"My troubleshooting was rather hasty and disorganized, though it
did finally lead to a solution. What can I say, there are good days
and there are twitterpated days. As so many readers of my blog
suggested, the first thing I should have done was boot up a live
Linux CD. That is a fast way to determine if the problem is
hardware or software; if the live CD boots normally then the
hardware is OK. It would have saved me some time.
"But no, I had to take the long way. After work I spent some
quality time with it. I connected the monitor to a different PC and
it worked fine. OK, so it's not the monitor. I put it back and
rebooted one more time hoping it would magically heal itself, when
something I should have noticed right away got my attention: the
boot screen was just as mangled as when Kubuntu came up. So duh,
that means the video card is at fault because no drivers are loaded
yet, and I already know the monitor is fine.
"So I fetched my trusty rechargeable 14.4-volt Ryobi flashlight
and prepared for surgery. That is my second-favorite flashlight in
the whole world. It is bright and it stands up, and it is perfect
for illuminating computer innards. I poked around, trying to look
wise even though I had only the dogs for company, and I noticed the
case fan was not spinning. Oops. The Nvidia card faces downwards,
so I reached underneath to feel its fan with my finger. Oops again.
Both fans use the same power connector, so apparently it was dead.
Tried a different power lead, and they fired right up. (Individual
power leads can fail, though in my experience it's rare.)" Page 2 has a cool pic of exploded capacitors-- ed
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