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Bad memory chips or something else?

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August 17, 2010 6:21:04 PM

So I'm looking for some encouragement and some advise if anyone has a suggestion.

This is my second build. My first one was four years ago and went just fine. At the time, everything was new, and I was able to plug and play without any issues at all. Now that my PC is getting long in the tooth, I've decided to upgrade many of the components. The case, PSU, video card, and SATA HDD are the same as my old build - so as far as I know, they are known good components. I purchased an ASUS P6T motherboard, an Intel i7 920, a Corsair liquid cooler for the CPU, and a set of 3 1GB DDR3 1333mhz DIMMs from Crucial (they are on the ASUS approved vendor list in the manual).

I spent a day taking the old one apart and putting the new one together. Power on - no POST. Then I start to troubleshoot for the next few weeks. I get the no memory beeps when I remove all components and DIMMs. I've tried a single stick of RAM in every slot and each of the three sticks on their own. Any time I have a stick of RAM in place, I get no sound on power up. The fans spin, the lights turn on, the DVD drives spin, but no beeps to indicate no VGA detected. I've called tech support twice, and have since RMA'd both the motherboard and CPU with the same symptoms each time. I've worked through the no-POST-steps-to-do-before-starting-a-thread without success. The one thing I haven't tried is breadboarding. I don't think there's a short because the standoffs, motherboard tray, and case are the same as my old ATX build. I've tried resetting the CMOS several times with no luck. Never any video output or no-VGA beeps.

The one thing that has changed, is that I've had to swap out the 4-pin CPU power cable for the 8-pin one on this new board. Could my 8-pin socket on the PSU be dead? It's a 500 watt PSU. If it was underpowered, it would at least be able to POST with no drives, right? Is my liquid cooler sucking up a bunch of the power? The only thing I can think of is that maybe all three RAM sticks are bad and any time I put one in, it prevents the motherboard from getting past the memory check to the VGA check.

More about : bad memory chips

a b B Homebuilt system
August 17, 2010 7:28:49 PM

I'd put my money on your power supply.
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August 17, 2010 8:29:14 PM

I don't have any experience with troubleshooting a power supply. Are these symptoms consistent with just a generally undersized PSU? Maybe my 8-pin CPU power connection is faulty?

The motherboard manual says that for a "fully configured system" I should have something in the 700 to 1000 watt range. I presume "fully configured" means all PCIE and PCI slots are filled and I have 6 DIMMs installed. I'm not anywhere near that loaded, even if I had all my drives and components installed.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 17, 2010 9:53:03 PM

It might just be a bad PSU to begin with. Power supplies break way more often than processors, motherboards, or any other component. When they break, they can do tons of random things, and also wreck other components as well sometimes. You'll have to tell me what kind of video card and whatnot you're running for me to recommend a size of PSU as well. 700 to 1000 watts is if you are running 2 to 3 video cards, so don't listen to that too much...
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August 18, 2010 6:15:40 AM

I've noticed something else as well. I get the same results when I completely disconnect the 8-pin CPU power from the motherboard. It could be that my PSU just isn't supplying any power to my CPU. I wish I had another power supply to test it out.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 18, 2010 8:17:39 PM

Those Ultra ones in particular are kind of sketchy... Upgrading to a newer Corsair or something would be a smart move in my opinion. Newegg has some decent prices on them right now as well.
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August 25, 2010 2:56:21 AM

Well, I've tried everything I could think of short of buying more new stuff. I don't have the tools or parts to troubleshoot the PSU, so I sent the whole system in for some professional help. We'll see.
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October 19, 2010 9:47:00 PM

It turns out it was the RAM. Somehow the RAM was incompatible or bad and would not let the POST get as far as the VGA check. I bought a new DIMM (different make and speed) and it POSTs and boots up to Windows now!

I have new issues, but at least the damn thing turns on. Thanks for the input.
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