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Powering up for a few seconds, then dies.

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February 17, 2012 3:51:24 PM

Hi y'all,

This is my third or fourth build.

Here's my specs...

i5 2500K
ASUS P8Z68-PRO Gen 3 Mobo
Thermaltake 850w PSU (Re-used from old AMD build)
XFX 5870 1GB (Re-used from old AMD build)
10k RPM WD HDD (Re-used from old AMD build)
Lite-On DVD-RW drive
Zalman CPU Cooler Fan

So here's the issue...

Made sure everything's connected... Put a W7 disc in the drive.

Every time I power up, it acts like it's going to boot up for about fifteen seconds then dies for a few seconds, then comes alive again but nothing's showing up on the monitor.

There's a DRAM LED light that flashes on, and also a CPU LED light that flashes only briefly before the DRAM LED light goes on.

Any suggestions?

Had a similar problem with my last build, and had to buy a new damn PSU to get it to work. I think 850W is more than adequate for this build.

More about : powering seconds dies

a c 78 B Homebuilt system
February 17, 2012 4:10:46 PM

You are right that 850w would be enough for this build, however, the Thermaltake 850w can't actually provide 850w. Maybe half that under reasonable conditions I am guessing.

Most of their labels are massively over inflated in wattage.

Additionally, PSUs get old just like people do and just like every mechanical component does. Just like people start developing problems in their old age, so do PSUs. Just like a person's "prime" occurs early in life, so does a PSUs.

You can't expect an 80 or 100 year old person to perform like a 20 year old, nor the same equivalent in "PSU years".

So, you might want to let us know how old this Thermaltake 850w is and you may want to keep in mind that even in this PSUs prime, it could probably not do much more than half what it said it could. As it aged, it would go down from there.

Now then, that all being said I am not convinced it is a PSU issue to begin with. Many times other things can cause similar problems.

RAM can cause such issues, thermal events can cause such issues, and so on.

What are the ram maker/model and case maker/model?

Did you apply the thermal paste correctly?

Is the RAM pushed all the way in? Far enough to snap the locks in place isn't necessarily the same thing as all the way in. Sometimes RAM has to be pushed quite firmly before it will go all the way in and recognize.

I can tell you right now that my wife's RAM is exactly like that. If you look at her computer wrong the RAM quits being recognized until you push hard on it and then all of a sudden it works again like there was never a problem.
February 17, 2012 4:26:19 PM

I knew I forgot something...

I've got 8GB DDR3 GSKILL 1600 Ripjaw (4x 2GB)

CL9-9-9-9-24 1.5v (Never overclocked this RAM on any build)

I was a little confused at first, as all of the motherboards I've used previously have two clamps on each RAM slot. The ASUS P8Z68-PRO/GEN3 only has one, and a kind of retaining bracket where the other clamp used to be.

Case is a Coolermaster Centurion.

Thermaltake PSU I purchased from Best Buy (Cause I needed it fast), last January. (January 2011).

Thermal paste looks clean, it's only on the top metal (heatsink?) portion of the CPU and on the bottom sink of the CPU cooler. Only used a small dab as instructed.

Right now, I'm just taking it all apart and putting it in from scratch again.

Related resources
a c 78 B Homebuilt system
February 17, 2012 5:02:06 PM

The G.Skill RAM was used from a previous build and was confirmed to be working in it?

You may want to check the motherboard manufacturer's webpage to see if the part number from the RAM is tested with it, and check the RAM webpage to see if that motherboard is listed as compatible.

Most RAM just works with most motherboards, but it is nice to know that it has been tested and is working. Some kinds really don't mesh well with some boards, though.

Make sure the RAM is pushed in hard into the slot. Not hard enough to snap it in half or anything, but you can put some pretty solid force behind it.

The PSU is top mounted in the case if I am not mistaken, which is generally a negative thing. If you have used this case in previous builds, as I expect, the top mounting of the PSU would have hastened its degradation.

If I am not mistaken, the 850w Thermaltakes are the TR2 RX models which are the worst sort in the whole Thermaltake lineup, another bad sign.

When they are at high voltage levels along their total spectrum (read, not high in relation to the label) they put out very dirty power. Being that it was top mounted, the heat from the PC would cause that "high in the total spectrum" to be a lot lower than it might even otherwise be.

That would put you at risk of breaking other parts like your motherboard or video card, though, rather than increasing the risk of PSU failure. Just saying this to let it be known that other things are on the table as the source of the problem, just just the PSU. This likelihood is still pretty remote.

