Help! New build not cooperating

Ok, so I got it into my head that building an NES PC (a pc in an old Nintendo enclosure, for those who don't know)was a good idea, but I'm having troubles on my first startup. This is especially frustrating considering the amount of time I've spent modding the NES to accommodate the necessary parts. First, here's a rundown of the components I'm using:

Zotac 8200 ITX Wifi AM2+ mainboard
AMD Athlon II x2 Regor 245 CPU w/ Scythe Big Shuriken HSF & Arctic Silver Ceramique
2x1 GB Corsair XMS DDR2 800
PicoPSU 150XT DC-DC Power Supply w/ Delta 150 Watt brick
Seagate 60 GB 2.5" HDD from my PS3

So I put all of it together except for the hard drive to test the system out. The first problem I ran into is the ATX power connector. The PicoPSU has a 24 pi connector and the mainboard has a 20 pin. I have read in several places that the extra four pins are irrelevant in this situation, so I plugged in the connector, minding that the correctly-shaped pins were lined up, and the extra four simply "hang" off the end. When I hit the power switch, the cpu fan spins up, and nothing else happens. No beeps (i can only assume the pc speaker I'm using is functional), no picture, no nothing. The most recent BIOS (6/09) for this board supports the new Athlon II's and Phenom II's, but I have no way of knowing if that is the version I have without POSTing. Even if not, I'm told that the computer should start up just fine anyway.

So that's where I am thus far. If any of you have an idea as to what the problem could be I would greatly appreciate the assistance.
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More about help build cooperating
  1. sounds like an electrical short somewhere in your custom case.. it's a pain, but the quickest (and cheapest) test would be to pull out all your components and see if it POSTs while running it just on top of a cardboard box. This also makes it easy to double check the connectors for anything loose.
  2. wathman said:
    sounds like an electrical short somewhere in your custom case.. it's a pain, but the quickest (and cheapest) test would be to pull out all your components and see if it POSTs while running it just on top of a cardboard box. This also makes it easy to double check the connectors for anything loose.


    I thought about that possibility, but there's nothing conductive in the case. I made a motherboard tray out of plexi, made some custom standoffs from the "towers" in the case that held the original components in place. And there are no wires traveling under the board.I suppose I could try it though.

    Can you confirm for me that the cpu not being supported by the BIOS is ok? And that I'm ok on the PSU 24 pin connector into a 20 pin connector?
  3. Even if there is a possible issue with the BIOS support for the CPU, your build isn't even getting to the point where that would become apparent. As for the PSU connector, using a 24 pin - the 4 extra should work fine as you were told.

    Also, about using just plexiglas, it doesn't totally eliminate the possibility of a short. a couple of stray metal filings left from when you were cutting things can be enough to cause a short if they landed in the wrong spot. Doing a run with the hardware outside the case will be a quick process of elimination test. Otherwise, I don't hear anything outrageously wrong with your build.
  4. Thanks, wathman, I'll give it a try. Any recommendations as to what I test it on? Cardboard?

    PS - Oh, and just to clarify another thing, there shouldn't be any metal shavings either, as I only cut plastic. But I'll try it anyway.
  5. Ok, tried it outside of the case. I just left the plastic standoffs screwed to the bottom of the board (I haven't permanently attached them to the case just yet) and tried it out on the desk surface. Still doing the exact same thing. Even tried a different monitor just in case (the one I was using before is a relic 13"crt that I haven't used in a long time). This is far from my first build, but I've never had any real problems on any other builds. Maybe Murphy's Law is playing catch-up with me by laying the smack down on me now?
  6. 4 pin cpu power!!!!!!!!!!!! + 20 pin main power.
  7. daship said:
    4 pin cpu power!!!!!!!!!!!! + 20 pin main power.


    The psu has a 24 pin atx connector, as well as a 4 pin cpu connector (commonly referred to as a P4 power connector). This is connected.
  8. I have done a little searching on the web, and though I can find nothing that says you can't plug a 24 pin PSU into a 20 pin MB, I have found adapters that convert 24 pin into 20. perhaps that's what I need to try
  9. PSU Link??
  10. psycho sykes said:
    PSU Link??


