Friday, February 25, 2011

The power cable is not connected to the video card

I have a june 2008 vintage PC. A core 2 duo e8200 and a MSI radeon 4850. The power supply or PSU is a dec 2009 vintage OCZ mod X stream pro 600w.

Recently I've been getting this error message. It pops up in red letters during POST, along with a beep - pause - beep  sound. 

"The power cable is not connected to the video card. Please refer to the Getting Started guide for information on proper hardware installation"

This happens if I turn on my PC within say 30 minutes or so of turning it off or if I reboot or if I go to the BIOS setup end exit. Otherwise the PC works normally. Games work.

Using a little common sense (confirmed by googling), I theorized some possible diagnoses. 

  • video card
  • PSU
  • 6 pin cable
  • video card's sensor or power chip
My PSU is modular so I tried changing the 6 pin cable with the spare one in the PSU's box. Didnt work. There are 2 free slots on the modular PSU where I could plug the 6 pin pci-e cable and both did not work. A visual inspection of the video card, motherboard and PSU (it was still in warranty so I did not open it and I just looked inside the grilles).

I dont have a spare PSU or video card available so for a week or so I ended up keeping the PC on all the time (except when I went to work or slept for the night) since it does work as long as I let it rest 30 min or so after turning it off.

Eventually I bought a 2 x molex to 6pin pcie cable. It solved the problem.

I have to assume that the problem lies within the PSU.  I am theorizing that the molexes and the 6 pin power cable are separate, maybe connected to separate rails or something and the rail that powers the 6 pin cable is faulty while the rail that powers the molexes still works. 

the end

Update: after a few days, I'm again getting the red flashing letters if I don't rest the PC for maybe a half hour. I contacted OCZ and they said that the RMA center for OCZ is in taiwan. Its not worth it to mail the PSU to taiwan so I bought a HEC cougar 550w  for php 2700 at PCHub. Unfortunately, this new PSU does not fix the problem. I have to assume that it is the video card. The video card is probably sending a signal to the PC that it lacks power.

Bummer. I'm thinking of buying a radeon 6870 or a geforce 560ti. The geforce has slightly higher power consumption and benchmarks. Both cost 11,000+ pesos. Both can be run by a 550w PSU.

Update: The problem is fixed. It really was the video card. I'll blog about it later

the end

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