuntu, or the BIOS.

It seems to work sometimes when I restart after using DOS.

When the video does not work, it generally begins working again
when the Linux Grub program starts or DOS starts. When it still
doesn't begin working, it generally begins working within a minute
or two of the OS starting. In the last case, I often see the monitor
repeatedly receiving some indication of a video signal, but then
immediately putting up the message that it is turning off for lack
of a signal.

Will replacing the video board with a different model likely fix the
problem? What about replacing it with the exact same model?
Are there any other possibilities?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#3
August 24, 2011 at 19:34:31
If you are going to replace the video card, I would buy a different brand since it could be a driver problem. The driver is already loaded during sleep mode. That could be why there is no problem when the PC is awakened.

Out of curiosity, look at the event viewer in windows. There could be an error message there.

Also, I just looked at your video card on the net & I noticed that it has a fan on it. Is the fan spinning?

How do you know when a politician is lying? His mouth is moving.


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Related Solutions

#4
August 24, 2011 at 20:36:35
This still could be a power supply problem, either a low voltage on one of the different voltage busses, or it could be power supply heat build up causing a marginal component to increase in resistance thereby dropping voltage and causing the problem. It could be a bad connection in one of the connectors (wire to pin), especially if your video card uses an accessory power plug, it could be that plug (see if there is an auxiliary plug of that same type to try). If you could borrow a power supply, it might help you verify this.

It of course could be your video card but you should keep your mind open for all possibilities. If you do purchase another video card do not get locked in on the same card (even if you were completely happy with it) since there have been improvements in the last year and you probably can get something better for the same money, such as GDDR5 graphics memory.

Consider installing a temperature monitoring program like speedfan and possibly something specifically for your graphics card so you can see if your problem is temperature related. Also don't forget to make sure your system is clear if dust (compressed air can) and all of your fans (case, CPU, and graphics card fans) are working.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.


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#5
August 24, 2011 at 20:54:02
Thanks, guapo!

Yes, the fan is spinning. All six fans spinning!

Also, after starting the computer and going into the BIOS, I have
sometimes restarted it less than 90 seconds after initially turning
it on, and the vido problem occurs. So the computer does not
need to be on very long for the problem to happen. It isn't obvious
that it is heat related.

Is the concern about it being a driver problem due to another card
of the same brand possibly having the same driver problem, OR
is it due to the existing driver possibly being used by the new card?
I would avoid the latter posibility with a fresh install of the OS.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#6
August 24, 2011 at 21:11:20
Fingers,

I don't yet have a program that shows the temperatures while the OS
is running. (The one that came on my motherboard's driver disk was
not designed for Windows 7, and the last time I checked there did not
seem to be a Win 7 version.) Whenever I've looked at the temperatures
in the BIOS, they have been fine.

If my video card has a temperature output, can you suggest a program
to read it? I don't recall seeing any indication of such a capability in the
documentation. I belive I did see an indicator in the Windows support
program (Catalyst), but it was disabled. I saw no way to enable it.

I have a dust filter on the front of the case, which works fairly well.
It's probably time to clean it.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#7
August 25, 2011 at 06:34:15
I think that the driver is good but sometimes it's not loading. There could be a conflict in the startup. Run msconfig, go to the startup tab & disable all, click oj & apply. Reboot & click ok again.

I still agree with fingers that the power supply could be the problem but try those other things first.

How do you know when a politician is lying? His mouth is moving.


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#8
August 25, 2011 at 07:55:54
I suspect your problem is caused by the power supply - either it's inadequate or it's defective.
......

All modern mboards, mboard bioses, video adapters, and operating systems already have built in support for displaying basic VGA video without needing any drivers to be loaded by the computer user. You have basic VGA video even when you have no hard drive.

The video adapter should ALWAYS produce that basic VGA video BEFORE e.g. Windows loads while booting, even if there is something wrong in Windows that prevents the video from being displayed in Windows itself AFTER the specific drivers have been loaded for the video adapter.

You should always get basic VGA video while booting from the video adapter, if there's nothing else wrong, unless you have this situation......

Some recent main chipsets that have onboard video have a Hybrid video feature - the onboard video AND the video from a PCI-E X16 card in a PCI-E X16 slot can enabled at the same time, if and only if the video chipset on the card is one of a few video chipsets that support that feature for that specific main chipset.
If the video chipset on the PCI-E X16 card is NOT one of the few video chipsets that support that feature for that specific main chipset, due to default bios settings, usually you DO NOT get video from the PCI-E X16 card and the onboard video is working.. In that case, you need to change default bios settings to Disable the onboard video AND specify the PCI-E X16 video.

Since you DO get video while booting some of the time, your mboard probably does NOT have a main chipset that supports Hybrid video.
....

"Video board: Sapphire Radeon HD 4850"

I installed one of those on someone else's computer. That's an excellent card for the time when it was first released. It has proven to be reliable with his system, and for other people according to user reviews for it on the newegg web site. .

ATI Radeon™ HD 4850 Graphics System Requirements
http://www.amd.com/us/products/desk...

- 450 Watt or greater power supply with 75 Watt 6-pin PCI Express® power connector recommended (550 Watt and two 6-pin connectors for ATI CrossFireX™ technology in dual mode)

The latter is for two HD 4850 video chipsets,
The video chipset on the card requires up to 100 watts of power, up to 8.3 amps at +12v.

I suspect your problem is caused by the power supply - either it's inadequate or it's defective.

