New Computer Problem

That is, it’s a problem with a new computer build. When I hit the power-on switch, I just heard a pop, and then I smelled burnt electronics. Fortunately, I didn’t see or smell any damage to anything else in the chassis. Never had a PS fail right out of the box like that, but it’s clearly dead, because the fan won’t start when I jump 15 and 16 on the main connector. Guess I’ll have to RMA it to Newegg.

[Update after a trip to Best Buy]

New power supply (Corsair) fired up with no issues, all fans running. Now to figure out why it’s not doing a POST.

[Sunday-morning update]

OK, the machine is not providing video output. It’s not the graphics card, because I swapped it out with a known working one. So now I have to suspect the motherboard itself, though it is starting, and the CPU fan is running.

[Late-morning update]

OK, I went through this checklist, and now it won’t run at all. Nothing happens when I hit the power button.

[Update a while later]

OK, here’s the situation. There is an eight-pin and four-pin ATX connector next to each other on the board for the CPU. The new power supply doesn’t have a four-pin connector. It has an eight-pin, with several other eight-pins with a detachable two-pin (making them a six-pin). I tried plugging the six-pin into the four-pin connector, and that’s what made the motherboard fail to start. If I remove that second connector, and reset the CMOS, it will start again. How essential is getting power to that four-pin connector on the board, and how do I do it with this power supply? It clearly isn’t getting graphics from the existing set up, even though the fans and LEDs are running.

[Update a few minutes later]

For the curious, this is the board.

[Update a few more minutes later]

OK, in doing a search, I found this discussion at Reddit. It’s not very encouraging.

[Update a while later]

This seems stupid, but if I were to buy this Athlon, maybe it would solve the problem long enough to update the BIOS?

[Update mid-afternoon]

I read the first page of reviews on the board, and no one mentions this problem (though a lot of complaints about the LAN connector and the BIOS-reset button).

[Monday-morning update]

I’ve given up on the machine. I’m going to RMA the motherboard back to Newegg, and get an MSI at Best Buy.


46 thoughts on “New Computer Problem”

  1. I agree. One culprit might have been your video card if you have one, or possibly your motherboard. It should be easy to spot, if not too mangled, you might be able to read what it was and replace it. OTOH this is the kind of thing mfg. warranties were designed for.

  2. Sounds like the Good Olde Days™ when I bought my Pentium-I: you plugged a new computer in for 24+ hours to see if it would die.

  3. You say PS vs PC, was this a new power supply for an old chassis?
    Before you try another PS you might want to ohm out the multi-wire power cable before you turn it on. Make sure your main chassis/motherboard doesn’t have any shorts.

      1. I had that happen to me when I built a machine from Fry’s parts…Smoke test positive, fried the power cord!

        Fry’s did their usual criminal job of trying to screw me out of refunds/replacements. They would take returned parts, wipe the soot off, and repackage them, including re-shrink wrapping them just like new. Software too, which was a treat when you tried to register it.

  4. Whatever happened is likely following the old electronics rule – silicon will burn out to protect the fuse.

      1. It’s an old electronics joke. Fuses that seconds to burn out while silicon takes a fraction of a second. There’s likely a fuse somewhere, perhaps in the power supply.

  5. I recently had a similar PC hardware problem. Symptom was sometimes getting only 60 Hz connection instead of 90 Hz to my VR headset at 4320 x 2160 resolution. Which made me imagine the 3D world wasn’t as clear as it should be. And then there would be snow. And then black. Sound worked fine though. Solution: replace the headset cable.

    1. This seems like a more fundamental problem; the video card is not providing output. I’m going to swap it out tomorrow with the one from my machine, which I know is working.

      1. There’s a chance the motherboard could be trying to default to integrated graphics. That can be annoying to undo. Try resetting the CMOS; it’s not uncommon for them to get corrupted and cause weird problems. You usually do it by either removing the battery or shorting two jumpers on the motherboard, but you’ll need to look at the motherboard manual.

        1. Yep that’s my inclination as well. Does the motherboard offer integrated graphics? If so try that first. And try dropping into the BIOS first. If you need more help it’d help to know the make and model of your motherboard.

          1. Check your make amd model of motherboard to make sure it’s AM4 compatible and doesn’t need a BIOS upgrade to work with the 3600. You might be facing a BIOS issue. If your BIOS chip is removable you might be able to put it into a working system boot up and re-flash it. IF your new motherboard is compatible. You’re right if you don’t get video out there isn’t a whole lot you can do.

  6. This probably isn’t relevant, but in case it is;

    Several years ago, I had a similar-sounding issue with a motherboard and video card (no power supply issue though). I was building a PC, and the MB was from Newegg.

    The problem, it turned out, was the BIOS. They’d shipped the MB with the wrong version of the BIOS, one that didn’t support the MB. So the BIOS chip needed flash-updating, on a motherboard that wouldn’t run. I had to call customer service to ask how to do that, turned out they didn’t know either.

    They sent me a new BIOS chip, and all was well once I’d installed the thing.

  7. I can’t tell you anything more than what you could find doing an internet search on how to connect your PS to your motherboard. Outside of that, one of the cheesy fixes was to make sure your monitor is selecting the hdmi port via the monitor”s set up. Try forcing it to HDMI if not already and see if that works.

      1. Sorry I thought you’d said you were using HDMI. Well you could try a different format if your graphics card & monitor supports it & you have a cable and see what happens. Granted it shouldn’t make a difference but what have you to lose at this point?

