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I have a Soundblaster Recon 3d Fatal1ty sound card and randomly every once in a while my computer won't recognize it. I am almost 100% sure it is something to do with its PCIe slot. After I turn off the computer and just wiggle the card a bit, the computer recognizes the card once I restart. I can't really try it in the other PCIe slot because the video card gets in the way. It is a Biostar TA970XE motherboard. I don't know if it is something to do with the pins on the actual card or if it is something to do with the slot. I couldn't find any related issues about this card on Google. Is there anything I can do to help secure the card in its slot so that my computer will recognize it? Any help is appreciated.

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Sounds like you need to move the motherboard a bit further away from the chassis. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jul 1 '13 at 1:32
Did you remember to screw it in place? – Journeyman Geek Jul 1 '13 at 1:35
@IgnacioVazquez-Abrams What will that do? I never heard of trying that. – Josh Jul 1 '13 at 1:36
@JourneymanGeek yes, I unscrewed and screwed it in several times just to be sure. – Josh Jul 1 '13 at 1:37
Thats wierd, usually pushing the card in place, and using the usual retention screw is good enough for nearly every card I have tried so far. – Journeyman Geek Jul 1 '13 at 1:38

2 Answers 2

It is possible that the brass standoffs...

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... are too high or too low. Not all standoffs are created equal.
enter image description here

They come in different sizes as you can see from these two images, even when made by the same company. (Images courtesy of Sarmariya Enterprises)

You can see they don't even necessarily have the same thread pattern. They all don't use the same screws either. For example, the ones that are used to keep your motherboard off the case could be too short for the case, and might be keeping the card from seating completely in the slot... causing the retention clip on the card to not allow the card to seat all the way down. Conversely, if the standoffs were too long, the motherboard would sit too high off the case, causing the card to seat in the slot, but not allow the retention clip at the top to meet where you are supposed to screw it in place.

Depending on where your computer was assembled, you might not even have all the same standoffs in use between the motherboard and the case, causing the motherboard to sit at the proper height at one end, but not the other. A dead give away would be if the screws holding the motherboard to the standoffs are not all the same type (fine threads, as opposed to wider threads.... aka the difference between the screws that hold a hard drive in place, and the screws that hold an optical drive in place)

This is by no means the answer to your issues, but it is an important point to make, especially if you are having trouble with how the card is seated.

Related to this... the back of the case could be bent out. The thin steel that is used to form the back of the case can easily be bowed out at the expansion slots, sometimes causing the ledge where you screw the card's retention clip into to be pushed out of line. This would in turn affect how the card sits in the slot once it is screwed into place.

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Is the card fully plugged in the slot? The typical reason for this not being the case is the PCI bracket is not screwed tightly enough. Check for dust or anything in the slot itself that may be causing an intermittent connection.

Little to no of the gold "pins" on the edge of the card should be showing. If it won't "go down" all the way, check to make sure the bottom of the bracket isn't stuck on the motherboard or something else - try bending the bottom of the bracket on the card very slightly enough if something is obstructing it from a pure vertical placement.

There's a very small chance a power supply or BIOS issue could cause this. Try updating your BIOS to the latest and switching out the power supply.

If you are sure the card is securely plugged in the slot, and continue to experience this, the card or motherboard may need to be replaced. If you've been wiggling it in the slot a lot, you might have caused damage to the connection between the slot and the motherboard.

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Thanks, I will check for dust and check to make sure there is little or no gold showing. This has happened twice, the first time I completely removed the card. The second time I just wiggled it a bit to see if it would work. Hopefully, I didn't damage anything to the card or motherboard from that second time. – Josh Jul 1 '13 at 13:22

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