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Assembling my first PC. Please help me! :-(

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Rodney D, Feb 5, 2003.

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  1. Rodney D

    Rodney D Thread Starter

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    Hello everybody.

    I decided to upgrade my computer this year. Since my old computer was a Gateway (P3 450Mhz) I thought it was a good idea to get a new case, power supply, motherboard, RAM and CPU and keep my DVD-ROM, floppy, HD, CDRW-DRIVE and video card as they are still good.

    So here are the parts I put together:

    Pentium 4 2.0 Ghz processor and Abit BD-7 motherboard. I got these as a CPU/board combo from Memory Shippers. The CPU, fan and heat sink were already installed when I got it although it did include all the retail stuff for the motherboard (manuals, cables, backplate, etc).

    1 512MB 2100DDR Kingston RAM chip from NewEgg.com

    1 Enermax 300w power supply from Newegg.com

    1 Ahanix Santa Fe case from Newegg.com

    To this I added my 14GB HD (the last weak link in my system that I will replace very soon this year), my VisionTek GeForce 4 Ti4200 Xtasy 128MB DDR video card, my floppy drive, my DVD-ROM (can't remember what the spec is but it doesn't matter) and my CDR-Drive from my old system.

    I got everything installed, double checking all the connections.

    Then I go to boot it up for the first time and I cross my fingers. My worst fear happens. It goes through the POST for a second or two and then it starts with a continuous loop of single long beeps. Nothing ever displays on my monitor.

    In the corner of my mother board there is a little display that is supposed to display codes as it goes through the test. It goes through some numbers for a second or two and then it starts the beeps and displays "A7". I look in my motherboard manual and try to look up the post code. There is no "A7" but there is a "7A". It says this code is "Detect and install co-processor" in the manual next to "7A".

    Now, I try to contact Memory Shippers and get some help. I get an answering machine. I try to call their customer service line. I get the same answering machine! I tried calling all day today and left two messages and here it is 9:00 local time EST and I did not get a call. Now I'm conscerned.

    So I take my video card and HD back out of the new computer and put it back in my old case so I can get back online and do some research. This proves that nothing is wrong with my video card (AGP 4.0 compatible and the new Abit board only supports 4.0). All sources Ive read so far say that single long beeps mean RAM failure but always follow that by saying it could be some other component which is no help.

    That's all I have so far. Please, please help me. I've spent lots of money (for me) and it was like Christmas waiting for this stuff to come in. Now I'm worried that maybe I made a big mistake. Thanks to anybody that can help me out.
     
  2. brianF

    brianF

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    Disconnect everything except the processor, memory, floppy and vid card, put a win98 startup disk in it and see if it will boot or try it without the disk just to see if it will post.

    Reseat the processor, reseat the memory, try the memory in another slot
     
  3. flyboy320

    flyboy320

    Joined:
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    I had a similar problem when I was swapping out some of my m/b cpu combinations. It turned out that the video card was not seated correctly in the m/b, and all it would do on boot was beep on and off. What i did to trace down the problem was remove everything from the board and put them back in one at a time.
     
  4. Rodney D

    Rodney D Thread Starter

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    Thank you so very much guys. I will give that a shot. You guys are great.
     
  5. Rockn

    Rockn

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    Long continuous beeps sound like a thermal warning. Did you install the heat sink and fan correctly and use the good thermal grease between the two??
     
  6. Rodney D

    Rodney D Thread Starter

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    Well, I took out everything but the motherboard, CPU, video card and floppy and checked the connection of the RAM and even tried putting the RAM in another slot and it still does the same thing. It would run through the post for a second and then halt, give an endless loop of long single beeps and give me a code "A7" on my motherboard.

    Rockn, I bought the motherboard, CPU, heatsink and fan as part of a combo package and it was all installed by memoryshippers.com, the company I purchased it from. On their website it also states that they test it before shipping. I don't want to void any warranty before I talk to them (haven't got hold of them on the phone yet) so I'm going to wait on messing with the processor before I do that.

    Are there any other possibilities than a CPU or motherboard problem? If my stick of RAM was bad would it cause the same malfunction? In the instruction manual it says that as the POST goes through its steps it writes to sectors of the memory and the POST test does cycle through various numbers (I watched the LED on the motherboard carefully as it booted up and noticed it switch through several codes rapidly before halting). Maybe only certain parts of the test write to memory and maybe "A7" is the first step that writes to RAM...I don't know.

