I have a Compaq SR2150NX, the monitor will work on another PC, but won't on this one, so I am assuming the video port is bad.
Can I just get a plug in video card and install it, or do I need to get the motherboard replaced?
If I can get a video card, I can't find out how to disable the built on one, do I need to disable it or how do I?
My computer has a HP 5188-6734 motherboard, and I can't find this one exactly, but I found a HP 5188-5588 one on e-bay for about $70, which seems to be and looks as far as I can tell, exactly like what I have. Can I replace the one I have with this one w/o any problems?
You are posting this in the wrong forum, this is a laptop forum and that is a desktop system.
Yes you can get a video card, install and use that. However, are you certain it is only the video not functioning, or is it possible the video is not outputting because you have a larger problem like that the system is not initializing and POSTing at all, due to some kind of failure like the power supply or motherboard?
If you have a spare power supply you might try swapping it in place of the original. If you have a spare video card, even some old (especially some old) worthless PCI card you might install that to see if you get any screen output. Note that you may need to use the clear CMOS jumper or remove the battery for 10 minutes while AC power is disconnected after adding a video card, or removing it and trying to use the onboard video again.
I don't know if the specs of the two boards are similar enough, you should look at the spec sheet for your system and compare that against what the ebay sellers are claiming theirs is capable of. Generally speaking if you have one of the socket 775 processor ranges they list, and yours uses the same chipset, you should be able to just plug in the parts and windows should be able to boot far enough to plug-n-play any minor differences. That is the situation that I expect, that you can buy the replacement board model you mentioned and it will work fine except possibly having to install a driver or two, but I can't be sure without detailed specs. They are very similar from the info I could find, could even be just a 2nd revision of the same board from PCChips where all they changed was a clock generator IC or something similar which wouldn't effect your uses in any way except to be sure you have the right bios when looking on HP's site for models with that board in it instead of the bios for your system model #, IF they even take a different bios which they may not.
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