[SOLVED] ASUS B450-F motherboard, defective DIMM slots, no POST, orange LED

oakside

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It seems my "new" B450-F motherboard has a couple dead DIMM slots. Maybe some wisdom can be shared with me to help figure this out. Otherwise, this post may at least help others with similar problems. Will update until resolved (feel free to PM or notify me if I forget).

Details: Tested RAM in various configurations. System will not function (or extremely unstable if so) if slots B2 or B3 are filled: ASUS Q-LED (next to DIMM slots) stays solid orange, stuck in POST, no BIOS access, no video output. Everything is powered and fans run normally. Have to shut off power manually (hold power button, switch PSU) to retry.

Orange Q-LED is not even a color listed in manual! (Maybe combo of red and yellow?! No idea, WTF ASUS.) In rare passing POSTs, quickly entering BIOS and setting RAM underclock (like 1600 MHz) seemed to have the "dead" slots working for minutes or hours, but quite unstable, can freeze in BIOS (no input works), crashes Windows (straight to orange Q-LED and no display as above). If I avoid those slots, place one stick of RAM in other slots (A1 or A2), everything functions well, Windows seems perfectly stable! Running stable now with one in A2 (even full speed, DOPC 3200 MHz). Stock BIOS (2202), and latest BIOS (2406), reset to default settings. No overclock. Everything carefully assembled on grounded anti-static mat with wrist strap.

Questions: What could cause the above behavior? (Research says this is not completely uncommon.) Motherboard defect? (There were oddities with packaging, see below.) Motherboard or CPU damage from cooler installation, or too tight screws? PSU cable adapter problems? (Currently using adapters on CPU 8-pin and ATX 24-pin, needed more length.) Would you just RMA, replace?

Oddities: Arrived from Newegg with no seals of any kind, even simple tape on the anti-static bag. (Newegg seller, not marketplace, new not open box, full MSRP $130.). There was also one handprint (4-5 long fingers) right smack on the front of an anti-static bag. Raised eyebrows. Everything else looked brand new: box, accessories, front of board, etc. And my other parts for build were sealed and spotless. So I gave it a go. Later, while building I noticed an odd, thick-dust-like substance around back of CPU plate (left more obvious outline when removing to install new CPU cooler). I would love to know if ASUS or Newegg is responsible for this defective, probably-used, unsealed product selling as "new".

Parts:
ASUS ROG Strix B450-F Gaming (MB)
AMD Ryzen 5 2600 (CPU)
Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3200 16GB (RAM) (CMK16GX4M2B3200C16) (on AMD and ASUS QVL)
XFX Radeon RX 470 RS 4GB (GPU)
Corsair SF450M 450W (PSU)
Corsair Force MP510 NVME 480GB (SSD)
Corsair Carbide 330R (Case)
CM Hyper 212 Black (CPU Cooler)

Photos:
LED Orange (inside case)
Q-LED Info (B450-F manual)
Dust CPU Plate Dust Dust (crevice, was worse, after cleaning)
Dust CPU Mobo (plate removed, was worse, after cleaning)
Prints ESD Bag (difficult to photo)
 
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Lutfij

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If you noticed that the tags were tampered with, you should contact Newegg and also bring Asus into the matter to initiate an RMA. If I were you, noticed that the slots of ram aren't working in spite of a BIOS update and populating slots A and B to enable dual channel mode(per your motherbaord manual) then I'd go for an RMA, asap.

Breadbaord the system and also get the help of a donor system, to try the ram out on and a donor PSU with more wattage than you need(from a reliable branded unit) off of a friend or neighbor.
 
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oakside

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Thanks Lutfij. I've never had to RMA a motherboard (usually go with Gigabyte FYI, first ASUS in many years). Obviously trying to avoid, but doesn't look possible if a main DIMM slot is defective. On top of the weird condition of arrival, thinking of RMA. Oddly stable with one stick in A2, posting all this on it right now.

How has everyone's motherboard arrived after new purchases these days? Any seals (circular stickers, tape, etc), on anti-static bag or box? My 5-year old Gigabyte shows definite tape on bag, but maybe not on box. What's with the "dust" around back CPU plate?
 