    I'm not sure what you're asking me. Could you elaborate?
  11. the 24 to 20 pin adapters shouldn't make a difference, but they are cheap and I guess it's worth a shot.

    The monitor was an issue with a custom build I did a while back, I know you just tested a second one. What type of monitor was the second one you tried? The issue I had was that the BIOS vga output wasn't displaying at it's native resolution, and for some reason or other, the monitor wasn't auto-detecting the resolution and adjusting. When I powered up the computer, it was giving some retarded message like "Memory configuration changed, press F2 to continue" which I did not know to do because the screen wasn't displaying it. I actually tried 2 monitors also, but for some reason only the 3rd monitor detected the default resolution. Even stranger than that, once I got the system working properly, the other monitors had no problem with the video output.

    Did some more digging, another remote possibility is incompatibility between the DVI cable and the computer, and the monitor. Thinking back on my situation, this is probably the root cause of my video headaches. I had a couple of DVI cables lying around, and I don't know if I made sure if they were DVI-I or not. As I just learned, there's 3 types of DVI that will all fit the same connectors. DVI-A and DVI-D do not play nice together. DVI-I will work with either DVI-A or DVI-D. Not all cables are DVI-I, so this is a possible issue.

    To further confuse things, I'm pretty sure only DVI-A analog adapters will work with the VGA style cables found on most monitors. I just checked your Zotac board online, and it has both VGA and DVI output, did your monitor testing include any possible conflicting combinations?
  12. Thanks for the reply, Wathman. Sounds like you've had your share of headaches. For starters, the first monitor I tried was an old 13" CRT that, while I know it works, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if it failed at any point. The second monitor is a 23" samsung lcd. I tested the CRT with both dvi (through a DVI-VGA adapter) and vga. The one odd thing I noticed was that the monitor would react when the cable was attached/detached regardless of whether the computer was on. I first noticed this when the monitor was on, and the computer was off. I unplugged the monitor from the dvi adapter and transferred the vga cable to the vga port. While the monitor was plugged in, the amber light on the monitor was on. As soon as I unplugged the cable, the light changed to green, and the monitor "clicked" in the way that CRTs do when changing resolutions. Then it displayed "auto off in 5 seconds" on the screen and went back to amber after that time. I found that if I unplugged it like this, and tried to plug it back in while the light was still green, as soon as it was plugged in, the light would immediately click back to amber, regardless of whether the 5 seconds had elapsed or not. Weird, huh? I doubt there's any real significance to this, just occurred to me as I was writing about the monitors. As for the LCD monitor, I just attached it via the DVI cable from the back of my main computer. It displayed no fishy behavior whatsoever (other than not having a picture).

    As far as the different types of DVI cables go, I only used cables I knew to work previously in these kinds of setups. And as a side note, while I'm pretty sure you're right about DVI-A going into VGA, if I'm recalling correctly DVI-I works with both digital and analog.
  13. yeah, DVI-I will work with both DVI-A and DVI-D, though when you introduce the adapters like DVI to VGA, I think those can be pinned out for possibly DVI-A or DVI-D and create more headaches. Display Port standard seemed like it would solve these problems and put an end to the whole DVI business, but as of now you wouldn't need to use both hands to count how many graphics cards and monitors support it.

    Since you're running out of things to test, you might be better off returning the board with a RMA. Hopefully that will solve the issue.
  14. Thanks for all your help wathman. I'm thinking you're probably right, and I'd prob be better off returning while I still can. Before I do, I figure I might as well try the 24 to 20 pin adapter. As you said, it shouldn't make a difference, but one never knows. I found it odd that an AM2+ board would have a 20 pin connector, and I wonder if they didn't do it for space concerns. As I have read it, the extra four pins on the 24 pin ATX are for extra 12v and (i think) 5v juice. Part of me wonders if the system might just need that extra power. Some of the adapters just eliminate the extra four pins, but most (including the one I ordered) look like they feed the extra four wires into their respective pins on the 20 pin plug. Other than that small hope, I'm at a loss. I'm also talking with costumer support with the PicoPSU people because I've never used one of these before so I figure they know a lot more than me about it.
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