Thermal Paste - If you didn't put enough on there, that could easily be causing this issue. There is a sweet spot between too much and not enough that is not always easy to hit, especially for inexperienced people. You may want to take the cooler back off and see if you have enough.

Enough would be a circular shape that goes pretty much to every side. That would leave the 4 corners mostly uncovered, but everything in the center covered. The paste should definitely be thick enough that you can't see any markings under the paste. If you can then it isn't thick enough.

Too much paste and it would ooze out the side, too little and you could see through it or it would not go all the way out to the side of the processor.

Also, try turning on the computer with no video card inserted. If it was a problem that the PSU was failing, having no video card (using motherboard HDMI instead) would help to uncover that problem.
February 17, 2012 5:16:03 PM

Just put everything together, booted up fine with the GPU out.

Unsure as to the boot order, there appears to be a HDD and two other drives, one is probably my DVD drive but I've got no idea.

Will troubleshoot a bit once I've got some things set up, will try the GPU and see if that was what was causing it... or thus, the PSU.
February 17, 2012 5:17:42 PM

As an aside, my HDD seems to be functioning pretty normally for one that's just switched from AMD to Intel... sort of skeptical, didn't give me the opportunity to install W7 but running a Startup Repair as we speak.
February 17, 2012 5:21:58 PM

EDIT - Nevermind, figured out the boot order. One was the UEFI BIOS
a c 78 B Homebuilt system
February 17, 2012 5:22:26 PM

If it worked fine with the GPU out, then that points directly at either the PSU or the video card being the problem.

Can you borrow something better than what you have of either type, or equal to it?

If you can insert a better video card and it works then the video card is busted, if you can insert a better video card and it doesn't work then the PSU is busted.

My gut feeling at this point is that you need a new PSU (the other one went bad quickly) and a new case (to prevent the new one from going bad so quickly).

If you end up going with my gut feeling, I would ask that you let me help you select the new parts.

For the time being, you should be able to function OK with onboard graphics as long as you don't need to play games before this is all sorted out.
February 17, 2012 5:32:39 PM

Raiddinn said:
If it worked fine with the GPU out, then that points directly at either the PSU or the video card being the problem.

Can you borrow something better than what you have of either type, or equal to it?

If you can insert a better video card and it works then the video card is busted, if you can insert a better video card and it doesn't work then the PSU is busted.

My gut feeling at this point is that you need a new PSU (the other one went bad quickly) and a new case (to prevent the new one from going bad so quickly).

If you end up going with my gut feeling, I would ask that you let me help you select the new parts.

For the time being, you should be able to function OK with onboard graphics as long as you don't need to play games before this is all sorted out.


Sure! I'll let you know if I decide to try for a new PSU. But first, I just want to try putting in my GPU after Windows is finished installing.

If it was something else (RAM not in all of the way, CPU mounted improperly, something unplugged that shouldn't have been) and not the PSU, I'll just need to try it out with the GPU to make sure it's actually the GPU/PSU that's causing it.

I don't think I'll be getting a new case whatever the circumstances, already sort of screwed my budget over with having to buy a new CPU cooler fan from Zalman and a new DVD drive.

If it's a PSU that I'll be needing, sure, I can stretch a little because it's essential.
a c 78 B Homebuilt system
February 17, 2012 5:43:35 PM

Did you push the RAM in more at the same time that you took out the video card? If you did nothing to the RAM from when it was not working to when it was then that is most likely not the problem.

Also, I can tell you a good cost effective PSU, but I do feel the need to stress at this point that the case is worth its weight in gold.

If it is indeed the fact that your PSU failed, the case most likely had a big hand in it. If you just keep using the same case, the case will just hasten the demise of the next PSU you put in there too, and you might be replacing the PSU again in another year.

A good case should have PSUs lasting easily 5x longer.

With a good case, you can also get by with a lot lower wattage PSUs.

As before, wattage goes on a sliding scale, a PSU that can do 1000w at 0c might be able to only do 100w at 100c. A good case will reduce the temperatures inside the PSU greatly and that means you can get higher wattages out of the same PSU.

You may have to add 200w to what you need for a top PSU as compared to a bottom PSU. That extra 200w you aren't buying could be used to partially pay for the case.

Whatever decision you do go with, I would consider it very seriously.

