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Self build won't boot...advice please


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#1
spudmachine

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Hello,
I'm trying to build my own PC. I bought the bits as a package from Scan.co.uk, so I assume they are "matched".


M/B: Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3-B3
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz
RAM: 8GByte Corsair Vengeance DDR3 (2 x 4G DIMMs)
PSU: Cooler Master GX 80+ 650W


When I press the power switch the case fans and PSU fan spin for a split second, then stop. The unit does not boot. There are no beeps.

I've disconnected the Hard Drive, DVD and video card with the same result.

I've checked the cables and they all look OK. I also checked for anything "dangling" over contacts that might cause a short, but there's nothing obvious. Nothing is obstructing the CPU fan.

I installed the two RAM modules in what I believe is Channel A (initially I plan to operate in single channel mode...with 8G of RAM). So they are in slots labelled DDR3_4 and DDR3-2. reading the motherboard manual it looks like I could install them in any two slots and they'd work (maybe not to max performance, but they should function).

One other thing I noticed is that the Cooler Master case was supplied with all brass spacer screws, rather than a mixture of brass and plastic.


Any advice welcomed!


Cheers,
SPuD
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#2
Digerati

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Hi SPuD and :welcome:

One other thing I noticed is that the Cooler Master case was supplied with all brass spacer screws, rather than a mixture of brass and plastic.

I have never seen plastic space screws so not sure what you are talking about. I note this:

Posted Image

(the bottom brass part) is called a "standoff".

Also note that cases are designed to support 1000s of motherboards so there is almost always more mounting holes in the case than there are in the motherboard. And a very common mistake is putting in too many standoffs, which results in the motherboard being shorted out - sometimes causing permanent damage. :(

So you need to pull your board and make 200% sure you only have a standoff where there is a corresponding motherboard mounting hole.

Make you you have connected all the PSU connections to the motherboard.

initially I plan to operate in single channel mode...with 8G of RAM).

I fail to see any reason to run in single channel mode. Testing with one stick makes sense, but running single channel when dual-channel is supported is the only way to go - otherwise, you bottleneck your entire system.
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#3
spudmachine

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Thanks for the fast reply.

I'm pretty sure I have the right number of stand-offs. There are 9 holes in the motherboard, and nine stand-offs, but I will definitely check tomorrow. I'll strip it right down and rebuild it.

For the dual channel v single channel I assume I need to purchase another 8G of RAM (for a total of 16G) in order to run with 8G dual channel, is that correct? That's not a problem - RAM is comparatively inexpensive and it would be a false economy to lose the performance. However, the RAM is not likely to be the cause of this problem, I'm guessing, because the PC doesn't even get as far as the memory check.

Could this be a problem with the Power Supply, do you think? I never built a PC from scratch before, but I've upgraded quite a few with RAM, video cards, etc. and never seen anything as "catastrophic" as this. It's like the PSU is instantly overheating or something and shutting down.
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#4
Digerati

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For the dual channel v single channel I assume I need to purchase another 8G of RAM (for a total of 16G) in order to run with 8G dual channel, is that correct?

No. You need to read your motherboard manual again. There you will see that dual channel simply needs a matched pair of RAM modules. You have 2 x 4Gb. Your manual will tell you which two slots to use for dual. I note most Gigabyte boards use color coded RAM slots.

For testing, you can install just the CPU and CPU HSF, one stick of RAM, and the graphics card then boot the machine. You should see the boot process start, make it through POST, then halt when no boot drive is found.
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#5
spudmachine

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So I took the motherboard out of the case...

...placed it on an insulating board (plastic chopping board...which I scraped across the metal case to try to discharge any static)

...connected the ATX power connector (with the little 4-pin extra one, I don't know what that's called)

...connected the power switch.

I pressed the power switch and the same thing happens - a split-second pulse into the motherboard that briefly spins the CPU fan and lights the LEDs on the motherboard.

So right now I'm thinking this is a faulty PSU.

I have another desktop PC with a working ATX-style PSU. If I get up the courage I'll try swapping, but if you have any other advice I'm listening :-)

Cheers,
SPuD
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#6
Digerati

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connected the ATX power connector (with the little 4-pin extra one, I don't know what that's called)

And the big 24-pin connector too, right? And at least one stick of RAM? And a monitor? And the extra power lead to the graphics solution (if it requires one)?

It is good to feel comfortable swapping out PSUs as that is a pretty conclusive test for a bad one. As an alternative, and while not 100% conclusive, a decent PSU Tester is good to keep on hand and will quickly and easily will give you good idea if working correctly, and it will definitely tell you if the PSU toast.

CoolerMaster is a good brand and getting a 80+ certification requires a good design good quality parts, and good construction. That does not mean the PSU is good - until Man can create perfection 100% of the time, there will always be some failures. I am just saying you have a decent PSU so chances are good it is good.
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#7
spudmachine

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Hi Digerati,
OK...so the PC is now working and I have been reminded that "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing" :-)

My CoolerMaster power supply has the main ATX power connector in two sections - one big one and one small one. So when I plugged them both in I thought I'd plugged "two power connectors onto the motherboard".

In my naive state I knew you had to plug two power connectors into the motherboard, and I thought I'd done that (blush).

When I tried the other working power supply that one has the ATX power connector in one block and the penny dropped. I realised I needed to plug in the other connector!

So now it's up and working - I'd actually got everything right first time apart from that!

Thank you for your good advice, and your patience. Sorry to waste your time.

Cheers,
SPuD
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#8
Digerati

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Thank you for your good advice, and your patience. Sorry to waste your time.

I bet you learned a lot, so it didn't waste my time.

Note that some motherboards take 3 connections - and some graphics cards require a direct connect too. It is easy to miss one. Now the goal is route all the wires so they minimize their impact on the desired front-to-back air flow through the case.
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