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New system worked, "clicked" and died. Need help figuring it out.

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December 10, 2012 12:57:35 PM

Hello there guys.

I'm new to Tom's Hardware forums and new to the whole idea of building my own computers. I just built my first one, actually, and would like some help with a problem I did not expect to have.

I bought the parts listed below and assembled everything last wednesday, following strictly both the manuals and a video-guide I found on reddit's "buildapc" subreddit. I triple-checked all connections and installations, so I'm fairly sure nothing got misplaced. Cables were all well connected, standoffs were correctly installed.

I powered it up and everything seemed to be working properly. I installed Windows 7, Chrome, the driver for a USB wifi dongle (cables are not a possibility), and everything was OK. I inserted the CD that comes with the VGA and began installing the drivers, while simultaneously downloading and installing Steam.

While I was doing that, there was a distinctive "click" noise (the same sound the power switch on the PSU makes when you flip it) from inside the case, and the whole system just shut down. Ever since, I have been unable to turn it on. There is no power going through the components, fans don't spin, LEDs don't light up. I just push the power button and nothing happens at all.

Not sure if this is relevant, but I had just finished screwing the thumbscrews and closing the case, and the system had been on for about thirty minutes.

I've been looking all over for a solution for this problem, but all I can find are troubleshooting guides involving computers that either never booted or are booting incompletely. Still, I have taken all those troubleshooting guides into account and tried out many of their proposed solutions. This are the things I have already tried:

- Removing all components except for CPU (also tried leaving on the RAM);
- Removing the mobo from the case;
- "Rebooting" the mobo by removing the battery for 30 seconds;
- Clearing the mobo CMOS (moving the jumper and putting it back);
- Using the mobo's pins to try to power it up (in case the problem was with the power switch in the case);

None of those things made the slightest difference. As far as I can tell, no power is going through the system.

What I'm thinking is that my PSU couldn't handle the power demand and just burnt. That would be very strange for me though, since I'm using the PSU listed below, which is from a good manufacturer, bronze certified and 750W strong.

I'm thinking about doing the "paperclip test" to check if the PSU is working, but don't know if that is a good idea.

Could you suggest any form of testing the build in order to figure out what is going on and solving the problem? From the pictures below, can you tell if I messed anything up while assembling?

I figure that if I had made any major mistakes while building, the whole system would either not power up at all or just "light on fire" right after I pushed the power button, so I'm very, very confused as of what to do next.

Here is a picture of the build, after the problem: http://i.imgur.com/TK3vr.jpg
And here is one of it booting up normally: http://i.imgur.com/G7yAY.jpg

These are the parts. Mobo and PSU were not listed at pcpartpicker, so they can be found below the list:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($209.99 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Corsair 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($33.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($33.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Video Card ($269.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 430 ATX Mid Tower Case ($42.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer ($25.97 @ Newegg)
Total: $681.91
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-10 09:47 EST-0500)

PSU: Seventeam V-Force ST-750Z-AF
Motherboard: Asus P8H77-M LE

Thank you very much for your help.
a b B Homebuilt system
December 10, 2012 1:29:32 PM

You say the PSU is from a good manufacturer but I've never heard of that brand. That'd be my first guess as to what's wrong.
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December 10, 2012 2:05:59 PM

Seventeam is a Taiwan based PSU manufacturer that also makes PSU for CM and Silverstone.

But yes, even components from the best company do fail and CM and Silverstone are pretty good, not the best.
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December 10, 2012 2:55:19 PM

FinneousPJ said:
You say the PSU is from a good manufacturer but I've never heard of that brand. That'd be my first guess as to what's wrong.


That's probably because Seventeam is not widely distributed in the USA. Actually, I believe they have just recently begun selling their products in north-america.

Pyree said:
Seventeam is a Taiwan based PSU manufacturer that also makes PSU for CM and Silverstone.

But yes, even components from the best company do fail and CM and Silverstone are pretty good, not the best.


Yep. That's it, they manufacture both for their own and for third-party brands, some of which are sold in the US.

