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Noob Nightmare

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Last response: in Systems
August 6, 2010 7:57:04 PM

Well, for starters a year and half ago I attempted my first build! All seemed well for a little over a year and then one day I realized my PC was off and I didn't remember shutting it down. Thats when this all started.

My build consists of:

Cooler Master HAF 932 Case
Intel Q6600 Quad Core CPU
Cooler Master V8 Cooler
EVGA 750I SLI FTW Mobo
EVGA 260 Superclocked GPU
Corsair TX750W PSU
G.Skill DDR2 1066 2GbX2 Memory
WD Black 1TB HDD
ASUS Optical Drive
32Bit XP Pro

Okay so after I tried to turn the PC back on it stayed on for about 3 to 5 seconds and shut back down. Would not boot or anything. I got on the phone with EVGA and they said it could be a PSU problem or a heat related issue with the CPU.

I then got on the phone with Corsair and did some trouble shooting steps with them and turns out the PSU is A Okay! So then I took the Cooler off and re did the thermal compound and BAM I was up and running for a couple of days. Then it shut down on me again. Re did thermal compound once more and was up and running for another day.

During that day I was fairly confidence that the issue had been solved I decided to overclock my CPU from stock 2.4 to 3.0 Everything was running smooth and Temps were good ( 39c/45c idle 58c max while gaming ). Then it shut down on me only this time when I powered it back on I it stayed on but no picture, keyboard or codes on the mobo. Just FF comes up on the mobo after pressing the power button. It wouldn't go through a bunch of codes and then end on FF.

So I got back on the phone with EVGA and they agreed to RMA my mobo. After 2 weeks the new one showed up at the house yesterday. Anxious to get back up and running I put everything back together and powered it up and it's the same! In fact EVGA told me the one I RMA'd tested 100% okay but they sent me a new one anyway.

So after throwing up all over myself J/K and realizing that I had no clue what was wrong with this thing my next step was getting on the phone with Intel. Lets see if it's the CPU... They where very easy to deal with and gave me no problems with the RMA of my CPU. I shipped it out this morning and will hopefully have a new CPU by the end of next week.

Because I am new at this the trouble shooting process has been tough. I have no extra hardware laying around to try different things. This is it! My one and only desktop that I primarily use for gaming. This is tough cause on one hand I love learning all that I am and plan on building more PC's in the future for myself but going weeks on end without it really sucks I must say!

Anyhow I thought writing down this experience would help clear my mind but any and all sudgestions, ideas and advice are much welcome! I still don't know if the new CPU will resolve the problem once and for all!

More about : noob nightmare

August 6, 2010 8:45:54 PM

You are experiencing one of the annoying parts of PC troubleshooting; not having spare parts in order to rule out the components. And this is one reason why I always have two systems, one older for email/internet, and one newer just for gaming.

It seems like you did the best with what you have. If you bring your system to a local repair shop, they might be able to quickly identify the problem component so you don't have to wait so long. But it will cost you extra money since they will charge to troubleshoot.

The next time you upgrade or build your next PC, try to keep your current system just so you can quickly swap parts and rule out a bad GPU, MB or PSU. Of course having different CPU sockets makes testing CPUs impossible but if you have some friends with a similar system, you can always try using their parts to test your own.
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August 7, 2010 12:15:56 AM

Thanks for the advice and yes it would be extremly helpfull to have a second PC so I could troubleshoot without waiting weeks for shipping my hardware one at a time trying to figure out which component took a crap on me! I guess the build Im using now will some day become that second piece of hardware I need.
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Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
August 7, 2010 1:56:36 AM

If you think you may have a heat issue, which it sounds is possible, remove the side of the case, and blow a household box fan at it. That should provide enough cooling to rule out or confirm a temp issue.

Another test is breadboarding. You remove the motherboard from the case, and place it on a piece of non-conductive material, such as cardboard, next to the case. Connect the CPU/HSF, PSU, 1 RAM chip, and power switch.

