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I have a Dell Inspiron 530 with a modified (upgraded) CPU fan and a GeForce GT240. It had a GT240, because yesterday, after my son had a long round of Peggle, the display just shut off; after a few seconds, the computer powered down and won't boot.

The official Dell documentation says that a "steady amber light" indicates an "internal device malfunction." Removing my GPU seems to fix the problem, surprisingly.

Characteristics with the GPU installed:

  • Computer won't boot, period.
  • Mobo shows amber "power" light (i.e. mobo is getting electricity)
  • CPU fan flicks on for a fractional second, then stops
  • No other sounds; no hardware runs.

I'm pretty sure my GPU is toast (burned toast, if anything). How can I verify? Is there any chance of somehow fixing this?

My temperature regulatamatator reported around 97-100C GPU temp (GPU max is around 105C).

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

To verify it's the graphics card you need to do (some of) the following:

  • Put the card in another machine that's known to be working. If it fails then it's likely to be the card.
  • Put a known working card in this machine. If the machine boots then it's likely to be the card.
  • Boot the machine without the card - using the onboard graphics. If it works then it's like to be the card.

If the card works in the other machine or the current machine doesn't work in the other cases then something else is wrong (PSU, memory perhaps), though these have there own distinctive failure modes (beeps etc.) which you're not getting here.

If you have a local computer sales/repair shop they'll probably be able to verify exactly what's not working (and even offer to sell you a replacement!).

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Simple troubleshooting first:

Pop another graphics card in - if it boots your GPU is definitely toast. Replace it

If it doesn't boot, you have a more serious problem, but that sounds less likely, given your 'amber light' scenario.

There generally aren't cost effective alternatives to replacing graphics cards - so check whether it is covered under your home insurance and get that new card you have been after :-)

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Don't have another card, so accepted ChrisF's answer. Cheers though. –  ashes999 Feb 21 '12 at 15:30

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