Problems with How AGP Graphics Cards Are Inserted into Motherboards and How They Are Secured to a PC Case

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Problems with How AGP Graphics Cards Are Inserted into Motherboards and How They Are Secured to a PC Case

Postby the_ultra_code » 2017-12-24 @ 23:47

Hello VOGONS members!

I am in need of some counsel regarding a particularly disturbing and varying behavior that AGP graphics cards exhibit (at least a behavior that my only 2 AGP graphics cards exhibit).

It seems that if an AGP video card is not slotted into it AGP slot and the card tightened down to the expansion card slot in a very specific way, the video card will not work and not display video.

For example, these are the cases with my AGP video cards:
  • With my Voodoo3 3000, which I use in my Pentium 3 build (which you can look at by clicking on the "P3" link in my "signature"), I have to firmly press the Voodoo3 down into the AGP slot while I am tightening the expansion slot screw that holds the card in place. I also have to make sure that that screw is as fully tightened as possible. If either of these things are not done, the card might not display an image.
  • With my PNY Nvidia Geforce 5900 SE, which I will use in my Pentium 4 build (I will create a topic about my P4 build soon, as it is almost complete; look out for a "P4" link in my "signature"), I can slot in the card as usual, but I can only tighten the holding screw so much before the card will not display an image. I attribute this problem to the fact that, after a certain point, tightening the screw actually bends the holding bracket of the card ever so slightly, which I guess loosens some solder point connections and thus prevents the card from outputting video.

So, therefore, I have two questions:
  1. Is this a common behavior with AGP graphics card, being particular as to how they are inserted and fastened into a computer?
  2. Does anyone have a fix to my problem with my Nvidia Geforce 5900 SE, short of trying to re-solder any connections or doing what Linus with LTT did?

Thanks! And Merry Christmas for those how celebrate it!
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Re: Problems with How AGP Graphics Cards Are Inserted into Motherboards and How They Are Secured to a PC Case

Postby dionb » 2017-12-25 @ 00:35

AGP is a touch more fiddly than PCI or PCIe because of the overlapping pins - but it should be solid enough if lined up correctly, and neither of these cards are so monumentally huge and/or heavy to require special considerations.

So chances are things aren't lining up correctly. This sounds like either the motherboard is not at the correct height (i.e. no spacers or spacers too long or too short) or the slot brackets are bent out of shape in some way. I'm not familiar with the Cougar Solution case you're using, but it seems solid enough - and far younger than the components in it, so wear & tear is also not likely an issue. So I'd recommend having a look at the spacers.

Also take a look at how AGP and PCI cards fit before starting screwing in. They should be completely flush with the slot plate. If they stick out in any direction, that's bad news that should indicate where the problem is.
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Re: Problems with How AGP Graphics Cards Are Inserted into Motherboards and How They Are Secured to a PC Case

Postby swaaye » 2017-12-29 @ 19:54

I have a feeling that the slots can get dirty, maybe develop corrosion in some cases, and I'm sure they wear out, losing tension on the contacts.

My worst experiences have been cards coming loose and frying things. I like AGP slots that lock.
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Re: Problems with How AGP Graphics Cards Are Inserted into Motherboards and How They Are Secured to a PC Case

Postby clueless1 » 2017-12-29 @ 20:08

Don't rule out the case as a suspect. If something is off in the standoff height or out of square in the rear slots on the case, that might cause your symptoms. Does this happen in multiple cases? Have you tried running your systems out of case?
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Re: Problems with How AGP Graphics Cards Are Inserted into Motherboards and How They Are Secured to a PC Case

Postby the_ultra_code » 2017-12-30 @ 03:11

Sorry for the delay.

Okay, let's start...

dionb wrote:Also take a look at how AGP and PCI cards fit before starting screwing in. They should be completely flush with the slot plate. If they stick out in any direction, that's bad news that should indicate where the problem is.

That's a good point. Maybe I already kind of do this, but at least not consciously. However, if it means anything, with both cards, neither seems bent to such a degree like that, if at all.

