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System boots but only displays if components aren't in the case...

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October 20, 2011 4:56:34 AM

Okay, this one has me going crazy. I've tried just about every configuration known to man, and the only answer I've come to is this: my system will only give me a display if the components are not in the case. I've literally changed NOTHING but the physical location of the motherboard and other random guts, and it displays just fine while sitting spread out on my table.

Here are my specs:
Motherboard
BIOSTAR A770E3 AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Note* I just bought this from Newegg and have only had it a couple days. Has not yet successfully given me a display while inside the case. If this thing is messed up, I have to RMA it ASAP...

CPU
AMD Phenom II X4 840 Quad Core 3.2 GHz 2.0 MB total cache Socket AM3
Just purchased from local Micro Center--don't believe this could be a part of the issue as I think everything is booting even when I don't get anything on the display....wish I had an extra BIOS speaker laying around, but alas...

Memory
G.SKILL Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBNT
Tested working in other machine, and works without errors in this machine when the components are not in the case...

Graphics
SAPPHIRE 100283-3L Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This has been used in other systems, and works just fine. I also tried swapping in my primary build's 6870 with no luck.

PSU
COOLER MASTER GX Series RS650-ACAAE3-US 650W ATX12V v2.31 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
Nothing seems wrong with this guy--all of the fans and disc drives power up and stay powered even when the components are in the case (including the fan on the 5770).

Hard Drive
Kingston SSDNow V100 Series SV100S2/64GZ 2.5" 64GB SATA II Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
While I have everything outside of the case, I was able to install and boot Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit with this drive just fine. Unfortunately, I can only ASSUME that it still boots the OS even when everything is in the case and no display appears

Hard Drive RAID
I have 4 extra Seagate 7200 RPM 160gb drives I want to have in RAID0 for everything other than the OS and main programs, but I've been trying to get a display with/without all that. It displays just fine with all 5 total drives hooked up and running as long as the stuff is not in the case.

Optical Drive
Just some generic SATA DVD+RW drive, I think it's a debranded Sony or something like that. Worked fine for installing Windows 7.

So, quickly, I'll just say that I'm not exactly new to the homebuilding game. I've done many builds for myself and for friends, and I've never encountered this problem. I've done some searching online but it's a hard problem to describe and it's therefore difficult to search for. The only logical explanation I have been able to come up with is that somehow something metallic on the case is contacting something on the motherboard and causing a short that is leading to a lack of display...? The case is an old yellow thing that was made in China, and only has a serial number--have no idea what brand or anything like that. The motherboard tray is removable, it has 4 standard hard drive bays, a couple of floppy drive bays, and 4 optical drivey bays. Pretty much everything is straight metal. The switches are as follows: 2 pins for power, 2 pins for reset, 2 pins for power LED and 2 pins for hard drive LED. I've tried different variations of each of these and have found that pretty much any combination works as long as the motherboard is not in the case. Am I crazy or has this happened before? Feel free to ask any questions about the setup--I'm more than happy to go into detail as you can probably already tell. Kudos to anyone who can give me ideas on how to solve the problem (aside from a new case--I'm about to try putting everything into an even older case, but I'd really like to just use this yellow one if possible. Of course, if a new case is the ONLY solution, so be it...but I'd like to know WHY...)
October 20, 2011 6:26:52 AM

Okay, quick update, since plenty have viewed but nobody replied (which is possibly due to the fact that this is such a unique and hard-to-diagnose-without-being-there kind of problem): I just put the core components (SSD, mobo/cpu, memory, psu, gpu) into another random metal case without actually screwing the mobo in, and it still booted and displayed properly. The next step will be screwing it into this case, and if that works, then perhaps going back to the original case and see if ANYthing is differently in terms of the physical design of the case (especially the mobo tray).

