You recently got a new GPU to upgrade your gaming PC, and you couldn’t wait to try the new rig with improved graphics performance!
But you’re getting a no display after installing it and booting up the system. Yet, the fans are spinning, and all the LEDs, including the peripherals, are lit!
You try restarting the PC, but it doesn’t help. Tell you what, you shouldn’t panic! A black screen is a common phenomenon during a graphics card upgrade.
Most builders, including the pros, experience it, which doesn’t mean the GPU is faulty. So, before repackaging and returning it, you should try fixing the issue.
In this article, we will explore the common causes of a black screen when upgrading the GPU and offer possible troubleshooting procedures to fix them.
A Few Important Things to Note:
- You can experience the no-display issue on an existing PC, especially while overclocking, and the system shuts down suddenly. The fixes in this guide should also work in such a case.
- Since you’ll be handling expensive components while troubleshooting the PC, I highly recommend you ground yourself. Using an anti-static wrist strap is the easiest way to keep yourself grounded.
- Always turn off the PC when undoing the connections and removing the peripherals and accessories, especially when troubleshooting the system.
- To safely remove the GPU: Turn off the PC and PSU and unplug the system from the mains. Then, plug out the GPU power connectors. Depending on your GPU, it can be one or two 6+2-Pin. Don’t forget to remove the screw that holds the card on the case. Then press down the secure lock while slowly and steadily removing the card.
- When installing a GPU, you should follow the above process in reverse. That’s the PC should be off and unplugged from the mains. Press down the side latch, and put the card back slowly and steadily until you hear a click. Put in the screw to hold it in place on the case and plug in the GPU power connectors.
1. Confirm for any Monitor Faults or Compatibility Issues
A faulty monitor or issues related to monitor compatibility might be the first thing to consider, even before you start troubleshooting the PC.
Check the Monitor Refresh Rate
Sometimes, the problem isn’t your new GPU or even the PC but a monitor with a lower refresh rate that doesn’t support the minimum refresh rate of the GPU.
Say it’s an old 30hz monitor, and the lowest the GPU can go is 60hz. We recommend checking your monitor’s refresh rate, especially if it’s old.
The process entirely depends on whether it suddenly went “dead” or if it started after a new graphics card upgrade.
For a PC that Suddenly Went Off While Using:
1. Consult the monitor manual to check the maximum refresh rate. Make sure it can support the GPU’s lowest refresh rate. You can check the manufacturer’s web page’s specs section if you don’t have the user manual.
2. Alternatively, you can use another working monitor to troubleshoot your system. Ensure the new GPU supports the maximum refresh rate.
For a PC with No-Display After a New GPU Upgrade:
1. Use the steps above to safely remove the new GPU, swap in the old working GPU, or plug the display cable into the motherboard if you didn’t have a GPU before.
2. Once you regain the display, right-click any empty area on the desktop (Windows users) and select “Display Settings.”
3. Navigate down the page and select “Advanced Display Settings.” The screen refresh rate is in the drop-down menu under “Refresh Rate.”
NOTE: Your first diagnosis should be making sure you are using a monitor that supports the graphics card and isn’t faulty. You can try the monitor on another working system to ensure it’s not faulty.
2. Check for Improper or Loose Cable Connections
The most common cause of a blank display is a loose connection or plugging a display cable in the wrong port, leading to no signal to the monitor.
1. Recheck the cable connections and ensure you use the right cables for the right ports and that they are securely plugged in place. Loose connections are the primary culprit of no display, especially on an existing system.
3. If you weren’t using a GPU before and the display cable was plugged into the motherboard, you should plug it into the GPU port.
4. Ensure the ports are clean – no dust or oil. You can safely remove the cables, clean the ports, and securely plug them back in place.
5. Try different cables. If you were using an HDMI cable, you could try a DVI or DisplayPort cable to try the DVI and DP ports to the GPU instead.
3. Reset Your BIOS to the Original Settings
If you have rechecked the cable connections and they all are securely slotted in place, but you’re still getting a no display, the issue might be a bad overclock.
Sometimes, you can suddenly get a no display while overclocking an existing system. It usually happens when you ambitiously push the PC with OC settings from other users.
If this is the case, you shouldn’t panic. Your system isn’t dead! It just means it can’t handle the overclock settings, and you should go back to default!
Option 1: BIOS Reset in the BIOS Menu
There might be a chance that your PC was working fine and displaying on the monitor before the upgrade since the issue came just after the GPU upgrade.
In that case, you can regain the display if you remove the GPU and revert to the old system. It allows you to access the BIOS setup menu on the monitor.
