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I'm having a very strange issue with my IBM ThinkCentre A52 (Model 8113).

I put in a AMD Radeon HD5770 PCI-e card, I rebooted and got the 4-2-3-3 "Extended Block Move" beeps. On the Internet, ppl suggested me to reflash the BIOS to the latest one. That went wrong, and I needed to follow the recovery procedure. The recovery procedure went OK, and I now have a BIOS dated in 2009 (in Dutch :-) ).

But when I put the card back in after the (succesful) reflash, the system powered on, the fans are blowing at normal to low speed, and I don't get any image on the new Video Card, and on the On Board one. The Fans of the new GPU are running at normal speed.

When I took out the new GPU, the PC stayed dead. Same symptoms. If I try to put the Mainboard to recovery mode using the cmos reset jumper (also used to recover from a wrongly flashed BIOS), the system stays dead too.

So my questions are:

  • Did I blow up my Mainboard for some odd reason?
  • Did I blow up the PSU?
  • Did I screw up anything else?
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was there any Magic (or Blue) Smoke? – Xantec Jun 3 '11 at 21:45
haven't seen anything, all the ICs are looking fine. – friedkiwi Jun 5 '11 at 8:38

2 Answers 2

up vote 0 down vote accepted

That your fans are running is a good sign.

Try hard-resetting the BIOS by removing the CMOS battery for 30 seconds and put it back. This is more reliable than using the reset jumper. You can try the procedure with and without (without first) your card and see what happens.

If you manage to get it working back without the card, check in your BIOS to see if there's an option that allows you choose the first init display, such as Onboard/PCI, or Integrated/PEG, or similar. Pick PCI/PEG - which indicates an external graphic adapter, then save, shutdown and insert card.

If you still can't get your card to work, check the specs to see if your motherboard supports using an external GPU, and consider upgrading your BIOS again if the bios history seems useful. Only do this if you can somehow be confident it won't go wrong again.

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There used to be a nVidia GeForce G210 in it, so PCI-e GPUs work. The BIOS is already the latest version available, and the changelog mentionned an error with PCI-e, in one of the previous releases, which has been fixed. – friedkiwi Jun 5 '11 at 4:16

First of all you should check the power supply and whether it's suitable for your hardware. Most Radeon HD 5770 come with a 6-pin PCIe power plug. This plug is not optional; it really needs to be connected. Either connecting it to the PCIe plug on your power supply or using an adapter (most cards come with an included adapter). Such adapters usually are connecting the 6-Pin PCIe plug to two Molex 4-Pin connectors (the same 4-pin plug which is used for ODD and IDE HDD).
If you use the adapter then make sure to connect the adapter to two independent power cables, not connecting both 4-Pin Molex connectors to the same cable - this is due to specification on maximum current per cable.

If this does not help or you already connected everything correctly then check your power supply. The card takes around 100W peak from the 12V rails. So make sure your power supply can deliver this power. Many OEM machines are equipped with a power supply which is sized exactly for the shipped hardware without big safety margins for upgrades. As I can see your model seems to be equipped with Pentium 4 class CPUs. These CPUs are well known to take a lot of power as well (P4 was shipped with TDP up to 140W). Adding this graphics card would require at least about 250W on 12V rails (assuming ~100W CPU, Chipset, ~100W GPU, HDD, ODD). Well, with some safety margin I would say a typical high-quality 350W power supply should be sufficient. As almost everything is powered from 12V in modern machines this would require a PSU which is able to deliver around 20A on the 12V rail(s). Read the stickers on your PSU whether it states anything about maximum current. If it's not sufficient you might try replacing the PSU. But read on first, maybe it won't even work when replacing the PSU.

OK, the following is a guess; not 100% secured by facts.

I've recently tried to upgrade an older machine with an nVidia chipset (Asus M2N mainboard) with an ATi Radeon HD 5770 card.

After installing the card I've experienced similar issues. The machine did not POST at all. Fans spinning normally (PSU on, 12V OK). The PSU was sufficient to power the card of course. I think it was powered by a Silverstone ST50F 500W unit.
After googling around I found that many users had similar issues with Radeon HD 5000 series card in older machines. At the end it seems that it all tracks down to a bug/feature in the BIOS of the cards. Somehow the cards seem not to initialize properly in PCIe 1.x slots (I think this applies to your mainboard as well). The cards do only work in PCIe 2.x slots So the usual effect is that the machine won't recognize the card or not boot at all (no beep). However it's common that fans turn on as the power supply is properly powered on.

Unfortunately it seems that there is no solution for this issue. I was already preparing to flash the BIOS of the card with a fixed one. Unfortunately I was unable to find any fixed ROM image on the internet.

Finally I ended up returning the card and replacing it by an nVidia GeForce GTS250 which finally worked perfectly.

I am not sure if the Radeon HD 6000 series still faces the same issues or whether it has been fixed. Up to now I did not attempt to upgrade an old PCIe 1.x-only machine with such a card.

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How do you type such large answers? – Isaac Jun 3 '11 at 23:46
@isaac He seems very knowledgeable, thats probably why :) – Simon Sheehan Jun 4 '11 at 0:34
@Isaac Is it too long to read? ;) Well, I usually like to explain things and the reason WHY things are like this. But it takes some more words to explain something in more detail - on the other hand it might help you to understand the reason so you don't have to ask again "why" it is the way I've just claimed it to be. :) – SkyBeam Jun 4 '11 at 1:07
I think it's indeed a PSU issue. The card runs fine on a PCI-e 1.x board, I now use another PC, because of the exam monday (and in that PC were my project files :( ). I found that older PC on a second hand site, it has an AMD Athlon64 4000+, 2GB DDR400, 400W PSU. This currently works. The other PC, described above, has everything intel (945G chipset). I do require an ATI card, for the applications I run: nVidias have poor OpenCL performance compared to these ones, in the same price range. – friedkiwi Jun 5 '11 at 4:10
And the fans run waaaaay slower on the faulty board. Even when it was'n faulty yet. I only have one 'cable' which has 3 molex on it. The other one contains about 4 SATA power plugs. In the working setup, the card (and other parts) get up to 45-50 dB (especially with this weather). I know molex to sata exists, but the other way around, does that exists too? – friedkiwi Jun 5 '11 at 4:14

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