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First build, first boot... NO! Endless reboot cycle!

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March 21, 2008 3:57:40 AM

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. :pfff: 

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

More about : build boot endless reboot cycle

March 21, 2008 4:37:24 AM

This may sound strange, but check the power to the 24 Pin ATX connector, the Additional power connector (molex beside the 24 pin), and the 8 pin CPU connector by the IO panel (must use 2x4 pin, or an 8 pin connector for this)
If this does not fix the issue, get another power supply (could be bad, even tho it is unusual for corsair's to have issues). Then check that everything is properly seated, and boot up.
March 21, 2008 4:50:41 AM

IH8U said:
This may sound strange, but check the power to the 24 Pin ATX connector, the Additional power connector (molex beside the 24 pin), and the 8 pin CPU connector by the IO panel (must use 2x4 pin, or an 8 pin connector for this)


Should all 3 power calbes be connected to the board? I connected only the 24-pin ATX and 8-(or 4)pin ATX. My DS3P manual says the molex connector next to the 24-pin is for PCIE, only to be used for dual graphics cards.
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March 21, 2008 5:06:53 AM

hmm, honestly, even when i read the title of your post, i already had in mind before i read the whole thing, you have a gigabyte motherboard. recently on newegg.com they pulled a model off the shelve because it had the endless reboot problem

(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)
GIGABYTE GA-X38-DS4

sadly, im building my comp in a few days and i HAVE this motherboard, so im hoping i would not get the same error, but we'll know in a few days, and they replaced that mobo with a non-faulty version
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-EX38-DS4 ......notice the diff. model number, the X38 and the EX38. so yea.

i am relatively confident that its your mobo (don't hold it against me) but im just telling you what i know from my mobo model and what i've read online from other people who has similar boards. why not go to your local tech. store, buy a motherboard, test it on that platform and see if it boots up? you can always return it saying its faulty. hope that helps.
March 21, 2008 5:10:46 AM

Yes, connect all 3 power connections. If this does not fix the issue, try a new MoBo (RMA present one). Or try a different PS.
March 21, 2008 5:38:00 AM

aznguy0028, it's funny, I avoided the P35-DS3R because of reports of reboot cycling problems. The DS3P seemed to be immune, but maybe it's this new EP version.

*edit* just read a recent review on newegg for my mobo, "random reboots then on off on off never even see a boot screen". Damn.

IH8U: I just tried all 3 cables. Same result.

I'm very dissapointed. I did so much research picking out the right components. To go through RMA'ing my board will suuuck. I got it at Mwave I believe. Anyone have experience with them?

*2nd edit* I just found this thread!
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/248424-30-gigabyte-ep35-ds3p-problems

It's the same exact issue. Even with disconnecting the 8-pin ATX power. Apparently, Gigabyte support had him clear the CMOS and leave one RAM module in the 3rd slot. I would try it, but I'm unsure how to clear CMOS.
March 21, 2008 6:02:12 AM

you try 1 stick of memory, heatsink seated properly, unplug everything inside and out except power supply, video, monitor. unplug USB and firewire headers. unplug everything, and try again. double check the wires on your power supply headers to make sure everything is seated nicely.
March 21, 2008 6:08:32 AM

rockbyter said:
you try 1 stick of memory, heatsink seated properly, unplug everything inside and out except power supply, video, monitor. unplug USB and firewire headers. unplug everything, and try again. double check the wires on your power supply headers to make sure everything is seated nicely.


I did try one stick of RAM with no luck. I also disconnected everything, except I forgot about USB and firewire. I'll try again in the morning. Thanks for the suggestions so far.
March 21, 2008 1:48:35 PM

You did clear the cmos?? Right? If not, try that, it will set the bios to all default settings, then you will need to go in the bios and change the settings so the machine will run as designed. Also, I'm assuming you remembered to plug in the 4 pin cpu power connector as well as the video card power connector? Start with those first.
March 21, 2008 6:50:48 PM

I just tried clearing the CMOS by removing the battery for a minute. Then I tried the RAM module in other DIMM slots.

When that didn't work, I 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.

So.. I'm guessing this all means a) bad motherboard or b) bad PSU. I'm thinking it's the board, based on similar issues I've seen people have with it.

Unless anyone has any other advice, I plan to RMA the mobo for an exchange. If that doesn't work, then I'll be 99% sure it's the PSU.
March 21, 2008 10:24:17 PM

One more thing. All the CPU status LED's on the motherboard stay lit as long as the computer is on. According to the DS3P manual, the more LED's that are lit up, the higher the CPU load. Could this provide some clue as to the cause of the rebooting? It seems odd that the CPU would be experiencing full load at startup. Unless the LED's are just self-testing and sticking.
March 22, 2008 12:23:10 AM

Have you checked the motherboard jumpers? I've had the last two motherboards that I ordered with the jumper set to clear the CMOS, and had to mess with them to get them working.
March 22, 2008 2:26:47 AM

I THINK I GOT IT!!!!

I was about to take off the heatsink and reinstall the CPU, but 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!!!

Only I'm not sure where to go from here. Should I first install the other RAM stick and then reboot? Then the front panel wires, usb and fw?
March 22, 2008 2:48:52 AM

Test your ram, check to see if they were your problem
March 22, 2008 4:42:09 AM

OK here's the problem. 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?
March 22, 2008 1:31:33 PM

you ve figured it out it seems. RAM2 doesnt work. rma it
March 22, 2008 1:40:13 PM

Yep, OgabOga is right RAM2 is bad.
March 31, 2008 12:28:48 PM

I had several reboots at cold startup. My problem was not the motherboard, it was the power supply. Everything is fine and dandy now.
April 11, 2008 8:11:59 AM

evongugg said:
I had several reboots at cold startup. My problem was not the motherboard, it was the power supply. Everything is fine and dandy now.


people should check there $hit before blaming things :D 

I'm the proud owner of a EP35-DS3P and may i say its dam good - replaced my ASUS P5B Deluxe Wifi/App (cold start issues with the Q6600), on a side note i get the power load lights on my motherboard show up, then during use disappear/don't light up - NO POWER DRAIN WOOHOO!!!!!! Kidding, weird tho, dunno wether it needs s/w or a bios update...
!