No display on new build startup (sound familiar?)

Hey guys, just put this together from the June SBM:

ASRock Z68 Extreme4: LGA 1155, Intel Z68 Express motherboard
2x MSI R6970-2PM2D2GD5: Radeon HD 6970 2 GB GPUs, CrossFire
Intel Core i7-2600K: 3.4 GHz-3.8 GHz, 8 MB Cache CPU
G.Skill F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM: DDR3-1600 C8, 4 GB x2 (8 GB) RAM
2x A-Data S599 64 GB, SATA 3Gb/s SSD
Samsung F3 HD103SJ 1 TB, 7200 RPM HDD
LG WH10LS30 BD-RE: 10x BD-R, 16x DVD±R
Lian-Li PC-9F case
Seasonic SS-850HT: 850W, ATX12V v2.31, 80-Plus Silver PSU
Xigmatek Gaia SD1283 cooler

I'm getting that old chestnut of a new build failure: no video output. I've tried every DVI-D on the machine (and with two 6970s plus onboard, that's quite a few). I've ensured both the 24 pin and the 8 pin are connected to the motherboard. I've tried starting it with non-critical devices disconnected. I've tried removing and reinserting the CMOS battery. I've tried two different monitors. The machine has power; I can get the disc drive to open and shut, and the diagnostic LED reads 00.

Help would be appreciated!
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More about display build startup sound familiar
  1. Just juggled RAM between slots and plugged in the internal speaker. I am getting no beeps, which has me a little concerned.
  2. Read the should have the code in there and what it means

    check that code again...i have that mobo and it doesn't show that code on the list
  3. 0x00 is listed as "not used." Could that correspond to D0 instead? That would be a CPU initialization failure.

    Also, my ability to open and shut the disc drive seems intermittent.
  4. I dunno why they even list a code if it's description is "not used" but if the 0 you see is actually a D then take a look at the chip and see if there is damage or not seated properly...also take a look at the mobo socket. I'll search around for more stuff on this. check the psu and make sure your cable 8 pin is in all the way.....display to me though sounds like a gpu problem though...may be bad card or bad pcie lane...try moving it to another location. Also try and HDMI connection...i have heard that some mobo's wont display through DVI to initial BIOS until it has been updated...I though did not have that problem....
  5. Did you plug in all four pci-e 75w power cables to your video cards?
  6. All four power cables are getting plugged in to the video cards, yes. The six-pins plus the little wonky two-pin things, and then the normal six-pins.

    I juggled cards and slots, etcetera, but most recently I've been trying to use the DVI-D ports from the onboard. I'll try other cables and other ports, just in case, but I'm not hearing speaker beeps and the poster isn't changing. It really does feel like it just won't POST, rather than being a display problem... disc drive has also stopped working.

    Eight-pin for CPU power seems to be in fine. In fact, I removed it and turned it on to see if the symptoms were the same, and they weren't--starting the machine without that CPU power causes the LEDs not to even turn on.

    As for the CPU itself, well... see for yourself.
    Here's the socket... as far as I can tell, nothing's out of place and no pins are bent.
    Here's the top of the CPU. What you see here is the result of following the Tom's Hardware guide, i.e. put little dots of thermal paste around the middle evenly and the CPU cooler will spread it out. It definitely spread out, but it's pretty uneven. Could this be where I'm getting problems?
    And here's the bottom of the CPU. Nothing seems wrong, no thermal paste.

    Took it out, checked it, seated it again. I don't think it's seating improperly... the socket is keyed so that there's really only one way it can sit. Using the wire to lock the cover latch over the CPU itself seems like it's putting a LOT of pressure down on it, but I figured that was just the way it was supposed to work. Is there a chance it's doing damage? The only points where the latch is making contact with the CPU is over on the sides. It doesn't seem harmful, but who knows?

    ADDENDUM: Just tried powering the motherboard and CPU with my old (lower wattage) PSU. Exact same symptoms. Bad CPU/motherboard?
  7. Beginning to seem like I've just got a bad CPU. Putting in an RMA to Newegg. We'll see what happens.
  8. The chance of it being a bad cpu are about 1/500. Chance of you having shorted out the cpu by applying too much thermal paste, about 1/5.

    Not sure who your trying to blame by saying:

    "What you see here is the result of following the Tom's Hardware guide, i.e. put little dots of thermal paste around the middle evenly and the CPU cooler will spread it out. It definitely spread out, but it's pretty uneven. Could this be where I'm getting problems?"

    You apply the thermal paste by the directions on the package, not by some guide written by someone on TH. All thermal pastes are different material, different viscocity, different characteristics, therefore they all have different directions for application.

    You can't use a Ford repair manual to re-build the engine on a Chevrolet.
  9. Instructions provided with the paste were barely in English, and the diagram displayed the stuff pouring out into a perfect circle. It was just a little packet of the stuff that came packaged with the Xigmatek cooler. I used as much as was provided, which I assumed was the appropriate amount for the surface.

    The guide, for reference, was this one. I'm not trying to "blame" anyone, I'm just saying whose instructions I worked from to see whether that was the source of my problem.

    I wasn't aware shorting out a CPU with paste was even possible. Aren't they supposed to be non-conductive?

    I suppose I'll be trying this again, then. Or having someone else do it.
  10. Did the instructions say to use the entire packet? I mean my Cooler came with a syringe of tx2 and I've used it 2 times and it's only half empty.
  11. It was a tiny little flat packet, nowhere near the size of a normal paste syringe. The instructions didn't specify.

    Seriously, look at these:


    Anyway. The point (and this thread, I guess?) is moot, since I'm going to be trying other components until I can figure out what's dead. Thanks for the help, folks 'n people.
  12. Wow, those are some pretty bad directions. From the looks of the picture there is way too much already on the cpu and the packet is still half full.

    I tell you what, I'll never buy a Xigmatek product.
  13. Eh. Xigmatek's coolers are fine, but they're a German company. Nothing wrong with that, but sketchy translation is sketchy translation.
  14. I used arctic silver 5 and just put a pea sized drop in the center and then let the cooler spread it out. Isn't that what most people do?
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