The dead desktop computer: The good, the bad, and the ugly, but not in that order

Raymond Chen

Raymond

When last we left my dead desktop computer, it had fried its second video card, and I was considering whether I should get a third. I did indeed get a third video card, a cheap one since I knew that if the computer really did eat video cards, I’d have to feed it on a budget. I plugged it in, and… Computer still dead. Bad. Remove the video card, and the computer boots up. Okay, so the computer doesn’t actually eat video cards. The problem is that the PCI Express slot is dead, for whatever reason, be it a fried component, a failing power supply, who knows. While I was back behind the computer, I noticed an unused plug: Yup, it was for VGA video output. I plugged in a VGA video cable, and, leaving the PCI Express video card unplugged, turned on the computer. Lo and behold, the computer started up and sent images out the VGA cable. Good. I didn’t realize that the motherboard has an onboard video card. In the absence of a plug-in video card, the onboard video card takes over and pumps out video just fine. I don’t use the computer for anything video-intensive, so a lame, underpowered video card is just fine by me. The problem is that the onboard video card has only VGA out, so I’m running an analog signal to my LCD monitor. Ugly.

But at least it’s a situation I can live with for now.

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