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Troubleshooting Guide for "Problem Builds"

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by crjdriver, Jun 2, 2007.

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  1. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator Thread Starter

    Jan 2, 2001
    Troubleshooting Guide for "Problem Builds"

    What to do with a Problem build;

    First are you getting the board to post [power on self test] If yes follow the first set of instructions

    Board posts however there are lockups, bsod, cannot install windows, etc.

    1) Since it posts, check your temps in the bios. It is very difficult to say what a normal temp should be since each type of cpu [Intel or AMD] has a normal temp. What you should see in the bios is a stable temp of <55C. If the temp is much higher than that, you probably have the heatsink fan installed incorrectly. This is a VERY common problem with Intel type coolers. The four push-pins can be difficult for a new builder to get fully seated. The AMDs are almost foolproof in how they install so you should not have a problem with an AMD type hsf.

    2) If the temps are ok, pull all cards from the system except the video card. Disconnect any peripherals such as printer, scanner, usb hub, etc. Is it stable now? If so you have a problem with a piece of hardware or its driver.

    3) Test the memory with a tester like memtest86. Just because you see a memory test during post means nothing. All that does is check to see if the memory is there. It does not check each memory address. Note this test is run from bootable media ie CD or usb; there is no need for an operating system to be installed. Many high performance memory chips need a higher VDIMM or ram voltage set in the bios. The required voltage should be on a sticker attached to the ram. Do make sure you set the correct ram voltage. Failure to do this often leads to stability problems.

    4) Power supply. A modern Intel or AMD build needs a quality power supply. It is difficult to say what wattage you will need since this is dependent on many things; the number of fans, the number of hard drives you have installed, the type of video card you have installed, amount of ram, etc. A bare minimum would be in the neighborhood of 450W for a basic build ie used for office, email, etc. If you are building a gaming system, then you need more power. The power supplies that come with many cases [however not all] are junk. Since modern systems make a very high demand on the 12V rail of the power supply, what you are looking for is something around 40+ amps on the 12V rail. Again this is dependent on the components you install. A high end video card is going to use a LOT more power than onboard video. Some good brands of power supplies are as follows; Corsair [not builder series] Seasconic, Antec HCG, or FSP [only units with the 5yr warranty] for a basic build, Antec is ok as well. There are other quality units, however those are what I use in my builds.

    You assembled the system, and it will not post

    1) Remove EVERYTHING from the case
    2) Set the motherboard on a non conductive surface. The motherboard box is perfect for this. DO NOT PLACE THE MOTHERBOARD ON THE STATIC BAG! The outside of some of these can actually conduct electricity! We are going to try and assemble a running system outside of the case.
    3) Install the CPU and heat sink.
    4) Install the RAM (only install 1 stick of ram) Do consult the motherboard manual as to where a single ram chip should be installed. Most of the time it is the first slot however do check.
    5) Install the video card. Do make sure the card is FULLY seated.
    6) Connect the monitor to the video card.
    7) Connect the power supply to the motherboard. Make sure you also connect the extra power connector used on many boards. Often this is a 4pin or 8pin type connector. Most higher end video cards need one or two pw pcie pw connectors. If your video card has these connectors, make sure you do connect them. Some boards [although not many] also use a molex in addition to the above connectors.
    8) Connect power to the power supply
    9) Do NOT connect ANYTHING else. Make sure you have the power connector on the CPU fan connected.
    10) Use a small screwdriver to momentarily short the power switch connector on the motherboard. Some high end boards actually have a pw button located on the mb. This makes it even easier.

    If all is well, it should power up and you should get a display. You now have found you have a mounting problem. The board is shorting to the case. If not, then you most likely have a faulty component. You will need to swap parts with known good units ie power supply, cpu, ram, video card.

    One of the biggest problems with a new build is when the builder purchases a new motherboard, cpu, and ram. If you are purchasing a just released cpu, do not expect that the motherboard will have a bios that supports that cpu. Just because it says socket 1155, AM3+ etc does NOT mean it supports all cpus based on that socket. You need to check the motherboard support page for your board. Most of the time if you use a cpu that has been released at least 3~6 months ago, the motherboard will ship with a bios that supports that cpu. No guarantees however; up to you to check.

    Sometimes this problem [cpu not supported] only results in a message to the effect of "Unknown cpu] during post. Other times the board just will not post. Generally when you go with a new line of cpu ie haswell, vishera, etc, it is not going to post. Just going from one sandy bridge to another, usually it will post; again NO guarantees.
    Top end board makers such as Asus or Gigabyte can usually tell you what bios your mb shipped with; if you call CS with the serial# from the motherboard box, they can usually tell you.

    How to mount a new board in a case

    1) Remove the IO plate from the back of the case.
    2) Place the board in the case and use something like a sharpie or a pencil to mark the case where you will need to install the standoffs.
    3) Remove the board and install the standoffs.
    4) Install the IO plate
    5) Place the board on the standoffs and slide it into the IO plate. Secure it with the screws provided with the case.

    Just a reminder do not buy cheap parts!!!
    I have one rule.

