Once I had everything hooked up, I powered up and all 5 of the fans started, the chassis system light went on, the videocard lights lit up green, and all of the motherboard lights went on, but a "No Signal" error came up on the monitor. Every mobo light was lit up clearly indicating something was wrong. I also heard harddrives whirring up when I put my ear near them.
So here's what I tried:
-I've checked all data and power connections. Everything seems secure.
-I checked the heatsink. It's on very securely. The CPU fan, which is plugged into the mobo CPU fan socket is working well.
-I installed the 3 sticks of 2gb ram. At first I had the sticks in the 1st 2nd and 4th slot, but after checking the mobo manual, I fixed the mistake and moved the sticks to the 1st, 3rd, and 5th slots. Still won't post. I then double checked gigabyte's website to see if my mobo could handle non-ecc ram; It can.
-I tried booting with all the SATA devices, and thought that might be a problem so now I currently have all 4 harddrives and the blu-ray drive disconnected from the SATA controllers on the mobo. No change; no post.
-I uninstalled a network PCI card. No change
-I reinstalled the video card. No change. I tried booting without the video card, but I couldn't tell what was happening since there's no way to connect my monitor and there's no mobo or chassis speaker.
I'm dying for a system speaker to identify the error. I'm going to try to find something at radio shack tomorrow. If someone can tell me where else I might find one, I'd appreciate it. Without it, I'm at a lost and I have no idea how to find out if one or more of my parts are dead/broken.
Any troubleshooting advice is welcome as well.
First, get a system speaker.
Second, go through the checklist.
Third, try these steps:
Pull everything except the CPU and HSF. Boot. You should hear a series of long single beeps indicating memory problems. Silence here indicates, in probable order, a bad PSU, motherboard, or CPU - or a bad installation where something is shorting and shutting down the PSU.
To eliminate the possiblility of a bad installation where something is shorting and shutting down the PSU, you will need to pull the motherboard out of the case and reassemble the components on an insulated surface. This is alled "breadboarding" - from the 1920's homebrew radio days. I always breadboard a new or recycled build. It lets me test components before I go through the trouble of installing them in a case.
If you get the long beeps, add a stick of RAM. Boot. The beep pattern should change to one long and two or three short beeps. Silence indicates that the RAM is shorting out the PSU. Long single beeps indicates that the BIOS does not recognize the presence of the RAM.
If you get the one long and two or three short beeps, test the rest of the RAM. If good, install the video card and any needed power cables and plug in the monitor. If the video card is good, the system should successfully POST (one short beep, usually) and you will see the boot screen and messages.
Note - an inadequate PSU will cause a failure here or any step later.
Note - you do not need drives or a keyboard to get this far.
If you successfully POST, start plugging in the rest of the components, one at a time.
While I am thinking about it, motherboard lights do not mean much. They are powered from a small, separate Standby Power Supply in the PSU.
If you have completely explored the checklist and done all of jsc's excellent post, and still don't get anything at all, then MB or CPU would be likely. Since you have some power, I would expect you to at least get a beep or two.
After much fiddling, I decided to disconnect everything, take everything apart and start from scratch and IT WORKED!
My new system speaker posted with the shortest and most mellifluous beep I've ever heard, and lit up my new 24" screen with the brightest most gorgeous bios screen I've ever witnessed. [It's been years since I build a system and it was much harder, but far more satisfying this time.]
I'm not exactly sure what I did wrong the first time but I suspect after struggling so hard to plug in my 8 pin PSU power chord, I forgot to make sure the other end was firmly connected to my modular power supply. I had checked it before and it was such a rats nests, I could have easily missed it.
Anyways, thanks for all the advice. I really appreciated it. Now it's time to install an OS. This thread can be locked or whatever.