A long wailing sound…the computer won’t boot.

I feel like a complete idiot, but if this can help one other person who builds their own computers, I'll take the heat.  I searched all over the Internet to find the answer to this problem, and could not find anyone who had the solution, so here it is.

First the story... I had previously built my own computer, I had purchased a new PNY NVIDIA 8800 GTS "hot" video card, plugged it into the PCI Express x16 slot of a new Asus motherboard, fired it up, and, wahla, cool graphics.  I like computer games, especially playing them with my 9 year old son.  It ran without a hitch for two years.  We had a good time.

I purchased a nice hi-def TV.  My thought was, I would hook the computer graphics card to the TV, and play computer games on a big screen in high definition.  My son was excited, and so was I.

Right after I got the TV, before I could hook the computer to the TV, I came home from work one evening, and "Murphy" struck.  My computer wouldn't start.  Not only did it not start, but when I turned the computer on, I got a long, uninterrupted, continuous, wailing sound.  My ears hurt.  I got nothing on the monitor.

I could not pinpoint the problem.  I thougth maybe the motherboard had stopped running, I bought a new motherboard,  no dice.   I thought it might be crapped out memory, I bought new memory, no dice.  I thought maybe it was the CPU chip, bought a new chip, no dice.   I was eliminating options. Maybe my power supply lost a voltage rail, I bought a new power supply, no dice.  I figured it was the video card, I bought another expensive video card.  Plugged it into the PCI slot, and no dice.  I sent the motherboard back.  They tested the board, said it was ok, and sent it back to me.

By now, I  had purchased enough new components to have a new computer.  But instead, I now had two computers both with the same problem.  I needed someone to give me a fresh perspective.   I called up my son-in-law, who also builds his own hot computers with overclocking, and said "help."  I figured if he has an extra computer, I could plug the components in one at a time to find the culprit.  Before we did that, he went through, what I would do, the checklist of, did you do this, and that.  We thought it might be overheating, no, and then he said, "Did you plug the power into the video card?"

I answered, "What power?"

He said that the new video cards need to have their own power.

Sure enough, I looked closely at both video cards and saw a power connector.  I didn't know they had their own power, I had always just plugged the video card into the PCI slot.  I never looked for a power connector on the video card.  Long story short, that was the problem.  I put the cards back in the computer, plugged in the power to the video card, and wahlah, I was back in business with two computers.

After thoughts:  Credit the Asus motherboard, I ran without a power cable to the video card for two years without a problem.  Which is why I plugged the new card into the computer without hooking up the video power.  As near as I can figure, I plugged the new hi-def TV into the same voltage regulator I used for my computer.  This must have dropped the power just a bit, just enough to make the video card become underpowered, and shut down.  I don't have another explanation.

So if you ever have a long wailiing sound, and the computer won't start... check your video card power.

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