Video Card Problems/Media Shout problems


  I know a little about computers and my church asks me to take care of its computers.  We had a Compaq SR217nx that lasted only a year before the video card started blanking out and coming back on saying something like "you have survived a ATX Radion failure."  We then bought a HP HPE-170t and it lasted like 2-3 years and the video started blanking out and then the whole machine wouldn't turn on.  I would fiddle with it taking out ram and resetting the video card and it would work for a couple of weeks and do it again.  This computer was a gaming high graphics computer with 6gb RAM and i7 processor.
  The only thing the computer does is to run Media Shout.  This program puts the music lyrics through 3 video projectors.  The computer is only used for a couple of hours on Sunday each week.   The video card has two outputs.  We have a monitor on one and a spliter on the other to the 3 projectors.  I opened this computer and the RAM was very hard to get out almost like overheating.  When I pulled the RAM out and replaced it back the computer came back on.  Because we need dependability we retired it anyway.
     I just bought a new iBUYPOWER HORUS Series NE659FX Desktop PC AMD FX-Series FX-4300 (3.80GHz) 4GB DDR3 1TB HDD Windows 8.1 64-Bit.  It meets all the demands Media shout says it needs.
    Can you tell me how to keep this computer from terminating at an early age?

I'd like to address this question from three angles - the previous problems you've encountered, the specifications of the machines, and the new machine.

1. It sounds like all that was/is happening is the machine is overheating. How/where is it installed? Is it stuffed into a cabinet or some sort of rack contraption? Or is it sitting open air? Does it have the dust/etc cleaned out of the case on a somewhat regular basis? (In a high-traffic area this may need to happen as frequently as monthly, perhaps even more if the machine is ever taken outside or traveled around frequently) The "ATX Radion faliure" is likely actually ATi Radeon drivers recovering the system after the graphics adapter became unresponsive (it does not indicate hardware damage by itself; if it happens constantly it may indicate hardware damage).

2. You've over-bought, specifications wise, for each of these machines - you don't need a gaming system, and it may actually be contributing to the heating problem as gaming systems produce more heat than average computers.

3. I generally never recommend iBUYPOWER or similar manufacturers as they are notorious for skimping on build quality, especially the power supply and cooling hardware, in order to offer lower prices than mainstream/namebrand competitors like Alienware. My advice there would be to return the system if possible.

Now, I'm curious about this splitter you're using to drive the various projectors - can you tell me about it? Is it just a cable splitter (or set of cable splitters)? Or is it an active splitter? What kind of connection does it use? (VGA, CVBS, etc) Who made it? etc

As far as a machine to survive the heating and runtime requirements overall, what I would suggest:

- Either build or purchase a machine with a quality power supply, and sufficient cooling.
- Place the machine in an area where it has good access to intake air and can exhaust its heat appropriately (so don't put it in a cupboard or something where all of the waste heat will just build up around it, and it ends up breathing its own exhaust).
- Go with a graphics card that's designed to drive 3 or more monitors (without more knowledge about the exact splitter setup you have I'm somewhat hesitant to suggest this, but I have a feeling the splitter itself may be causing trouble for the graphics card's hardware).

If you're not up to building the machine yourself (I can help with part selection if that's a concern, but if you're uncomfortable building the entire machine that's understandable), I would suggest Dell or Hewlett-Packard; Dell being my preference if for no other reason than I'm more familiar with their offerings. You should be able to go straight into their SMB catalog and purchase something with an appropriate graphics card, otherwise you'll need to add the graphics card in yourself. You're actually in a great position for the graphics card - in recent years multi-monitor has become very popular, so both of the big manufacturers (nVidia and AMD) have produced some very good software/hardware solutions for multi-head systems.

Feel free to reply back for more information or clarification.


Video Card Problems

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I can answer technical questions about installation, use, and maintinence of most 3D Graphics hardware, and software. I can offer assistance with overclocking (while I do not suggest overclocking while under warranty) and I can give assistance with more complicated problems to the full extent of my abilities.


I have been into computer hardware, especially 3D graphics and the hardware that drives them, for a number of years. I have knowledge in installation, use, troubleshooting, purchase suggestions and over clocking.

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