DMAN999

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I also have an Asus ROG Strix B450-F Gaming MB and it arrived in perfect condition in a static bag but I don't believe it was sealed in any way.
I bought mine in November 2018 and I have not had any issues with it at all.
(see my signature for specs)
If I was you I would never have used that motherboard since you saw obvious signs that it was not a new unopened motherboard.
You need to contact Newegg or Asus depending on how long ago you bought it and get a replacement board.
 
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oakside

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Thanks DMAN999. I will contact Newegg. Only bought a week ago. Will slip a paper inside return documenting some of this.

It was borderline, not very obvious unless closely inspected. First I was surprised at absolutely no seals: open box, open bag. (Nothing new comes unsealed?! Even at $5.) But apparently that is common, depending on manufacturer. One, clean hand print on bag (not a bunch of fingers all over). Inspected before build: All accessories looked perfect, bag was folded nicely, no obvious usage or damage. Didn't notice the "dust" on back (along seam with MB and CPU backplate) until after build, thought it could still possibly be explained as some other manufacturing substance, considering the cleanliness of the rest of board.

Let's say it was new: What bothers me is that ASUS doesn't even state what an orange Q-LED means! (See photo in OP of manual.) Nothing about possible combination of colors in the manual or online (like red for CPU error, plus yellow for dram, if orange it's both). Basically I'm guessing, and searching the web for help. Guessed it could be RAM since those issues are common, and I bought 3200s, and it's also one of easiest things to test first.

I don't see how this can anything but a serious defect or damage requiring replacement if system will not function when slots B2 or B3 are filled, yet exact same RAM in slots A1 or A2 is perfectly stable. But I've read posts stating "dead DIMM slots" could be symptom of CPU pins, mobo damage, etc. Not clear if they can be fixed (reseating CPU, loosening screws) or it ends in replacement anyway.
 
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DMAN999

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I just checked my motherboard box and the static bag and neither has any sign that they were ever sealed.
It definitely sounds like you got a board that someone else returned.

When you do get your new board I strongly recommend that you use BIOS version 1201 (with AGESA 1.0.0.6) which is the most stable version for use with your 2600.
The newer BIOS versions all use newer AGESA versions which are for the 3000 series CPU's.
If I recall correctly that DRAM led is supposed to be Amber which is a yellowish/orange color.
I don't remember exactly where I saw it listed as Amber though.
 
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oakside

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Appreciate you checking your packaging. Why do you think so, since it seems ASUS does not seal most boards? I hope I didn't overemphasize the oddities, they're definitely there and weird but I'm still not sure it was used, returned, refurbished, no idea. This DIMM problem is definitely a killer, though.

Thanks for the valuable info about the BIOS. Interesting. I think it was shipped with 2202 (2019-04), and I only tried update to latest 2406 (via USB, EZFlash). Big jump from 1201 to 2008, which just states "Update AGESA 0070". Easy to downgrade BIOS?

When I boot (cleanly, using one stick in A2 as stated), during POST my Q-LEDs go through all colors, ending on green (stays through BIOS until OS boots). None stay on, including orange or amber. (Only LED on inside case is blue, power indicator onboard GPU, none on mobo). Again, hard to find definitive, official answers on this orange LED. Was afraid to start ASUS support case in case it interfered with Newegg RMA.
 
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DMAN999

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Just the fact that it had a handprint on the anti static bag and white dust on the back side of the board would have me thinking that something was not quite right.
The white powder/dust makes me think that it was either re-conditioned or that it was NOT properly inspected in the first place.
If the board comes with BIOS version 2202, I personally would flash version 1201.
I know it performs well and offers good RAM compatibility and OCing.
But if you don't feel comfortable doing that I don't think it will cause any major issues. From what I have read the only real issue with version 2202 was that it could cause cold boot issues and/or take quite a bit longer to boot and doesn't work as well with some RAM at higher speeds.
 
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oakside

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Thanks again, DMAN. You've been super helpful. (Same mobo and CPU!) Will try to downgrade BIOS very soon. I think it will get RMA'd to Newegg in next 1-2 days (their response will be interesting), but I will try anything reasonable to avoid. BIOS. Thought about new RAM, but these are in QVL and work well in some slots. Maybe get long, quality PSU cables from Corsair (remove extensions). Reseat CPU and cooler. Have done plenty of reseating RAM. Any other ideas welcome.
 