    It also isn't a problem with my video card because the thing is working like a charm as I write this (I swap it back and forth to try things...I don't like doing that but it has to be done and I'm careful) and my video card is as seated as it can get in my new case when I install it. It bolts to the case on the back and there's a lockdown clip, similar to ones on RAM slots, on the AGP slot.
     
  7. ~Candy~

    ~Candy~ Retired Administrator

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    It's probably time to hook the minimums up outside of the case......
     
  8. Rockn

    Rockn

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    I would attempt what Candy suggested, take it all out of the case and set it up on a table top with a static bag underneath. It's also very easy to tell if the heasink/fan combo is working without taking it off.....TOUCH IT. Also if the fan isn't spinning then you know it's a dud. Did you also check the standoffs on the case to make sure they matched the holes in your motherboard??
     
  9. exocet

    exocet

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    Another thing i would do is reset the bios as well, so all settings return to their default. All this requires is taking that battery out of the motherboard for a few minutes.
     
  10. Rockn

    Rockn

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    Most boards now have a jumper to reset the BIOS to factory default.
     
  11. exocet

    exocet

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    But it is much easier to just tell them to pop out the ol' hard to miss battery instead of flippin thru the manual for the CMOS jumper =)
     
  12. Rodney D

    Rodney D Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the suggestions so far everyone.

    When going through my boot test process (trying various suggestions and ideas) I did notice that the fan on the CPU was spinning. Also, there was no heat anywhere in the case. It was very cool. Thus, I don't think it's a thermal problem especially since it does what I described within seconds of my turning it on.

    I did line up the holes while mounting the motherboard to the case.

    Would a short from a misaligned bolt cause the effect I described?

    Power is applied, all fans are spinning (even video card) and there's no heat.

    What really gets me is that the monitor doesn't turn on, not even once.

    I did reset the CMOS. I practically memorized my motherboard's manual before I got the rest of the parts to my computer and I knew exactly where the CMOS reset jumper was and how to reset it. That was a no-go.

    I wish I had an extra stick of 2100DDR RAM right now. I don't know anybody else with a computer that uses this RAM and don't feel good about getting another stick just to test it and I certainly don't want to pay someone to come in and tell me "you've got a bad 'blank' for $80-$150".

    Would taking it all apart and putting it together outside the case, as you suggested, accomplish anything but ruling out a short to the case?

    I thought I was very prepared to put this thing together. I did all kinds of research before I bought what I bought (read tons of reviews, how-to guides, etc) and felt confident in my ability to do this.

    Is it likely that the motherboard or CPU is the problem, despite the error code I got? I ask this because the CPU/fan/Heatsink/Motherboard came to me installed by memoryshippers.com and their website states that they test it before shipping.

    I used to be an aviation electronics technician so I took all the precautions for static electricity. I have a grounding strap and was extremely careful with the components *especially* the motherboard. In fact, I didn't even remove it from the ESD bubble-bag once until I was ready to install it on the case.

    Again thanks for all the help. I really, really appreciate the efforts.
     
  13. ~Candy~

    ~Candy~ Retired Administrator

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    Per chance, do you have a cheapy video card laying around that you can try?
     
  14. exocet

    exocet

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    Forgive me if this was already brought up. Have you physically taken off the heatsink/fan from the CPU and ensured that it was placed on correctly? Many boards can detect whether or not the heatsink is installed in the correct direction, and will shut itself offwhen powered on if it isn't. On the bottom of the heatsink, you'll see an indented edge of it. This indented section is to be placed upon the raised part of the CPU socket on the motherboard.
     
  15. Rodney D

    Rodney D Thread Starter

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    AcaCandy,

    I wish! I just have my old Riva TNT AGP card but my motherboard is AGP 4.0 only. I have heard that using any other AGP card but a 4.0 compatible one could fry stuff. However, my Geforce 4 is working perfectly. I'm using it now. I switch it back and forth to get back on the net to do more research and monitor my email and this forum.

    exocet,
    I havent taken the fan/heat sink off the processor at all. I'm kinda apprehensive to take it off until (or if rather) I can get someone on the phone at Memory Shippers. For some reason I didn't do research on this company before I ordered from it and now I find out it's only run by two or three people, which would explain why all their phone numbers are picked up by the same machine and nobody has called me back yet. Lesson learned: Do research on the online companies you deal with.

    I do know that the heat-sink is locked down solid as a rock over the processor and that the fan does work.
     
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