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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I got the card today and have been trying to install drivers/play games to test it out but every time i try to install ati's catalyst drivers it says i dont have an ati card hooked up. Windows tries to install it for me and there's apparently no way to stop it... I've tried slowing the agp speed through the bios and changing the fast write and frist display options with no help to the problem. I just cant seem to get ati's drivers to detect the card although it's listed as a radeon 9550 under device manager... it also lists a radeon 9550 secondary for some reason... Also when i try to play games like c&c generals it crashes if i select anything off the opening menu saying overheating hardware or other problems although i think it's just that i dont have the proper drivers. i've tried manually installing the newest ati drivers with no effect whatsoever. Any help wout be greatly appreciated. here's my computer specs, i put it together myself. i attached a dxdiag.txt file for assistance.

Pentium 4 3.06ghz
1gig ddr ram
small hard drive for now (15gig)
dvdrom and external dvd burner
Powercolor Radeon 9550 256mb AGP 8X
 

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Discussion Starter #2
ok so i got the ati drivers to install and recognize the card but now whenever i boot i either get crazy colors or no color at all... not sure what to do about this, gunna mess around in safe mode to see if i can fix it, tried once but no help... any ideas? lemme know
 

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Discussion Starter #3
also, i'm now thinking it may be a monitor problem, i'm using a crappy old *** gateway200 vivtron 17 inch... cant seem to find any drivers for it anywhere... still cant get this video card performing... tried dna drivers, same problems, mad crazy colors or the monitor says out of scan range, or it shows nothing...
 

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Although I doubt it's causing your problem, there's no AGP driver installed for your motherboard:
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System Devices
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Name: VIA CPU to AGP Controller
Device ID: PCI\VEN_1106&DEV_B198&SUBSYS_00000000&REV_00\3&13C0B0C5&0&08
Driver: n/a
You should download and install the VIA Hyperion 4in1 drivers. Once you get that installed then uninstall the catalyst drivers in Add or Remove Programs and then reinstall the catalysts (instructions here) and post a new DXDiag so folks can make sure the drivers are all installed properly. Sometimes ATI cards need to have the display driver installed after the motherboard AGP driver although usually it doesn't matter.

I'm not sure what your problem is but the first thing I'd do is remove and then reinsert the card to reseat it. I've seen cards which weren't fully pressed into the AGP slot "sorta" work like yours.

The Radeon 9550 "secondary" is just the secondary VGA output on your card. That's the way it's supposed to appear in the device manager.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
okay, i'm trying what you said, i have the 4-in-1 drivers downloaded but today i can only oot my computer in safe mode, i tried taking the card out and putting it back in with no change, i'm sure it's seated properly, the little handle swings in when it's in... i'm trying to uninstall the ati drivers now, but i'm not sure how i'm going to install the hyperion drivers from safe mode, dont think it'll allow me to...
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
ok i got the catalyst drivers installed and the 4-in-1 drivers installed in the order you said and nothing has changed... i cant boot in regular or vga modes because the monitor goes into standby and it seems like my computer froze cause there's no activity on the hdd led... also it appears to be freezing on the boot now... dunno how i'm gunna work this **** out.... this is incredibly frustrating... any other options before i attempt to return it to tigerdirect.com which seems like a hell of a process? also if i do get a new card any suggestions for good cards $100-200 that are easily installed, lol?
 

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i've been cruising the internet and i've found a bit about "flashing the bios" i believe i've done this for my external dvd burner but it sounds a bit more complicated for the video card, and suggestions? tutorials? that might help with this and also i'm not sure if tigerdirect would notice if i flashed the bios and it didn't work and sent it back....?
 

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i've been trying to get the computer to actually boot with the video card in, but everytime i go to vga mode then shut down and put the card in it doesn't boot at all, no beep in the beginning... so i cant flash the bios either way, so i'm guessing i should just get a new video card...
 

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Flashing the video BIOS is rarely done unless you're making some kind of permanent overclocking change. It probably won't accomplish anything in your case.

So is the card deteriorating? From your description with the 9550 installed you used to get goofy colors and now you can't even get into the BIOS? If you can't even get into the BIOS with the 9550 installed then you don't have a lot of options. I take it that the machine works properly when you're using just the onboard video?

It seems like your most likely causes are: bad video card, bad AGP slot on motherboard, or weak power supply. It's probably the video card but if you have any patience left then you could do a little more checking before returning the card. If you have another AGP card (or can borrow one) then you can test to make sure the AGP slot works properly. A Radeon 9550 doesn't use much power so it's probably not straining the power supply but it's pretty easy to check your voltages (instructions here). Just to be safe, do you know how many amps your power supply delivers? It's on a sticker on the side of the power supply. You could also try the 9550 out in another computer. I've seen cases where the card worked perfectly in one machine and refused to work in another due to compatibility problems with the motherboard. If it refuses to work in other machines then you know it's the video card for sure.

The best cards in the 100-200 range are the GeForce 6600GT and GeForce 6800. They're a whole lot faster than a Radeon 9550.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
is there anyway to test an agp slot through software, because i dont wanna try installing another agp video card and messing around with problems although i suppose i could, just seems easier if i tried a software approach, i found a link on the web for a program that benchmarks computer components and was wondering if there was anyway to use that to see if it works, the link is http://www.freshdevices.com/freshdiag.html
 

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I don't know of any way to check an AGP slot's functionality without actually putting an AGP card in there and have it work properly. I looked at that program and it just looks like it gathers system info and does some benchmarks like Sandra and Everest. It's not going to be able to tell you if the AGP is flakey or not. The only way to be sure is to borrow somebody else's AGP card and try it in there. Anyway, the odds are that either the video card has a problem or your motherboard and video card are having some kind of compatability problem. I'm afraid you'd have to start swapping hardware to be 100% sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
okay, thanks for the help, i'll let you know how everything goes after i test it out and/or get a geforce6800
 
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