What is the (maximum combined total output) wattage capacity of your power supply ?
That's on the label on it .

If it's, say, 400 watts or less, or if it's an el-cheapo power supply that can't actually supply an average or better amount of current (amperage) at +12v that the system with card installed requires according to the capacity, you are likely to have problems when the HD 4850 card is installed because the power supply is inadequate.

If the power supply IS inadequate, the video card often works fine anyway initially, but the PS is being constantly overloaded when the card is installed all the time the computer is running, and that overloading damages the power supply, sooner or later. The PS probably gets hotter than it should after the computer has been running more than a short time.

The connection of the main 20 or 24 pin connector and the 4 or 8 pin connector to the mboard, and the 6 pin PCI-E connector to the card, CAN cause problems if they're not properly seated, but other than that I suspect your problem is caused by the power supply itself.

If you can temporarily borrow a PS that has at least a 450 watt capacity from a working system, try that with your mboard.

If it IS inadequate, or defective, you can usually replace it with any decent standard sized standard ATX PS, in this case with one that has a 450 watt or greater capacity.

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 PS.
See response 3 in this:
http://www.computing.net/answers/ha...

I no longer recommend Cooler Master, AOpen, or Sparkle power supplies. I have seen cases where they have failed prematurely, due to the fan failing and causing it to overheat, or their capacitors failing .



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#9
August 25, 2011 at 08:29:14
"I don't yet have a program that shows the temperatures while the OS
is running. (The one that came on my motherboard's driver disk was
not designed for Windows 7, and the last time I checked there did not
seem to be a Win 7 version.) "

ASUS P5Q-E (home support page)
http://support.asus.com/Download.as...

Set OS to Windows 7 32 bit

Click on Utilities

Download and install
ASUS PC Probe II V1.04.75 for Windows XP/XP 64bit/Vista/Vista 64bit Win7 32bit/64bit


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#10
August 26, 2011 at 05:44:51
Thank you, Tubesandwires!

I must apologize for multiple mistakes in what I said.

My ATI Catalyst Control Center did have a temperature monitor for
the video board, and it was NOT disabled. It was the monitors for
fan speed and something else (voltage??) that were disabled. The
temperature monitor showed the video board to be 38 - 39 degrees
Celsius. A bit warm but not critically hot, if I understand correctly.

Your link to the ASUS Probe II monitor program reminded me that
I had in fact found that program and downloaded it, apparently a year
ago, but never unzipped or installed it. That program does not show
video board temperature, but it does show the CPU and motherboard
temperatures, and as soon as I ran it, it alerted me loudly that the
motherboard temperature is too high. It showed 47 deg Celsius.
So it looks like I have a problem there and may be going to replace
the motherboard rather than the video board.

There is no built-in video on the motherboard.

The video problem has been happening for a long time, but I can't
recall when I discovered it. I discovered the motherboard problem
about a week after installing it. That took a very long time because
I tried and tried to jam the idotic Intel CPU fan into the holes in the
motherboard, and could not. I was afraid I was going to break the
motherboard, or at least traces on it. I eventually searched for and
found a good replacement CPU fan made by Thermaltake which
bolts in instead of pushes in. Still slightly hard to install, but way
better than using a sledgehammer.

If I replace the motherboard, I'll have to decide whether to stay with
the Intel Q9550 CPU or go to a newer one. $$$.

I unusually started the computer last night after it was off for only
fifteen or twenty minutes, and the motherboard problem did NOT
appear. I haven't seen it in a very long time, but that may be
because, as I said, I deliberately avoid it.

My power supply is an Antec Earthwatts EA-500. 500 watts.
It came preinstalled in the Antec case. Since it was new, highly
regarded, seemed to have plenty of power capability, showed good
voltages in the BIOS, and would probably be a lot of bother to
replace, I have believed religiously that it is not the problem.

Also, I just now realized that when I reseated the vido board and
power connectors, I failed to reseat the main motherboard power
connector. I only did the auxilliary connector. I'll try again later.

It reminds me that the printed instructions for the video board do
not mention its auxilliary power connector at all. It is only explained
on the CD, which can only be viewed if the video board has already
been correctly installed.

guapo,

I believe the problem can't be with drivers, since it occurs before
any OS starts to boot. What is strange to me is that it *usually*
clears up when either the Grub program or DOS starts.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#11
August 26, 2011 at 07:56:39
Antec does have a good overall reputation for it's power supplies, however they have two lines of power supplies - a cheaper line with a shorter warranty, and a more expensive line for the same capacities with a longer warranty. The latter line has a rock solid reputation - the cheaper line, such as including the one you have, not so much.
Good quality power supplies are a lot less likely to cause you problems, but any power supply can malfunction or fail.
My brother had a defective Antec PS - it was one of the cheaper line - it was replaced in a short time by Antec, no problem.
If you can borrow another power supply from a working system that has at least 450 watts capacity, try that for a few days.
........

Hardware monitoring software provided by the maker of the mboard has never had an ability to monitor a video card's temp or rpm in any version I've seen. The software that came with the video card may or may not have that ability built into it. Not all video cards have the sensors for that / hardware monitoring capabilty.

"....video board to be 38 - 39 degrees Celsius. A bit warm but not critically hot, if I understand correctly."

That's correct. The fan on the Sapphire HD 4850 is more effective at cooling than most.


