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I have a Dell D540 Studio desktop computer with a Nvidia 9800GT video card. A while back the machine started to display lines and characters across the screen that I thought was driver related. I upgraded and downgraded the video card drivers with temporary success until the problem seemed to reappear. I swapped to the other output port on the video card and finally moved the video connection to the vga connector on the motherboard of the machine with the same/similar results. I've run the diagnostics without any issue appearing. Can anyone offer an opinion as to what this is? Failed motherboard maybe? Something else? Any assistance would be appreciated prior to my call to Dell.


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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Sounds like your video card is failing.

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The video card is an add-in, the odd behavior comes from the card and the vga video connection on the motherboard. Would they both be routed through the add-in? – Mitch Jul 25 '11 at 16:01
These are classic signs the video card is going. and yes. – soandos Jul 25 '11 at 16:03

If this were a failure of your add-in card, the problem should not manifest when you connect to the onboard video, though to be absolutely sure, you should remove the add-in card and re-test the onboard controller.

It is possible (though unlikely) that this can be resolved simply by reseating your add-in card in its slot. A small buildup of contamination (such as dust) can cause issues similar to this. After removing the card, clean both the card and the slot thoroughly with a can of air-duster, then reseat the card and retest.

If neither of these resolve your issue then this would strongly suggest a motherboard failure.

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