DMAN999

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oakside

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I completed reseating the CPU and cooler, esp. to check for damage (CPU pins, mobo running to DIMM slots). Went smoothly. Now it does recognize the "dead" DIMM slots (at least B2), and it's running fine for now (A2 and B2, main slots)!? Needs much more stability testing, but... yeah. That's where I'm at right now. o_O We'll see, I'm certain it ran for a while like this a few days ago, but crashed to orange LED within a couple hours.

It was on stock 2202 BIOS with all the trouble, I definitely didn't chance a failed flash until later, when considerably stable with one stick. Will see if there are reports of BIOS causing serious problems like this, but I've done a lot of reading and didn't notice.

Cooler is definitely not too tight now, but it didn't seem like it before, either. Maybe it was just not level? This time I was trying to calculate with precision, but it's quite difficult. Springs make it hard to tell when screw actually started threading. Using small caliper, measuring top of screw to bottom of heatsink fins, but those could not be level (and screws did not feel particularly evenly torqued when turning.) Meh. Maybe I'll find a good guide online.

Is it normal when removing exact same CPU and placing back, that BIOS will recognize as "new CPU"? ("Press F1 to enter BIOS", instead of usual boot.) Thought that was weird. Is it possible it was binding or something? Dust or particle in there? Inspection seemed fine, but I removed to clean TIM and check pins (looked perfect).
 
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DMAN999

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I see that Press F1 screen as a good sign.
I saw that same screen quite a few times after reseting my CMOS when I was testing various OC settings (CPU and RAM).
That just means the BIOS has been reset to Optimized Default settings.

So you will need to go into the BIOS and see what speed your RAM is running at, it is probably running at 2133 MHz again.
 
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oakside

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How does it know I took the CPU out? It's the exact same CPU, and obviously powered off. Yes, it's running at 2133 (1.2v), but it couldn't even do that for long before so it's a good sign. I will change to DOPC 1.35v and maybe 2800-3000, then 3200 a bit later. MemTest86 coming up. I have AIDA64 stability tests. Try encoding a video. Maybe a game. Lots to test. I give it a 30% chance of passing everything and not getting RMA, but if it wants to be awesome for a while, it can stay here . :LOL:

Edit: I don't consider this solved until things are actually stable for a while. I will mark best answer and update everything (resolution) at that point, in next few days I hope. All help and wisdom is still very welcome! About anything related from ASUS BIOS nightmares, to CPU cooler installs, dead DIMM slots, etc. Would you keep this mobo if seemingly stable, or still RMA?

Edit: Yup, thinking this (cooler install) was the culprit. Didn't know it was so common. Cooler was definitely not too tight (nowhere near screw stoppage), but possibly unevenly tightened. Or a corner of the CPU got jammed down at some point, shifted during install. A foot-long phillips screwdriver is a must (for the Hyper 212). Still testing stability to confirm everything is working fine...
 
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oakside

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Even so... Due to the condition of the mobo, I contacted Newegg. Ended up with an "advanced" RMA (no payment, next-day shipping, 30 days to return, and I only used "chat", A+). At least I could take a look and see if any different than current one. Arrived, and... New board actually looks new! Not sealed in any way, but no dust anywhere, or fingerprints on ESD bag.

Install went well! (Placed some thin M5 nylon washers under CPU cooler studs, since Hyper 212 Black has only super-thin tape adhered on studs, raised 1 mm or so it actually made screws easier to thread). Booted perfectly first time! RAM in two proper slots, 3000 MHz for now. Windows install seems fine as-is. I hope all is well, pretty tired of installs for now. :sleep:

So what the hell did I receive the first time? After uninstall, noticed more dust, esp. on top heatsinks and edges where "whoever" didn't clean as well. Photos added (see original post). At least I learned about what to look for, and practiced some cooler installs, I guess.

Verdict: If there are any questions about condition of "new" item: Don't waste your time, get an RMA. If not store (30 days), then manufacturer (2-3 years). If not possible, or you're bored, try reseating all-the-things.

Update: Hey, I've got a new (but hopefully smaller) problem! Over here.
 
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