"...I had in fact found that program and downloaded it, apparently a year
ago, but never unzipped or installed it. That program does not show
video board temperature, but it does show the CPU and motherboard
temperatures, and as soon as I ran it, it alerted me loudly that the
motherboard temperature is too high. It showed 47 deg Celsius."

NOTE that sometimes the mboard manufacturer does NOT connect the sensor for a temp or rpm for the hardware monitoring chip, or the built into the mboard's main chipset hardware monitoring circuits, to the input that the manufacturer of the chip intended, so the temp could be for the cpu rather than for the mboard itself.
Usually Asus's Probe gets that right in any case for Asus models, but third party hardware monitoring programs may NOT, and may show reading for inputs that have NO sensor connected to them - in that case the reading never changes and may even be impossible - e.g.. negative rpm.
Compare the temps and rpms to the ones shown in the bios Setup - the readings there are almost always 100% correct regarding what they were assigned to, even when the mboard manufacturer has NOT connected sensors to the intended correct inputs., and the temp and rpm readings have been tweaked in the bios code to make them more accurate.
Go by the bios readings.
If the hardware monitoring software has the wrong label assigned to a temp or rpm ion comparison to in the bios, or if the temp or rpm readings are more than a little different than in the bios, usually the labelling can be changed and the readings tweaked to make them more accurate in the software.

The mboard and/or system temp being high usually does NOT indicate your mboard is defective.
In most cases, your CPU temp is higher than the mboard and/or system temp(s). If the mboard and/or system temp(s) are a lot higher than room temp or higher than the cpu temp
- you may need to use a case fan, especially if you have an Intel rather than an AMD cpu. The best place to install it is up as high as you can get bit on the back of a tower case, blowing OUT of the case. Larger diameter fans are less noisy and move more air than smaller diameter ones.
- you may have a problem with your power supply fan(s) - there MUST be air coming out of the back of the power supply all the time the computer is running - you DO have a problem with that if the tower case gets hot right above where the power supply is after the computer has been running foir at least 15 minutes.

The most critical temp is that of the CPU. If the CPU gets too hot all sorts of strange things can happen, even when it is not getting hot enough for the bios to shut down the mboard because of that.

The third party fan you installed MUST be good enough to cool your particular cpu properly in all circumstances.
NOTE that if the fan can be installed either way, all fans used in computers suck in air from the side where you can see the entire fan blade, and blow it out the other side. You must see the entire fan blade with no non moving central part in the way when the fan is installed on the heatsink, If you have that backwards, the fan will NOT cool the cpu as well.
The same goes for a case fan that is installed on the side of the case that is intended to help cool the cpu - there may be a tuibe directed toward the cpu - the case fan must blow toward the cpu to cool it the best - the side of the fan towards the cpu having a non moving cetral part in the way of you seeing the entire fan blade.

"It reminds me that the printed instructions for the video board do
not mention its auxilliary power connector at all. It is only explained
on the CD, which can only be viewed if the video board has already
been correctly installed."

It's been a long time since I installed the same card - I don't recall what the printed directions said, but if a video card has (a) power socket(s), it(they) MUST be connected to the power supply .
You could have looked at the manual on the CD BEFORE you installed the card.
.......

Asus mboards are less likely to have this problem...

Open up your case and examine the mboard to see if you have bad capacitors, and/or other findable signs of mboard damage .

What to look for, mboard symptoms, example pictures:
http://www.badcaps.net/pages.php?vid=5
Home page that site
- what the problem is caused by
- he says there are STILL bad capacitors on more recent mboards.
http://www.badcaps.net/

Pictures of blown capacitors, other components, power supplies, Athlon cpu's, etc.:
http://www.halfdone.com/Personal/Jo...


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#12
August 27, 2011 at 21:27:58
All sorts of things happening even as I write this!

It had been a while since I last looked at the CPU and motherboard
temperatures in BIOS. I just looked and found them to be higher than
I'd ever seen them before. Yesterday I didn't mention the CPU temp
reading in ASUS Probe II because it was low. 34 deg C, I think. Just
now, in the BIOS, it reached 44 deg C a few minutes after power on.
The motherboard temp was 45 deg C. I changed the CPU fan setting
in the BIOS from the middle setting to the most aggressive cooling.
I also opened the case and manually changed the main exhaust fan
setting from low to medium. That seemed to bring the temps down
slightly.

Then I went into Windows and started ASUS Probe II. The CPU and
motherboard temps started high, but have since gone down and
settled at CPU 29 deg C, motherboard 43 deg C. Actually they are
trying to pull a fast one on me. They now each read a degree lower!
The motherboard is still rather warm, but not critical. The CPU is
very cool, if those temps are correct.

The power supply is about 1 cm below the top of the case, which has
never felt warm. But I was somewhat concerned that there has never
been much airflow from the power supply fan, and thought that using
high speed on the main exhaust fan might draw air in through the
power fan opening, against the flow of that fan. A piece of tissue
held near the power fan went toward it as much as away from it a
few minutes ago. My vague memory is that the air coming from the
power supply fan did feel hot in the past, though the case has never
felt warm, and the air coming from it has not felt warm in the last few
days. My vague memory may be wrong. I just opened the case again
to check the airflow *into* the power supply. No part of the PS is hot.
However, I also found no airlow at all into the PS, and then saw that
the PS fan is NOT rotating! With the side of the case open and the
PS fan not working, the tissue is NOT drawn against the PS fan grille.

