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New system fails to boot, Shuts off after fraction of a second

Last response: in Systems
March 11, 2010 7:19:21 AM

System was shutting down instantly after pressing power button. Now, when PSU is plugged in, and PSU switch is turned on, system starts up for half-sec, shuts down, starts up, shuts down, in a cycle, indefinitely(for as long as I've let it do that, which is 1 minute).

After saving for some time, I finally got the money to buy a computer. After some disappoints from retail systems, and subsequent returns, I decided to build my own. This is my first time doing this. I researched for a week and ordered the parts from Newegg.

A friend and I assembled all these parts in the case before testing them. Again, it was my first time building a system, so I was careful to follow instructions for the connection of each part.

Here is a message I sent to a friend, telling him what was happening:

We assembled the computer, following online instructions and those in the manuals. I didn't do most of the power cable and wire connecting. Friend did those, so I'm wondering if one isn't hooked up right.

We closed it up, plugged in monitor and power cable, fired it up.

After a few seconds, it went to a startup screen. It said F2 for setup, and two other options below that. I didn't press anything in time because I didn't have my keyboard plugged in. That screen only stayed up for a few seconds. Then it went black for a few seconds. Then it went to a black screen with the words: (something like this) no boot *device?drive?disk?something* found. Please reboot and insert boot disk. Then it automatically shut down.

So I got out my windows 7 cd. I turned on the comp. I opened DVD drive, inserted disk, closed it. First it went to the Foptions screen. I let that pass because my keyboard still wasn't plugged in. After that, instead of going to a 'insert disk' screen, it went to a black screen with a progress bar saying 'loading windows files' or something like that. But as soon as the progress bar finished, which only took a few seconds, the comp just shut down.

After that, I kept trying to repeat the process, but the computer would only stay on for a couple seconds. The fans would go, I'd let off the power button, and it would go for a second, then shut down. So I unplugged the power cord and plugged it back in, then cycled the power supply switch. It still only stayed on a for a couple seconds. I let it sit for 5 minutes, then tried it again. This time it stayed on, but it didn't go to any screens. Just stayed black. After letting it sit like that for a few minutes, it shut down again. When I tried to start it up, it was doing the 2 second thing again. I let it sit for another 5 mins. Tried it again. This time it got to the 'loading windows files' screen again, but again, as soon as the progress bar completed, it shut down. I kept doing stuff like this, win7 cd out(in which case it got to the insert boot disk screen, then shut down) and with win7 in(in which case I never got it to start again).

After letting it run on a black screen again, it shut down after a few minutes. I smelled something acrid. I tried to start it again, and it starts for a split second. Now that's all it does. It's getting power, but shuts down before I can even let off the power button.

After this, for the next few hours, he and I chatted about the system. At some point we arrived at the very pertinent info that I did not have a CPU heatsink. As you might notice from the parts listing, I purchased my CPU OEM. I did not know this meant that it did not come with a heatsink, nor did I know that I needed a heatsink.

So for the entire 5-6 minutes of the computer's life with the power on, it did not have a heatsink.

After I found out that I needed one, I went to Best Buy and selected a compatible model. Installing this did nothing, of course.

I began searching the internet for guides.

I read this:

which directed me here:
and I completed every step here.

During those steps, I discovered that I did indeed have an extra standoff behind the motherboard. I took everything out and breadboarded it, removed the extra standoff. I've checked every connection. The only change came after I reset the CMOS. Now, if I plug in the PSU, as soon as I flip the PSU switch to 'closed' the fans and LEDs turn on/off, on/off, in a cycle spanning 1/2 second (2 ons, 2 offs per second), like the engine of a car revving repeatedly, without me ever pressing the power button.

After this, I removed all parts but the CPU and HSF(this does mean Heat Sink Fan, right?). The guide I was reading stated that when I tried to boot then, I should hear beeps of some kind indicating memory problems. I heard no beeps (yes my chassis speaker is properly connected). The system just continued with it's on/off cycle behavior. I tried removing the reset button cables as well. Same behavior. Slowly adding more parts does nothing. Each part added changes the behavior none.

That's everything I can think of.

System Specs:
CPU - AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ Windsor 3.0GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM2 125W Dual-Core Processor - OEM
Motherboard - Open Box: ASRock A780GXH/128M AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI ATX AMD
RAM - Kingston 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model KVR800D2N5/2G - Retail
CPU Cooler - Rocketfish Gaming RF-UPCUWR
Video Card - Recertified: EVGA 512P3N802DX GeForce 8800 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
PSU - Thermaltake TR2 TRX-650M 650W ATX 12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.91 Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
HDD - Western Digital Caviar Blue WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Operating System - Windows 7 Home Premium OEM (NOT INSTALLED)
Case - Broadway Com Corp Sonic Black SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Monitor - Recertified: Acer P205Hbmd 20" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 20000:1 (ACM) Built-in Speakers

March 11, 2010 7:39:04 AM

Try to change your power supply !!! borrow one of your friend & test !! post the results here again after the test !!!
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Best solution

March 11, 2010 2:43:57 PM

A couple of comments.
(1) tryng a 2nd PSU is alwas good advise. Although I have a sinking feeling it is not your problem.
(2) while most modern CPU's are designed to shut down when they hit the max temp to REDUCE the possibilty of damage - key word is Reduce. Repeated attemps to power on without a HSF may have damaged your CPU (again key word here is May).
(3) I do not recommend buying "open box" motherboards - some have good luck. It was returned for a reason - ie it lacked some function the buyer wanted, or it did not work, or He/she damaged it during their instalation. In your case, I think you were OK as you initially were able to get to the Load operating system.
(4) Recommend always having a keyboard plugged in for first turing on - This is so that you can go into the Bios and look at Temps/voltages. You would have seen your CPU temp climb very rapidly to max temp and you could have hit the Power-off button.
(5) No beeps is as indication that (1) PSU is Dead (but you are getting Fans on), (2) the CPU/Mother board is dead and the Post can not get to the point were "beebs" are available.

