Question Is it safe to test whether or not a computer will power on without a CPU heatsink installed?

ProtoflareX

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Last Monday my Ryzen 9 3900x, the last piece of hardware I needed to begin assembling my new rig, was delivered. After fully assembling the rig, I pressed the power button on my case, but the rig failed to boot. At first I thought I had wired the front panel connectors incorrectly, so I tested the power button on the motherboard itself, but that failed to boot the rig too. After a few hours of troubleshooting and requesting assistance on various forums, I eventually came to the conclusion that my motherboard had been DoA. As a result of that, I had to go through the tedious process of disassembling the entire rig and requesting a replacement for the motherboard. In order to prevent that hassle again, I would like to know if it safe for me to test whether or not the rig will power on without a CPU heatsink installed. More specifically, I intend to place the motherboard into the case, plug in all of the necessary cables, place the 3900x into the CPU slot, but not install the heatsink, and then quickly press the motherboard's power button to see if the rig powers on. If the power on is successful, I would then flip the PSU switch to the off position, likely within two seconds of having pressed the power button. Is this method of testing safe to perform?
 

ProtoflareX

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While it is not considered best practice , it is safe

I wouldn't leave it on for long - but in any cas the pc wil shut itself off if it gets too hot
Glad to hear that. I have another question, if you don't mind. Is it true that a rig will not boot unless a fan is connected to the CPU fan header on a motherboard?
 
In order to prevent that hassle again, I would like to know if it safe for me to test whether or not the rig will power on without a CPU heatsink installed.
CPU technology has certainly improved. But watch this video before running cpu without a cooler.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xf0VuRG7MN4


Running cpu without a cooler serves no purpose.
Just spend those additional 10min to install cooler and avoid damaged hardware.
 

Quanticriver

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true, but spinning fans don't indicate a succesful boot as well as a visual output does
even if it doesn't boot properly, fans might still spin

in all honesty, what you want to do is surely possible but for the sake of accuracy and to an extent safety i would use gpu and heatsink :p

But it's your hardware
🤷‍♂️
 
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ProtoflareX

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Jan 3, 2014
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true, but spinning fans don't indicate a succesful boot as well as a visual output does
even if it doesn't boot properly, fans might still spin

in all honesty, what you want to do is surely possible but for the sake of accuracy and to an extent safety i would use gpu and heatsink :p

But it's your hardware
🤷‍♂️
Maybe I'll try powering it on for two seconds like I mentioned in the original post, and if the fans actually start spinning, I'll trust that the rig will boot properly, then install the heatsink and remaining components. Hopefully this doesn't, once again, lead to despair upon fully assembling the rig. Anyway, thank you for taking the time to answer all of my questions.
 

DMAN999

Respectable
Herald
You could set the motherboard on a cardboard box or a wood surface and then install the CPU, CPU cooler, RAM and GPU.
Then connect the PSU to test it.
There is a guide to troubleshooting your motherboard this way (Bench testing) somewhere on this forum but I can't find it right now.
 
Last edited:
Jul 30, 2019
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CPU temps change very very quickly. I would not do it. The temps of the CPU could go way over 100C even before the BIOS mechanism to shut down the PC can react. Damage is possible. And people that are telling you it is safe are not giving you a totally honest answer.
 
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WaltzWorker

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Mar 18, 2015
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Last Monday my Ryzen 9 3900x, the last piece of hardware I needed to begin assembling my new rig, was delivered. After fully assembling the rig, I pressed the power button on my case, but the rig failed to boot. At first I thought I had wired the front panel connectors incorrectly, so I tested the power button on the motherboard itself, but that failed to boot the rig too. After a few hours of troubleshooting and requesting assistance on various forums, I eventually came to the conclusion that my motherboard had been DoA. As a result of that, I had to go through the tedious process of disassembling the entire rig and requesting a replacement for the motherboard. In order to prevent that hassle again, I would like to know if it safe for me to test whether or not the rig will power on without a CPU heatsink installed. More specifically, I intend to place the motherboard into the case, plug in all of the necessary cables, place the 3900x into the CPU slot, but not install the heatsink, and then quickly press the motherboard's power button to see if the rig powers on. If the power on is successful, I would then flip the PSU switch to the off position, likely within two seconds of having pressed the power button. Is this method of testing safe to perform?
Well - first off - hopefully no one that calls themselves a PC Technician would do something like this much less recommend it.

Were you totally sure that you had a faulty MB? There are little hints that may tell you if there's an issue with your MB... No fans coming on; no LED's coming on or all on; and so on down the line...
 

USAFRet

Titan
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Mar 16, 2013
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Testing without enough parts is like turning the key in your car, and seeing the dash lights come on.
OK, great...the dashboard lights work.
Says nothing about the engine or transmission.

And doing this without a GPU means you don't even get the dash lights. The floor vent fan turns. Whoopee.
 

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