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Server motherboard not displaying video at all?  Help!

Posted on 2013-02-06
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Last Modified: 2013-11-08
I recently just finished building what is soon to be our new email server.  I've built many computers and servers in the past and this is the first time I've ever run into a big problem that I cannot figure out the answer for.  It is a custom built server with all custom parts and a black box.  It is a Supermicro server motherboard.  Everything is connected properly and I've double and triple checked it.  I am running 16GB ECC unbuffered ram, 1155 Xeon 3.2Ghz Ivy Bridge CPU, and a HighPoint PCIe x8 RAID controller card.  I turn the server on and all case fans, PSU fans, and CPU fan spin up no problem, the motherboard light is solid green and lit and does not flicker or turn any other color, I hear no beeps of any kind (my other server builds usually beep when booting up just as part of the normal boot process, so this is a red flag how this one doesn't beep at all), and no video is displayed on the monitor.  I tried the onboard VGA video and the monitor light never turns green or even flickers.  It just stays amber the whole time.  I tried a different monitor and a different cable and same thing.  Then I tried putting a separate video card in the server using the PCI express x16, which I thought for sure would work, and to my surprise it still does not display video.  I've tried the VGA port on the video card as well as the DVI port all to no avail.  I've tried removing the RAID controller card for both onboard video and video card and still nothing.  I've also tried removing one stick of ram then all of the ram and still no video.  I don't even see the BIOS screen.  Nothing displays on the monitor whatsoever and as I said before, the light on the monitor stays amber.  I'm starting to think I have a bad motherboard, but what doesn't make sense is that the motherboard light is green and lit the entire time with no flickering or changing color.  Does anyone know what might be the problem or can offer any suggestions?
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Question by:Brent Johnson
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pony10us earned 250 total points
ID: 38860561
I have used this checklist in the past:   http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/321419-31-boot-black-screen-beep - I usually find that I have something wrong/lose in my connections.
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Author Comment

by:Brent Johnson
ID: 38861047
pny10us,

I printed out that guide and started to follow it.  Then I figured I would just take the mobo out of the case and unplug everything except for the PSU 24 pin and 8 pin leads that power the mobo as well as the cpu fan and the power front panel connector.  That is it that is plugged into the mobo right now.  The only other thing plugged in is of course the monitor vga cable going to the onboard video port.  Everything else removed and I powered it on and I still get no video.  I'm convinced that it is the motherboard.
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by:pony10us
ID: 38861072
I would tend to agree however I would do the check on the processor Just to rule it out.
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by:Brent Johnson
ID: 38861158
I dont have a 4 or 8 pin CPU power connector.  My CPU only has a cpu fan connector.
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by:rojosho
rojosho earned 250 total points
ID: 38863766
Hello Johnsonbrentw y et al,

Sounds like a very good problem.  

Not sure if I read your thread correctly, but just make sure.... I think the '4 or 8 pin CPU power connector' noted is actually on your MoBo, somewhere near your CPU socket.  What goes into it is a matching connector from your power supply, this is the voltage used to power your CPU - Did i misread your comment?

As a side note, you will need a ATX power supply for the CPU model that you have.  By chance do you have a power supply checker?  This is the one i use which is pretty good:
http://www.rakuten.com/prod/coolmax-ps-228-atx12v-eps12v-power-supply-tester-atx-motherboard/212543552.html?listingId=-1

In any event, if you have broken down your hardware to the bare basics, which it sounds like you have, then i am inclined to agree with you in that you have a bad motherboard.  I would offer one more suggestion: Remove the CMOS Battery for 20 seconds and reinstall and see if you see anything from the Embedded VGA port, you should see something with a minimum configuration.

Keep us posted,

Rojosho
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Author Comment

by:Brent Johnson
ID: 38869287
To all, I have an update.  I replaced the motherboard, and SAME THING.  I've also tried a different PSU and SAME THING.  Could it be the CPU??  No display whatsoever and now I'm using an ASUS P8BWS mobo which is reporting code "20" which hasn't changed since swapping PSU's and video cards.  It just keeps showing code "20".  Any suggestions?  I'm starting to think now that it is the CPU.  Once again, no beeps and no error lights except for that code 20.  All fans including cpu fan are still running.  All I have plugged in are the bare minimums.  The CPU power connector, 24 pin mobo power connector, and power switch cable and CPU fan.  Any suggestions?
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by:pony10us
ID: 38869324
This motherboard:   http://www.manualslib.com/manual/324978/Asus-P8b-Ws.html?page=54#manual

Did you see this second bullet:

"Do not forget to connect the 8-pin EATX12 V power plug; otherwise, the systemwill not boot."
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Author Comment

by:Brent Johnson
ID: 38876565
I just switched the CPU, and it didn't change anything.  I am completely clueless right now.  I've tried everything that I can think of and nothing is fixing this.  I've attached a picture of what my setup looks like and as you can see, I have the essential power connectors connected.  I desperately need help with this.
ServerMobo.JPG
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Author Comment

by:Brent Johnson
ID: 38876602
Also, I do have a PSU tester, and everything tested out as it should.  I also tried a different PSU from a different computer that is an ATX PSU and still, the same thing.
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Expert Comment

by:pony10us
ID: 38876631
Just grasping here but does the hard drive spin up?

Have you tried repeatedly pressing F5 as the system is booting to see if you can get into safe mode? Can you get into the BIOS?

It doesn't sound like you can do either however if you can get into safe mode it maybe the frequency setting or the resolution. If the monitor is not PnP and the resolution or frequency don't match you could end up with this type of result.
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Author Comment

by:Brent Johnson
ID: 38876964
I don't see anything on the monitor whatsoever and the light does not change from amber.  It doesn't even flicker or turn green for even a milisecond.  Thus, no BIOS screen appears, nothing shows on the screen at all.
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Author Comment

by:Brent Johnson
ID: 38877025
Yes, the hard drives spin up.  It's like every single thing works, except I don't get video output of any sort.
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Author Comment

by:Brent Johnson
ID: 38878356
Solved... It turns out, after all this trouble and grief that the RAM was incompatible.  That is.. On the new replacement motherboard.  I still am unable to get my original mobo to respond even with different ram.  I'll save that for another day.  At least this one is working.  I was using Registered ECC ram when the only RAM compatible is UNBUFFERED ECC ram.  Thank you all for all of your help with this.
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Expert Comment

by:rojosho
ID: 38878640
Johnsonbrentw,

Nice job!!!  

Thank you for the points and I look forward to working with you again.

Rojosho...
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