Whenever I press the power button, it takes about two seconds for the fans to start spinning, and then they will spin for about another 2 seconds, stop, and then try to boot again. This continues in an endless loop until I turn off the PSU.
I tried booting with just one stick of ram, and tried the different ram slots, and what actually happened is when I tried slot 4 with 1 stick of ram, the computer booted. So after that I put the second stick of ram in slot 2 and it still booted fine. Then I connected the CD Drive and fans to the PSU and it could not boot after. I unplugged the cd drive and the fans again and it still wouldn't boot. I also tried it without the GPU plugged in and it still would not boot again.
When it did boot, the mobo was able to detect the cpu and my hard drive.
MSI G43 p67
gtx 460 768mb
ocz agility 3
2x4gb kingston hyperx ram
random 450W psu with 28A on the 12v rail
I think your psu is dead/dying. If you have another psu to test your system I'd do that. I don't know about your DIMM slots though...you might also have a faulty board but I think the first issue is your psu.
Your description suggests that you are physically moving something when you work inside the computer. I would tell you to take it all apart and put it back together, but nobody ever does that, so I won't, but it is the correct first step in troubleshooting this problem. Since you can't face undoing all your assembly work on the off chance that some stranger on the Internet knows what he's talking about, at least try to ensure that all your mounting screws are snug and not pinching anything, all your plugs are properly seated, nothing is plugged into the wrong place, nothing on the board is bent over, no foreign objects are in there, etc.
No, forget that---take it all apart and put it back together; when you "check" your work you are only confirming the mistake you made in the first place.
Let's see ... "random 450W psu with 28A on the 12v rail "
Well, first of all, if it is a "random" 450 watt PSU, you will be lucky if it can actually produce 28 amps. So my first suggestion is to borrow a known good 500 watt PSU for testing.
Second suggestion is to start some systematic troubleshooting.
Breadboard with just motherboard, CPU & HSF, case speaker, and PSU.
Make sure you plug the CPU power cable in. The system will not boot without it.
I always breadboard a new build. It takes only a few minutes, and you know you are putting good parts in the case once you are finished.
You can turn on the PC by momentarily shorting the two pins that the case power switch goes to. You should hear a series of long, single beeps indicating memory problems. Silence indicates a problem with (in most likely order) the PSU, motherboard, or CPU. Remember, at this time, you do not have a graphics card installed so the load on your PSU will be reduced.
If no beeps:
Check for line power at the PSU input. Extension cords, power strips, and power cords do fail.
If you have power and no beeps, suspect components in likely order are PSU, motherboard, and CPU.
Running fans and drives and motherboard LED's do not necessarily indicate a good PSU. In the absence of a single short beep, they also do not indicate that the system is booting.
At this point, you can sort of check the PSU. Try to borrow a known good PSU of around 550 - 600 watts. That will power just about any system with a single GPU. If you cannot do that, use a DMM to measure the voltages. Measure between the colored wires and either chassis ground or the black wires. Yellow wires should be 12 volts. Red wires: +5 volts, orange wires: +3.3 volts, blue wire : -12 volts, violet wire: 5 volts always on. Tolerances are +/- 5% except for the -12 volts which is +/- 10%.
The gray wire is really important. It should go from 0 to +5 volts when you turn the PSU on with the case switch. CPU needs this signal to boot.
A way that might be easier is to use the main power plug. Working from the back of the plug where the wires come out, use a bare paperclip to short between the green wire and one of the neighboring black wires. That will do the same thing with an installed PSU. It is also an easy way to bypass a questionable case power switch.
This checks the PSU under no load conditions, so it is not completely reliable. But if it can not pass this, it is dead. Then repeat the checks with the PSU plugged into the computer to put a load on the PSU.
If the system beeps:
If it looks like the PSU is good, install a memory stick. Boot. Beep pattern should change to one long and several short beeps indicating a missing graphics card.
Silence, long single beeps, or series of short beeps indicate a problem with the memory. If you get short beeps verify that the memory is in the appropriate motherboard slots.
Insert the video card and connect any necessary PCIe power connectors. Boot. At this point, the system should POST successfully (a single short beep). Notice that you do not need keyboard, mouse, monitor, or drives to successfully POST. At this point, if the system doesn't work, it's either the video card or an inadequate PSU. Or rarely - the motherboard's PCIe interface.
Now start connecting the rest of the devices starting with the monitor, then keyboard and mouse, then the rest of the devices, testing after each step. It's possible that you can pass the POST with a defective video card. The POST routines can only check the video interface. It cannot check the internal parts of the video card.
Would you go to a Dodge dealership and tell them to give you a new Viper, but because you want to save a few bucks off the sticker price they should switch out the engine with some other random engine out of everything ever made instead?
Most people would think such a question absurd. Of course they wouldn't do that, yet they would do the exact same thing with their PC without thinking twice about it.
Your PSU deserves more than "random" just like your new Viper does.
Most "random" PSUs use specs that are obsolete by today's standards and that are actually targeted at pre-2000 PCs. Yes I am talking like Pentium 2s with 256k RAM. Not 2500ks.
Next, make sure you are pushing your RAM in all the way. It sounds like your problem stems from RAM that isn't seated correctly in the slot.
i plugged in case speakers and even with just the psu and cpu there were no beeps, so i'm going to get a multimeter and test my psu. However, if my psu were to give me adequate voltages, would that mean the problem lies in the mobo?
A multimeter can really only tell you if the PSU is completely bad or not. If you measure a 12v line with a multimeter and it shows 9v then you know the PSU is worthless. That doesn't even come close to telling the whole story, though.
The circuitry in new PSUs can detect a reduction in voltage within a few microseconds which is much faster than a multimeter can even detect that the voltage has changed.
Also, the PSU output voltages are of 5 different types and an increase of load on any of them can cause changes in voltage on any of the others. Theoretically, you would need 5 multimeters at the same time in order to measure how changes on one line impact all the others.
Even if you could do that, you can't read the results of all 5 at the same time because humans don't have 5 sets of eyes.
Even if you had 5 multimeters and 5 sets of eyes, you can't guarantee that all of the multimeters are calibrated exactly the same.
The oscilloscope, however, allows the construction of ripple/noise charts which are one of the easiest ways to visually see the differences between the quality of PSU A and the quality of PSU B.
The computer itself would probably work well enough as a load tester for these purposes since the point is that the computer won't boot with a certain load on it. A data collector would be helpful as well.
In any event, all that would cost a lot more than just getting a new PSU and getting a new good PSU would save you from the learning curve for how to use all that stuff.
In any event, the point is that the way PSUs are build you need a lot of specialized testing equipment that most people don't just have laying around and the one thing that people have laying around, if anything, (the multimeter) pretty much does nothing to tell you anything about any PSU with new'ish technologies like PWM implemented on them.