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Computer Won't Boot

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August 17, 2010 2:51:52 AM

I posted this in another forum, but I figure this place might be more helpful.

My computer has been working fine for a few months since me and a friend put it together, up until yesterday. I moved it between houses like I do every weekend, and I plugged it in and it ran fine for about an hour or two before it froze in the middle of Starcraft II. Ctrl Alt Del didn't work, so I just held down the power button and restarted it. Again, in the middle of the game, it happened. I thought SC2 was just being a resource hog, so I decided it'd be best if I didn't play it for a while and went to ask for help on the forums to see if there was a way to control it. However, while browsing a forum, my computer locked up again. I was running nothing but Firefox this time, so Starcraft II was apparently not at fault. At this point I was kind of panicking, wondering what was going wrong. I turn off the computer again, and try to turn it on...only this time, nothing happened. The fans whir up really loud and just stay there, lights are on and everything, but nothing else happens.

I've tried switching the RAM around, unplugging and replugging in the video card, but no good. And I can't use onboard VGA because I have none. Bit of a problem with the i5 processor, I suppose. Speaking of the processor, I checked and yes, it is in there securely. Almost too securely, as I had trouble getting the cooler out. We are now taking the whole thing apart and putting it back together piece by piece to see if thats the problem..and we found something. A couple screws are missing from the motherboard, so apparently its not grounded properly. When we wiggle the cords connected from the PSU to the motherboard, it flickers to life for a brief moment. We're going to try to add some screws and place it properly to see if that helps. In the meantime, I was wondering if you guys had any ideas on why this problem is occuring besides what I just mentioned (because that may or may not be the solution and I'd like to have all my ground covered).

Sorry for the wall of text, but I'm just making sure I covered everything possible.

Specs
GIGABYTE P55A-UD3 Motherboard
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT
4 GB of Corsair DDR3 RAM
Corsair 750-TX 750W PSU
Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield Processor 2.66GHz
Coolermaster Centurion 5 Case

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a b B Homebuilt system
August 17, 2010 3:06:19 AM

Not all holes are supposed to have screws in them. Only the holes that have the silver soldering around them are supposed to have screws. If you put screws in the holes that don't have that soldering, you'll short out the motherboard, and it won't boot.

Once you reseat the hardware, that will rule out one possible issue, because you've been transporting it around. Something could've come loose. If that doesn't help, we can go from there.
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August 17, 2010 3:11:16 AM

Well, everything is back in there and inserted properly to my knowledge. So, where do we go from here?
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 17, 2010 3:20:04 AM

Do you get any signs of life when you hit the power switch?

If no, remove the motherboard from the case and place it on a piece of cardboard next to the case. Connect the CPU/HSF, PSU, 1 RAM chip, motherboard speaker, and power switch. Try booting with just that hardware. Do you get signs of life and the normal beep code?

If yes, connect the video card, and try booting again. Do you get a display? If yes, continue to connect 1 piece of hardware at a time.
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August 17, 2010 3:41:33 AM

When I hit the power switch it turns on, basically. The fans start spinning at full blast, lights are on in the motherboard and whatnot, the HDD access indicator is flashing, everything. There is no beeps, though. None whatsoever, unless I remove the PCI-E plug from the graphics card. Then it emits a long, continuous beep. If I remove the RAM and start it, theres no beeps, which leads me to believe it isn't detecting the RAM or something.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 17, 2010 3:46:22 AM

Did you try booting in the mothod listed above? It would really help rule out some things. I'm real curious to know if you get the normal beeps without the video card installed.
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August 17, 2010 3:53:51 AM

When the video card is removed, nothing changes. No beeps, nothing. Of course, there is no onboard video with the i5 processor either and I have no spare cards to test. Also, am I supposed to plug in something besides the PCI-E plug into the video card? Because there is a little slot on the side...but it always worked before, so I dunno how that could be a problem.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 17, 2010 4:14:11 AM

That video card should only require 1 PCIe power connector.

