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Help!!! My homebuild nightmare

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  • Systems
Last response: in Systems
January 26, 2009 9:44:05 AM

Hi guys!

I've read these forums for a while and they have been an invaluable source of information for me.

So in a recent bout of overconfidence I decided to upgrade my computer via the "home build" route. After lots of research I bought the following components:

Thermaltake Armor case
Intel Q6600 processor
GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P motherboard
OCZ GameXStream 700W power supply
8GB OCZ Reaper DDR2 800 RAM
XFX 8800 GT graphics card

I also decided to reuse my mouse, keyboard, hard drives and monitors.

Now here's where my nightmare begins... I carefully followed the various instructions on assembling the case and setting up the motherboard. After connecting everything EXCEPT the monitor, keyboard and mouse - I powered up and there was absolutely no sign of life. My first thought was that the power supply was bad but I tested it by hooking up the case fans and hard drive and shorting two of the pins and it worked perfectly.

However, when I reconnect the motherboard everything goes dead. So I started disassembling everything and retracing my steps. To my utter horror I discovered that I had left the little black plastic sheet that ships with the CPU in place so it was installed between the processor and the motherboard pins. I removed it, checked the pins on the motherboard and there were no obvious signs of damage, applied some Artic Silver and reseated the cooling fan....still no joy.

I must say that I've built several computers before - all older AMD processors with pins (much simpler)- without any problems (hence my overconfidence that I could do this). I can also follow instructions but the Gigabyte motherboard manual isn't very helpful. So here are my specific questions:

1. How do I power the motherboard? Do I connect the 2x12 power connector, the 2x4, or both? The manual isn't really clear on that.

2. Do I need to connect the monitor, keyboard and mouse for the motherboard to become active? I would have thought that at least I would hear a beep indicating those components were not connected. But there's no activity at all on the motherboard, no lights, no spinning CPU cooling fan, NOTHING and I've triple checked everything.

3. Are there any other troubleshooting steps I can take? Please feel free to point me to any "Home built computer for dummies" site with lots of pictures.

I would appreciate any and all help I can get. At this stage I feel like I've wasted money and my entire weekend.



More about : homebuild nightmare

January 26, 2009 10:17:41 AM

1. You need to connect power to both the 24-pin and the 4/8-pin socket of the board.

2. No, but why would you not connect those things?

I can pretty much guarantee that you will not boot up with 8GB of OCZ Reapers on the board. You should start with one or two sticks.

Power supplies are not batteries. They have to do many complicated things to operate correctly. The fact that you can get one to make a fan spin does not mean it's working correctly. I'm not suggesting that your PSU is the problem, just pointing that out.

Few or no modern motherboards come with onboard speakers. You will not hear beeps.

You may very well have damaged the CPU or board.

You should pull everything out of the case and see if you can get a boot with just the CPU and memory. Place the motherboard on a non-conductive surface such as a cardboard box. Do not use an anti-static bag as they can conduct.

While you are at it, make sure you have all the motherboard standoffs in the correct spots only. There should only be standoffs that align with the screw holes in the motherboard, with no extras.

January 26, 2009 11:01:44 AM

Thanks for you advice. I'll try all your suggestions and report back.

I hope the CPU or motherboard aren't damaged...I tried to be so very careful that I didn't notice that I needed to remove the little black plastic sheet from the CPU....browsing around the Internet it appears that its quite a common error but one I should not have made.

Also, the motherboards standoffs are installed correctly. As soon as I took it out the antistatic package I lined it up in the case and noted where the 9 standoffs were to be installed; plus the case has markings showing where ATX sized boards should be placed.
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January 26, 2009 12:00:12 PM

You should pull everything out of the case and see if you can get a boot with just the CPU and memory. Place the motherboard on a non-conductive surface such as a cardboard box. Do not use an anti-static bag as they can conduct.

I tried what you suggested with both 1 and 2 sticks of 2 GB RAM and unfortunately it did not boot. Is there anything else I can do or should I just file this under Lessons Learned.
January 26, 2009 7:13:15 PM

RMA the board :p 
January 28, 2009 7:05:05 PM

I suppose I'll have to do that...thanks for the advice.
January 29, 2009 1:29:26 PM

I've managed to make some progress. Now when I turn on the PSU power switch and the case power switch the motherboard becomes active, the Phase LED lights come on, and all the cooling fans spin. However the motherboard is making a long continuous, high pitched beep similar to a smoke detector. Also there's nothing on the monitor to indicate the motherboard did at least POST.

There's no explanation in the manual for a continuous warning tone that never stops; does anyone know the reason for it?

I've checked all the connections multiple times and they are all correct as far as I can tell.

Answering my own question; it appears my 8800 GT graphics card is faulty. I switched cards and I was able to boot without any problems.
January 29, 2009 6:45:13 PM

Good deal.
January 29, 2009 6:51:43 PM

Got it all sorted out and everything is in working order. The 8800 GT is actually fine; I just needed to plug in the power. Since I bought it second-hand I didn't have a manual and there isn't an obvious place on the card where you can instantly tell that the power cord goes there.

Anyway, all is well now; off to install software. Thanks for all you help.