Damaged/bad DisplayPort cable causing total system failures

Back to bizarro problem solving and here it is, another one I was dealing for a long time, but it never really crossed my mind it might be a god damn video cable causing this…

I’ve had really weird random system reboots for a while, we’re talking 2 years now because this AMD Ryzen 5800X system I’ve built just before the COVID pandemic hit with full force. But it happened so sporadically that I couldn’t really put a finger on it at any point. It could go entire month or two without an issue and then suddenly 4 reboots in a single day.

I’ve had my system just out of the blue in the middle of the night go “click” and reboot with fast fan ramp up that woke me up followed by 1 long beep and 3 short beeps. And then it would startup normally. What the F ?! Checking ASUS beep codes and 1 long and 3 short beeps means “No VGA detected”. Reseated my RTX 3080, reconnected VGA power again and it was fine. For some time. Recently I had just straight out power failure reboots. Like, I was using system and next moment it just blanked out and rebooted, but this time without the usual beep error code (but not always). Event Viewer gave me no insight on what happened other than “Unexpected power failure” error in the logs. Thought it was my Ryzen 5800X overclocking attempts. Just to have same problem on fully stock configuration. Ugh.

Then I had an “aha” moment as I was putting my system back together and I notice how wonky the DisplayPort connector is. It’s a plastic shell with a release button and I notice how connector can move slightly inside the connector shell and how it’s bent in the way how cable is hanging down from the system. Thankfully I had HDMI cable next for my PlayStation 2 “HD” module so I used that. It’s fine for 1440p at 144Hz so I totally unplugged the DisplayPort and I’m now on HDMI only for several days. No issues so far and it has been several days.

Now thinking about it, I’ve had this particular DisplayPort cable for ages (since GTX 980 actually and through GTX 1080Ti and now RTX 3080) and the way I have my PC case placed on a dedicated box stand next to my table, I regularly lift it up while turned on to put it on a table and tinker with it while everything is still connected. Apparently years of doing this messed up the cable which lead this cable to cause total system failures like reboots with graphic card detection failures as well as just absolutely random system crashes and reason they were happening so randomly is because I was trying to fix the issue, I was bending the cable some more and it sometimes fixed it for a moment and next time it made it worse. Seeing how flimsy that DisplayPort connector was after quick inspection, I have a strong suspicion this was really it, even if I don’t have weeks of system working to really confirm it. A god damn cable for 15 or 20€ causing such catastrophic problems. Wow. I’m generally used to problems like image blinking or green tint across entire image, not simple display cable crashing entire system like it lost power. And I think I’ll just stick with HDMI even though I generally prefer DisplayPort. Because all DisplayPort cables seem to have this wonky cheap plastic housing around the connector where HDMI has it really firmly molded into the housing, preventing any bending. You’d really have to yank it really hard to damage it.

Next time you’re having such weird issues, just try a different display cable as one of first things you try. I know I’ll do that from now on…

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