For you guys to see what they look like in their current respective habitats, here are some pictures of the cards in their slots:
* Note: do not mind the "washer" on the Geforce 5900; I thought it would have helped, but it did not and does jack squat. Happy just to get the card to display, I left it on there.

swaaye wrote:I have a feeling that the slots can get dirty, maybe develop corrosion in some cases, and I'm sure they wear out, losing tension on the contacts.

Using compressed air does nothing in my case, since the ports were already clean-looking. However, I would not be surprised if the contacts were just getting worn out.

swaaye wrote:My worst experiences have been cards coming loose and frying things. I like AGP slots that lock.

8-O Yikes!

clueless1 wrote:Don't rule out the case as a suspect. If something is off in the standoff height or out of square in the rear slots on the case, that might cause your symptoms. Does this happen in multiple cases? Have you tried running your systems out of case?

Hehe. Well, you see, I only did outside-the-case-before-the-initial-build testing with my P3+Voodoo3 build: When I put it all together outside of the case, the card would sporadically display video, but when I finished the build, with the motherboard and everything inside the case and the Voodoo3 securely tightened into place, video display was more constant. As for this new P4+5900 build (which is almost complete!), I did not do that (partly because of faith in the parts, I do not have the best setting to do it in, and me already having installed the PSU and not wanting to either have the case close to the motherboard or taking it out of the case :) ). And I cannot say that this happens in multiple cases, since, well, I do not have any more ATX cases to test in, and would very much like to not disassemble my PC after I built it :). As for making sure standoffs are where they should be, I made sure they were all securely tightened beforehand.

I will say, though. With both cards, I have noticed that the PCB is slightly curved, bent, not straight, but again, ever so slightly. So, I'm thinking, if it is not the AGP port, it could be the cards themselves.

And I think this is especially the card's fault in the case with the 5900, as, like I said earlier, the metal bracket which fills up the space around and between the display ports (the VGA, DVI, and SV ports) will bend slightly when the screw for the expansion card which the graphics card is sitting in is tightened beyond a certain point.
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Re: Problems with How AGP Graphics Cards Are Inserted into Motherboards and How They Are Secured to a PC Case

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2017-12-30 @ 06:52

Forgive me if this has been mentioned, but have you thoroughly checked the pins\teeth inside the AGP slot? I've seen some slots with teeth that get stuck open or that are physically bent. Even the slightest tiniest deviation could cause the problems you're having. I would insert a card and pull it out over and over, and check the teeth each time. You should be able to see how they move away from the center of the slot when the card is inserted. If any stay in this position or look even slightly different than the rest, this could be your problem.
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Re: Problems with How AGP Graphics Cards Are Inserted into Motherboards and How They Are Secured to a PC Case

Postby the_ultra_code » 2017-12-31 @ 16:50

I wanted to respond last night, but it was too late and I was too tired. Anywho, moving on...

Ozzuneoj wrote:Forgive me if this has been mentioned, but have you thoroughly checked the pins\teeth inside the AGP slot? I've seen some slots with teeth that get stuck open or that are physically bent. Even the slightest tiniest deviation could cause the problems you're having. I would insert a card and pull it out over and over, and check the teeth each time. You should be able to see how they move away from the center of the slot when the card is inserted. If any stay in this position or look even slightly different than the rest, this could be your problem.


Here's what the pins of the AGP ports look like on the "visible" side when the cards are slotted in:

As you can see with the Voodoo3 3000, it looks like the "pins are everywhere," whereas with the Geforce 5900, only two of the pins (#18 and #19, counting down from the "gap" in the slot) differ from the rest of the pins on that side of the port.

I would think that the port the Voodoo3 is in needs a lot of TCL, whereas the port the Geforce is in needs only a little. Am I correct in that assessment? What I really should be asking is: "Where" are the pins supposed to be when a card is inserted?

Also, how can I fix "bent" AGP port pins?

Thanks!
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