Again, this is rather baffling. I'll keep posting updates and will check back regularly in case anybody happens to have had a similar problem with their computer. I still think it may have to do with either a metal part shorting a part of the board or just a broken connection due to the board being under the pressure of screws when I actually install it. I don't know. Just conjecturing.
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October 20, 2011 6:42:13 AM

Hi OrangeDriver,

if I understood you well:
all your system setup out of your case is working good but
if you put it back inside the case the system is powered on but you have nothing
except a black screen. If I got it right then I suspect that on the back side of your motherboard you should have a skretch. Look at the places where the board is having physical contact with the case and the screws. Also I would check the side of the motherboard where the rams slots are located. Maybe it's "touching" the case since there is nothing to stop it from when there is little more presure.
I had the same problem with my board and I had to isolate the backside of my board on some points with tape.

Also do this:
Connect all parts back to the case, connect the cable from the psu to the board like always but leave the psu out of the case. leave it down on the floor and start your system. I supspect that your psu has a leak.
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October 20, 2011 6:48:03 AM

If it isn't a pressure issue like copnas is suggesting, check to make sure your motherboard is being grounded to the case and that there are no cables running under the board.

If the electronics in the case aren't properly grounded, then you can get any number of strange issues, including the problems you are having. This seems very likely considering it only has a problem when it is in the case.

Assuming there isn't a problem with the case itself, make sure that the board is solid and flush on the metal risers in the case. Also make sure that the risers are the only thing that connects this board to the case and that nothing is in between them.
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October 20, 2011 6:48:26 AM




Well, you've got some first-class stuff there and your system is saying "I wouldn't get caught dead in that case" and so it won't give a blink until you get a new home for your components. Simple.
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October 20, 2011 8:09:47 AM

Thanks guys, didn't realize that could be a legit problem. I'll try a few of those things and post back my results. Ultimately I'll probably spring for a new case when I can afford one I like, but this one will have to do for now.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 20, 2011 11:36:34 AM

An option is to layer the case with electricians tape to avoid any short possibilities,
it wont be seen behind the Mobo
Moto
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Best solution

a c 136 B Homebuilt system
October 20, 2011 12:25:40 PM

Caruda said:
If it isn't a pressure issue like copnas is suggesting, check to make sure your motherboard is being grounded to the case and that there are no cables running under the board.

If the electronics in the case aren't properly grounded, then you can get any number of strange issues, including the problems you are having. This seems very likely considering it only has a problem when it is in the case.

Assuming there isn't a problem with the case itself, make sure that the board is solid and flush on the metal risers in the case. Also make sure that the risers are the only thing that connects this board to the case and that nothing is in between them.


motherboards are not grounded to the case . The stand off isolate the board .


TO the OP

how are you turning the computer on when its out of the case? A screw driver across the power pins?

What happens when you have it in the case and dont connect the front panel connectors?

I also wouldnt put plastic tape in the case . Heat will get to it over time causing it to come free and then potentially touch hot components

Just check the stand offs are in the right places . After that the circuitry is isolated
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October 20, 2011 5:28:07 PM

I took the power switch out of the case and just have it hooked up to the board, and that works fine when the board is just on the wood/plastic table. I just now tried laying it on the standoffs on top of the motherboard tray which I pulled out of the case, and I'm getting the same no display issue. I then (without changing anything) simply took the motherboard off of the mobo tray and set it on the table, and it displays just fine. So now I know one of these standoffs is causing the short...just need to figure out which one. I'll post back.
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October 20, 2011 5:38:50 PM

I now have the board on the tray and it's displaying just fine, thanks to removing a couple of rogue standoffs that appear to have been far more potent than I could have imagined. If anything changes, I'll post back, but as it stands, I think I've finally reached a solution. Thanks everybody for you input! Hopefully somebody else can learn from this post as well...
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October 20, 2011 5:39:09 PM

Best answer selected by OrangeDriver.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 20, 2011 6:21:00 PM

Glad you got sorted alright man :) 
Moto
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