Cynical Rig Mk 3 - Update
So I was so thrilled to be done with the build. Aside from the DOA Corsair H100 which I will be sending back, things were pretty golden. I had driven an hour to the only Best Buy that had another H100 in stock. I took it home and installed it the same day. It worked! Now I don’t know how many of you have built your own rig, but a first time start up with everything working together is a beautiful thing for us tech geeks. It’s like learning to breathe in a new way. The flowers look fresher and the sky appears bluer. You get the idea. It was beautiful.
I carried on with cleanup. I had my cables all neat and tucked away. Temps were about 29 C on BIOS (which they typically are higher while idle in BIOS anyway) and everything was working swell. Until…. 15 minutes later when I’m just about to begin installing the OS. Silence.
The rig just shut itself down. I was monitoring temps so I knew it wasn’t a failsafe shutdown. Nothing had been moved. It just magically quit working. Fun times. I pressed the power button on the motherboard. It started… and then died in basically 4 seconds. Just what you want to hear from the rig you just spent a small fortune to build. So, I go through the motions of taking everything off and putting it back in one at a time considering all the ASUS Rampage IV wanted to tell me was that it didn’t like the CPU. Of course, you can’t go based on what the indicator lights tell you upon booting up, because the ASUS board will go through the motions of lighting up each indicator as it progresses along the chain of checks before posting. So what I gathered was that it wasn’t really the CPU (it hardly ever is actually.. mostly because you’re too crap scared to screw it up).
You know when your car starts making an odd sound and you always try to replicate it with your voice to the mechanic? Yeah, I get the funny looks too when I try to explain how a faulty computer sounds starting up. Try googling “why won’t my computer start” and I guarantee you, inside the hundreds of thousands of geeks helping geeks forums, you’ll find at least one nerd who will try his best to explain the sounds it makes in conjunction with not starting. So, I’m going to be that nerd right now and tell you that when the rig started, it sounded almost like it was downshifting (like in a car) and then kaput. So, that led me to think… power?
So I ripped the power supply out of my son’s rig (which is actually the Cynical Rig Mk 1 : trivia info) and it’s a rather aged OCZ. I stared at the crazy amount of dust that lay all over the cables (back when PSUs had all the connectors perma-attached). I got some compressed air and cleaned the cables over my dirty laundry hamper because, hey, it’s all going to be washed soon anyhow, and it’s just towels! I plugged the OCZ PSU into the Mk 3. It whined at me because it was stressed and this is a shiny new environment. It wanted to go back to it’s dusty hideaway with it’s friends, floppy and IDE connected hard drive. Evenso, it did power the rig and the same thing that happened with the Corsair AX1200 happened with the OCZ. So the power supply is good. That’s at least something to be happy about…right?
Feeling slightly more optimistic, I took the entire thing apart and put it all back together again. Because, hey, who doesn’t love rebuilding the rig you just built? I figured that perhaps a connector was loose somewhere or perhaps the rig decided it just wanted to play for time before being put through it’s paces. I had everything reassembled and pressed power. Same issue still there. Keep in mind, I had taken out everything… board… CPU… all of it. So what gives?
I started recalling the days of assembling the Cynical Rig Mk 1. That machine was it’s own set of problems and I used to solve them all with battery removals and resetting the CMOS. So, sure enough, the ASUS Rampage IV has this awesome CMOS button on the back that’s lit up for convenience. So, in short : removed the battery : nothing, reset the CMOS : nothing, switched to the 2nd BIOS chip : nothing, drained the board of power and reset : nothing, switched the reset cables around to see if I could upset the thing into working : nothing, unplugged the 4-pin and 8-pin power connectors and used new ones : nothing, removed the cpu cooler and cleaned the edges to ensure thermal paste didn’t get into one of the connectors : nothing. I was angry. I was ridiculously upset. I felt like kicking it, throwing it out the window, setting it on fire and any of those other completely unreasonable things you’d like to do to your PC when it doesn’t want to work. I said screw it, played some Plants vs Zombies on my iPad and went to sleep.
This morning, I decided yet again, that I would not be beaten by this mere assembly of hardware porn. I decided to assemble it without the case on the desk. The last thing I could fathom that could be wrong with the rig would be that the motherboard is getting a short when it goes to start up and it’s shutting itself down to avoid frying the chips. Now a short typically happens when you have a rogue wire running behind your motherboard, or perhaps you screwed the board in too tight (something that is my personal pet peeve) or forgot to use the standoffs that come with your kit to mount the board. Considering this was not my first time at the rodeo, none of these things were present in my build.
So, I disassembled everything, AGAIN… and reassembled it at my desk on top of some anti-static sheets, cardboard and the standoffs. Started it up, and voila! No more 4 seconds then dying. It cleared all of it’s checks, so I’m thinking it must have been a short. I’ll have to go back over the case with a fine toothed comb to find out what it is about the Cosmos II that the motherboard doesn’t like.
I’ll post once everything is back up and running. Just wanted to let you all know where I’ve been for the past couple of days. I spent the whole weekend fiddling with this thing and apparently I’m doomed to fiddle with it for awhile longer. All of this while breaking every nail I have, neglecting the housework and my husband arrives home for the first time in five years on Wednesday. Yeah… great timing isn’t it? Oh well, domestic responsibilities over playing with my hardware (that sounded dirty didn’t it?) NEVER! Priorities. Every girl has them. Mine are just geekier than others.