Question Computer won't boot with SATA HDD/SSD plugged in

Jan 23, 2020
I'm putting together a media server out of old parts and have run into a problem. The PC won't boot when I have a SATA HDD plugged in. It's an older ASUS Rampage III Formula MB that's been sitting in storage for about two years.

Hardware used:
  • brand new 450W Corsair PSU
  • old ASUS Rampage III Formula
  • old i7 970 CPU
  • old GTX 760 GPU
  • old Corsair RAM
Things I've tried/eliminated:
  • I've tried all the SATA ports on the motherboard, they all stop the PC booting.
  • I've tried multiple SATA cables.
  • I've tried booting with only the power connected to the drive: computer starts up fine.
  • I've tried booting with only SATA connected: computer boots fine.
  • Power plus SATA to the drive stops the PC booting.
  • I've tried multiple drives, both HDD and SSD
  • I tested those drives in a dock and they work fine, except the SSD which did work fine previously and now seems to have been fried, the HDD still work and show up in the dock.
  • I've tested the RAM
  • I installed a PCIe SATA card thinking that maybe the MB SATA was faulty but same issue.
  • I tried multiple GPU as well as without a GPU
  • I unplugged everything non-critical to the MB like fans, USB, network etc
  • I'm not hot-swapping drives.
After some googling I found mention of +5 and +12 TVS Diodes going bad which sounds like it might be the issue.

Any ideas? I'm thinking the MB is faulty but any thoughts would be great. Thanks.
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A quick note, no GPU would not POST either way as that board and CPU do not have a dedicated GPU. It is part of the HEDT lineup and Intels HEDT systems never had a iGPU.

As to your issue you have done pretty much everything I would recommend to try and if after all that it still fails to POST I would agree that the motherboard would be the culprit.

The only other thing I would suggest is to set it up in a test bed outside of the case if you have not already done so so eliminate the case causing some sort of short along the SATA channel.