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Dell Dimension C521 video and sleeping problems

Hi all,

I write this because our Dimension C521 is having problems going into sleep or standby mode, and because it's having what seems to be a video issue.

The first problem is that when the computer goes into standby, it will wake up after only a few seconds. It goes to sleep, alright; the hard drive will power down, the light in the power button will start flashing, but then it just comes right back on.

The second problem is that, once the computer has been on for a few days, the display will stop working. What I mean by this is that the computer is still on, the hard drive activity light still flashes, but nothing is displayed on the screen. I suspect it to be a video card issue because: a) the monitor works fine, and b) the power light on the monitor will turn yellow. The only thing that can be done in this situation is to hold the power button to shut down the computer. Could it be the video card drivers, or is it a possible hardware problem with the card itself? I'm using the ATI drivers that windows update automatically downloaded; they're dated 6/2/2008.

Here are the computer specs:

AMD Athlon X2 3800+ (AM2 socket)
4 x 512MB DDR2 667
250GB SATA hard drive
128MB ATI Radeon X1300
Dell motherboard (nForce 430 chipset)
Vista home premium 32-bit SP1 with latest updates (a pretty fresh install; I reformatted last November)
Antivirus is Norton 360 2008 (or whatever the latest version is)
The computer is about 2 years old.

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In reply to: Dell Dimension C521 video and sleeping problems

"I'm using the ATI drivers that windows update automatically downloaded"

Microsoft rarely gets drivers right. Now go get the current drivers for your machine from the makers of what part you want a driver for.

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Looking at the graphics properties...

In reply to: Ouch!

...they seem to be official ATI drivers. It says that the driver provider is ATI; here's a screenshot:

There is also an ATI process running when I look in Task Manager (ati2evxx.exe), and the Aero hardware acceleration works fine. Half-Life 2 plays fine, too; no graphical abnormalities when playing that, either.

Do you think it could be a problem with the card itself?

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I just read your post again...

In reply to: Ouch!

...and while I initially interpreted it as you saying that the Microsoft default drivers suck (which they do), I realized that you might've been saying that windows update does a bad job of selecting the proper driver. Is that what you meant? If so, should I uninstall this driver before installing the latest ATI drivers?

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The caucus is in a ruckus.

In reply to: I just read your post again...

I've heard arguments for both methods. What do I do? I install the new stuff and try it. If I'm unhappy I uninstall and try again.

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I'll give it a try...

In reply to: The caucus is in a ruckus.

...and let you know hot it goes. Any ideas about the standby issue? My guess is that Norton is trying to do something in the background requiring hard disk activity or CPU activity, etc. and that's pulling it out of standby.

Thanks so much.

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In reply to: I'll give it a try...

It's something else. I took the most obvious item from your post details and would fix that first. Next I'd think over when it broke. Like the day you installed that wireless keyboard.

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Re: Or

In reply to: Or...

I can't remember any one particular event which seemed to trigger this (display stops working). It seems that it's been doing this since last November when I reformatted and reinstalled Vista. Perhaps it was because I didn't install the ATI drivers then...? I have the Catalyst 9.1 drivers installed right now; it's working fine so far, so I'll see where that goes.

However, I can't remember if it's had problems with standby since last November or just more recently. Once again, there's no particular event that I can remember; this computer has been working pretty smoothly since November aside from these two problems.

Thanks again.

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That's telling.

In reply to: Re: Or

When we install Windows there are some 10 drivers we have to find.

Did your machine's maker give you an install plan?

-> Try the most obvious issue. The drivers you got from Microsoft.

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