If you don't want to get a new case now, I suggest you start saving for one as soon as you can.
February 17, 2012 6:05:01 PM

Raiddinn said:
Did you push the RAM in more at the same time that you took out the video card? If you did nothing to the RAM from when it was not working to when it was then that is most likely not the problem.

Also, I can tell you a good cost effective PSU, but I do feel the need to stress at this point that the case is worth its weight in gold.

If it is indeed the fact that your PSU failed, the case most likely had a big hand in it. If you just keep using the same case, the case will just hasten the demise of the next PSU you put in there too, and you might be replacing the PSU again in another year.

A good case should have PSUs lasting easily 5x longer.

With a good case, you can also get by with a lot lower wattage PSUs.

As before, wattage goes on a sliding scale, a PSU that can do 1000w at 0c might be able to only do 100w at 100c. A good case will reduce the temperatures inside the PSU greatly and that means you can get higher wattages out of the same PSU.

You may have to add 200w to what you need for a top PSU as compared to a bottom PSU. That extra 200w you aren't buying could be used to partially pay for the case.

Whatever decision you do go with, I would consider it very seriously.

If you don't want to get a new case now, I suggest you start saving for one as soon as you can.


I understand, I just need time to troubleshoot a bit before I can arrive at any solid conclusions. I just rebuilt the computer in the last half hour, cleared the case down to the ATX risers and installed every component again. Firmly seated everything, so it could certainly have been that the first time through I missed something or didn't seat something properly. Not ruling that possibility out.

I left my mobo driver disk at my apartment, so I'll probably know what the problem is tomorrow night when I get back there. Need to register Windows, but it's all installed (Which was my main concern).

EDIT - I just put in the GPU, booted up fine. Will report on what happens after the system gets on its feet.
a c 78 B Homebuilt system
February 17, 2012 6:47:30 PM

If you can manage to get it working with the video card in it, what I would do is start saving anyway. For both a PSU and Case.

You should also enable hibernate/sleep mode. When your PSU is on its deathbed, it often shows up as an inability to wake up from sleep mode, especially with many USB devices plugged in.

This link

http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Thermaltake-TR2-...

points to a review of a Thermaltake TR2 RX model, and if you scroll down you will pass by a huge list of "fail" during the testing process and come to a graph that shows how safe these PSUs are for your internal parts.

An optimal chart would be a thin line going directly across the center of the page from left to right.

The industry standard is 10% on the 12v lines which is 120mvs variance. This graph shows variance as high as 200 mvs which is very far into the red zone. This is quite possibly the worst chart I have ever seen and it is from the exact same TR2 RX line up you are using.

Anyway, you may be able to keep the old one going a while longer, and if it does work you probably want to just go ahead and replace the case right now and start saving for the next PSU.

Replacing the case would probably give it the 6 months or whatever that it takes you to save for the next PSU because of the reduced strain on it.
February 17, 2012 9:06:26 PM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

^^ This would be the case I'd get ^^

www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681713901...

^^ This would be the PSU I'd get ^^

And, again, I'm not really in a position until tomorrow to be installing drivers and investigating how things run under full load.

FYI, the system does sleep mode just fine. I had always used it without a hitch on my AMD system. That's another thing, this PSU worked flawlessly with my AMD build... I take it out, and pair it with a "supposedly" -more- power efficient mobo/CPU and I have power problems? Just doesn't make sense to me.

But, I'm still a little confused on the boot order.

I've got my HDD, then a UEFI marked HDD (Nonexistent), then my DVD drive, then a UEFI marked DVD drive (Nonexistent). That's the boot order I have them in. That how it's supposed to look? I get two opportunities to enter BIOS this way when I boot up, sort of weird to me.
a c 78 B Homebuilt system
February 18, 2012 1:25:06 PM

Sleep mode is often an early warning indicator, but not always. It is one of those things you hope happens, because it almost never harms your hardware if you notice the problem this way.

If there are no sleep mode problems, but there are straight up boot problems, that is still a bad sign.

If the BIOS works like you have it, that is probably fine.
February 19, 2012 7:32:48 PM

So, having a little bit of an odd occurrence...

Sometimes, sometimes, my system powers up... dies... reboots... and acts like everything's fine, goes to desktop, etc. Only happens every once in a while when I power up/reboot.

Having some trouble running Skyrim, doing a fresh reinstall now. CTD'd on launch.

Also, I ran a Dxdiag and it lists my 5870 1GB as having 741 MB of approx total memory. Seemed odd to me. CPUID lists it as 1024MB, are they two different numbers or is there something wrong with my GPU?
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