1. Turn off the PC and the PSU, and unplug the PC from the mains. Remove the side panels to access the interior.
2. Safely remove the new GPU and swap in the old one.
3. Plug the PC back into the mains, turn on the PSU switch, and boot up the system.
The easiest way to enter the BIOS menu on a Windows system is through the system Recovery option in the “Update & Security” settings.
1. Click the Settings icon under the Start menu.
2. Select Update & Security and navigate to Recovery.
3. Click the Restart Now button under the Advanced Startup option.
4. Choose the Troubleshoot option on the blue screen that appears.
5. Next, click Advanced Options and select UEFI Firmware Settings.
6. Click Restart to reboot the system into the BIOS menu.
NOTE: The specific BIOS reset settings vary from one system to another, depending on your motherboard. But you should navigate the settings to check for wording like “Restore Defaults” or “Load Default Options.”
7. Click the appropriate option, and when a YES or NO dialog appears, select YES to reset your BIOS to default.
8. Finally, click “Save Changes and Reboot.” Your PC should restart to the normal Windows desktop.
NOTE: If you suspect the issue is coming from a bad overclock, you can try dialing it back bit by bit. While at it, try reinstalling the GPU and testing if you don’t prefer restoring the BIOS to the original settings.
Option 2: Clear CMOS to Reset BIOS
The CMOS battery provides power to the motherboard so it can store BIOS settings, among other functions like maintaining the time and date of the system.
Therefore, the BIOS will reset to the default when you remove or replace it.
NOTE: Some motherboards have a “Clear CMOS” button. These are easy to reset since you only need to press it down for five to ten seconds. In that case, you don’t need to take your PC apart.
If your motherboard doesn’t have such a button, then follow the following steps to do it manually:
1. Shut down the PC and unplug it from the main supply.
2. Remove the peripherals and the side panels to access your PC’s interior. You may also need to remove the GPU and any other components blocking your access to the CMOS battery.
3. Locate the CMOS battery on the motherboard and, using a small flathead screwdriver, gently push the battery clip and rotate it to pop out the battery,
NOTE: The exact location of the CMOS battery varies depending on the motherboard, but they are often relatively easy to locate. If you need help locating it, consult your motherboard’s user manual.
4. Hold down the PC’s power button for 15 to 30 seconds to drain off any charge on the motherboard’s capacitors.
5. Put back the CMOS battery and any PC component, like the GPU, that you had taken out.
6. Attach the peripherals and accessories and reassemble the PC.
7. Connect the PC to the main supply and turn it on.
Your BIOS settings should now be reset to the default settings.
4. Remove and Reseat the RAM Sticks
Like CPU overclocking settings, the unstable RAM overclock might lead to a no-display when you install a new GPU.
In that case, removing and reseating the memory sticks should help fix the issue.
1. Turn off the PC and push the power button for a few seconds to drain any remaining charge on the capacitors.
2. Take out the side panel to access the interior.
3. Remove the RAM sticks, and let them sit for a few minutes. I recommend cleaning the RAM slots with a contact cleaner and soft brush. You should also clean the RAM stick connectors before you slot them back in.
4. Assemble the PC again, plug it into the mains, and power it back on.
NOTE: If the issue came from unstable XMP profiles, the PC should boot up and show a display. But if you’re still getting a no display, continue with the next steps if there are two or more sticks of RAM.
5. Turn it off again, and this time, remove all the RAM sticks.
6. Test one RAM stick in a single slot at a time. You will need to slot in the RAM stick, power it on, try to see if you’re getting a display, then power it off.
7. Repeat the above step for all the other memory sticks.
NOTE: Since this is an issue with the new GPU, you can revert to the previous GPU that is getting a display and try testing each of the RAM sticks and RAM slots to ensure none is faulty.
5. Reinstall Graphics Card Display Drivers
If upgrading from an older GPU to a newer one, you must follow the proper installation steps for the system to boot successfully and get a display.
In that case, you should get a display when you revert to the older system with the previous graphics card. Or when you connect the monitor to the motherboard.
Step 1: Download DDU and Your New GPU Drivers
Download the latest version of the Display Driver Uninstaller.
NOTE: Be sure to select the right options depending on the version of the GPU that you’re installing.
Step 2: Remove the Previous GPU Display Drivers
This step requires you to enter the Safe Mode.
1. Click the Restart button on the Start menu while holding the left Shift key down.
2. Select Troubleshoot and choose Advanced Options.
3. Under Advanced Options, select Startup Settings and click the Restart button on the new window that appears.
4. Your PC will reboot to a new window. Select “Enable Safe Mode” to take you into Safe Mode.
5. Next, go to Downloads and extract the DDU file.
6. Click on the extracted DDU folder and open it to access the files. You will see the Display Driver Uninstaller application file. Double-click the file and click OK on the popup window.
