New computer build troubleshooting
November 20, 2020 7:54 PM   Subscribe

My daughter and I built a new PC for gaming. It now has Windows and Steam, and appears to be working, but I am not sure if all is well with the graphics card and liquid cooling system. OK, now it just did it again. Something is not right. Can you lend me the benefit of your lights?

We built a delightfully black and white and RGB'd all over PC with the following components: Now here's what it's doing: When it turns on, everything lights up in beautiful rainbow colors including the graphics card, but after a few moments, the lights on the graphics card turn off (I can't tell if the fans are still spinning when that happens). The graphics card did not fit easily into the case; we had to kind of push on it to get the case door to close, and it is right up against the glass of the case. But my motherboard does not have onboard graphics so if I'm seeing anything on the monitor, the graphics card is working, right?

I am also a little nervous about the liquid cooling system -- it lights up, the fans on the radiator are spinning, but how do I know the pump is working?
posted by pH Indicating Socks to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
If your cooling system wasn't working, the machine wouldn't stay on. Modern CPUs will shut down if they are not cooled as a safety feature.

If you plugged your monitor into the graphics card and it's working, it's working. Have you tried playing a game?

In terms of the RGB, is there a utility that controls it from Gigabyte? The RGB working/not working on the GPU has no real relation to whether the GPU is actually functioning.
posted by selfnoise at 8:04 PM on November 20

Does it give any error beep codes on the audio?

Can you try reseating all ram and the GPU?
posted by nickggully at 8:04 PM on November 20

Oh, on that GPU the LEDs only light when the fans are spinning. Fans on many graphics cards will not spin just in the Windows desktop. Run a game and see if they turn on.
posted by selfnoise at 8:06 PM on November 20 [3 favorites]

Nice build!

If you're driving your monitor from your graphics card - yes. If you still have a responsive display, the graphics card is working.

I'm not familiar with that particular make and model, but all of my graphics cards with LEDs have them on all the time, and it has been ages since a card doesn't have reactive cooling (running fans only when they're needed).

re: LEDs, in fact, there's no reasonable way to make my card's LEDs not be on other than unplugging them from the board.

I'd recommend getting something like hwmonitor or OpenHardwareMonitor.

It'll report your hardware temperatures with granularity down to certain chips, and report fan individual fan speeds if you hardware is up for it.

If your machine is not at load and overheating, good modern cooling systems go passive to save energy and produce less noise and have less wear and tear.
posted by porpoise at 9:14 PM on November 20

Pardon if I didn't parse this correctly at the moment.
Unplug that machine and re-seat the video card, making sure the clip on the right hand side of the PCI-E slot is properly engaged with the card. (I'm barely able to read at the moment, so google the images.) With that case there should be absolutely no interference with the card (those who own this case please chime in here) and the side cover. While the card-edge contacts are apparently providing conductivity, a loose connection here is just waiting for someone to bump into the desk and destroy your tasty setup. After unplugging you should remove the case and photograph the bracket of the video card and it's seating to the PCI-E connector (so someone here who's still awake can critique). If this somehow turns out not to be an issue, check with someone (tomshardware is a good place) who has this card and see what their experience with the LED's is.
posted by IronLizard at 11:00 PM on November 20 [1 favorite]

P.S. You may have solved your own issue by pushing it on with the side of the case, but don't count on it.
posted by IronLizard at 11:05 PM on November 20

The graphics card did not fit easily into the case; we had to kind of push on it to get the case door to close, and it is right up against the glass of the case.

Detailed photos from multiple angles would greatly help diagnosis.
posted by flabdablet at 4:23 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]

That processor doesn't have integrated video so if you've got video the graphics card is working.

If the side panel could be an issue, leave it off while debugging.

If the card lighting is the only known issue, I would bet it is the RGB software. That board apparently has RGB (ie, programmable) lighting. It requires software to control. Without software, it will do whatever something by default, perhaps make a little show on power up and then shut off?

I am not familiar with windows RGB software except to read many complaints about it. If I've googled the card correctly, it may need something called RGB Fusion 2.0 from gigabyte (

As far as cooling goes, get some temperature monitoring software and run a benchmark/stress test. Not sure what's best for AMD temp monitoring. AMD has it's own tuning (overclocking) software with temp monitoring, "Ryzen Master" ( Run that or something else and watch it while doing your regular tasks/games. In my experience, my 3700x bounces all over the place in temperature as it has very aggressive power/frequency control (ie, it will boost for performance under any load and then drop back down to save power).

Also, you can see how it performs with a benchmark or stress test. Geekbench (4 or 5) will test your system and tell you how it is running. Cooling is performance with modern cores. They will clock up and down depending on load and temp. So if your system does well on geebench, cooling is likely fine.

A stress test like AIDA64 or Prime95 can drive your CPU beyond the limits of any normal program. Temps while running these will be higher than any normal task. These are likely to show temp throttling but as long as normal code and benchmarks run fine, then these are somewhat superfluous to run.

Your system is likely fine. Try out RGB software to see if that fixes the lighting. Run benchmarks and temperature monitoring SW to see that you system is performing okay.

I think it's common to have some concerns after putting together a system. Benchmarking and monitoring are how I put those concerns to bed in my case.

Good luck!
posted by jclarkin at 8:40 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]

Thanks everyone! Looks like I was worried about nothing. I tried it with Assassin's Creed Valhalla ( one of the reasons I made the thing) and it was fine. The graphics card only lights up under load, as selfnoise said. I will investigate jclarkin's suggested tools... After this raid...
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 11:57 AM on November 21

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