So, I'm in the process of my very first build, and (not surprisingly) when I flipped the switch, nothing happened. (I mean nothing -- no noise, no lights, no debug codes, nothing.) Before I get into the gory details, I'd first like to say thank you to all who take the time to read or reply; I really appreciate your assistance!
1. Disconnect it from everything, including the wall. Flip the switch on the back into the off position as well.
2. Get a paperclip with exposed metal and stick one end into the pin for the green wire on the 24 pin connector (there's only one), and the other into one of the adjacent black wires.
3. Plug the PSU into the wall and flip the switch. If the PSU turns on, it's got at least basic functionality.
4. Unplug the PSU and remove the paperclip.
You can test the PSU by taking the 24 pin connector and shorting the Green wire to ground (bridge green and black with a paperclip). A safer way to test it while also testing other aspects is to get a PSU tester for around 20-30 bucks. Please keep in mind that the paperclip method will not ensure that the PSU works properly, merely that it turns on.
Please keep in mind that that the x79 chipset requires additional power leads. It requires a 4pin and 8 pin auxiliary power and a 6 pin PCIe power (same as the one that goes to your graphics card) in addition to the 24 pin main power. Please make sure that these are all connected first
Please follow the link under my banner and follow the list all the way through checking everything that pertains to your system. Hopefully it is something simple that was missed like the second atx 8 pin power connector for your motherboard. Do the walk thru.
Breadboard with just motherboard, CPU & HSF, case speaker, and PSU. Breadboard with just motherboard, CPU & HSF, case speaker, and PSU. At this point, if you do not have a system (internal case) speaker, you really need one.
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, LED's, or fan activity:
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 green wire should read 5 volts and drop to around 0 volts when you press the case power switch.
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.
Hi everyone -- after working through all the steps listed here and elsewhere, (including testing the PSU with a multimeter) I've determined it's got to be a grounding issue. When I breadboarded the system, I was able to at least get it to boot to error code 0xAF, which I expected due to the BIOS version on the MB.
I'm not 100% sure what's causing the grounding problem; all my MB standoffs are positioned correctly; my guess is that one of the screws mounting the various parts might be touching the case, so I'm hoping some small pieces of electrical tape covering just the screw heads will fix that.