01-26-2014 01:45 PM
A standard motherboard error message related to "pre-video fault" is the dreaded 6-beep repeating error message. I had that today, and discovered an unexpected solution to share for the record here.
I was testing the differences between a PNY nVidia Quadro FX3800 and a corresponding HP FX3800, and the PNY card induced the 6-beep error message in one of my xw6600s, but not another. The HP card induced that error message in neither of the xw6600s.
While troubleshooting the issue I noticed that the two small 30 degree bent-down corners of the top middle notch in the PCI full height backplane plate were more pronounced on the PNY version than the HP version of the card. Below is the notch I refer to, with the arrow pointing to the small angles created from the intentional bends:
That notch is intended to fit on a small protrusion built into the backplane, to perfectly align the card at its top edge. The more pronounced turned-down corners of the notch on the PNY FX3800 forced the card to not be able to set deeply enough into the PCIe-x16 video slot on the motherboard, at its rear end. Using a pliers to flatten those corners allowed the card to seat just enough more deeply, and the mystery of the 6 beeps was solved forever (for this build). There really is no value in those bends on either the HP or the PNY cards, and I'll be flattening them on all my cards from now on.
Another way to let the card seat just a bit more deeply is to partially loosen the hex and philips head screws attaching the backplane plate to the card, and slide the card downwards in relationship to the plate (to the small extent that is possible), and then retighten the screws. Access to the philips head screw at the top of the card can be difficult in many of the newer cards, however. Flattening those bends was an easy way to get just enough more seating depth.
Finally, an added tip. The HP-provided firmware updaters for the HP Quadro cards have been able to flash the firmware on corresponding PNY, Lenovo, Dell, etc. Quadro cards also.... I have done that successfully many times on quite a large number of Quadro cards. Those HP SoftPaqs are pretty easy to find. For example, google "HP FX3800 firmware update."