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Changed CPU Cooler, Now Computer Won't Boot, CPU Light On, Fans Run, No Beeps/Q-Codes At All

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March 10, 2014 11:06:22 AM

Hi All, hoping someone can help. I've seen questions about similar issues posted but most of the answers don't seem to apply to my situation.

I built my rig over a year ago and it's run flawlessly the whole time once I was finally able to get the BIOS updated properly. It's an ASUS P8Z68 Deluxe Gen 3, with an Intel Core i7 1155 chipset, Corsair 750TX ps. 16 GB. Modestly overclocked, never any overheating problems or problems of any kind. As I said, this computer worked great for over a year with no issues so I know there are no compatibility issues, no power issues, or anything of that nature.

As I use my computer exclusively for recording, however, I found that the Corsair H80 liquid cooling system that I had, though it worked great at cooling the computer, was too noisy for using when recording with a live microphone. After doing a lot of research, I decided to replace it with a Zalman Ultra Quiet 8900 CPU cooling unit. As removing the liquid cooling unit, as well as replacing it with the Zalman, required pulling the motherboard out and swapping out the back plates of the two units, this entailed disconnecting/reconnecting the graphics card, sound card, hard drive cable, etc, then reassembling all of those things.

One of the first issues that I encountered was that the Zalman, though it should, does not fit cleanly into the available space between the CPU and the memory cards and pushes considerably on the first memory card in the set of 4 where it does touch the card next to it, even though the pins stay in the slots and don't appear to be bending or anything ... there's definitely a bit of pressure though. But I did get the cooler installed and screwed on firmly to the CPU.

When I reassembled the computer, though, it wouldn't boot at all, and the red CPU light stayed on. Additionally, not even the start up beeps sounded, nor did the Q-code light come on. In fact those are totally dark. And, of course, no monitor or anything. But all of the chassis fans work and the Zalman CPU cooler fan works (and is very quiet, by the way).

So, obviously, it's more than just a coincidence that the computer worked perfectly before I attempted this and now it doesn't work at all.

I tried pulling two of the memory cards out but still no boot even though there was nothing pushing on the memory sticks now. I double checked all the connections and everything is plugged in tightly and where it should be.

I even tried pulling out the Zalman and I replaced it with the original Intel CPU cooler (never used) that came with the chip set but it behaved the exact same way: Red CPU light stuck on, no startup beeps, no Q-codes, no boot (or even attempt to boot). So now I'm totally at a loss as to what I might have done to it.

Can someone in the forum please offer suggestions as to what the most likely thing is that might be causing the problem and hopefully offer a few solutions to try?

Much appreciated. Thanks!
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Hi again, everyone, just wanted to update this. Well, I tried all of the suggested solutions but the results were the same, no post, no beeps, CPU light stuck on. Nothing. So, I essentially tried breadboarding it. I removed all the components, cleared the CMOS, tied all combinations of RAM in every slot, even tried no RAM in no slot. Removed, cleaned the CPU (there was a tiny bit of thermal compound that had gotten on the plate that holds it in). I'm sure the power supply is good, the whole rig is only about a year and a half old. Anyway, I've come to the conclusion the motherboard is fried.

Rather than taking it somewhere only to pay them to tell me the same thing, I bought another refurbished mobo (ASUS p8z68 Pro, instead of Gen3 Deluxe which it what I had), it's very similar to my existing mobo but with a few less features; I doubt if I'll notice any difference for my application. It was only $89.00 plus about $8 for shipping so I figured I probably would have spent somewhere around that anyway if I took it to a computer repair shop, then I still probably would have had to buy a new board on top of whatever they charged me.

Anyway, I fully expect the new one to work fine but will report back if it should turn out that it doesn't work either and that the board wasn't the problem.
Thanks again everyone for all the help!
a b à CPUs
March 10, 2014 11:27:19 AM

If your first stick of RAM is being pushed so hard that it's touching its neighbor--that's too hard. It may not appear that it's bending, but it's losing contact somewhere.

If you already tried removing the first pair of RAM DIMMs (1st stick and 3rd stick, going from left to right) and that didn't work then the damage might already be done--the point where the RAM slot interfaces with the motherboard may be physically damaged from excessive lateral pressure.

Try reseating your CPU, Video Card(s), Expansion Card(s) and RAM and try again. If it still doesn't work you may be looking at a new motherboard :/ 
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a b à CPUs
March 10, 2014 11:30:17 AM

Also, since you had to remove the stock backplate make sure the new backplate isn't touching anything on the motherboard where it might short out--if you're unsure then take the backplate off and apply masking tape to the side that interfaces with the motherboard and reattach.

And finally, a stupid question--did you reattach the 8pin CPU power connector (goes between the blue heatsinks above the CPU)?
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a b à CPUs
March 10, 2014 11:53:16 AM

Is it the pipes or the fins that are pressing against the ram?

If it;s the pipes you might be able to rotate it differently, if it's the fins.... you need a taller or not as wide CPU fan.

Considering the size of the CPU fan is a important lesson for future builds.
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a b à CPUs
March 10, 2014 12:11:05 PM

maybe try to reset your bios?
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March 11, 2014 9:21:43 AM

s4in7 said:
If your first stick of RAM is being pushed so hard that it's touching its neighbor--that's too hard. It may not appear that it's bending, but it's losing contact somewhere.

If you already tried removing the first pair of RAM DIMMs (1st stick and 3rd stick, going from left to right) and that didn't work then the damage might already be done--the point where the RAM slot interfaces with the motherboard may be physically damaged from excessive lateral pressure.

Try reseating your CPU, Video Card(s), Expansion Card(s) and RAM and try again. If it still doesn't work you may be looking at a new motherboard :/ 


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March 11, 2014 9:25:35 AM

Hi, thanks for the quick reply. I tried responding earlier but my answers kept disappearing so I'm using a different browser and hoping they'll stick this time.
Anyway, from what you've told me, I think the most likely suspect is that the CPU cooler back plate may indeed be making contact with the motherboard so the first thing I'm going to try is the masking tape solution you suggested. I won't get to mess around with any of this until the weekend but will report back with whatever happened. Very much appreciate the response.!
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a b à CPUs
March 11, 2014 9:27:14 AM

Hope it helps :) 
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March 11, 2014 9:31:40 AM

James Mason said:
Is it the pipes or the fins that are pressing against the ram?

If it;s the pipes you might be able to rotate it differently, if it's the fins.... you need a taller or not as wide CPU fan.

Considering the size of the CPU fan is a important lesson for future builds.


Hi James,
Yes, it is the pipes that are slightly pressing on the RAM but I tried orienting it the other way and the bracket attachment holes do not line up with the holes in the case when turned any other way but the way I have it. Even if I were able to attach it that way, the instructions for the Zalman warn against having the pipes lined up vertically as opposed to horizontally as it somehow effects the cooling ability. Anyway, yes, you're right about this being an important lesson ... hopefully, it doesn't end up being an overly expensive one. Thanks for the reply.
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