    Quality hardware and properly installed software do not lockup, bsod, reboot itself, etc

    One last item. Here are some VERY common errors for new builders;
    1 Aux pw connector [the 4/8pin] not plugged in
    2 Incorrect mounting of the mb in the case due to standoffs not in the correct position
    3 CPU not supported by the mb
    4 Ram not fully seated
    5 Incorrect install of the cooler or heatsink fan. This is much more of a problem with intels than with AMDs.
    6 Damaged cpu during install. This is a more common problem with intels than with AMDs.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2017
  2. Ziggy587


    Sep 22, 2005
    I guess most retail PCs aren't quality ; )

    Nice guide.
  3. Muy Raro

    Muy Raro

    Aug 21, 2006
    Do you really think the retail chain stores care about quality??? They make money on volume...not on customer satisfaction...if there's problems, they simply throw it on their distributors back not theirs! Remember, they have the salesmean under their belt which means commissions and preassure....and futher more, the saleman talking the bs does not care if you will have any problems with what ever unit you purchase from a retail store!!!! Learned from experience....

    Read, learn and build yourself...don't buy these "so-called" good deal fancy units from the re-tailers!!!

    I've done so myself.
  4. sal10


    Jun 20, 2007
    There is weirdness, though. I recently couldn't get to POST (Power-on Self Test by the BIOS), just a black screen on my monitor, because a modem cable was crooked slightly in the card. It had recently had problems with the computer automatically rebooting, or shutting down for no reason. People was so all-fired concerned with viruses, that those I asked never once imagined it might be a bad power supply. It was only when I put my hand to the back of the PSU (Power Supply Unit) fan that I found it wasn't even spinning - possible problem there. The new one bolted right in, problems gone.

    To assemble one of these newer MB, you have to hook up the CPU fan cable and the power connector. Then you hook up the power connectors for each drive. There's not much more to it, except to tie up the cables cleanly for nice air flow, keeping some separation, etc, etc. The little touches. Some even like a pad on the inside side panel for noise reduction. But the fans and drives are pretty quiet to begin with.

    Makes it easy to build yourself. The real test isn't connecting the hardware, except maybe for which drive goes on which sort of cable. Even that's less a concern. The real test is installing the OS and drivers. That's the 'money'. It the behavior of the software. And I do think that where the hardware has been reduced to just a few connections, installing the software is nothing like it used to be. Win31 even came on floppy disk. You put them in, one after another. And you had a fully functional OS, in fact THE breakthrough OS for Microsoft, the first to have Truetype. Well - anyways.
  5. estehjimmy


    Jun 30, 2007
    I have an Acer Power FH, upgraded ram to 2GB and HD to 280GB, formated the HD and got the dual boot with win vista buis and win XP pro, but the pro didn't get drivers for the network, so I go to the acer support site and I cant find any drivers for it and the network drive is built in to the motherboard i.e. I only find ones for PCI/PCIE... HELP PLEASE
  6. croesonen


    Sep 23, 2006
    some good advice on your three posts perhaps you could do one on Microsofts blue screens of death and give info on which blue screen is for say the power suply or say memory and so on. geoff. (beginner UK)
  7. petehelfrich2000


    Jul 28, 2007
    GA-M55plus-S3G Sound Blaster Live Plat. ISSUE

    The first board was DOA. I bought another Gigabyte model and returned it due to the same issue.

    The M55+ came back from RMA, and no matter what I seem to do it will not work with my old but trusty Sound Blaster Live Plat. card. The card works with WINDOWS DRIVERS (= WOW) when I pop it in my cousins MSI board.

    Is this just another issue with Gigabytes boards? Any suggestions?
  8. Mrcrowley1967


    Jul 31, 2007
    For that reason (return two motherboardfs DOA) I went with ASUS in the past 15 years havnt had a problem with them sence wait not true, exxcept when lighting hit my house and made a fireworks display of my pc system cool to watch BAD to replace...
  9. petehelfrich2000


    Jul 28, 2007
    If I thought some other clown would buy the board for enough $$$ so that I could go MSI (ASUS's Tech support has slipped, and their customer service people are beyond stupid = it took me 4 days of calling this clown & spelling out my email in military P = as in Paul, etc.; just to get an RMA # emailed to me).

    I SHOULD have gone MSI, but I needed onboard video (not enough $$ to go big), 4-8 GB ram capacity, and it fit the bill on paper. MSI boards are rock solid and their tech support & RMA program is bar none.

  10. Goblin072


    Aug 18, 2007
    What does sound card do when you boot? Does it show up in the device drivers?
    You will do better by using forums than calling tech support.

  11. eccwoes


    Oct 2, 2007
    estehjimmy, were you looking for drivers under the name of the motherboard and not the name of the computer? (cos you should be). You could also try doing a search under your motherboard name at driverguide.com. you also might get more help if you post your problem as a new thread rather than here.
  12. Ziggy587


    Sep 22, 2005
  13. monst3r91


    Apr 9, 2006
    ty crj, i will use this guide tomorrow to fix my crap...*sigh*...im done for today
  14. rmay635703


    Nov 7, 2002
    Hopefully the newbies try this stuff first before asking questions whether it is dead or not.

    Excellent stuff.
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