Motherboard Hell

This week I've been going through what can only be described as Motherboard Hell. Let me first say that I've been building my own systems since the mid-90s. I've build about 10 systems in my lifetime, however, I went to the dark side about 2 years ago and got a MacBook Pro as my main machine. I have been using my older AMD 64 Box that I build in 2005 as my gaming computer since. died a month ago, and I started buying parts to build a new computer.

I bought the following:

Antec 300 Case
Antec 650W PS
Gigabyte EP45-UD3P
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0 GHz 6M L2 Cache 1333MHz FSB LGA775
Corsair TWIN2X4096-8500C5D Dominator 2 X 2GB PC2-8500 1066MHz DDR2 CL5 Dual Channel
EVGA 512-P3-N879-AR GeForce 9800 GTX + 512 MB DDR3 PCI-Express 2.0

I am using an SATA Segate 250GB HD I already had and an older ATA/133 IDE Pioneer DVD+DL Burner that pulled out of my previous system.

I've been getting the parts in slowly over the past 2 weeks as I was able to afford to do so. Case & PS first, then Mobo, then RAM, then Processor and finally, cooler and GPU on Wednesday.

I installed both of the final two components - hooked everything up - and booted the machine. On the first boot it posted just fine, although I didn't hear a beep, and got to the point where it should try to load an OS off of the HD or attempt to boot from a CD. It just hung on the "loading VMI information" or something of that nature.

I rebooted and went into BIOS. I went through each menu of the bios, setting things like the bus from 266 to 333 so it would run correctly at 3.0 ghz. I made sure the boot order was CDROM -> HD although I noticed that there is a seperate HD boot order menu in which it was picking up the Pioneer DVD drive on the IDE channel. I switched that to be before the HD.

At this point I could get it to display "NO OPERATING SYSTEM LOADED" or something of that nature when no CD was present. I tried to put in an ISO i got from microsoft of the new Windows 7 Beta and it would not boot from it. It simply would seem to load the DVD drive endlessly but would not get past the "LOADING VMI INFO" msg.

At this point, during one of my reboots, I noticed something that I had overlooked. After the RAM checked, it said "Running in Single Channel Mode". After opening my case I saw that I had, in my haste, accidentally put my ram in slots 1 and 2, instead of 1 and 3 or 2 and 4 for dual channel. I powered down the system and removed the chip from slot 2, and put it in slot 3.

The computer booted up, all the fans kicked on and the noises emanating from the case were identical to all other times it booted. I could head the HD working and the DVD drive eventually starting to spin up the Windows disc video.

Also. I wondered why I wasn't hearing any beeping from the internal speaker when, after doing some research and looking around in the case, I realized that the Antec 300 case doesn't have an internal speaker. Wonderful.

The only thing I could think of was to disconnect the internal speaker from my old system and try to hook it up to the new one to see if I can get some type of beeping feedback from the mobo as to what is wrong.

I pulled the internal speaker out of the other case I had and hooked it up to the new system.

I then removed all of the components except CPU. Having powered it off, I cleared the CMOS and then powered it on. It gave me 3 short beeps, which is indicated in the manual to mean RAM problems. I powered down and replaced the ram in slots 1 and 3. Powered up with no video in. It began emitting a long beep for the video card. I powered down and put the video card in the PCIE slot. I powered up - still a long beep. I then powered down and switched the video card to PCE slot 2 since this is an SLI mobo. I still got the long beep.

I called the EVGA Tech support folks and ran down with them on the phone everything I did. They recommend that I RMA the GPU, which I've now done.

All indications are that, as of now, the GPU has failed but frankly, I don't trust the motherboard. At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if the new GPU doesn't work either and I'm going to have to end up RMAing the board.

As of right now, I should get the replacement GPU in Tuesday or Wednesday hopefully and will post an update when I have one.