So I got the parts for an upgrade yesterday, ivy bridge i5-3570 and an ASUS P8Z77-M motherboard. I was just going to put this into my old case, but things took a turn for the worse during my build. I have put together many systems before, and never had any real problems with the fiddly bits. I have to admit I surprised even myself with my bad luck, although I think poor decisions and frustration definitely factored in there. I must admit I am a bit embarassed about how this build went, but do kinda feel it's only partly my fault. Read below the bold if you want to feel my pain, otherwise I just wanted to know if people think there might be something wrong with my PSU.
So now I am in a bit of a conundrum, the new motherboard that I tried was probably flaky due to damage, but there is a chance that my PSU (Corsair 520w) has unstable 5v power. The problem is that the SB_PWR light on the motherboard would blink / flash constantly, from what I have read this indicates there is an issue with the 5v power supply to the board. After many attempts I did get a solid green light and the board even booted into BIOS, however I found that this was only intermittent, and it didn't matter if the motherboard was in my case, out of my case, or whether it had other components connected. Most of the time the SB_PWR would be flashing green, and occasionally it would stay solid and I could boot the board. The thing is, my PSU does work with my old motherboard (Gigabyte 965P-DS3), it powers up just fine every time. Do you think that proves that it is working OK? Would a newer motherboard require more stable power than my old board? (the new motherboard is an asus P8Z77-M). Could there be a problem with the PSU that exists but isn't apparent with my older motherboard?
FYI, I have ordered a Noctua NH-D14, a carbide 400R case, and a replacement motherboard P8Z77-M. Since I had to replace the HSF, and I decided a new case will make the build much more convenient. Plus my current case doesn't have a proper bay for an SSD. I'm not sure if I should also get a PSU to be on the safe side, I was hoping to have this all sorted out before diablo 3 is out on tuesday but now chances of that are looking slim The gates of hell opened for me, but it was a few days too soon...
So my new parts arrived in the mail, it's just a new cpu and motherboard this should be super easy I thought. I already had some spare RAM and a Video Card, so I decided to get straight into it. I proceeded to remove my existing motherboard, drive cage and general wires and bits to clear space for the new motherboard. Shifted the motherboard standoffs to M-ATX positions. Fitted the motherboard, screwed it into place. Put the CPU into the socket and clamped it in. Attached the stock heatsink fan, to what I thought was a suitable position. And then it all goes wrong.
I realise that the way my HSF is mounted the cpu power wire would have to go across the top of the fan (could have still worked but wasn't ideal), but I would rather the wire ran neatly downwards from the side of the HSF. So in my infinite wisdom I decide to remove the HSF and rotate it 90deg so that the wire is closer to the fan header. Bad move! I get 3 of the heatsink clips to remove easily by rotating them in the direction of the arrow, but the fourth one is very stiff and clicks when I turn it like it's stuck or not actually releasing. I play around with this for a while, hoping that it will unclick like all the others did but no luck.
I figure since its not unclipping after a lot of effort, I should remove the motherboard from the case and maybe I can push the clip from the back side and get it to come out. So I remove the motherboard and try poking the black clip nub from the back of the board with a pair of plyers. This has virtually no effect on the stuck clip, and sadly in my effort to exert force I create a very thin scratch on the back of the motherboard (oh good!). I look at the scratch and think to myself, well it is very minor but it is a scratch none the less, hopefully I didn't just kill the board (I will post a pic of the scratch later). I try again to rotate the clip from the front side for the last time, and eventually give up since it simply will not unclip. I test another clip to make sure I am not misunderstanding, and sure enough it clips and unclips as I would expect.
So I give up on the idea of getting the HSF off the board, and re-clip the other 3 clips into place. Now I want to know if I have killed the board or not with the scratch. So I put the motherboard back in the case, attach all the power cables, memory, video card and so forth. All set, turn on the power (plug in psu and turn on) the SB_PWR green light is flashing on the motherboard but at this point I haven't realised what it means. I try turning on the machine, nothing, not even fans spinning up or any beeps or anything.
So I double check I have the power button headers on right, remove the video card and memory so it's just the cpu and motherboard. Try disconnecting and reconnecting the power connectors. All I get is a flashing green light. I look up about the flashing green light, and not much info to be seen other than some forum posts that claim its due to unstable 5v power. I decide to double check the PSU by putting back in my old motherboard, are sure enough it boots up on the first try, no problem. So I think the PSU is ok, next I decide to eliminate a grounding problem. So I put the new motherboard on an antistatic bag outside the case by itself, connect up the two power cables from the PSU and turn on the PSU. The green light flickers, but then goes solid. Great I think, maybe I just had grounding issues or I didn't connect something properly. So I put it back into the case and try again, sure enough it goes back to a flashing green light.
Long story short, and plenty of trial and error. I checked for grounding issues, and even tried things like checking the motherboard standoffs or possible contacts under the board, tried it with no motherboard face plate, removing installed parts so it's just the CPU and Mobo. It turns out that -sometimes- the SB_PWR light goes solid after a few seconds, sometimes it takes 15-20 seconds, but most of the time it just stays flashing, or blinking. When it goes solid, I press the power button and booted into the bios. It was reading 5.08 or 5.048 volts or something, which looked normal to me.
At this point I am thinking, this sucks it doesn't seem like its my fault that the HSF wouldn't unclip, yet maybe I shouldn't have tried to push the pin through from the back side of the board (futile anyway, definitely do not try doing that). I figure I should try RMAing the board since it's kinda my fault but kinda not, so I set about trying to get the HSF off the motherboard. Incredibly, as I begin to remove the clips I find that not one but two of the clips are now stuck in place. Son of a...
At this point I begin to relax because I realise that no matter what happens I'm screwed, and there's no way this new system is going to be up and running smoothly any time soon. It turns out that the best method for removing these stuck clips is to use a flat head screwdriver to gently rotate the clips in the direction of the arrow. However, even despite using that method the internal black pin inside one of the clips broke off and I ended up having to remove the remaining bit of white plastic stub with embedded black pin with some pliars.
The finale to all this is that in my state of frustration and carelessness I managed to bend the CPU socket pins. I removed the remaining stub of HSF clip and proceeded to prepare the motherboard to be put back into its packaging. I wiped off the thermal residue from the cpu, and unclipped it and set it aside. No problem. Then I remembered the black cpu socket protector that came with the motherboard. "I had better put this on to protect the pins!" So I go about trying to figure out how this thing slides into place, and in the process manage to bend pins on the cpu socket. It will be interesting to see just how it clips on when I get the replacement board, it does seem like a nice trap for ruining your board that they created. In the end I couldn't even see how it was supposed to clip on safely, but as soon as I realised it had happened I pretty much gave up. Because with the bent pins, good luck getting an RMA on the board. /facepalm
In hindsight I can see that I should have approached this situation with much greater care, although it does feel like I am a victim of poor design. Particularly on the "socket protector" and the HSF clips.
I will try post a picture of the scratch when I get home from work, to share the carnage. I might also try straightening the pins but I don't hold much hope for that. As you can see from the pics it is only a tiny scratch, it's not very deep either I think it looks deeper in the pic because of the lighting. It's about the thickness of a hair.