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1st build, 1st boot... Reboot cycle!


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#1
pretzelLogic

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After months of planning and preparation, I finally finished putting together my first build. After checking all connections, I powered up. The front panel LED's lit up, the fans started spinning, and the DVD drive made a typical spinning noise.

Within about 6 seconds, however, everything abruptly shut down. No beeps, no post, no monitor display. Two seconds later, without touching anything, the computer powered up again. Five seconds later, off again. Two seconds later... In other words, an endless reboot cycle.

So I went through a checklist, trying to pinpoint the problem. I disconnected one hard drive. Same result. Then both drives, then the DVD drive, then the fan controller. I connected the CPU fan directly to the mobo's CPU_FAN header, thinking the board was shutting down as a safety precaution when it didn't detect a CPU fan. I switched the 2x4 pin ATX 12V power connector with a 2x2 pin connector, since my board and PSU support both. Each time I got the same exact reboot cycle.

Then I decided to completely disconnect the ATX_12V power cable to the mobo, leaving only the main 24-pin power connected. Surprisingly, the computer powered up and didn't shut down! The problem is, nothing else happened. No beeps and nothing displayed on the monitor, even after re-connecting all peripherals. All components seem to work fine. The fans (and fan controller) work, the DVD drive opens, the HDD's idle. But nothing actually happens. I can't enter BIOS since it doesn't to post, or at least, nothing shows up on the monitor. When I plug the ATX_12V power back into the mobo... reboot cycle.

So that's where I'm at now. I'm sure there's tons of info on the net about issues like this, but every homebuilt system is different. I'm hoping someone can point me in the right direction. I'm also really hoping it's not a faulty motherboard. :)

Here's the all-important spec list:

Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS3P
Corsair HX-520W
Intel E8400 Core2 Duo w/ Ultima-90 heatsink
Asus EN7300GT
4GB GSkill DDR2
320GB WD SATA HDD
640GB WD SATA HDD
Samsung S203N DVDRW
3 fans w/ Rheobus Sunbeam 5.25" controller
CoolerMaster CAC-T05 case
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#2
Titan8990

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Did you use standoffs when mounting the motherboard?
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#3
pretzelLogic

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Yes, I used the brass ones that came with my case. Could one of the screws be causing a short circuit? Would washers help?

Edited by pretzelLogic, 21 March 2008 - 12:39 AM.

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#4
Titan8990

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I wouldn't use washers. That could actually create new problems.

The next thing I would check to make sure that the heatsink is mounted properly on the CPU and an excess amount of thermal grease was not used.
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#5
frankthetank

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You should check all your connections like-mother board power,RAM in place, CPU in place, CPU heat sink in place,are all the wires out of the way so the CPU fan could spin. Did you reset the CMOS before booting.
First you need to turn your computer off and unplug it from the wall socket.After that open your case and you should see 3 pins two of them are covered by a jumper like this. Posted ImageYou should reset your CMOS by moving the jumper from pins 1&2 to 2&3 and keep it that way for about 30 seconds. Then put the jumper back to pins 1&2. Close your case. Start up your computer. You could also Reset the CMOS by removing the CMOS battery it look like this Posted Image. First you'll need to turn off your computer and remove the power cord from your wall socket open your case.Then release the clip from the battery holder and take the battery out for about a minute for the battery to discharge. Then put it back the right way and start up your computer.

Edited by frankthetank, 21 March 2008 - 12:07 PM.

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#6
TwilightGlow

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Check heat sink
Check if memory is compatible
Check power supply for adequate power

These were all the problems I personally had that caused shutting down on my first build
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#7
pretzelLogic

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I tried clearing the CMOS by removing the battery for a minute. That didn't work. But I didn't know there was a "right way" to insert the battery. Does it need to be oriented a certain way?

I also completely removed the motherboard from the case and set it on the retail box. With only the CPU/heatsink/fan, video card, and RAM connected, I plugged the power in and shorted the power switch... and got exactly the same result. Continuous reboot.

I pretty certain my RAM (G.SKILL 2 x 2GB DDR2 800 F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ) is compatible. I've seen other systems with the same board/RAM combo.