The works in the PS are on top, which seems wrong to me. I would
think the air flow ought to be above the works, not below. However,
the top of the PS case, which I can barely squeeze my little finger in
to feel, is comfortably warm, not hot. I wonder if turning up the main
exhaust fan speed, and perhaps opening the case, has cooled the
PS so much that the fan turned off automatically. I wasn't aware
that it had such a capability. It does not connect to the motherboard
so I can't get any reading on it.

Also, when I restarted the computer after being in the BIOS setup
program for several minutes, watching the temps, for once the video
displayed! To confuse things, though, the last time I was in the BIOS
(yesterday) I made a couple of other settings changes, one of which
was to change "Repost Video on S3 Resume" from the default "No"
to "Yes". The description of that setting is "Determines whether to
invoke VGA BIOS POST on S3/STR resume." I don't know what that
means but it looked like it couldn't hurt to turn it on. That might
possibly have made the difference.

That's only one restart, though.

And another new thing. After turning up the CPU and main exhaust
fans, I just discovered that the fan noise is much louder with the side
panel on than with it off. It is not a matter of a fan running or not -- I
can open and close the side panel rapidly, and the change is instant.
This is particularly annoying since the side panel has material on the
inside which is supposed to dampen noise. The case is the ANTEC
Designer 500. No vents in the sides or top, just the front and back.

Well! More! It is taking me quite a while to write all this, and while
checking the PS to see if it is still cool, I find that the PS fan is
running again! ASUS Probe II shows that the CPU temp is now
down to a ridiculous 26 deg C, and the motherboard is at 42 deg C.
Before I could test the PS fan with the tissue, it has stopped again!
I don't hear it starting and stopping.

I just stood at it for a couple of minutes holding the tissue, and
saw it start, run for maybe fifteen seconds, and stop again. Didn't
hear a thing, with all the other fans going.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#13
August 28, 2011 at 12:37:12
"I also found no airflow at all into the PS, and then saw that
the PS fan is NOT rotating! With the side of the case open and the
PS fan not working, the tissue is NOT drawn against the PS fan grille."

The tissue test is not necessarily an indicator of a problem, but the fan not spinning IS a problem !
You MUST replace the fan !
When the fan isn't working, the PS is dumping part of the heat it generates inside the case and the PS can be damaged from overheating itself !
If you had no case fan, both of those problems would be worse.

If the PS has only one fan, or if it has two fans and one is at the back of the case, that fan must spin - you can replace it with a 2 wire fan meant for use in power supplies, or better still with a case fan, of the same size and cfm rating or better.
If you replace it with a case fan, you can connect it's three wires connected to a 3 hole connector to a Power or Case fan header on the mboard and be able to monitor it's rpm, in the bios, and in the operating system with hardware monitoring software. The software can be set so that it warns you when that fan is not spiining at at least the minimum rpm for it.
(It's not temp controlled when it's connected to the fan header rather than to the PS internally, unless that feature is built into fan's wiring.)
The fan should have at least two ball bearings, or better (e,g. ceramic bearings), in order for it to last (continue to spin properly) a lot longer. (If the label or description says ball bearing without the s, it probably has one ball bearing, one cheap sleeve bearing.)
If the fan has no cfm rating on it's label, the cfm rating of the original may be in the detailed specs for the power supply model, or if the current (ma) the replacement fan is rated to draw is at least as much as for the original fan, which is usually shown on the fan's label, or higher, the replacement fan will have a similar cfm rating, or better - move air at about the same rate, or better.

"....while checking the PS to see if it is still cool, I find that the PS fan is
running again! "
"Before I could test the PS fan with the tissue, it has stopped again!"

That probably indicates the fan has one or both bearing(s) that is / are cheap sleeve bearings, and it/they are in BAD shape such that it's / they're producing too much friction. The fan may sometimes spin, sometimes not spin, before it gets to the point that it never spins.
.........................................................................................

"....I didn't mention the CPU temp
reading in ASUS Probe II because it was low. 34 deg C, I think. Just
now, in the BIOS, it reached 44 deg C a few minutes after power on.
The motherboard temp was 45 deg C."

34 or 44 C for the CPU temp is quite cool.
Most CPUs still operate properly if they get no hotter than 55 C or so.
Obviously that's going to be the lowest right after you first start up the computer after it has had a chance to cool to room temp.
When the CPU is that cool, the mboard or system temp may be a little higher, but it should NOT be be excessively higher.

The CPU will get the hottest when it's being used aggressively - such as when you're playing a recent high end game.

"I also opened the case and manually changed the main exhaust fan
setting from low to medium. That seemed to bring the temps down
slightly."

The best place to have a case fan on a tower case is at the back of the case, up as high as you can mount it, installed so it blows air OUT of the case. You should be able to see the entire fan blade inside the case, no non moving central part in the way.

"A piece of tissue
held near the power fan went toward it as much as away from it a
few minutes ago."

There should ALWAYS be air coming OUT of the grille behind the power supply outside of the case, when the computer is running. It isn't necessarily a strong stream of air - better power supplies have temp controlled variable speed fans and they spin slower when the PS is cooler - but there should always be air coming out of there - you should be able to feel the air is coming out there when you place your hand there, more so when your fingers are moist. .
Your power supply may have one fan, or two.
If it has one fan, it's either an 80mm fan at the very back of the PS case, or there is no fan there - it's on the bottom of the power supply case.
A tissue should move a bit, outwards, if placed behind the PS if there is the 80mm fan at the back - it probably won't move as much if the fan is at the bottom of the PS case because there are other openings the air can escape from in the PSs case.
If the PS has two fans, the inner one is probably temp controlled, variable speed - there may be two wires from that connected to a 3 hole connector you can to connect to a case or power fan header so you can monitor that fan's rpm, but that's not essential - the fan will operate properly whether or not you plug that in.

