Fried or not?

Dell / Dimension 4700...
July 12, 2009 at 05:28:46
Specs: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, 3.391 GHz / 510 MB
O.k. Here's the deal. I recently ordered, for a new build an AMD athlon 64x2 5200 Brisbane CPU, ECS A 780GM-A MOBO, Aptivia 680 Watt PSU, New SATA drives;1HD and 2 Opticals, Raidmax CASE, 2x2 GB double sided memory, and a gigabyte 9500GT video card from an old system. Did everything correctly in assembling the system, including using ESD wrist-strap.(This is far from my first build.) Fired er up...all lights and fans. Could not turn off system from front case switch, or reset from front switch. Had to turn off at power supply. Obviously there was no POST. I disassembled the thing,carefully wiped thermal paste from CPU and Sync, and RMAd MOBO for another of the same. When 2nd MOBO arrived, I rebuilt system exactly as before using same pecautions and AMD recommended thermal paste so as not to void AMD warranty. Fired er up...Same thing, lights and fans only, no display. At this point I am getting a bit TIGHT! To assure myself its not just case connections (which I checked and rechecked) or PSU or Video card problems ( no beep codes though), I removed my old system board gigabyte GAK8NE, AMD athlon64 3400+ and 3 GB single sided ultra memory, connected the new hardware,PSU and video card. Fired er up...BINGO, POST. Everything fine. Stubbornly refusing to believe it could possibly be a brand new otta the box CPU, and knowing the quality history and poor reviews of some ECS boards, ( a plethora of features and great price enticed me to take a chance on this one), I once again RMAd the ECS board, opting this time for an ASUS compatible board, which has at this point, not yet arrived. When it does get here, and I rebuild, YET AGAIN! I may know more, but I may not. My question, finally: What is the probability of getting a bad CPU right outta the crate, never POSTED,Never overclocked, no signs of heat or having been used or damaged, carefully and properly seated and pasted with proper compound, being DOA. Did I do the right thing by assuming it was the MOBO TWICE? Could there be incompatibility issues with hardware or memory or PSU? I never clear CMOS from the board, preffering to go through the BIOS, so since neither board posted or displayed, I didn't ever go there. Also a point worth noting is that the second board did not come with its inboard speaker.( I had to use a working one from my old system, which leads me to believe that the second one may have been a repackaged unit, though it looked new.) Another point worth nothing is both ECS boards anti-static bags smelled kinda burnt, but both boards inside the bags looked new with the exception of a small scratch on the "Black Series" Logo on the Northbridge Heatsync of the second board. No Beep codes at all, which kinda makes me second guess my decision. If I have to RMA the CPU through AMD, I'm wondering if anyone here has any experience in dealing with them? I respect the advice in this forum, and appreciate any suggestions anyone may have. Thanks in advance.

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July 12, 2009 at 07:56:24
"Did everything correctly in assembling the system"

That would mean you benchtested your hardware 1st, right? Because if you didn't, everything else you're doing is just a waste of time.

"What is the probability of getting a bad CPU right outta the crate"

What is the probability of getting two bad boards "right out of the crate"? Going back to my other comment...if you're not benchtesting BEFORE installing the components in the case, you're wasting your time.

Maybe you don't know how?

1. lay the board on a non conductive surface on a table or work bench.

2. install the CPU w/HSF & ONE stick of RAM.

3. connect monitor to the onboard video.

4. plug in a keyboard...preferrably PS/2.

5. connect the PSU.

6. switch on the power to the PSU & monitor, then jump start the board with a flat screwdriver by momentarily touching the blade to the two pins the power switch would normally connect to. The PSU should instantly fire up & the POST screen should display. You can then use the keyboard to configure the BIOS settings & monitor the CPU temp.