As for adequate power, I'm sure the HX-520W is enough, especially when I only have the CPU and video card connected.

When I get home from work, I'll try removing the heatsink and wiping off the thermal grease (I used arctic silver 5). Then I'll recheck that the CPU is inserted properly.

Thanks for everyone's advice so far.

Edited by pretzelLogic, 21 March 2008 - 03:39 PM.

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#8
Titan8990

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Artic Silver is a mess....
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#9
pretzelLogic

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I think I'm finally getting somewhere!!

I was about to take off the heatsink and reinstall the CPU, but first I decided to try my other RAM stick in the first slot. Then I cleared the CMOS by shorting the jumper with a screwdriver. When I started it up, the Gigabyte logo came up on the monitor! After booting up, it said something like "enter system disk..." etc.

At this point the board is laying outside the case on the box. Only the CPU/HSF, video card and one RAM stick are installed. Nothing else. But it works!!!

I guess now I need to reinstall everything. We'll see how that goes...
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#10
james_8970

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Just a note, you should never clear the CMOS by removing the BIOS and always by moving the jumper. Unless I'm completely misunderstanding you, do not use a screw driver to short the jumper. Also, are the washers that you were talking about felt or rubber, if so they should be used with the standoffs to prevent a short. Though, with modern motherboards, there normally isn't anything close enough to the holes which could create a short.
Good luck with installing everything.
James

Edited by james_8970, 21 March 2008 - 11:32 PM.

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#11
pretzelLogic

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I may have it narrowed down to the memory. When I use only one particular stick of RAM (call it RAM1), it boots right up. I can enter BIOS and everything. If I add the other stick (RAM2), it gives me the continuous reboot cycle. However, if I use only RAM2, in any slot, it gives me the same reboot problem.

I tried loading "optimized defaults" in BIOS, then installing both sticks. Reboot cycle, no post. Then I tried loading "fail-safe defaults". Same results. I tried the RAM in slots 1/3 and also 2/4.

This is the RAM I have (2x2GB G.Skill DDR2 800). It's supposed to be easily compatible memory. Voltage should be 1.8V-1.9V. The only relevant option I see in BIOS is DDR2 Over-voltage Control, which only allows you to overvolt (obviously). I just left it set to "normal".

Any ideas? Bad module possibly?

Just a note, you should never clear the CMOS by removing the BIOS and always by moving the jumper. Unless I'm completely misunderstanding you, do not use a screw driver to short the jumper.

Do you mean never clear the CMOS by removing the battery? I tried that but it didn't work. Then I used a screwdriver to short the jumper (manual says it's OK), and that at least got me to BIOS.

Also, are the washers that you were talking about felt or rubber

I meant rubber washers, to prevent the screws from shorting the board. I don't think that's the problem though.

Edited by pretzelLogic, 22 March 2008 - 12:17 AM.

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#12
TwilightGlow

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Well, I have the same problem with my computer, sorta, I'm using 800Mhz memory on my ASUS P5B-VM, it clearly supports it, but when I first installed it, I didn't work and would just give me a continuous beeping :\, try putting in slower memory, or, try putting the incompatible AND the compatible in at once, that solved my problem.

Edited by TwilightGlow, 22 March 2008 - 12:55 AM.

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#13
pretzelLogic

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Both RAM sticks I have are identical. I bought them as a pair, so both should be either compatible or not. That's why I think one of the sticks is faulty.
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#14
Titan8990

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Personally, because this is a new system I would just RMA the RAM now. RAM is component I have found the be DOA the most often and fail over time.
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#15
cvswebdesign

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I would have to agree with the RMA on the RAM.
Also, You said it was working fine OUTSIDE the case. You still can't rule out that you were shorting the mobo to the case. Even with standoffs you can still short the board.
I recently had a client who built his machine and had the shorting issue. He was devestated that his "baby" wouldn't work. After 20 minutes and $75 bucks he was up and running. Try putting in just two corners of screws and posting the system. If it posts and runs fine with everything in it then you definately shorted it with one of the screws.

Turn system off....put in another screw....boot...if it boots...repeated until you find the one that's shorting and just don't put that screw in. You don't NEED them all!!
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