"My vague memory is that the air coming from the power supply fan did feel hot in the past, though the case has never felt warm, and the air coming from it has not felt warm in the last few days."

How often do you touch the case over where the power supply is ? If not often, you could easily miss that it was getting warmer or hot there sometimes.

The temp of the air will vary depending on what you were doing with the computer before that, of course.
Better PS have more effective heat sinks, so it may not feel hot, but it should feel warmer than room temp in any case - no power supply is more than 85% efficient, and they always produce some heat.
However, if your vague memory recollection is correct, the air SHOULD feel hotter, sometimes.

"No part of the PS is hot."

It won't be hot when you start up the computer after it has had a chance to cool to room temp, of course, and it will be coolest after the computer has been running at least 15 minutes or so when you are not actively doing anything with the computer - the computer is in it's "idle" state. It will get the hottest when the cpu and the video chipset is being aggressively used.

Your HD 4850 video chipset is loading your PS to as much as 85% of it's 500 watt capacity when the video chipset is being aggressively used - no power supply is more than 85% efficient, and usually the wattage rating is an intermittent rating, not a continuous rating - the continuous rating is usually lower.


"I wonder if turning up the main exhaust fan speed, and perhaps opening the case, has cooled the PS so much that the fan turned off automatically."

You could look in the manual fot the power supply model to see what it says about that, if the fan DOES stop that's unusual and would be stated in the manual, but for ALL the computer power supplies I have come across......

The fan or fans inside the PS NEVER stop spinning when the computer is running ! They may be temp controlled and spin slower when the PS is cooler, but they NEVER stop spinning.
It's possible that if it/they are temp controlled, the control circuit is defective, but I've never encountered that - it's always been the fan is not spinning that is the
problem.

"....the last time I was in the BIOS (yesterday) I made a couple of other settings changes, one of which was to change "Repost Video on S3 Resume" from the default "No"
to "Yes". The description of that setting is "Determines whether to invoke VGA BIOS POST on S3/STR resume." I don't know what that means but it looked like it couldn't hurt to turn it on. That might possibly have made the difference."

That setting has NOTHING to do with whether you get video while booting BEFORE the operating system loads.
That setting affects ONLY how the video behaves after the computer has gone into Standby or Hibernate mode. You are usually best off to leave settings like that set to defaults. If that were a problem you would have had the problem when the computer has gone into Standby or Hibernate mode from the very beginning when you first assembled the computer.
A side note - you MUST install main chipset drivers for the mboard after Setup has finished when you have installed Windows from scratch, because otherwise your ACPI features including Standby and Hibernate mode may NOT work correctly. If Standby and/or Hibernate mode DO NOT work correctly AFTER installing those drivers, only THEN you should try changing default settings like you changed.

"After turning up the CPU and main exhaust
fans, I just discovered that the fan noise is much louder with the side
panel on than with it off. It is not a matter of a fan running or not -- I
can open and close the side panel rapidly, and the change is instant."

You DO NOT need to increase the fan speeds unless their current fan speed resulted in excessive temps of the cpu or the interior of the case.
Is the case fan blowing out of the case or into the case ?
If it's blowing into the case it's more likely to make more noise when the case has it's side panel on.
A single case fan should be mounted on the back of the case up as high as you can mount it and be blowing air OUT of the case. You should be able to see it's entire blade with no non moving part in the way inside the case if it's installed so that blows air out of the case.
Your CPU fan is doing a good job even when it was set to it's lower rpm and you have no need for a case fan to be blowing into the case to improve the CPU cooling.

Some cases have insufficient openings where you mount a case fan, such that the case fan cannot blow air out of the case or suck air into the case at the rate the fan was designed for, and you hear more noise because of that, the faster the rpm the worse it is. The only cure for that is to increase the size of the openings, e.g. drill out round holes so that they're considerably larger, but you then may have the problem of metal bits being produced when you do that that you must get rid of, otherwise they can cause problems.

"It is taking me quite a while to write all this..."

We appreciate your efforts ! Our biggest problem is the person who started the Topic has not provided sufficient info, and/or has not responded to enough of what we who answer have said or asked about.
The more info you provide, the better, as far as I am concerned, and the more likely a solution will be found for your problem in fewer posts.


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#14
August 29, 2011 at 05:24:42
Tubesandwires,

Thank you for your efforts!

One more update:

When I changed that setting in the BIOS I also changed another one.
I had turned off the IDE controller because I haven't been using it and
it added a second or two to system startup. After turning it back on,
in three restarts so far, the video has not come on until the screen
notice that the IDE controller is in place. The video then remains on.
I suspect that it was neither the increased cooling nor turning on the
"Repost Video on S3 Resume" that made the video work again, but
the notice about the IDE controller. I will turn it off again to test it.

By turning on "Repost Video on S3 Resume" I may have caused the
video problem to start happening when resuming from sleep. The
last time it resumed from sleep, video was out for about a minute.
That never happened before. I'll test it after I have finished testing
the IDE controller thing.

