My MSI P6N SLI-FI nForce 650 motherboard won't boot with the hard drive and cdrom plugged in.

I've purchased the following hardware:
    - Motherboard:  MSI P6N SLI-FI nForce 650i  (http://www.msi.com.tw/program/products/mainboard/mbd/pro_mbd_detail.php?UID=771)
    - Cooler Master 550 power supply
    - Dual-Core Intel Xeon 3050 (2.13 GHz)

My problem is that it won't boot up if I plug in both the cdrom and a hard drive at the same time. It just sits at a blank screen when I push the power button. If I only have the cdrom drive plugged in then I can boot from it. I did that and updated the bios to the latest version, but it didn't help.

The bios update I used was at:
    http://www.msi.com.tw/program/support/bios/bos/spt_bos_detail.php?UID=771&kind=1
It's listed there as version 1.1, but when I installed it, it turned out to be version 2.6. (the version that was already installed before was 2.4.)

I tried unplugging almost everything and removing one of the ram sticks so that only one is left, but unplugging the power from the hard drive is the only thing that allows the system to work.

Any suggestions? I put a pci test card in there and it just says "FF".

It's a 550w power supply and it came with a power meter that shows that only 100w of power is being drawn, so it can't be overloaded.

I've thought about buying another power supply to see if that's the problem, but I'd rather buy some sort of tester so that I can see if it's the power supply or not.
HappyEngineerAsked:
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nobusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
>>   if I plug in both the cdrom and a hard drive at the same time  <<  test those onn another system, and check also the jumpers - if on the same cable, 1 master, one slave
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DrMicro47Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Could be a bad hard drive, but you'll know this afer you test it on another system as nobus recommended.  

Your motherboard has two IDE connectors.   Plug your hard drive into one using an 80-conductor cable and your CD-ROM into the other.  You might also try changing cables... it's rare, but I have had bad cables before.
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HappyEngineerAuthor Commented:
Sorry, I forgot to mention that my hard drive is not an IDE hard drive. It's SATA, so it's not a master-slave conflict problem.

Furthermore, I've found that if I plug in my removeable hard drive bay (it's a bay that I can slide SATA hard drives into and out of) without any hard drives in it, it still has this problem. This is vexing because the only thing that does without a hard drive is run a fan.

Yes, the CDROM works fine in another system. (I actually removed it from another system in order to use it.)

I'll try plugging in a SATA CDROM at the same time to see if that also prevents the system from booting.

However, now that you mention it, I'll also try using an IDE hard drive just to see what happens.

If it is the power supply, how would I test that? Should I plug a multimeter into it or what? I suppose that I should check to see if perhaps some of the plugs are not providing the proper voltage or something.
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jamietonerConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Have you tried a different sata cable? Different sata HDD?
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DrMicro47Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Still could be a bad hard drive.   Test it in another system or try a different SATA drive.  If the problem persists, it may be a driver problem.   Make sure you add the SATA drivers (using the F6 option) when you install the OS.
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AndrewCinkConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I would try clearing your CMOS just to be safe. Remove the battery for a minute with the computer unplugged, and try booting up again. You could also try a different sata port, or if your motherboard has two SATA controllers, like one native and one powered by a separate RAID controller, use that one instead.

If that fails, try using an IDE HD and CD both. It sounds to me like it might be a bad motherboard, if you can confirm the drives are both good in another PC, I'd swap out that board.
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nobusCommented:
>>  If it is the power supply, how would I test that?   <<  with a meter, you'll only see if the voltages are present (you can do that when the disk and cd are plugged in) but the best test is on another system, or with another power supply (the power supply testers are good, but don't test under load)
did you try the disk on another system ?
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HappyEngineerAuthor Commented:
After some frustration and discussion on the maker's forums I'm just going to return this thing. Thanks for the help.
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freddy9000Commented:
i have the same mobo, i used to have windows on a sata drive and linux on a pata drive, and with the shipped bios version i could use both. but i decided to do a live update that was successful i can boot from my sata drive to windows, but when i choose my pata drive it just sets at a black screen and doesnt even post.... so i try to boot back up with sata, and i get the same error until i clear the cmos. so it worked before np but the update screwed me, not sure what to do. i'm going to try switching the pata drive cables around and check jumpers. bbl
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HappyEngineerAuthor Commented:
Since you're interested I guess I'll update what happened.

I returned the motherboard and bought a different one. The returned board was eventually shipped back to me, so the store wouldn't even accept the return. I just threw it in the trash.

Once the new motherboard was installed I discovered that the hard drive I had connected to the first board was also trashed. I had to throw that away too.

I don't know if the board was messed up and destroyed the drive or if some electrical short fried the board and the drive. Regardless, this is unlikely to be a common problem, so this really isn't going to help anyone else figure out their problems.
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