Screen goes black

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Screen goes black

Postby kraaketaer on Wed Feb 27, 2008 4:29 pm

Hi

I've just installed Mint on an old desktop I had standing around, as a kind of combination of learning linux and letting my folks have a stable, virus-free system to browse the web and whatnot.

But I have a problem. After logging on, everything seems fine for 10-15 minutes, until the screen seems to power down (as if the computer went into sleep mode), and won't come out of it. It doesn't matter if the computer's in use or not, and afterwards it doesn't react to any form of input.

Do you have any ideas as to what could be going on?

The system is ancient, but the hardware is all fine.
Most of the specs are unknown to me, but I'll tell you what I know:
AMD Duron 850mHz
512mB SDRAM
ATI Radeon 7000
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Re: Screen goes black

Postby MagnusB on Wed Feb 27, 2008 7:08 pm

You have enough RAM, though the processor seems to be a bit slow. Have you considered using Fluxbox or XFCE edition? And you could try adjusting your power saving settings, I have a similar issue with a computer here. When the computer force the screen to shut down (power save) it won't start up again, and I have to reboot, but this only happens if I leave it alone. I just disabled the power save function: Preferences - Power Settings, navigate through that to find the settings (I am on a laptop now, use different power functions than a desktop).
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Re: Screen goes black

Postby kraaketaer on Wed Feb 27, 2008 9:01 pm

After a few (read:lots) more crashes, I've found out a few things.

First of all, the problem isn't really that the screen goes blank, it's clearly a full system crash. Guess I'm just used to crashes being a bit more...visual. Doesn't linux have a BSOD or some such?
Second, the cpu shouldn't be a problem. It's clearly underpowered, but not so much that it should cause crashes (load often reached 100%, but never stayed there for long periods of time, no matter what I was doing). For comparison, the computer's run Win2k since ancient history, without any real performance or stability issues (until it was overrun by viruses and trojans).

Is there some kind of event log I could check for any weird stuff around the crashes?
Is there any way I could make the system lighter (less processor load, for example)?
And does anyone have a good temperature monitoring app? I doubt it's overheating, but could be worth checking...
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Re: Screen goes black

Postby BAD on Thu Feb 28, 2008 4:12 am

I have Mint installed on a PIII 450mhz with 512mb ram a voodoo banshee VC. Mint runs fine it does not do any fancy eye candy graphics but it loads Gnome, opens Firefox and works. If I were to guess the problem is either you have a heat problem, some software issue or it is the Duron processor. Also make sure all your connections are correct and not loose memory, agp, pci, and cables. Then try a new power supply. If these steps don't work then reinstall and test it with base install and each program you add.
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Re: Screen goes black

Postby kraaketaer on Thu Feb 28, 2008 8:47 am

AFAIK all hardware is working as it should (ran without any issues just a few days ago, only change since then is a new HDD). Is there any reason why the Duron should have compatibility issues with Linux? And where can I find an app to check CPU temp and so on?

If it is a software issue, what should I do? Should I try another distribution? Should I try to replace Gnome with something else (if so, what, and how?)?
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Re: Screen goes black

Postby MagnusB on Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:46 am

Logs are kept at /var/log. Look at kern.log and messages, maybe also syslog. And BSOD in linux is called kernel panic, usually you will see blinking lights when this happens, with me CAPS lock light always start to blink...
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Re: Screen goes black

Postby BAD on Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:29 am

you can type "CPU" in the synaptic search and try programs like computertemp and cpuburn I have not tried them but they should work to see if your CPU is the problem.

I had an ATI 7500aiw 32mb VC it would say Ubuntu is running in low graphics mode and would not display better than 800x600 when Mint was loaded.

I have an ATI 7500aiw 64mb VC when I loaded the Mint live CD it would not show the boot screen on a LCD monitor I pushed enter and it would load the live CD. Also at shut down it ejected the CD but it would not show press enter to shut down enter worked fine any ways.

It is well known that ATI only wants to give support for the Radeon 8000+ series cards. Unfortunately we have the 7000 series.

Since your system was working fine I would say reinstall Mint for fastest fix. The driver Mint installed should work fine which you said it does. Otherwise you need to find someone who knows how to fix the problem in the command line and without being at your computer that would take a long time.
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