I'll just mention that I can see the power supply fan without removing
the side of the case, but it is difficult, so I usually don't notice whether
it is spinning or not unless the side of the case is off.

The PS fan has been off most of the times I've looked in the last hour.
A moment ago it was off, I reached inside to feel the PS, and it was
warmer than it was yesterday. Just then the fan came on, rand for
just under a minute, then stopped again. The PS then felt no warmer
than it had been yesterday. I just felt the PS again, and it was warmer
again, so I watched, and a few seconds later the fan started, ran for
20 seconds, and stopped again.

The fan rotates easily when I push on a blade. No sign of friction.
It wiggles back and forth when it stops turning, which suggest to me
that there is no sticking. Although I'm very surprised that it works
intermittently, it seems to be keeping the PS temp within limits.

As I said in my second post, the computer has six fans. The PS fan
and the 120 mm exhaust fan in the rear were preinstalled. One fan
is on the video card, the CPU fan is 92 mm, and two 92 mm fans
blow into the front of the case.

The tissue was useful in that it showed me that air was going into
the PS where it should be coming out. I didn't know why until I saw
that the PS fan wasn't rotating. I only discovered that after turning
up the speed of the main exhaust fan, which, at that speed, evidently
draws air in through the PS fan opening when that fan isn't running
and the side panel is on the case. At the lower speed, it probably
does NOT draw air in through the PS fan opening because enough
air is pushed in by the two front fans.

The CPU fan and the front fans are controlled via the motherboard.
The exhaust fan is controlled by a manual 3-position switch. I moved
it from the low setting to the medium setting after the ASUS Probe II
blared its klaxon at me to indicate that the motherboard was too hot.
The motherboard temp has always been higher than the CPU temp.

I thought the max recommended temp for the CPU was 40 deg C.

Most of the temperatures I've reported have been after the computer
has been on for several hours.

I turned the exhaust fan back down to the low setting and put the
side of the case back. ASUS probe II shows that the CPU fan is
running at about 1000 RPM, higher than the ~700 RPM before I
changed it to its most aggressive cooling setting in the BIOS
a day or so ago. It also shows that the CPU and motherboard
temps remain at the same temps I reported yesterday with the
exhaust fan set at medium: 29 deg C and 43 deg C. So unless
and until I put a bigger load on the system, it looks like I don't
need the exhaust fan on either the "loud" or "takeoff thrust"
settings.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#15
August 29, 2011 at 10:15:53
"When I changed that setting in the BIOS I also changed another one.
I had turned off the IDE controller because I haven't been using it and
it added a second or two to system startup. After turning it back on,
in three restarts so far, the video has not come on until the screen
notice that the IDE controller is in place."

"Monitor: Dell 2408WFP"

Apparently it's a 24 inch (diagonal) wide screen LCD monitor
You CAN experience a delay seeing the video of a CRT monitor while booting, but when you have an LCD (or Plasma) monitor, you should see video nearly right away while booting, (in both cases) as soon as the led on the monitor turns the color it is when it's receiving a video signal.

It not appearing nearly right away, in itself, MAY indicate your power supply DOES have a problem..
............

As I have said previously, you can eliminate or confirm the Antec PS as the cause of your problems by simply doing this...

"If you can borrow another power supply from a working system that has at least 450 watts capacity, try that for a few days. "

It may take a lot less time than that.
......

Your power supply probably has superior heat sinks. In that case, it's possible in theory that the PS fan does not spin when the interior of the PS is cool enough, however, I have NEVER encountered that or heard of that for ANY standard sized computer power supply, and I have found NO evidence that your model is supposed to do that !

I don't think you have mentioned how old the power supply is, as in, whether it was new or had been previously used when you built your present system. An older version of a model is more likely to always spin the fan, in theory.

Antec itself only has info about the current version of the model.

Earthwatts
EA-500D Green
http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/pro...

"500W Continuous Power"

Continuous rather than intermittent - good .

"...meeting the Bronze level of efficiency from 80 PLUS®,"

It's at least 80% efficient - good.

"On top of that, this EarthWatts power supply boasts universal input to automatically work on any power grid on the planet, and an 80mm fan to keep cool."

The fan is shown in the pictures at the back of the PS.

"....I can see the power supply fan without removing the side of the case, but it is difficult..."

It shouldn't be - if there is good enough lighting, it would be obvious when it's not spinning at the back of the case.

Flyer
http://www.antec.com/pdf/flyers/EA5...

two +12v output sections
"3 year warranty"

Good, and good.
Although, some say a single +12v output section is sometimes a better situation.
Antec's higher line of PSs have a longer warranty.

FAQ
Power Supplies
Fundamentals
http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/FAQ...

"Questions:
How does a PWM fan affect fan speed and quiet?
Answers:
Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) technology finely controls the speed of a power supply’s fan.

By using this method instead of traditional voltage-controlled fans, this type of PSU fan can run up to 50% quieter than standard fans. A PWM fan can run as slow as 10-15% of the fan’s rated top speed, whereas a voltage-regulated fan can only go as low as 40%. "

NO mention of it ever NOT spinning, or 0 (zero) rpm.
If you replaced the fan and connected it internally, it probably must be a PWM compatible fan. A case fan wouldn't requre that if you connected it to a mboard fan header. If the mboard doesn't have a spare fan header, you don't need 3 other case fans.


Power Supplies
Basics
http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/FAQ...

scroll down - shows they use double ball bearing fans.

