Video Card Plan Fails

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by OldTrader, Feb 5, 2008.

  1. OK, my plan was to buy a Dell T3400 computer with a nVidia Quadro NVS 290 PCIe x16 video card installed in it (which will support 2 monitors). The computer has 6 slots available, 2 PCIe x16 slots, 1 PCIe x8 slot wired as x4, and 3 PCI 32bit/33MHZ slot with support for 5v cards.

    My plan was to swap out the 290 PCIe x16 card, and install a nVidia Quadro NVS 440 PCIe x16 card which will support 4 monitors.

    When I got the computer, I hooked everything up, the 290 card worked fine. Later, I uninstalled the drivers for the 290, took out the 290 card, and inserted the 440 card in the slot where the 290 was located (a x16 slot). I got nothing on my monitors at all. I inserted the drivers CD anyway, still nothing. So I uninstalled the card, reinstalled, made sure it was seated...still nothing. Did this several times, to no avail. I contacted Dell gold support (very good by the way). They finally decided that either the card was defective, or it was incompatible with my system. I've now decided that even if there were a way to get the 440 working, it has a fan and is much too loud for my taste.

    Meanwhile, I had gone to the nVidia site, where they indicated that if you used the 290 x16 card, you could expand to 4 monitors by further installing a 290 PCIe x1 card in combination with the 290 x16 card.

    So I have a couple of questions:

    1. Can I install this 290 PCIe x1 card in a PCI 32 bit slot for 5v cards? Or alternatively, can I install the 290 PCIe x1 card in a x16 slot?

    2. Alternatively, is there any reason why I could not install a second 290 PCIe x16 card in the second PCIe x16 slot that I have available, giving me 2-290 PCIe x16 cards?

    3. Assuming there is a way for one of the above possibilities to work where I end up with 2 cards installed, are you able to easily use all 4 monitors with a mouse, or is there a complication introduced by the existence of the two cards, causing each card to function independently, where I could not move my mouse between all 4 monitors?

    Thanks for any info.

  2. Most pci-e cards are compatible with most socket, in the sense that you can plug a x1 device into a x4 port and a x8 device in a 16x port without problems (obviously you cant connect a x16 device into a x1 port). Some motherboards wont like anything else than a videocard in the top x16 connectors (sometimes even both)

    You cannot plug a pci card into a pci-e slot, or a pci-e card in a pci slot.

    no problems there

    Its not more complicated than using 2 or 3 monitors.
  3. I hadn't known the 440 to have a fan. I looked on eBay and there was one with a fan but only 128MB VRAM... All the other 440s have 256MB RAM and no fan. That one seems odd... Does yours have 128MB RAM? Are there other markings on the card which would identify it as a 3rd party unit?

    And unless you want 256MB RAM for Vista, you can save some money with 285s instead of 290s. The only difference is the amount of RAM, and both are overkill for trading needs.
  4. Yeah, that is kind of interesting since Nvidia's website says the 440's cooling is passive.
  5. I read that link regarding the card comparisons myself, and wondered about the term "passive". Perhaps I made an unwarranted assumption. Let's just put it this way. When I have the computer on and the 290 card installed, it's extremely quiet. When I installed the 440 there was a very loud fan that came on the minute I booted up. I guess I don't know if that is related to the card, or if it is something that happens in the computer itself. But there is a loud fan that kicks on.

    Here's the link to the product on Dell's site:

    It says there that it is 256mb. However, it doesn't say that on the box it came in. No reference to it at all. On the card itself there are various markings that say "PNY". Also a couple of stamps that say "Nvidia".

  6. If there is a fan on the card you will be able to see the blades or an enclosure box. If you hear a fan noise immediately, seems it could only be a video card fan. If you heard one later, could be the thermal sensor kicking up other fans due to increased heat.... but those shouldn't kick in immediately upon boot.

    The picture on the Dell site is one with "passive cooling"... just a large metal heat sink and no fan.

    You got the 440 from Dell? The one pictured on the website link? The picture on the link is a 440x1 card. It could be that the mobo doesn't "like" that card used either as the primary or mounted in any slot other than an x1, and that's the reason you don't get a video display. You should have bought a 440x16. If a Dell rep "helped" you buy the computer, perhaps he doesn't know what he's talking about.
  7. Yes, I got the 440 from Dell. It was what Dell recommended to the rep consulted with a tech and that's what they came up with. The packing slip by the way describes this as a NVS 440 PCIe x1. I installed it in the x16 slot. Frankly, I thought originally I had a x16 card. But there wouldn't have been any other slot it would have fit into. It was a large card, much larger than the 290 for instance.

    As far as the fan, it comes on instantly on boot. The only time I have ever heard the fan was when I installed the 440 card. I don't see any blades. I do see some enclosures on the back of the card. You can see some copper through a small opening in the enclosure.

  8. "Enclosures"? Could it be a fan housing? Say, 2" square and about 1/2" high? If so, that's a fan. But if your card looks like the one in the picture, then there is no fan.

    As far as "fitting"... an x1 slot is smaller than an x16 slot, but an x1 card is supposed to work in ANY size pcie slot. The x1 mounting connector wouldn't not completely fill the x16 slot, of course.
  9. The fan may possibly be from the cpu fan malfunctioning/running erratic thus the power supply may not be adequate enough for the video card. either that or the card x1 format is not compatible with x16 or vice versa. if the fan kicks on right away and no screen then likely hardware issue not driver. imho
  10. Power supply is 525W, should be more than adequate for what I'm running. Those enclosures are about 1/4"x1/4"x1/4", with an opening you can see copper through. There's two of them on the back of the card. I don't really see anything that looks like a fan though. So maybe the CPU fan kicks on immediately for some reason. That said, there's no fan at all with the 290 card, so this 440 card must be related to the fan action in some way.

    #10     Feb 5, 2008