Try booting with those parts. If you hear the normal beep, and it stays on, power it down, and connect the video card, or connect to the onboard graphics. Then try booting again. If it boots up correctly and stays on, connect the hard drive. Keep adding components 1 at a time, until it stops booting correctly. Then you'll have a good idea as to the cause.
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August 7, 2010 2:17:17 AM

Thank you! Once my CPU shows up (hopefully next week) I'll see if that did it. If not then I will try the breadboarding. If the new CPU doesn't do the trick then at this point it would have to be either the GPU, Ram or HDD. I figure that without going through this with my PC I wouldn't be learning as much as I am through this process. Doesn't mean it doesn't suck though :sarcastic: 

With the stock clock at 2.40Ghz on my CPU according to Real Temp my temps never went over 47c while gaming! 32c/36c idle and I was having the shut down issue before I overclocked it. So I wonder how heat might be the problem. :??: 
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August 7, 2010 2:23:44 AM

Could it be an XP problem? I mean, if you end up ruling all of your parts out it might be worth it to search for problems with the OS install.

Just an idea,I mean i really have as good of an idea as you do, but i guess anything's worth a shot now, right?
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 7, 2010 2:32:55 AM

It sounds like it's shutting down before the hard drive even loads the OS. That would rule out an OS problem.

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August 14, 2010 1:50:44 PM

Well I got the new CPU and put it back together and I still have the same issue. Instant FF code on the mobo. I tried breadboarding with just the CPU/Heatsink then added a stick of RAM and also tried a different PSU and it remains the same. Evga wants me to RMA the second mobo now. :pt1cable: 

The board is not running through any post codes no matter what configuration I try. What I mean is no matter what piece of hardware I have plugged in it doesn't change anything and putting the mobo on a none conductive surface didn't help either!

I'm not going to have much hair left soon! :( 
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August 14, 2010 3:08:36 PM

Well.... I'm up and running!!!!!! :D  Before I took the mobo to the shipping place for the RMA I tried one last ditch effort! First off I pressed really hard on the cmos chip and I did hear a little click I think! Evga said if the chip is slightly dislodged it could cause the instant FF error. Second I installed the Heatsink that came with the CPU instead of my Cooler Master V8 and it booted right up!

Now I'm not sure if it was the cmos chip not being proper seated or if my Cooler Master V8 Cooler is malfunctioning :sarcastic: 
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August 14, 2010 4:34:47 PM

I have learned so much through this process! I could build a PC with my feet at this point. :sarcastic:  So I guess things do happen for a reason.

Can anyone recommend a kick ass CPU cooler? After I'm certain that things are running properly and steady I would like to get back to overclocking my CPU! :D  I don't want to overclock with the stock cooler I have on now I don't think.

I do how ever like how the stock one clicks in to the mobo because it takes the guess work out of tightening the cooler. I did buy a tube of IC Diamond 7 carat thermal compound for the installation of a after market cooler. I didn't need to use it on the stock cooler because the thermal compound is already on it.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 14, 2010 4:44:15 PM

You want a regular one or one that requires pushing some stuff to make it work? What's your budget?
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August 14, 2010 4:49:56 PM

Not sure what you mean by pushing some stuff to make it work... But I'm thinking no more than 200 U.S. dollars.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 14, 2010 5:04:03 PM

jerkinjohn said:
Well.... I'm up and running!!!!!! :D  Before I took the mobo to the shipping place for the RMA I tried one last ditch effort! First off I pressed really hard on the cmos chip and I did hear a little click I think!


You can get the Noctua NH-D14.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 14, 2010 5:19:36 PM



Congrats on your troubleshooting success! Is there a reason for not re-installing the Cooler Master V8, or do you just want to get an upgrade?

One thing that might affect choice is the height of your memory. There are several variations of G.Skill DDR2 1066 - do you have a model with the exotic heat spreasders, or just the regular height stuff?

Good news on a new cooler is that you can fit just about anything inside that case.

Here are a few suggestions:

This one is the grand dame, on the high price side: Noctua NH-D14 for $92

If you are on a budget, then this is a steal. It does not upgrade to all the latest sockets, however. Sunbeam CR-CCTF92-4 for $20 after rebate.

Here is a very good performer, and one that may be installed on all the Intel or AMD sockets: Prolimatech Megahalems Rev.B CPU for $65
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August 14, 2010 5:27:40 PM

eloric said:
Congrats on your troubleshooting success! Is there a reason for not re-installing the Cooler Master V8, or do you just want to get an upgrade?

One thing that might affect choice is the height of your memory. There are several variations of G.Skill DDR2 1066 - do you have a model with the exotic heat spreasders, or just the regular height stuff?

Good news on a new cooler is that you can fit just about anything inside that case.



