Hi all! I have a problem I hope you can help me with.

Computer Info:

500SE Special (Gateway)
Intel (Nimitz) Pentium 4 - 1.8 GHz (400 MHz) mobo
integrated video card

I was working on the PC when the screen went black, the keyboard stopped working, and the light on the optical mouse died. I restarted the PC and it worked . .for a short time. Then the same scenario happened again, but this time the PC wouldn't start.

I've checked all cables on the mobo, reseated the CPU, and swapped RAM sticks with known good sticks. All to no avail.

When I start the PC, the fans start up, the hard drive spins up, the LED on the mobo lights up, but the PC doesn't post and no video display appears.

When I start the PC without the RAM I get three beeps, so it recognizes the absence of memory.

Any ideas would be appreciated.



First guess is death of monitor, and then the death of the video subsystem in the motherboard. I hope you have a second monitor around that you can plug in, or you have another computer / laptop that you can check the monitor out with. You might also get lucky and be able to put in another VGA / SVGA video card, and avoid the expense of tracking down another motherboard.

I think your powersupply is good... as you are getting results removing RAM.

Good luck with the process. Let us know.


Thanks Christian! I have tried a different monitor and received the same results. I will swap some video cards around and see if that solves the problem. But, I have an integrated video adapter, and can't see to disable it in device manager, will the PC recognize the new PCI video card? I say PCI, as the system doesn't have an AGP slot. Will the new video card override the integrated one? I didn't find any jumpers to change to disable the integrated card.

Thanks again. . .


Hello again,

I *think* you will be alright with the PCI video card.

At a place I used to work with, we disabled the onboard video card and went with an AGP slotted one. I am not sure if the PCI one will work or not, but it seems to be the way to go. Give it a try. Cross your fingers. If it does fire up, you may need to go into the BIOS and disable it there.

Let us know.


...and can't see to disable it in device manager

You don't usually get that option for onboard devices through Device Manager- check your BIOS to see if it can be disabled from there.

The PC came up twice in about 30 attempts. One time, I was able to change the video in the BIOS to PCI, and could switch the monitor cable to the PCI card and view the desktop, etc. But in the middle of my work, the PC lost video display, keyboard use, and optical mouse. All fans were still running and the LED was illuminated on the mobo. Just like it's done before.

I'm swaying more and more to a bad motherboard. :sad:

What are your thoughts?


You said that you swapped RAM already; have you also tried removing non-critical components (CD-ROM, network card, etc.)? If that doesn't yield any positive results I'd suspect a motherboard problem or a weak power supply.

Try a BIOS reset. There should be a reset jumper somewhere on the mobo; check the mobo's documentation for specifics. You can also force a reset by unplugging the computer and removing the CMOS battery on the mobo. Leave the battery out for 15 minutes or more before replacing it; it can take a while for the residual charge to dissipate.

I'm also suspecting a faulty power supply unit. If the unit in that old Gateway system is a standard ATX unit, I'd try replacing it with a newer one.

You shouldn't need to make any BIOS changes to use a PCI display card instead of the onboard video - simply install the card physically in the system, hook the monitor up to it and boot. It should start up at least with a standard VGA display.

If changing the power supply unit doesn't help, it may just be a dead motherboard you're confronted with.