          1. Assume when you say HDMI that is what your tried in the swapped known good card. Otherwise if power connections are good then it’s either your motherboard or BIOS.

  8. Had a similar issue recently, no video output, even with different and known good cards. Ended up replacing the motherboard last week. I’m back up and running. MSI B550 board in my case.
    I do wonder if it was a rough power issue. The PSU seems fine in this case, and I had it running through a surge protector. But now I have it running though a line-conditioning UPS.

  9. This seems stupid, but if I were to buy this Athlon, maybe it would solve the problem long enough to update the BIOS?

    Bootstrap your BIOS? I suppose. Or you could have bought an HP PC. I believe they use AMD processors. 🙂

  10. When desperate try reseating everything you might have touched on the motherboard. Work them all a few times. CPU, DIMMS Graphics Card. Otherwise I give up.

    1. Graphics card and memory have been reseated (former when I swapped it out to see if it was the issue). Only thing I haven’t tried is the CPU. I suppose I can give it a whirl.

  11. A 3600 should work on an x570 board without needing a BIOS update. Plugging the six-pin connector into the motherboard 4-pin socket was a bad idea; the connector is for a video card, and the pinouts aren’t compatible (the +12V pins on one connector are the GND pins on the other, and vice versa). You may have damaged the board doing that. As you now realize, you didn’t need the 4-pin plugged in if you used the 8-pin–but again, you need to use the right one, not the one for the video card. In any event even with overclocking you probably don’t need the 4-pin with a 3600.

  12. A slight nitpick: approximately no motherboards come with integrated graphics these days. The video sockets on the mobo are all for CPUs with integrated graphics, and, as you noted, the 3600 doesn’t come with graphics, so you can’t use them.

    How early did you put the 6-pin connector in the 4-pin socket? If you did that early on, it may have been killed from that point.

    Some AMD motherboards can be finicky about the RAM they use, and need to go through an extended booting sequence the first time they are powered on–it will look like the thing reboots itself several times. I had an x570 that was picky; I eventually got rid of it and replaced it with a different model. On every board’s support web page, they will have something called a QVL list–this is a list of all the RAM kits the vendor tested with that particular motherboard, and are more or less guaranteed to work. If you don’t use something on the list you’re taking your chances, although, again, you’ll be fine on a lot of boards.

  13. If you look at the motherboard, the edge that would go towards the front of the computer has what looks like 4 SMD LEDs on it in a row. They’re above the 4-pin RGB strip header that’s above the main 24-pin power connector. If you look closely they should be labelled something like BIOS CPU RAM VGA (look in the motherboard manual for more details), and should light up, one at a time, as the board boots. The lights should generally be different colors. When you power it on, what happens? If the board won’t boot, you can at least tell what stage of the process it’s failing at.

  14. I’ve given up on the machine. I’m going to RMA the motherboard back to Newegg, and get an MSI at Best Buy.

    Good call. Which model of MSI?

      1. You will probably be better off with 2 sticks of RAM than 4, in general, on a Ryzen motherboard. The memory controller is a bit less flexible than with Intel.

        Regardless of that, remember what I said in a comment above: the first time you power it on, it’s not unusual for the motherboard to reboot itself 2-3 times before coming up into the BIOS. You’ll see the CPU fan spin up and then stop. This is normal, and as long as it doesn’t run into problems, it shouldn’t do that again unless you clear the CMOS. If it gets stuck in a loop where it does that forever, your best bet is to return whatever RAM you have and replace it with something on the QVL, which you can find on MSI’s support page for that mobo.

        Don’t forget, RAM goes in the 2nd and 4th slots away from the motherboard if using 2 sticks, and make sure to use the top M.2 slot first if you’re using a M.2 SSD.

    1. I don’t think that would work with PCIe. It doesn’t get good reviews, and seems to be for older machines. When was the last time computers had an ISA interface?

      1. There may well be a few special-purpose motherboards with ISA slots for industrial controllers or something, but it was superseded by PCI in the late 90s. No consumer board has ISA–and very few have PCI these days, either. That board’s a neat idea but obsolete.

        A lot of buy-yourself-in-stores motherboards are now coming with the 4 diagnostic LEDs I mentioned upthread, so you at least know which stage of the POST process the board’s in, but the cheap ones usually don’t. Enthusiast boards sometimes include a pair of 7-segment LEDs for status codes, but it’s still not common so you gotta look for it.

        And in Rand’s case, I’m pretty sure the board’s fried, especially after going back and seeing the comment about a pop and smoke, so none of those diagnostic devices would be helpful anyway.

        1. I don’t have any reason to think that the board itself is fried. I’m pretty sure the pop and smell came from the power supply. But it clearly doesn’t work.

          1. “I don’t have any reason to think that the board itself is fried.”

            It’s a moot point since you’re returning the board, but if you plugged a GPU power connector into the motherboard slot and applied power, you connected two things with opposite polarity. It’s an idiotic design, especially since the connectors aren’t keyed differently enough to prevent you from making this mistake, but the two connectors have +12V and ground in the opposite place. The plugs coming out of the PSU should be labelled “CPU” and either “GPU” or “PCIe”. Just take note of the shape of the individual plugs on the connector and you’ll be OK–the 6-pin or 6+2-pins are never for the CPU, so you only have to worry about the 8-pin.

      2. The one that comes up when I click is PCI and PCIe, It’s also in China, so good luck with that. Like I said, I haven’t had to use one and was using it just as an example to show what’s available. There are mother boards that have the LED display built in, mostly for overclockers, too. There’s an awful lot of code that has to execute between power up and the first glimmer on a monitor.

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