Help me give no boot the boot.
June 29, 2007 10:04 AM   Subscribe

Is my new PC dead already?

Just got the components for my new PC this morniong - all brand new. Have spent most of the afternoon assembling. When I turned it on it booted as expected and I went into setup and had a look at the various options - without changing anything. After a few minutes the machine suddenly turned itself off and I have not been able to get it back on. The LED on the motherboard is lit, indicating power, and I've disconnected everything except the case controls, the RAM and the CPU. Ram is installed, per the manual in the first two yellow slots. Nothing happens at all - not even the fans spinning. I'm panicking like mad now and would really appreciate any help! The spec is:

Asustek M2V AM2
Casecom LG-5570 Black/Silver Mid Tower Case - With 500W PSU
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ Socket AM2 (2.2GHz)
Kingston 2GB KIT (2X1GB) DDR2 667MHz/PC2-5300

Have posted this on the Asus forums too - but no reply there as yet
posted by prentiz to Computers & Internet (17 answers total)
If you're not even getting motherboard beep codes ("help! something's wrong!") then either the motherboard or power supply is bad. If you attach a drive to the power supply and turn on the juice, does the drive start to spin? If not, you need a new power supply. If so, you might still need a new power supply or you might need a new motherboard.

It is not uncommon for PC self-assemblers to put enough pressure on the motherboard during installation to damage it, crack it.
posted by jellicle at 10:10 AM on June 29, 2007

It sounds like it overheated and shut itself off...

Leave it for a few hours (to get back to a "safe" temperature where it will boot) and try again, if it powers up, check all the fans are working correctly. That would be my guess...
posted by jon4009 at 10:13 AM on June 29, 2007

Likely---bad power supply. Also possible, your RAM isn't seated all the way in the socket.

Check the RAM, make SURE it's seated all the way in.

Unplug the PSU and check to see if there is a reset button on it, press it if there is. Reconnect, retry.

If still no good, go buy a new PSU wherever. If that doesn't fix it, you can always take it back.

Also, if you smell something like hot electronics, try to source the smell. Generally when a PSU cooks you can smell it if you directly sniff the supply box.

Normally cooking a mainboard also leaves some telltale signs.

Of course, you could also be unintentionally grounding out the motherboard to the case, but I doubt that's it.

Report back and let us know what you find.
posted by TomMelee at 10:18 AM on June 29, 2007

this is really silly - but maybe it just went into a sleep/hybernation mode. Unplug it for an hour - then try again.
posted by jkaczor at 10:31 AM on June 29, 2007

Response by poster: RAM is definitely all the way in, there is no smell of anything bad and I doubt it was heat related - I checked the heat sink straight away and it wasn't even warm...

What puzzles me is that it worked to begin with and, without my consciously doing anything, it stopped working...
posted by prentiz at 10:39 AM on June 29, 2007

You may need to reset the CMOS. I recently built a new machine (with about $2k worth of parts) and when I went to turn it on, nothing happened.

Once I cleared the CMOS, it worked like a dream.

You will probably need to remove a battery and move a jumper on your motherboard. Check your motherboard's documentation for details.

Good luck!
posted by Tygre at 10:46 AM on June 29, 2007

This is a long shot, but it turned out to be the problem I was having with my system earlier this year and it took me forever to diagnose. I had a bad power button on the case; it was shorted out or something and I could not get the machine to power up at all. Try disconnecting your case controls and shorting together the motherboard pins going to your power button momentarily.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:49 AM on June 29, 2007

Is there any possibility you're overloading the power supply?

I was having problems like this with a computer I was rebuilding ... would work for a while, then I'd reboot it and it wouldn't turn on again. No beeps, nothing.

Turns out I had put too much stuff in there, and the PS couldn't handle the load and would refuse to power up the processor. Pulling out some of the stuff I had installed, letting it sit for 24 hours, and then trying again fixed it. (I was trying to use multiple HDDs plus a fairly modern video card, and that wasn't going to happen.)