You're not likely to have a problem with those bearings / the fan(s).

"The fan rotates easily when I push on a blade. No sign of friction."

So - your problem may be in the control circuit(s) for the fan.

"It wiggles back and forth when it stops turning, which suggest to me
that there is no sticking."

I recently replaced a fan in a Cooler Master PS that did exactly that, all the time - it never spun. It was on a friend's computer that I had worked on before - previously, it spun all the time, though it was probably temp controlled and spun slower when the PS was cooler.
I replaced the fan with an Antec case fan, dual ball bearings, a speed control in it's wiring, connected to a fan header on the mboard - that cooled the PS fine.
The same PS failed to fully boot the same computer (with the same Sapphire HD 4850 card, by the way) a short time later, probably because the PS had gotten way too hot when the fan wasn't working and had damaged itself.
The same system worked fine, and still works fine, with a new replacement PS.

I checked out the specs for the Cooler Master PS model on the Cooler Master web site - the single original fan has two cheap sleeve bearings. The warranty period was not stated but when I searched on the web I found it was only one year.
The original fan still moved easily enough, but it doesn't take much friction in the bearing for the fan to NOT initially start spinning when it's supposed to, so I assumed the bearings were in the process of failing.
It could very well be the bearings hadn't gotten to that point yet, and the actual problem was the control circuit(s) for the fan was malfunctioning !
....

Manual (English)
http://www.antec.com/pdf/manuals/Ea...

Nothing concerning whether the fan ever stops spinning in that.
........

Older info .....

antec earthwatts fan not spinning? does anyone have this psu?
http://hardforum.com/showthread.php...

dr.kevin

"my earthwatts 380 psu's only fan is not spinning

does anyone have an earthwatts, and does the fan spin when idle? "
...

My note - the 380 watt version is in the same series.

Last post

dr.kevin

"anyway, I received a replacement earthwatts 380 psu from Antec, and the fan spins even when cold.
i still question the reliability of this unit though."
..............

Review of what may be an older version of the model.
(sometimes model versions are not changed at all over time)
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.ph...

Posted On: Sat, Feb-10-2007
Reviewer: jonny
Product: Antec EarthWatts EA-500 500W
Product Link: http://www.antec.com/us/productDeta...
Supplied By: Antec

"The EarthWatts is 80 Plus certified; meaning that it has 80% or better efficiency at 20%,
50% and 100% of the power supply's total capability."

Searched the page for: spin, then not spin

He does NOT mention the fan NOT spinning - he only mentions that it DID NOT SPIN UP, as in, it did not spin faster, until it had a greater load on it.

"Interestingly enough, although my temperatures in the hot box were well beyond what they ever were in the cold box, the fan did not spin up and was not audible until test 4 again!"
"And once again, the fan did not spin up to full speed until test 5."
....

"As I said in my second post, the computer has six fans. The PS fan
and the 120 mm exhaust fan in the rear were preinstalled. One fan
is on the video card, the CPU fan is 92 mm, and two 92 mm fans
blow into the front of the case."

It's NOT a good idea to have more case fans running than you need to be running.
If you have too many of them running, you're just introducing more dust and lint to the case interior and you will need to clean that off of your fans and heat sinks and mboard more often.

Only have one or as many running as it takes to cool the interior of your case to a minimum.

You have a decent CPU fan and heat sink going by what you've said.

You probably don't need any more than one or two case fans to be running. You certainly don't need two fans blowing in at the front of the case.

"The CPU fan and the front fans are controlled via the motherboard."

Some mboard's bioses can vary the speed of the cpu fan, but I've never seen one that can vary the speed of fan connected to a fan header for Case or Power fan.

"I thought the max recommended temp for the CPU was 40 deg C."

"Motherboard: ASUS P5Q-E"
"Intel Q9550"

Five listings for Q9550
http://www.cpu-upgrade.com/mb-ASUS/...

Intel part numbers in blue on the left - clicking on those shows the specs.

The first four -

Minimum/Maximum operating temperature (°C) 5 - 71.4
Minimum/Maximum power dissipation (W) 12 (TDP in extended HALT state) / 132.48
Thermal Design Power (W) 95

The last one...

Minimum/Maximum operating temperature (°C) 5 - 76.3
Minimum/Maximum power dissipation (W) 12 (TDP in extended HALT state) / 132.48
Thermal Design Power (W) 65

Your max operating temp - the temp beyond which the cpu will "misbehave" - is probably either 71.4 or 76.3 C.

Minimum/Maximum operating temperatures
http://www.cpu-world.com/Glossary/M...



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#16
September 1, 2011 at 11:59:07
A bit of additional info:

When I turned the computer on and went into the BIOS, then
exited without saving changes, the video continued to work
as bootup continued. But when I turned the computer on and
went into the BIOS, then saved changes, the video stopped
working until the IDE driver started loading, or the notice
that it was loaded was displayed. After that brief outage,
there was an even briefer outage of only a second, about a
minute after Windows started. I think I recall seeing the
latter kind of video outage on other computers, so I'm not
sure it has the same cause, and as long as it is so brief,
and only just after the OS starts, I'm not much concerned.


Again, two changes I've made appear to make a difference:
I turned on loading of the IDE driver in BIOS, which makes
the video come back on at that point during boot, and I
turned up the CPU fan from its middle setting to its most
aggressive cooling. That seems to keep the motherboard from
going past the red line at 45 degrees Celsius -- until today,
which is warm and humid. Ah! I put the exhaust fan back to
its middle setting (up from the low setting) a few minutes
ago, and just now the motherboard temp fell back below the
red line.