Once you've confirmed it works to that point, shut it down. Then install the PCIe video card & the rest of the RAM. Power up again & make sure you're getting a display. At this point, most people would shutdown & put the hardware in the case. Personally, I would connect a floppy drive (you do plan on installing a floppy, right?) & run memtest86 to confirm the RAM is good. Yes, you can do it from a CD, but you're gonna need the floppy to install the SATA drivers during the Windows installation. It will also come in handy for updating the BIOS or running diagnostics.

Anyhow, if the system doesn't fire up outside the case, it's obviously pointless to install the hardware in the case, so you just saved yourself a lot of work & aggravation. And since you're basically testing just a few of the main components, it *should* be easier to narrow down which one is bad.

"Aptivia 680 Watt PSU"

Do you mean APEVIA? They used to be know as ASPIRE but they got caught misrepresenting their 500W units & there were numerous failures & consumer complaints. They changed their name to APEVIA stating that the reason was to prevent confusion with the Acer Aspire. If you can't get the board to post outside of the case, the 1st thing I would suspect would be the PSU.

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July 12, 2009 at 10:44:09
That's one helluva paragraph.

This is too generic to be of any value.

"2x2 GB double sided memory"

Incompatible RAM would produce the results you describe. NO Post, NO Beep, No display

There are 2 versions of this Mobo

I'm betting the ram came from the same place as the 9500GT.

There is nothing to learn from someone who already agrees with you.

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July 12, 2009 at 11:35:15
OK Thanks to Jam and dumbob for replies. I do have a new floppy drive installed also, sorry I did not mention that, and you are quite correct jam, the PSU IS Apevia. As far as bench testing, no I did not. I can't help but be a bit wary of jump starting a powered board with a screwdriver, but I appreciate the advice, and at this point I will try it first on the new board when it arrives. Your right, it would have saved me some aggravation. I do know that all drives, the video card and PSU are working since I did connect everything to my old board. To clarify, the ram came bundled with the board it is: OCZ SLI-Ready Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel. I am aware that this particular ECS board is a bit picky about RAM voltages, and know that this RAM is compatable with this board, though it can cause instability issues after POST unless values are changed in BIOS settings. I guess that I may have been a bit overconfident, having never had a problem with CPU, RAM or first POST, in any previous builds. I guess what I should do is follow jams advice with the new ASUS board, and carefully jump start the board to test RAM and CPU first. I know this is common procedure, I've just never done it. I will however try it this time! Thanks again!

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July 12, 2009 at 11:51:07
One last my-bad. I should have said I believe this RAM to be compatable with the ECS Board, but as of yet I can't verify that, even though it came as a combo.

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July 12, 2009 at 13:25:40
Compare aganst Crucial specs in the links. If it came bundled it should be Paired and Compatible.
Still worth checking though.

The numbers sound right.

Eventhough pairs are ideal for Dual channel, starting with 1 Stick is still advisable for initial testing.

There is nothing to learn from someone who already agrees with you.

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July 12, 2009 at 15:04:26
"I can't help but be a bit wary of jump starting a powered board with a screwdriver"

I do it all the time & so do most of the "builders" in these forums. Remember that you're dealing with DC voltage, not AC...the PSU is bascially a transformer, turning AC power into DC & breaking it down further into +3.3v, +5v & +12v rails. If you're uncomfortable with the idea, position the case near the board so that you can attach the plug that's connected to the power switch such as this person did:

How to Bench Test Your System

"I know this is common procedure, I've just never done it"

It's common practice for a reason. It eliminates everything that you're currently going through. As it stands right now, you have no idea what the problem're guessing that it's the board & are awaiting the 3rd one. Had you benchtested the 1st board, you probably would have figured out what the problem was long ago & would be enjoying your new system already.

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July 12, 2009 at 19:47:27
Once again thanks to jam and dumbob. Excellent info link jam! I have saved it and printed it to be placed in my notebook for builds.Definately will be bench testing from now on! Also thanks to dumbob for links on RAM specs. The more well armed with info like this the better equipped I am to complete my future builds more efficiently, and without anymore wasted time. I knew I came to this site for a reason. I will keep you POSTED on my success with new build. Thanks again!

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