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Last reply by 12-08-2022 Unsolved
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XPS 8940 Blinking Power Light 2 Amber, 1 White & No Video After BIOS Update

XPS 8940

Hello all, I have an XPS 8940 with the i9 10900K CPU & Nvidia RTX 3070 video card.  Recently I've been hearing more fan noise than usual.  I thought it was coming from the video card, so I removed it, blew out the minimal dust, reinstalled the card and the noise was still there.  Installed the most recent video driver (and installed the GeForce Experience that I usually don't install) and the fan noise was still present.  Stupid me, the noise was coming from the fan on my M2 drive (an Ineo cooler with built in fan).  Removed the M2 drive. blew out the dust and reinstalled the drive.  During all of this tinkering and trying to find the setting that controls fan speeds, I ended up at the Dell website, selected my product, saw there were five recommended driver updates and a BIOS upgrade, so I downloaded and installed those. 

Somewhere, something went wrong because now my 18 month old XPS 8940 is dead in the water.  When I turn it on, it does the "turns on for a couple of seconds, then off", so I did the real time clock reset thing, with no effect.  I have a black screen, the computer will start, the fans will spin, then the power light starts flashing 2 amber and 1 white, which according to the service manual means "cpu misconfiguration or failure".  I've tried EVERYTHING listed here, including pulling out all of the cards, hard drive and SSD, attempting a BIOS recovery, using the Support Assist OS Recovery USB drive, using the onboard HDMI and Display Port video ports (the monitor is working fine), reinstalling the original M2 card that came with the computer (I've been using a larger Samsung drive), pulling the CMOS battery, trying a new battery, rapidly pushing the F2 button using a wired USB keyboard during a restart, pressing and holding ctrl & esc during a restart, removing and reseating the CPU and memory modules and all I get is the same blinking lights.

In the interest of complete honesty, 1) when I removed the M2 drive, I dropped the little screw onto the motherboard near the voltage control module.  The computer power was off, but the cord was NOT unplugged.  2) my tired eyes realized that when I was looking for my desktop in my list of Dell products, I may have selected my XPS 17" laptop, then proceeded to the "Check for driver updates or hardware issues", downloaded everything & installed them.  Somebody please tell me that it isn't possible to download and flash the completely WRONG BIOS...is it? and 3) I downloaded and installed the MSI Afterburner program, played with it a bit, then realized the noise was not my video card so I uninstalled the program, shut down and when I restarted is when everything blew up.

Sorry for the novel, but I've read so many questions that have minimal info I just wanted to include everything that got me to where I am now.  I would appreciate ANY help that somebody can offer.

Replies (26)
7 Gold
427

Since you had tried everything, maybe time to ship 8940 motherboard plus cpu to Dell repair depot for diagnosis (for a small fee if out of warranty). But I am afraid if bios update had bricked the board, Dell depot would recommend replacement of mobo with a new or refurbished board.  If you have warranty left this would save you trouble. If not, time to think about salvaging cpu, ssd, gpu and move on to non-Dell mobo+case.


422

The computer is out of warranty.  I found an acceptable price for a new i9 10900K CPU, that is also returnable.  I'll have it in 2 days and if it doesn't fix the problem, I will need to decide if replacing the motherboard and falling further down this rabbit hole is worth it.  I'm almost positive though that the BIOS update finished and the computer restarted normally.  I started building my own computers in the 1990's and when prices of pre-built computers made them more attractive, I decided my time was worth more.  May be time to revisit that philosophy.  Thanks for your help!

421

Good luck.  I very much doubt the issue is due to a bad intel cpu which almost never dies unless overclocked at dangerously high voltage over long time.  imo proprietary a 8940 mobo is not worth it.  Sell the 8940 psu then get a standard non-dell mobo and case might be a way out of the hole.


10 Diamond
403

Always include version of Windows in your posts...

Can we assume you recovered that screw before next time you powered PC on?

Have you tried running the PSU BIST test? How to run self-test without the button on the PSU

Have you tried booting with monitor connected to one of the onboard Intel Graphics ports with video card completely removed?  Onboard Intel Graphics are usually disabled unless at least one monitor is connected to the add-in GPU and the Multi-Display option is enabled in BIOS.

Did you re-seat RAM modules in their slots?

When you removed the motherboard battery, did you press/hold the power button for ~30 sec before reinstalling the battery to make sure BIOS actually gets cleared?

Try creating a bootable USB using the MS Media Creation Tool for Win 10 or Win 11, whichever you have. You can do this on any PC. With XPS 8940 powered fully off, unplug power cord from rear of PC. Press/hold power button for ~30 sec.  Plug power cord into rear of PC. Plug Windows USB you created into the PC. Power on and immediately start tapping F12.  See if you can get the PC to respond that way...

Ron

  Forum Member since 2004
  I am not a Dell employee

3 Argentum
402

Do you know if 8940 motherboards still available from Dell?  My computer has the 0KV3RP version, which was apparently the earliest batch, from late 2020.  I can only find a few of those on Ebay and Newegg.  I see more of the 0K3CM7 version which is the newest one.  Are they interchangeable?  I think it will probably cost me more to get a new case, motherboard and everything else than it will to just get a Dell replacement board and I don't really have the time to build a new computer.

10 Diamond
400

You can contact Dell Spare Parts at 1-800-357-3355 (USA).  Have  your Service Tag handy. (Don't post it here.)

Motherboard versions should be interchangeable.  Somewhere there's a thread about the XPS 8940 that lists all the various motherboard versions and their release dates...

Ron

  Forum Member since 2004
  I am not a Dell employee

399

The computer is running Windows 10.  Yes, I immediately got the screw and set it aside.  I don't think the PSU is the problem because it will start, the fans will run, the video card lights up and it will continue that way until I turn it off.  I've tried the onboard HDMI and video ports both with and without the video card inserted.  The monitor works as I'm using it right now, with my laptop connected to it.  I reseated the RAM and the CPU several times.  When I removed the motherboard battery, I let the computer sit for 15 minutes before attempting to boot again, and I also tried discharging flea power by holding the power button for 30 seconds (no more than 40 seconds, no less than 26 seconds) multiple times.  I've also tried USB drives using the BIOS recovery file (correctly renamed), Support Assist OS Recovery and Windows 10 Recovery.  Nothing, nada, no video and after a minute or so, blinking amber and white lights.  In the absence of video, I've tried starting the computer and tapping both F2, F12 and holding ctrl-esc with and without a string of expletives at least a dozen times.  I just don't know if any of those options are doing anything because I'm flying blind without video.

398

Before you buy a replacement 8940 board send your board to Dell repair depot for diagnosis.


395

I called Dell and they have both of the motherboards mentioned, refurbished for $244.00 including shipping.  The guy said "these motherboards don't go bad very often".  Lol, not according to what I've read.  It would be nice to find out exactly what went wrong, but after shipping and the diagnosis fee for them to say "it needs to be replaced" would probably cost much more than it would for me to just buy one.  I just don't see how a Dell BIOS, downloaded from their site and applied to THEIR product can turn a $2,500.00 computer into a $2,500.00 doorstop.  Uh, unless I accidentally flashed my XPS 8940 with my XPS 17" laptop BIOS....ahem....  At this point, I'm thinking that's what happened.

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