Some time ago I bought a graphic card GeForce GTX 580 to improve the performance of some CGI rendering I've been doing. I've already had another GPU - GeForce GTX 560 and an internal GPU on my i7-3770K CPU. I've never used the internal one. The monitor was always plugged to the DVI-D socket of the GTX560 and since I've got the GTX580 I connected the monitor to it.

The problem and symptoms

Recently I decided to install Ubuntu as my second system (next to the Windows 10) on a different drive. That's when I noticed that I can't access BIOS to change the boot priority. I investigated the problem for a long time mostly blaming the Windows for it's fastboot features. The symptoms are like this:

  • I turn on the computer.
  • The LED on the monitor stays orange for a few seconds (5-10). During that time the screen stays black (turned off).
  • Then the LED turns blue and the Windows lock screen appears.
  • When I try to press DEL during the boot the LED stays orange and never turns blue. The screen never turns on. The Windows lock screen never appears.

I'm not sure when this had started to happen because I didn't need to access BIOS for a long time. But I'm sure it haven't been happening before because I used the GTX560 since I have this PC and I'm sure I accessed BIOS once or twice.

What I eventually discovered, is that when I plug the monitor to the internal GPU (on-board) everything works fine - the motherboard splash screen appears and when I press DEL the BIOS appears. That leads me to a conclusion that the external GPU doesn't work during the boot. It turns on when the system loads the proper drivers.

What can I do to fix this? Now, when I have two systems I need to see the GRUB boot menu to choose the system (either Windows or Ubuntu).

migrated from serverfault.com Feb 21 '16 at 12:55

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

  • 1. Isn't there a BIOS setting that sets the external GPU to on or off at boot? 2. Do you have two inputs on your screen, say VGA and DVI, that you could connect to both cards, say VGA to internal and DVI to external, then switch by hand with the screen menu? – L. Levrel Mar 31 '16 at 14:46

Short Answer:

Your GPU is working as it should be from what I've read. The problem that you're experiencing is just BIOS setting matter, and it's widely common, and easy to fix.

More Explanation:

When the motherboard manufactures built the motherboards, they make the built-in GPU as the primary GPU to work on BIOS. So, common motherboards won't recognize the external GPU in BIOS mode unless you change that setting. That's why your LED doesn't work on the external GPU until the Windows is booted. So, your conclusion is correct.


The solution is just to get into BIOS, then change the PCI-e settings as the primary display, rather than on-board Intel. (mostly you will find it under Advanced tab), and search for "Primary Graphic Adapter" or Video Configuration, then change it to PCI-e or PCI (depends on which slot is your GPU installed on).

Note : The settings or names may be different from BOIS to another, but if you found this option with short names in it, then go with this guide :

PCI: is the wide slots that is located at the end of the motherboard.

PCI-E (PCIE): AKA (PCI-Express) same as PCI but has wider slots than PCI, and most of GPU use it, and located with the PCI slots.

IGP: AKA Internal Graphics Card (built-in GPU).

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