I would like to say this is a good learning experience But can be an expensive one. lessons learned the hard way are seldom forgoten - An Building your own IS the way to go.
March 11, 2010 9:26:38 PM

Thanks RetiredChief.

I've definitely learned a ton. And I'm definitely going to end up wasting some money on this. Which is bad, considering I was going for self-build because I thought I could go cheaper than Best Buy(didn't take into account operating system and shipping).

I've definitely learned my lesson with Open Box and Recertified products(know what you're doing and BE CAREFUL). Although I did get my 20" monitor for $110. ^_^

I'm about to pop in another 650W PSU and test it. I'll let you guys know.

Same thing. Repeated startup/shutdown, but this time it stopped after 10 seconds and just went dead. So it's got to be the motherboard or the CPU is damaged? I'm guessing the motherboard, considering my previous extra standoff error(and I'm going to go with this first, considering Newegg's no return policy on CPUs). Would a short burn out the motherboard? And... what's a post? :/ 

One thing I forgot to mention is that at one point during the diagnosing of this stuff, when the parts were still in the case, but AFTER it had started the immediate-shut-off-after-hitting-power-button behavior, I DID get some beeps. I had taken the RAM out and tried to start it, but got one long beep. Did it again, got same thing. No beeps now though.
March 12, 2010 12:45:12 AM

Still not entirely sure on all this. I am reluctant to begin RMA before I have exhausted all options.

Could this be related to the fact the I was at first unaware that I could use one 4pin half of a 4x4 pin power connection for the CPU? I had both 4pins plugged into the 8pin CPU power slot. Could this have caused any issues?
March 13, 2010 3:52:11 AM

The repeated restarts are definitely because the HSF was not installed. I'm willing to bet your processor is damaged.
March 13, 2010 4:52:33 AM

NO - If PSU and motherboard both have a 8 pin ATX connector go ahead and use the 8 -> 8.
The 4 pin setup is for CPUs =< 125 Watts and the 8 pin setup is for cpu=> 125 watts, But nothing wrong with using the 4x4 with the lower wattage CPUs, infact it lowers the current per individual connector/wire.

DIY computer = better than "store bought". It seldom ends up much cheaper unless you find the parts on sale. The thing is YOU KNOW what parts you bought. You researched them and know they are good parts. With "Store bought", you never know. They buy the parts on contract and normally pick the low bid - some time good parts, other times the parts are marginal. For example PSUs, they will pick one that is sligthly over required power where as you would buy one predicated on what you may upgrade 6 monthes downstream..
March 13, 2010 9:24:42 PM

Actually if you were to buy a gaming PC in a store such as best buy you would be looking at twice the price then if you were to build it yourself.
March 14, 2010 1:12:25 AM

Best answer selected by listenmylove.
March 14, 2010 1:17:00 AM

Thanks everyone. I'm pretty certain it's the CPU. Unfortunately Newegg doesn't do returns on CPUs. So I guess I'm out $55. Oh well. Learn something new every day. CPUs require heatsinks! Who knew? lol

It's amazing to me that it can burn out so fast though. I had it running maybe 5 minutes total. How do some scraps of aluminum and copper, a bit of goo, and a teeny fan make such a huge difference?
March 14, 2010 8:07:50 PM

Called thermo runaway. Many elecronic components share this. It occures when the the temp exceeds a given point. It is do to a negative temperature coeff. As temperature goes up, resistance goes down - causing current goes increase which causes temp to increase more. This keeps repeating untill (forget spellig) it goes poff like peirres moustashe.

The HSF keeps the CPU (or other electronic components such as mosfets) from reaching this point.

Sick joke - why do they cal someone that has been electrocuted a DEAD Short. Same reason. as electricity flows thru the body the cells heat up and expand. They then rupture creating a better conductor causing current to increase and heat therfore increase causing more cells to rupture and on and on untill the person has a VERY low resititance and also quite dead. Sick, but same principle.
October 20, 2011 4:34:42 PM

Could be a hard drive problem??

I always buy duplicate hard drives and install my operating system on both drives. Plus, I keep a different HD by a different manufacturer with my OS installed on it. Why? I have seen this problem happened with known good hard drives by same mfg. Wish I knew why, but, I don't. The 3rd hard drive, if all other components are OK, will allow you to access your BIOS as well.

My desktop started having the power on-off, immediate shut down problem on a Seagate HD 7200-7. disconnected it and installed a Western Digital HD and my system worked fine. Disconnected the WD and installed the Seagate....same problem.

Based on what I have read, Seagate HD are failing all over the place. Fortunately I had all my data backed up.

Summary: Keeping 2 or 3 different hard drives with your operating system on them is a quick way doing a simple diagnostics on a failing PC as well as this Power ON/OFF problem.

I am trying to find out if my Seagate drive is really dead, or if there could be something else going on.

Final Suggestion: Pay the few bucks/month for a service like Carbonite and you will never have to worry about loosing your data. Carbonite service is the best and cheapest backup for having peace of mind about your data never being lost and for only $5/month. Here is their website:

Hope some of this helps.