Need help troubleshooting a new system. Few questions.

Hi, I'd appreciate any help possible please. I'm having difficulty figuring out which component is faulty.

System is as follows:
Athlon X2 4200+ CPU
Asus A8N5X Motherboard. Phoenix Award BIOS.
2x Corsair ValueRAM 1024mb dual channel
200gb SATA HDD
Enermax 485w PSU
Radeon x1900xtx graphics. (also have a Radeon x300 I bought to try and troubleshoot)

Problem: When I switch the power on the system beeps 4 times in a 1-1-1...1 pattern. No signal to monitor. All fans spin, HDD, power and motherboard LEDs light up.

I don't have access to any spare parts other than the other videocard listed, and the DVD ROM and IDE HDD on this, my old, computer. This is what makes it most difficult. (This system is using PC133 RAM, Athlon XP 1800+ processor, and a power supply that's inadequate for a modern PC)

I already RMAed the motherboard and they sent it back, saying it tested as fine.

Questions I could use answered:
1. What's the minimum hardware I can have connected to the motherboard to see a display on the monitor?

2. More specifically, should a computer function even minimally with no RAM?

3. If a computer cannot function at all with no RAM, would the error be different if the RAM was broken compared with it being absent? The error is the same either way.

4. If the CPU is broken would the computer still beep?

5. Is it likely/possible for it to be the power supply? I'm wondering if the cable to power the CPU was faulty for example, would the motherboard still get as far as beeping?

The tech support at the online shop I purchased this system from wants me to RMA the RAM, but I want to be certain somehow that it is the RAM. Either that or I'll RMA as much of the system as I can and let them sort it out.

I'm quite lost, first time building from scratch. Any further recommendations would be appreciated.

Thanks for your help,
6 answers Last reply
More about need troubleshooting system questions
  1. Check the memory first, try one stick at a time.
  2. Couple of tips:
    1- Make sure cpu is seated correctly. (just because the cooler is not falling off does not mean it is seated correctly)

    2- Check your ram pull one out and swap till you know it not them.

    3- Make sure you cpu 4 pin power connector is connected next to the cpu.

    4- Make sure you dont have any extra brass stand offs incorrectly places or missing.

    5- Make sure your video card is in the top pci-e slot.

    6- Running sata are you using the power sata quick connector or molex 4 pin.

    7- If you are running sata plug into sata1.

    8- cd and dvd drives should be plugged into correct ide channel(ie NOT the blue one).

    9- Make sure your power supply is set for 110v and NOT 220v.

    Minimum you need to post in bios is the motherboard/ power supply/ one stick of ram/ cpu / video card.
    Hard drive / dvd-cd / sound card are not required.
  3. In response to those tips:
    1. 99% sure the CPU is seated properly. It's been seated, removed and seated again. Same error both times.

    2. I've tried swapping single modules, no luck. The tech support guy at the website I bought the parts from said maybe both RAM modules were broken. It's possible I guess.

    3. The CPU power line is connected.

    4. Only 9 supports, each comes through a hole on the motherboard with a 'washer' built into the MB for it. As I understand it, if the MB was grounded the system would be totally dead.

    5. A8N5X has only one PCIe videocard slot.

    6. HDD is connected with the SATA connection. System has same error without HDD connected.

    7. SATA data cable is going into SATA 1 on MB.

    8. No IDE devices in system currently.

    9. I'm in New Zealand, PSU is set to 220v and this is correct.

    Thanks for your help.

    Given that the basics seem to be in order, if it comes down to CPU or PSU or both RAM modules which is most likely broken? Should I RMA them all and let tech support sort it out?
  4. Check the BIOS website for the beep codes. Steady 1-1-1-1 pattern is memory in one bios, but each bios has it's own pattern.
  5. sounds like ram me to since you get the same error with both/ either/ or none.
  6. This should help for the beep codes

    From reading the beep codes also check you cpu fan is pluged into the cpu fan header.
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