today, about a month after i built my first computer, i stupidly was fiddling around with a cable that kept touching a fan with the computer on. another wire with metal tip slid across a pci slot, which i think shorted it out. the screen went black and the led on my mobo lit up telling me the cpu had a problem. all the fans, lights, and hard drive were still on. frightened,i pressed the power button with no response, so i had to flip the master switch on my psu. when i flicked it back on, the power buttons flickered on for a fraction of a second and then died before i could turn it on. i tried clearing cmos, which creates a response, but the power buttons, even direcly on the mobo, don't work. i tested the psu and it works fine, so now i need to know which is the culprit- my mobo or my cpu
parts: Asus P7p55d Deluxe
I7-870 OC'd to 3.8ghz
Breadboard with just motherboard, CPU & HSF, case speaker, and PSU. You do have a case speaker installed, right? If not, you really, really need one. If your case or motherboard didn't come with a system speaker, you can buy one here: http://www.cwc-group.com/casp.html
You can turn on the PC by momentarily shorting the two pins that the case power switch goes to. You should hear a series of long, single beeps indicating memory problems. Silence indicates a problem with (in most likely order) the PSU, motherboard, or CPU.
Motherboard LED's mean very little. When on, all they are telling you is that the computer os plugged into a live power socket and the PSU is switched.
Remember, at this time, you do not have a graphics card installed so the load on your PSU will be reduced.
If no beeps:
At this point, you can sort of check the PSU. Try to borrow a known good PSU of around 550 - 600 watts. That will power just about any system with a single GPU. If you cannot do that, use a DMM to measure the voltages. Measure between the colored wires and either chassis ground or the black wires. Yellow wires should be 12 volts. Red wires: +5 volts, orange wires: +3.3 volts, blue wire : -12 volts, violet wire: 5 volts always on. Tolerances are +/- 5% except for the -12 volts which is +/- 10%.
The gray wire is really important. It should go from 0 to +5 volts when you turn the PSU on with the case switch. CPU needs this signal to boot.
This checks the PSU under no load conditions, so it is not completely reliable. But if it can not pass this, it is dead. Then repeat the checks with the PSU plugged into the computer to put a load on the PSU.
If the system beeps:
If it looks like the PSU is good, install a memory stick. Boot. Beep pattern should change to one long and several short beeps indicating a missing graphics card. Silence or long single beeps indicate a problem with the memory.
Insert the video card and connect any necessary PCIe power connectors. Boot. At this point, the system should POST successfully (a single short beep). Notice that you do not need keyboard, mouse, monitor, or drives to successfully POST.
Now start connecting the rest of the devices starting with the monitor, then keyboard and mouse, then the rest of the devices, testing after each step. It's possible that you can pass the POST with a defective video card. The POST routines can only check the video interface. It cannot check the internal parts of the video card.