Ok, this is entirely my fault, but I'd appreciate some help.
In trying to decide how to cool a 3770k to overclock it without buying a new cooler (H60 installed), I was testing various thermal compounds and spread/no spread patterns. In doing so I got some thermal grease (AS5) on some of the pins on the CPU module. Next boot and I get a series of short-ish beeps and it won't boot. I stripped it back down and cleaned everything up, then did an internet search for GB beep messages. That seemed to indicate that the memory was the problem (unlike the forum sticky). I found that it would boot on any combination of 2 sticks of the memory that I was using, and any one stick, in any slot but DDR3-1. Three slots DDR3-2 through 4 doesn't boot. The beeps are always the same.
I have had the machine running for a week to ten days prior to this, and it was fully stable with all 32gb of memory installed. It runs Prime95 on 16gb like a charm.
So what have I damaged?
1) The CPU
2) The board (Z77X-D3H) electronics
3) The CPU socket pins (I did look)
4) The memory (G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) 1866 F3-1866C10Q-32GXL
5) Something else
How should I test it? I don't have anyway to test the CPU, my other board is an ASUS 1366.
1) Switch the board first - new board is $120 - sell on ebay if not the problem
2) Buy a Celeron G540 and try that, sell on ebay after test (cost $40)
3) Buy another 3770k and try that, sell on ebay if not the problem (cost $290)
4) Replace the memory (cost $200) sell on ebay if not the problem
5) Take it into a shop. (cost unknown)
6) Live with 16gb, and stop editing photos.
Your (constructive) opinions of the most likely cause and best way to prove appreciated!
The rest of the build seems to be fine and re-used parts that worked with ASUS.
Update 1: I'm trying not waste more money that I have to to get a running machine. I did the least expensive thing and bought a Celeron G540 from Microcenter for less than $40. Installed it shows the same behavior as my 3770k, beeps on boot, with anything in slot DDR3-2 (My bad, I thought it was DDR3-1 from memory, but this seems right). It will happily boot with all 1, 2 or 3 of the other slots filled.
Thanks for the thought. I hadn't removed the RAM whilst switching the thermal grease in and out and so the RAM slots should have been clean (or at least unchanged.)
Update 2: I switched the board for another D3H. Everything now works as intended. I guess the answer was a trace, or maybe a pin in the 1155 socket, although I did inspect the pins very thoroughly (great use for a macro lens!)
So I'm out of pocket for a board, and have a spare G540 that has been run twice. I guess I also have a d3h that can happily run 16gb, but that feels a bit unethical to me. Off to eBay with the Celeron and back to Microcenter for the extra 3770k.
That'll teach me to be cute and try to test the heat effect of too much of grease.
rich i would send the mb in for rma if you have not. then when it comes in sell the mb/cpu combo on ebay or keep the parts as spares. if you dont want to rma the mb see if the local libary or boys club could use the cpu as a lot of them have old hardware or donated hardware.