When there is no beep code, is there a periodic lull in the fans, like they turned off and started up again?

You've got a good PSU, but that's my main culprit right now. Make sure the 4/8 pin CPU power is plugged in securely.
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August 17, 2010 4:31:35 AM

If by CPU Power you mean the fan, then yeah its plugged in. Otherwise I see no cords running from the CPU, and its securely locked in under the cooler. There is something odd going on with the fans, though. One of the fans (can't tell which, either CPU or PSU, maybe even the case fan) sounds like its revving up continuously for a few seconds during startup. Its somewhat faint, but noticeable. It evens out after about 10-15 seconds however.

When the video card is hooked up, its fan runs at full blast and doesn't settle to the default like it does when the system is running properly. Usually I start it up and the video card is at full blast for a few seconds before it finds its settings and adjusts to the default fan speed. But now it just continuously runs at full blast; I don't know if this means it isn't getting proper communication from the CPU/mobo or what.

There is also a very faint buzzing noise coming from the PSU, but that may be normal, I've never been inclined to put my head that close to it before and listen when it was working properly so I don't know.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 17, 2010 4:46:57 AM

Behind the CPU socket, near the back panel ports, there is an 8 pin white port on the motherboard. Your PSU needs to be plugged into that port. The PSU may be 4 or 8 pins, but it should be plugged into that port.

The ~10 second lull and restart of the fans sounds like it's in a reboot loop.
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August 17, 2010 5:04:50 AM

Yeah, the PSU is plugged in there. Also, its not a 10 second lull exactly, but it revs up and down, up and down..I didn't catch it at first, because its rather quiet. It doesn't just "go quiet" for 10 seconds and then speed back up again though. Its like a street racer with their car before they begin. I know of no better way to explain it. >_>
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 17, 2010 5:22:08 AM

Yep, that's the sound of the PC rebooting. That is commonly caused by a short, or by the PSU not being able to power the system.

If you haven't already tried removing the motherboard, and booting minimal components from outside the case, it would be a real good idea to do so.
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August 17, 2010 5:32:50 AM

We tried that, but there was really no way to tell if it worked or not without a display. Is there a way to fix a short? I don't really see how it is the PSU underpowering the system, seeing as its more than enough for my setup. You think if I take it to Geek Squad or something they can figure it out?
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 17, 2010 5:42:52 AM

Your PSU should be plenty for that system if it's not failing. The PSU could be malfunctioning. That's just a possibility.

The beep codes are the key. You can still get the normal beep code without the video card. If you've got an underpowered or failing PSU, removing the video card can take most of the demand off the PSU and hopefully provide the desired beep code.
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August 17, 2010 5:46:08 AM

With the video card gone I still don't get a beep code. Hell, with just the motherboard and CPU in theres still no beep code. I don't really know how to fix this, and I don't really know what I should do. I don't really know of any good in-store repair services.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 17, 2010 5:55:17 AM

With the motherboard, PSU, CPU/HSF, and 1 RAM chip, you should hopefully get some sort of beep code. If you don't, that tells me you have a PSU or motherboard failure.
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August 17, 2010 6:59:07 AM

Well, crap. Any last suggestions?
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 17, 2010 2:16:44 PM

My first suggestion would be to try a different (quality) PSU. If you've got a buddy that has a good one, it would only take a few minutes to connect it, and press the button.
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August 18, 2010 10:47:45 PM

Apparently the motherboard speaker was plugged in to the wrong place. *facepalm* When turned on, there is constant short beeps, which according to the beep codes means a power supply error. The block on the motherboard where you plug in the 24-pin connector from the power supply appears loose, and when you wiggle it the power turns on and off. The power supply is fine, though.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 19, 2010 1:35:04 AM

Well, if that's causing it to shut down, it's time to send the motherboard back. :( 
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August 19, 2010 2:13:52 AM

Yeah, thats what I'm doing. Gotta wait for my RMA number. D: Good thing its still under warranty.
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