MSI Z87I Fail

MSI-Z871MoboHaving built a new gaming PC for Elite:Dangerous, and fitted it into the C-64 box, things were going well. But then the wheels fell off.

As yet I don’t know exactly what happened but here’s a rundown of events (as accurately recalled as possible);

  1. Day 1 – Install Windows 7.1 downloaded from a genuine Microsoft site.
  2. Install all the MSI drivers and utility software that shipped with the Z87I.
  3. Install Elite:Dangerous (the early preview build released for beta premium backers).
  4. Play E:D for about 20 minutes. Stop, restart system and check CPU temp. Looks fine (about 40°C, default max before thermal protection shutdown is 70°C).
  5. Shutdown the PC and let Windows install 113 updates.
  6. Day 2 – Boot up again and start up E:D.
  7. Play E:D for about 10 minutes – system crashed.
  8. Try to restart but refused to boot. Keeps powering on and then off again endlessly.
  9. Power off and wait 20-30 minutes.
  10. Power on again. Boots ok.
  11. Play E:D for about 2 hours.
  12. Shut down – and install more Windows updates.
  13. Day 3 – boot up, remove MSI-bundled Norton and replace with AVG antivirus. Everything ok.
  14. Day 4 – Install a Saitek X52 joystick (throttle and joystick set). Can only use throttle as cable missing from throttle to joystick.
  15. Everything’s working well for about 30 minutes then a hard crash – blue screen and system dump locks at about 30%
  16. The boot up problem is back – the board powers on and off about three or four times before eventually restarting.
  17. Re-launch E:D and everything seems to be ok.
  18. Day 5 – install new cable to connect joystick to throttle controller. Launch E:D. As soon as the joystick is used the game crashes. This is repeatable at least twice.
  19. Reboot. Again the powering on and off thing returns but it eventually restarts.
  20. Load up the joystick calibration application everything is fine until the joystick is moved, then another hard crash, BSOD.
  21. Now the reboot problem is back and it takes many on/off cycles until it comes back stating that all settings have beed reset to defaults.
  22. Re-install Saitek drivers and retry calibration. Hard crash, BSOD etc.
  23. Now the boot-up problem is back and system won’t restart.
  24. Perform a BIOS reset via the pushbutton on the back of the system. Reboots eventually after more on/off cycles and can enter the settings menus. Everything looks ok there – all default settings are in place (these haven’t been changed at any time along the way).
  25. Reboot again. On/off cycling happens endlessly.
  26. Power off. Clear CMOS using the jumper on the mainboard this time. Power on. Endless on/off cycling.
  27. Remove power.
  28. Remove memory modules and USB devices. Now back to bare board operation with the exception of the HDMI connector for the monitor.
  29. Replace one memory module. System boots. Shut down.
  30. Replace second memory module. System boots. Shut down.
  31. Replace USB keyboard. System boots. Shut down.
  32. Start up. System sounds like it boots, but no display.
  33. Restart several times, same behaviour. Shut down.
  34. Clear CMOS again. Restart.
  35. Again, sounds like it starts but no display. Shut down.
  36. Power on. System dead. No LEDs, no fan activity nothing.
  37. Disconnect everything except CPU. Wait a while. Clear CMOS. Reconnect all the things. Power on. Nothing.
  38. Cry a little.

 

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