In order to make sure that this is a defective piece of hardware, should I perform that strange "paperclip test"? Or would it be more advisable to simply contact their costumer support and try to have it replaced at once?

Thanks!

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December 10, 2012 2:57:22 PM

Yes, and the paper clip test is not strange. It's quite common. You are like the 3rd or 4th person in this forum, on the posts I read, that needs do a paper clip test for PSU today.

Test it and if it is broken, send it back for replacement.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 10, 2012 3:15:23 PM

Be mindful the paperclip isn't conclusive - even if it passes, the PSU may still be at fault.
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December 10, 2012 3:44:04 PM

Pyree said:
Yes, and the paper clip test is not strange. It's quite common. You are like the 3rd or 4th person in this forum, on the posts I read, that needs do a paper clip test for PSU today.

Test it and if it is broken, send it back for replacement.


FinneousPJ said:
Be mindful the paperclip isn't conclusive - even if it passes, the PSU may still be at fault.


I will do that as soon as I get home tonight and get back with the results as soon as possible. Thank you very much for taking the time to help me out.

I'm a little worried that the PSU might have taken some other components to the grave with it as it snapped. Is that possible? Should the "protections" that are included in the PSU prevent that kind of thing?

Thanks again.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 10, 2012 3:58:02 PM

The PSU should have built in protections to prevent it from failing and damaging other components, however, the non-main stream brands often skimp on these parts which is why most suggest purchasing a PSU from a well-known, reliable manufacturer. CM is not known to be one of these brands, so if it is built from the same or similar components it may have the same or similar issues. Buy a PSU from Corsair, Antec, or one of the other well known brands. The PSU is going to be one of your most vital components considering it "touches" every other one.
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December 12, 2012 10:53:16 AM

I ran the paperclip test and nothing spinned... Seems like the the PSU really is to blame here...

I've already emailed tech support to try and get a replacement. There's something I'd like to know, though: is it possible I caused that problem by assembling the computer the wrong way?

I would think that if the assemble was sufficiently wrong to cause a problem like that (burning or otherwise screwing up the PSU), the computer shouldn't have turned on and worked normally for those thirty minutes... right?

Thanks!
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 12, 2012 11:35:04 AM

Sometimes PSUs just fail. It was probably a defective unit from the beginning and didn't fail before that because the system wasn't drawing as much power for some reason.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 12, 2012 12:18:10 PM

Also, if you did assemble something incorrectly, it may not manifest itself immediately. I doubt you did, your pic looked fine, but if there was a loose or stripped wire, or if you plugged a firewire header plug into a usb header thats a big no-no. Another issue could be the standoffs, if they weren't installed it may run but could short out later when a certain component is being used. I still think it's the PSU and I also agree that the previous load may not have been enough to cause the PSU to fail.
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December 12, 2012 2:15:42 PM

JMer806 said:
Sometimes PSUs just fail. It was probably a defective unit from the beginning and didn't fail before that because the system wasn't drawing as much power for some reason.


That makes perfect sense, considering that it snapped while I was installing the VGA drivers. That probably involves some power going to the VGA or something, besides the DVD spinning and other components working as they usually would. Thanks!

chugot9218 said:
Also, if you did assemble something incorrectly, it may not manifest itself immediately. I doubt you did, your pic looked fine, but if there was a loose or stripped wire, or if you plugged a firewire header plug into a usb header thats a big no-no. Another issue could be the standoffs, if they weren't installed it may run but could short out later when a certain component is being used. I still think it's the PSU and I also agree that the previous load may not have been enough to cause the PSU to fail.


Thank you, that's very reassuring. I'm absolutely positive there are no lose or stripped wires, and I checked the standoffs at least three times and they are all firmly installed and match the holes in the motherboard.

I think you and JMer806 are right. The PSU must have been defective, but not so much as to snap at a low power demand. As soon as the VGA asked for a little more, though, it just went bananas.

Thank you very much for all the help, everyone has been great at this topic. I really appreciate it!
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