Originally I'd set it all up with a different CPU (an AMD 7750 2.7 GHz). I could get the board to power up, but no boot. A little better investigating revealed that CPU wasn't compatible with the board, so I swapped it for the 9600, which is supported. Still, the board powers up, but no post beep, no warning beep, no nothing. I've even exchanged the CPU and the board for replacements thinking one or the other might be dead, but I've still got nothing.
I've gone through a couple dozen troubleshooting FAQs and even worked through the guide here in the forum (inside the spoiler cut):
1. Did you carefully read the motherboard owners manual?
2. Did you plug in the 4/8-pin CPU power connector, located near the CPU? If the motherboard has 8 pins and your PSU only has 4 pins, you can use the 4-pin connector. The 4-pin connector USUALLY goes on the 4 pins located closest to the CPU. If the motherboard has an 8-pin connector with a cover over 4 pins, you can remove the cover and use an 8-pin plug if your power supply has one. Check your motherboard owners manual for more information about the CPU power connector.
It has a 4-pin connector, it's plugged in. I've checked it a dozen times.
3. Did you install the standoffs under the motherboard? Did you place them so that they all align with the screw holes in the motherboard, with no standoffs touching the board in the wrong place?
Yes. I've also tried breadboxing.
4. Did you verify that the video card is fully seated? (may require more force than a new builder expects.)
Just using the onboard card.
5. Did you attach all the required power connectors to the video card? (some need two, some need none, many need one.)
N/A, see 4.
6. Have you tried booting with just one stick of RAM installed? (Try each stick of RAM individually in each RAM slot.) If you can get the system to boot, you should manually set the RAM timings and voltage to the manufacturers specs in the BIOS.
Yes, I've tried both.
7. Did you verify that all memory modules are fully inserted? (may require more force than a new builder expects.) It's a good idea to install the RAM on the motherboard before it's in the case.
8. Did you remove the plastic guard over the CPU socket? (this actually comes up occasionally.)
9. If using an after market CPU cooler, did you get any thermal paste on the board? Did you use the smallest amount you could? Here's a couple links that may help:
No thermal paste on the board. Used the thinnest layer made of tiny dots.
10. Is the CPU fan plugged in?
Yes, it spins and everything. After a while it slows to pitiful twitches.
11. If using a stock cooler, was the thermal material on the base of the cooler free of foreign material, and did you remove any protective covering? If the stock cooler has push-pins, did you ensure that all four pins snapped securely into place? (The easiest way to install the push-pins is outside the case sitting on a non-conductive surface like the motherboard box. Read the instructions! The push-pins should be turned the OPPOSITE direction as the arrows.)
12. Are any loose screws laying on the motherboard, or jammed against it?
There weren't but now I'm breadboxing it.
13. Did you ensure you discharged all static electricity before touching any of your components?
I was super paranoid about grounding myself all the time, but I suppose it's still possible.
14. Did you install the system speaker (if provided) so you can check beep-codes in the manual? If you case or motherboard didn't come with a system speaker you can buy one here: http://www.cwc-group.com/casp.html
Yes, no beeps, so no love.
15. Did you read the instructions in the manual on how to properly connect the front panel plugs? (Power switch, power led, reset switch, HD activity led) Polarity does not matter with the power and reset switches. If power or drive activity LED's do not come on, reverse the connections. For troubleshooting purposes, disconnect the reset switch. If it is shorted, the machine either will not POST at all, or it will endlessly reboot.
Yes, I read them. I even dropped back to just the power switch when I breadboxed it to make sure I could get the power to turn on.
16. Did you turn on the power supply switch located on the back of the PSU? Is the power plug on a switch? If it is, is the switch turned on? Is there a GFI circuit on the plug-in? If there is, make sure it isn't tripped.
Yes, I flipped this switch. The board gets power, lights up. The fans come on.
18. Have you tried resetting the CMOS? The motherboard manual will have instructions for your particular board.
Yes, a couple times.
19. If you have integrated video and a video card, try the integrated video port. Resetting the bios, can make it default back to the onboard video.
I've only had the integrated video port hooked up this whole time.
I've breadboxed it, but I still have a sad little board with one RAM stick that just lights up and sits silent.
So I'm pretty desperate at this point. I'm wondering if the quad core is a little goofy and unnecessary for just an HTPC, so maybe I should swap it out for an Athlon 5200 2.7 GHz. I guess it's also possible the motherboard is bad, but I'd hate to return it again.
Anyway it's only my second build and I'm more looking for other zany last minute possibilities before I go swapping the board or CPU again.