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e521-Can I save it's graphics from myself?

I’ve hit a problem with the old e521 when installing a new graphics card, and from what I’ve been reading on this forum, it may be terminal. I hate to post yet another story on a graphics issue with an ancient machine, but I hope that some new insights might pop up with this post. So here’s the history:

Current specs are AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 6000+, speed 3.01 GHz, 3GB DDR2, 550w PSU, and the HD 4850 GPU mentioned below.  BIOS is 1.1.11   OS is Win 7 (32-bit).

I’ve had a Radeon HD 4850 (Asus) in there for several years, and after a lot of hours of gaming, it was exhibiting the classic problems of needing replacement; “stars” in the picture, black cells showing up in parts of the picture when gaming, etc. I’d seen it before with other cards, and got an XFX R7750 for a replacement. Yes, I knew it was PCI Express 3.0, but was supposed to be backwardly compatible with my older PCIe, so I was ready to accept that it wouldn’t deliver full bandwidth.  Other than that, it looked like a decent upgrade. Maybe not.

I had the latest Catalyst software ready to install on initial boot-up after the switch, but I got no output on the DVI; just black. One thing I had wondered about when installing the 7750 was that it had no 4-pin connector for the PSU cable, but I figured the newer design must not need it.  But when I put the old HD 4850 back in, it had no output either. Oh Boy...

But both cards had their fans, and the machine booted, so I pulled the card, and booted up on VGA with the integrated GeForce 6150 LE graphics.  Checked the BIOS, and the video was set to AUTO, but obviously the MB was not “seeing” that PCIe slot.  Per instructions on the forum, I installed new chipset drivers on the MB, and this didn’t change anything (using the old 4850 card for tests; I wasn’t about to put the new 7750 in there). Right now, it’s running on the integrated graphics.

 So did I fry the MB?  Please post your thoughts (and I hope it’s not “new MB from Dell”)  Thanks!


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