Sometimes PS manufacturers can lie horribly about their products' ratings; they'll quote a wattage that's really a peak figure and not a sustained one, etc.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:51 AM on June 29, 2007

Since the fans aren't spinning, the problem has to be the power supply or the motherboard. I have heard that failure rates for new motherboards are high and my own experience agrees.
posted by Uncle Jimmy at 11:20 AM on June 29, 2007

Response by poster: Using this extremely helpful article, I've managed to rule out the PSU. When the control is shorted the PSU fan runs and it runs the case fan. One down...
posted by prentiz at 11:34 AM on June 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

I checked the heat sink straight away and it wasn't even warm...

There's your problem. Even after a few minutes, the CPU heatsink should be warm; those chips put out a LOT of heat.

My guess, then, would be one of the following (in order of likelihood based on my personal experiences):

1. Heatsink isn't properly seated on the CPU, and/or has too much heat transfer compound on it. CPU overheats after a few minutes, and shuts down automatically. Let it cool off, reinstall the heat sink (after reading up on the right way to do it, I recommend and you should be okay.

2. Heatsink isn't touching the CPU, and you just cooked your CPU -- I think the 64 Athlons have protection like the Intels do, but somewhat older 32 Athlons didn't, and so this is a possibility but not as likely as the automatic shutdown.

3. Power supply simply isn't up to the task. Do the necessary research to see what the minimum recommended supply rating is (including your big video card and whatnot, or pull it out and use the onboard for now if you have it) and make sure your PS is a good brand and up to snuff. My experiences with Antec PSes has been good; unbranded PSes that come with the case, not so much.

If it isn't any of these three, there are lots of esoteric things it could be -- but I'm almost positive it's the heatsink.
posted by davejay at 11:41 AM on June 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks davejay - if I'd fried the CPU wouldn't I at least get a beep code error? I'm just trying to eliminate the possibilities before I fork out for new parts...
posted by prentiz at 12:40 PM on June 29, 2007

Did you reseat the cpu and heatsink? When you do examine the CPU for any damage or odd smells.

Try using the minumum amount of ram possible. Got 2 sticks? try one and then the other. Do you have known good ram to try? Do you have a known good power supply you can try? Do you have a known good video card you can try?
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:50 PM on June 29, 2007

I would try the CMOS clearing I described earlier before shelling out for new parts (if you haven't already).

I was so depressed when mine didn't work because the parts were so expensive. Then I did a little reading on the internet and saw a suggestion to clear the CMOS. It booted right up after that, no problem!

Your symptoms sound very similar to mine, so this might be your answer, I don't know.
posted by Tygre at 1:47 PM on June 29, 2007

Response by poster: Have taken the CPU out and had a look at it - no sign of damage and the thermal paste is distributed pretty evenly on the top. Have also reset the CMOS - again to no avail...
posted by prentiz at 2:13 PM on June 29, 2007

Had the same problem when I put together my rig last week. Intermittent POST but lots of "nothings working!"

Check the motherboard's manual on resetting CMOS (it's a jumper; unplug computer, wait 15 seconds, short the jumpers for 5 seconds, remove jumper) - it turns out that it was autodetecting the RAM wrong about 1/8th of the time and when it randomly managed to POST, setting it manually solved the problem.

Also, is the motherboard kitted up with enough posts underneath so that when you're plugging in components that you're not putting too much pressure on the motherboard (and potentially damaging it)?

Also, when you're installing components it's generally a good idea to make sure the LED is OFF before you plug/unplug anything. I made the careless mistake upgrading my previous CPU which then necessitated buying a new mainboard/CPU/RAM/&c.
posted by porpoise at 3:39 PM on June 29, 2007

In my experience-

if you're still getting a psu spin-up when you short it, and no beeps whatsoever, it's either the PSU doesn't have enough juice OR you cooked the mobo.

Again, I advise running to Office Despot or BB and buying one, only long enough to test to make sure that's NOT your issue.

Otherwise, I would RMA the board. If it was a bad chip, you'd still get spin-up and immediate shutdown. Same/same w/ RAM.

Of course, you COULD also have a bad power button like the other guy said--but then I doubt it would have worked at all, ever. Just to be sure, check your jumpers where the power button plugs into the board, make sure they're firmly seated.
posted by TomMelee at 7:50 PM on June 29, 2007

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