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Any input would be appreciated... new build hurdles

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July 18, 2009 1:39:50 AM

Well, this is my first post in this new forum, so hello and thanks in advance for taking the time to read this and any ideas you have.

Back in December I was in the market for a new computer, so I checked out an article on Tom's Hardware for compatible parts within my price range (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cpu-graphics-overclocking,2083.html). I cannibalized some parts from an earlier computer (case, power supply, hard drives, CD/DVD drives, etc...), and had to get a different motherboard than what is listed in the link. Here are the specs I finished with:

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500
Motherboard: ASUS P5N-D
RAM: 4 GB
Graphics: ATI PowerColor 512Mb HD 4870
Power: Antec Earthwatts 650W
OS: Windows XP x64

Okay, so I got the parts assembled and I got this configuration to run. Two weeks ago, I came over to my computer to find the cursor blinking in the upper left hand corner of the screen. Additionally, the case was quite warm. It would post, let me get into the BIOS, it would just lock up when it tried to load Windows. Now, I have a 74 GB 10,000 rpm drive that I use to run the OS exclusively, and after a few days trying to boot up (changing SATA cables and power configuration), I decided to nuke and pave the OS drive. I booted from the DVD drive, and tried to install windows again, but it stalled out at 20% of the format. Fearing I had a head crash on the 74 GB OS drive, I purchased a brand new 320 GB drive and tried to install Windows on that. It took, and I got some limited functionality out of it, but then it, too crashed. It would post, and then get stuck on the loading screen for 10-15 minutes before it loaded Windows completely. I took it to Best Buy and the folks there said that it was most likely a motherboard issue.

I ordered another ASUS P5N-D mobo from newegg and installed it. This exact configuration worked well two weeks ago, so I don't fear compatibility issues. However, I cannot get a signal to the monitor from the video card. This is an added level of complexity, and I apologize for shoveling all of this onto complete strangers, but the Tom's Hardware build link above calls for 2 SLI video cards, which I bought but never successfully integrated together into the computer. So, for the past two or three days I have been switching between the two cards to see if I could get different results, or some signal. What I get is three lights on the back of either card lighting up. One of these cards has been in the static proof bag for months, and is in pristine condition.

What areas should I be looking into for a solution? Was my old mobo really trashed, or is there a compound problem I am not managing properly? Right now, I get no sounds from my case during boot up. Fans whir and the green light on the mobo is on when it is plugged in. The video card has power, but also displays 3 lights (there are 4 LED's total); it does not matter which video card in in the mobo, both show the same number of lights.

I'll check back here often to answer questions or try any fixes. Thanks again for any help you can offer.
a c 136 B Homebuilt system
July 18, 2009 6:09:55 AM

if you are trying to SLI two 4870's you will be unsuccessful . The P5ND is an SLI board and SLI is supported only by graphics cards with nVidia gpu's

Ati's similar technology is called crossfire and will not run on your motherboard .


The first thing to try is starting in SAFE MODE .

Hit F8 as you see the device splash screen and enter safemode

if you have a windows screen you have confirmed a software problem , and if you dont then its hardware and we can go looking for that


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July 18, 2009 6:28:57 AM

Thanks for replying, Outlander_04. Yes, I heard from a tech that what I was doing was Crossfire, not SLI. Sorry about that, it's kind of like calling a Puffs brand tissue a Kleenex - essentially the same thing but semantically different.

I would love to start off in safe mode. I would LOVE it. I would love it if the monitor displayed the post screen, splash screen or anything at all, but it does not. I get zero signal from the video card. I've switched out video cards (only running 1 at a time, so no Crossfire issues atm), and I get identical results.

Perhaps this is a lot simpler than I am making it out to be. I can't get signal out of any video card I seat in the mobo.

Also, I get no activation lights on the mouse or the keyboard on boot up.
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a c 136 B Homebuilt system
July 18, 2009 7:22:25 AM

its not just a semantic difference since your mb is incapable of running two ati cards in crossfire

but of course that isnt the issue , because even one wont work .

I think you need to check all the power connector and the components . Its not uncommon to damage components just by handling them , and since you have made a mb swap then you need to check
The mb speaker is your best friend right now so make sure its connected .

Diassemble the computer completely .

Then start again . add the cpu and one stick of ram , the psu power connectors , the power and activity switches and LED's and the mb speaker .
ONE stick of ram only .

Listen for the beep codes
http://www.fixya.com/support/r1569455-beep_code_explain...


if it doesnt work or its beeping no ram, then change the stick .

if it all seems well , add the second stick of ram and try and post again
if that works add the hard drive hard drive

Last of all the gfx card
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July 21, 2009 2:33:23 AM

Outlander, I understand, and you are absolutely right, my board does SLI, not Crossfire. I guess I just have either an extra video card, or perhaps something to put up on ebay. Sucks.

I broke the computer down and unplugged everything, took out the RAM and booted it up. No beeps. The case speaker is hooked up, and hooked up correctly, but I get no beeps at all. Could this be it?

When I took the computer to Best Buy, they attributed the lack of beeping to a motherboard problem, but if the speaker is broken...

Thank you for the link... Once i figure out why I'm not getting sound I will use it.

Tomorrow I am going to take it to a guy I know and get him to look at the speaker issue. I may still need help.

jsc, thank you for the link, but as the thread requests, I READ before posting about my boot problems. I guess you're so used to folks not doing that, it must just be reflex.
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July 28, 2009 10:40:10 PM

Okay, I got it working.

First off, the Asus P5N-D motherboard does not have a speaker on it. So, when the guy at Best Buy pulled out the ram and rebooted, the reason why he didn't get a beep (and thus proclaimed that he was 95% sure it was a mobo issue) was because there was no speaker to beep. For some reason, I thought that my case had a speaker, but the audio connections are for the headphone/mic jacks.

I ended up breadboxing my system. I took everything out of the case and hooked it up outside. To my astonishment, it posted. The same components, the same configuration...

So, I cleaned out the case with compressed air, and put each component back in the case one at a time. Actually, it was kind of nice to re-work the wiring. I put everything back in, booting up after the mobo and video card were installed, and bingo, it posts. One stick of RAM at a time, and it still posted. Hooked up the hard drives, and it boots up.

The best I can figure, I had a hard drive crash. After that, I don't know why it would not work with the OS on a different drive, or why it eventually stopped posting altogether. However, after taking out all of the parts of the computer and putting them together again, the computer is working fine off of the HD it was having trouble with before.

Thanks to everybody who tried to help me out. It makes no sense to me what happened, but I'm just happy to have my computer functional again.

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