After leaving the power supply unplugged from the motherboard and powering the water pump for about 24 hours, I was confident there were no leaks in the water cooling loop. I was excited to try everything out!
Even though there is no support for the PCI cards yet, the graphics card still stood in the slot as long as I didn’t shake it too hard. I also installed the memory sticks into four of the slots (quad channel!) and plugged the main power cable into the motherboard. I plugged an hdmi cable into my monitor switch, double checked everything was good and powered her up…
The fans powered up, and nothing else… no video, no post, no sound (I don’t have a little beeper speaker for this thing). I got a bit worried. I double checked the plugs, the memory sticks, the graphics card. I thought it all looked good.
Maybe it was outputting the video through another output, so I tried the DVI into another monitor, but still nothing. Maybe the graphics card? I tried an old GeForce 8800 GTS, but still no video. I was kind of afraid that I broke something while test fitting the board to the sled, but still hoping, I did a third check, and noticed I forgot to plug the CPU in on the motherboard (Do’h!).
Once the CPU connector was connected and the new GPU was plugged back in, the computer was powered back on… but still nothing. I tried the old GPU again… nothing.
Maybe the CPU needed to be re-seated? I removed the water block, cleaned the thermal paste off, and re-installed the CPU. I tried to power up without the water block, only for a few seconds so that nothing would overheat. Still nothing happened.
The last thing I could think of was to remove all but one memory stick. With the water block still removed and one memory stick installed, the computer was powered up… and something happened! It took a few seconds, but the GPU spun up and the POST screen came up.
I quickly shut the computer back down before the CPU could over heat (it felt warm quite quickly). I replaced the water block, and tried again. I got to the BIOS and saw everything was working, but with only 4 Gigs of RAM. I installed one more stick, restarted, and nothing again. Maybe the RAM was bad?
On closer inspection, the RAM stick was not pushed down as far as the first one. I guess this was the problem the whole time. Once this stick was installed correctly, everything was working again! Looking through the motherboard manual, I also noticed that I didn’t have the last two stick in the right ports to get the full four channel speed the first time. With this knowledge, I installed the rest of the RAM tightly and in the right spots.
I left everything as default in the BIOS for now and with Windows 8.1 loaded on a USB stick (no CD drive yet, going to steal that from my ammo box), started installing the OS. Everything went perfectly! I just had to download an Ethernet driver onto the USB stick before I could update everything else.
My plans are to finish the desk before trying to push this beast too far with overclocking and heavy gaming. There isn’t much airflow underneath the sled when its sitting on a table. Maybe in the future I will make some feet for it when it needs to be run outside of the desk.