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[ The PC Guide | Troubleshooting and Repair Guide | The Troubleshooting Expert | Troubleshooting Specific Components | Troubleshooting the Motherboard and System Devices | System Bus, Resources and Expansion Cards ]

I have a specific expansion card that appears to be problematic

Explanation: A problem is suspected with a particular expansion card. (This means a problem with the card itself, not a problem with the overall system caused by one or more expansion cards; look here for that.) This is typically manifested through an error message, such as a ROM checksum error or I/O parity error.

Diagnosis: Most of the problems with specific expansion cards depend entirely on the nature of the card. I can only provide some general pointers here.

Recommendation:

  • Make sure all the cards are securely inserted into the system. Very long cards, especially those that use the VESA local bus, can sometimes come partially loose, causing strange results.
  • Make sure that there are no physical problems with the motherboard or internal connections.
  • Make sure that the connections, jumpers and any software drivers associated with this card are correct.
  • If this card has its own BIOS ROM, make sure that the shadowing of that segment of ROM address space is not enabled, as this can cause problems. (Shadowing will work with many cards, but won't work with some of them.)
  • Remove any other expansion cards in the system and see if that affects the problem. If it does, then either the other card was causing the difficulty, or there is some sort of a resource conflict.
  • Check for resource conflicts in general.
  • Try the card in a different slot and see if it works. This is especially true of PCI cards, which will try to use different IRQ lines depending on which slot they are placed into. By changing the slot you may as a side-effect eliminate a resource conflict that was actually causing the problem.
  • If the card is a video card, troubleshoot it here.

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