The fan is hard to see when the side of the case is on
because it has black blades and is recessed behind the
grille at the back of the computer which normally is 4-5
inches from the wall, so I have to pull it away from the
wall and hold both a mirror and a flashlight in just the
right places... Or clean off my desk so I can pull it
forward far enough to get my head behind it. Unlikely.

As I write this the computer has been on for well over an
hour, the PS fan has not run while I've been looking, and
the top of the case is cooler than I am.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#17
September 2, 2011 at 08:32:21
"As I have said previously, you can eliminate or confirm the Antec PS as the cause of your problems by simply doing this...

"If you can borrow another power supply from a working system that has at least 450 watts capacity, try that for a few days. "

It may take a lot less time than that. "
......

I found NO info that confirms the Antec power supply's fan should stop spinning at ANY time !

I strongly suspect that if you try another power supply from a working system, or replace the power supply, you won't be having the video problems you're having now, and the temp inside the case will go down when all else is the same because the fan in the PS would be drawing air out of the case all the time !
.......

I recommend you leave bios settings set to defaults !

There is NO setting in the bios of your partricular mboard model that would cause the video adapter to NOT produce any video sometimes while booting, yet produce it no problem at other times - that can ONLY be caused by a harware problem.
.....

"After that brief outage,there was an even briefer outage of only a second, about a
minute after Windows started. I think I recall seeing the
latter kind of video outage on other computers....."

I have seen myself that sometimes the video will very briefly go black, or the icons on the desktop screen will briefly disappear then return, when the Windows desktop is intially loading. Usually that happens only after the specific software has been loaded in Windows for the video adapter.
That's of no concern if that's the only time it happens.

E.g.
- the icons on the desktop screen will briefly disappear then return, when the Windows desktop is intially loading after I have loaded the software from the CD for my Radeon HD 5450 PCI-E X16 card in Windows
- that didn't happen on the same system when I had loaded the software from the CD for my HD AIW PCI-E X16 card (Radeon HD 3650) in Windows


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#18
September 2, 2011 at 09:17:18
I agree that it's time to try another power supply.

How do you know when a politician is lying? His mouth is moving.


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#19
September 2, 2011 at 11:42:54
"There is NO setting in the bios of your partricular mboard model that
would cause the video adapter to NOT produce any video sometimes
while booting, yet produce it no problem at other times - that can ONLY
be caused by a harware problem."
Yes and no.

The video going out can only be caused by a hardware problem, but
the display of the IDE driver installation notice brings the video back.
I see now that it apparently because just before the notice, the screen
is cleared. Without the IDE driver installation notice, the boot continues
without a screen clear until it gets to the Grub screen. That starts at
the top of the screen, so apparently it clears the screen, too.

The power supply fan has been off all of the recent times I looked,
but the computer case is always room temperature. I just opened the
case for a moment and felt the PS itself, and it is no more than body
temperature.

I may take the power supply out and take it to the store where I bought
it, and ask them to test it, and ask for a loaner while they test it. I doubt
they'll let me have a loaner, though. But they might be able to test it
while I wait.

I neglected to say before that the power supply was new. As I said
in post #10, it came preinstalled in the Antec case, which was in an
unopened box. I noticed the video problem not long after I finally
got the system set up. I noticed the motherboard problem first, less
than a week after I first supplied power to it. I bought the case/PS
in February 2009, but didn't apply power until January 2010, IIRC.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#20
September 2, 2011 at 12:21:41
"I may take the power supply out and take it to the store where I bought
it, and ask them to test it, and ask for a loaner while they test it. I doubt
they'll let me have a loaner, though. But they might be able to test it
while I wait."

They're not likely to spend a lot of time testing it or trying another one.

However, if they happen to have the same Antec model to try with your system, or one in the same series, you / they can confirm whether the fan is supposed to be running all the time right away.
If it IS supposed to be spinning all the time, it's likely there's something wrong with the circuits that control it's speed.


I suggested trying another PS for as long as a few days because according to your info you sometimes have no problems.
.
In any case, if it's voltages are okay, other possible problems are harder to track down.

In the case of my brother's Antec PS, it's voltages were fine, but apparently there was a problem with it's circuits reacting to an additional load properly - his computer black screened and rebooted only when he attempted to burn a DVD. I tried the DVD burner in another system - no problems with that. I tried another PS from a working system and there were no problems with the same DVD burner or anything else.

In your case it may take longer to confirm the problem is caused by your PS.
.......
"I neglected to say before that the power supply was new. As I said in post #10, it came preinstalled in the Antec case, which was in an
unopened box."

Okay, good to know.

"I noticed the motherboard problem first, less
than a week after I first supplied power to it."

Which mboard problem ?
Was the HD 4850 card installed from the very beginning ?

The PS MAY have been defective all along, or became defective at that point and after that point.

By any chance was there a power failiure event, or a lightning storm, "....less
than a week after I first supplied power to it."


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#21
September 2, 2011 at 13:32:44
The motherboard problem is described in the longest paragraph
of the original post. I haven't seen it in a long time, presumeably
because I avoid turning the computer on after it has only been off
for a few minutes.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#22
September 2, 2011 at 14:23:35
Take a chance & spend the money for the power supply.

How do you know when a politician is lying? His mouth is moving.


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