7. Leave the “General Options” as-is on the new window. If you have an AMD processor and using Nvidia or Intel GPU, uncheck all the selections under “AMD Specific Options.”
NOTE: Checking the options under “AMD Specific Option” if you have an AMD CPU will uninstall all the drivers. Whereas you can install them back later, you don’t need to go through the headache unless the new graphics card is AMD based.
8. Under Advanced Options, be sure to check the option that says “Prevent downloads of drivers from “Windows Update when “Windows” search for a driver for a device.” Then click Close.
9. On the right side of the current window, click “Select Device Type” and select GPU from the dropdown menu. Select the type of GPU you previously had on the system on the bottom dropdown menu.
10. On the left side of the window, click the “Clean and Shutdown” option. The PC will completely shut down so you can install your new GPU.
NOTE: This process helps clear all the existing files for the previous graphics card from the system so they don’t conflict when installing the new GPU.
Step 3: Install the New Graphics Card
You should unplug the PC from the mains and remove the side panel to access the interior. If the previous GPU is still on the PC, remove it from the PC. The system is now ready for the new GPU.
1. Securely seat the new GPU onto the PCIe slot. You should also hold it in place with the right retention screws.
2. Install the GPU power connectors from the power supply.
3. Reconnect other accessories and peripherals and assemble the PC.
4. Remember to connect the display cable to the GPU port if it is on the motherboard port.
5. Plug the PC into the mains and turn it on.
NOTE: If the no-display issue resulted from conflicting drivers from the previous graphics card, the system should boot up with no problem and get a display. In that case, you can proceed and install the new GPU drivers.
6. You should download drivers for your new graphics card from the official website: Nvidia, AMD, or Intel Arc. Then, go to the Downloads folder and double-click the graphics card drivers file you downloaded.
7. Click OK on the pop-up window to continue the installation process. Confirm the necessary prompts and “perform a clean installation.”
6. Clean the PCIe Slots, Reseat the GPU, and Try the Other PCIe Slots
Sometimes, some PCIe slot pins of the primary PCIe slot might be faulty after collecting dust or damage while removing the old graphics card or installing a new one.
NOTE: Removing the GPU without pressing the safety clip might damage the PCIe slot pins. Always remove or install it slowly and securely for safety!
A dirty PCIE slot is a common issue for existing systems that didn’t have a GPU before. But it can also occur if you keep your PC in a dusty place without proper maintenance.
1. Turn off the PC and the PSU, and unplug it from the mains. Ensure you are properly grounded!
2. Remove the side panels to access the interior and safely disassemble the GPU.
NOTE: You need a soft brush to clean the dust PCIe slot. I also recommend getting a fast-drying electrical contact cleaner.
3. Spray the PCIe slot with the contact cleaner and give it a few minutes to dry. Don’t worry if some of it ends on the motherboard surface – it’s safe!
4. Once dry, use the soft brush to brush off any remaining dust on the slot pins and the area around the PCIe slot and the motherboard. You can also use a soft rubber or sponge for the best result.
5. Before you put back the graphics card, use a soft rubber to clean off any oil or dust on the connectors.
6. Safely install back the GPU. Remember to press down the PCIe slot latch before you install it. Connect the power cables connectors.
7. Plug it back into the mains and turn on the PSU. Finally, boot up the PC to see if you can get back the display.
If one or more PCIe slot pins are damaged, oily, or dusty, there might be an intermittent short, so you should try the secondary PCIe slots on the motherboard.
If there is no display, one or more PCIe slot pins may be damaged, thus causing an intermittent short. So, try the other PCIe x16 slots on the motherboard. ATX boards often come with two secondary x16 slots, while Micro-ATX usually has one.
NOTE: Remember, not all PCIe x16 slots are the same. The primary slot is usually a TRUE x16 slot with 16 lanes. But the secondary slots can have 16 lanes, 8 lanes, or even 4, depending on the motherboard.
I recommend you consult the motherboard’s user manual since PCIe slots lanes can affect performance. Furthermore, Nvidia GPUs can’t work on 4 PCIe lanes.
This step should help you rule out any problem with the PCIe slot. If this is a GPU upgrade, you can also try the previous card that was working to ensure the slots work.
If the previous card or another card is working on any of the PCIe slots, but the new one doesn’t work, then you can conclude the issue is the new GPU.
Finally, Try the GPU on a Different System
You have ruled out any possible PC hardware and software issues thus far. You have also tried the previous GPU or another GPU and are working on your system. The next probable cause might be a fault on the new graphics card.
Try the new GPU on a different PC. If you’re still getting a no display, you can conclude the unit is faulty; therefore, you should contact the manufacturer and return it for repair or replacement.