Well my guess is that the Cooler Master V8 is not working properly because once I installed the stock cooler my comp. is working again! The memory I have is this to answer your question. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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August 14, 2010 9:36:58 PM

a really good cooler and on the cheap is Cooler Master Hyper 212.And you can buy it for around $30.
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August 15, 2010 6:45:51 PM

I really like the Noctua NH-D14! It's got excelent reviews as well! If anyone has any tips on mounting a CPU cooler of this type and also the application of the thermal compound please share! I currently have a tube of artic silver 5 and IC Diamond 7 carat and the Noctua comes with a good paste as well so I have plenty to choose from. :sarcastic: 
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August 16, 2010 5:56:30 PM

Hey thanks a lot! It looks like a better mounting method than my Cooler Master V8 and pretty much takes the guess work out of over tightening like I believe I was doing with the CM V8. I'll be ordering it next week and I purchased some artic clean to make sure my CPU is nice and clean before I mount the Noctua ;) 

Before I mounted the stock cooler the other day I had to remove the IC Diamond paste I had on and man that's some tough stuff! I used a Q-Tip and rubbing alcohol and got as much off as I could. My system seems to be running very well so I guess it's okay for now until I get the Noctua.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 16, 2010 6:15:22 PM

Yep, it's a nice cooler. Enjoy....
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 18, 2010 1:32:48 PM

Hmmm...this reminds me of my first pc building experiences about 10-15 years ago.
I have no idea of what I was gonna do...I just have some guts...
I could really see lots of smoking system in the process untill I could build a pc correctly.
Please note the word "smoking"...it means literally...A.K.A burning, exploding, whatever...
:D 
AMD K6, Intel Pentium III, several RAM modules and several GPUs.. are among my victims...victim of my stupidity of not trying to read something before doing it...
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August 19, 2010 4:29:30 PM

Well I installed the V8 along with the IC Diamond compound after cleaning the CPU and cooler best I could with the artic clean that came this morning. I am up and running so far. I am using (Real Temp) to monitor my temps and it's idling at 30c/33c which I'm very happy with! Now it's just a waiting game to see if the comp. shuts down on me. I'm hopping not of course and that the problem has been resolved once and for all.

IC Diamond says there is only a 2 hour break in for the paste. I'll try and be patient before attempting to overclock and make sure my system is stable first. Won't be easy though :sarcastic: 

Now I have to brush up on my overclocking knowledge as I am new to that too and I just wanted to thanks to all that has replied to my thread. I'm sure I will be a regular on this forum for years to come!
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 19, 2010 5:40:16 PM

Thanks for the update, good luck!
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August 19, 2010 6:20:18 PM

Yeah well, I overclocked my CPU to 3.0 and it started shutting down on me again. I think there is a problem with the V8 after all! I took that off and installed the stock cooler again and reset my bios and I am up and running. I used the IC Diamond with the stock cooler this time and am running at stock clock. I think I will give the Noctua a shot!
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August 21, 2010 5:01:56 PM

Been running rock solid since I put the stock cooler on. My temps range from 36c/51c and while playing crysis for 2 and a half hours it went up to 65c. I am very surprised that such a simple piece of hardware like the cooler can malfunction like that. Except the fan of course. Anyhow with things running so well with the stock cooler I am a hundred percent sure that that's it. I don't like my temps going up to 65c so hopefully next week I will be ordering the Noctua cooler. I would RMA the CM but Cooler Masters customer service is a nightmare. I'll keep trying anyway so I'll have a new one on the shelf for the future.

I'll let ya's know how I make out with the Noctua. Wish me luck!
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 21, 2010 6:36:33 PM

Good luck :) 
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August 22, 2010 12:03:12 AM

It was probably the fan on your old HS, some motherboards will shut down the computer if the HSF doesn't power on.
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August 28, 2010 3:58:48 PM

Well, I have been running rock solid with the Noctua NH-D14 installed for a couple of days now. :)  I ran Prime95 for 40 minutes and had 0 errors 0 warnings. My idle temps are 32c/36c and while running prime it went up to 58c at an overclock CPU of 3.0 Ghz.

Thought I would post some pics of my NOW up and running rig for fun :p 
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 28, 2010 4:31:01 PM

Nice! I have the same case, and love the cable management options. You've utilized it well.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 28, 2010 4:41:48 PM

Needs more smoke. :) 
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