Question MSI Tomahawk MAX dosen't boot, BIOS LED is on.

m_mark

Commendable
Nov 30, 2018
4
1
1,515
0
Hi all,

As the title says, my system gets stuck during POST, with the BIOS LED on, then shuts down.

At first it was the VGA LED that got stuck.
After the first time, on reboot it started up seemengly correctly to Windows once, but some of the USB ports and the network (Ethernet) did not work, and since then it just got stuck with the VGA light on during POST.
The GPU works fine in an other system, while this one produced the same error with an other known good card and in either PCIe slot, so it is not likely to be an actual GPU issue.

I flashed the latest BIOS ( https://www.msi.com/Motherboard/support/B450-TOMAHAWK-MAX ) from USB, and it seemd to work correctly. Now the POST goes on to the BIOS LED, but then the system shuts down after a few seconds, and there is still absolutely no video output on any ports, so I can't check the BIOS either. Flashing the BIOS again produces the same outcome.

Does anyone have ideas to solve this issue, or is it reasonable to conclude that the MB is faulty?

The build is a bit over 1 year old

Tomahawk MAX
Ryzen 3600,
16GB 3200MHz RAM
RX 580 4GB
512GB SSD
600W PSU

I'm not sure if it's relevant for the current issue, but a few months ago it started to throw BSOD-s with various error codes, but strictly during bootup about 20% of the time. If it got to the windows login screen, then it was stable from then on. I moved the RAM sticks, and cleaned the contacts a bit, and that seems to solved that problem. ( The same actions have no effect now.)
 

m_mark

Commendable
Nov 30, 2018
4
1
1,515
0
The PSU is a Chieftec smart series 600W

Clearing the CMOS (most of the time) gives me a one time ticket to either the BIOS or to Windows, because after a restart the POST gets stuck again on the BOOT LED (For some reason I called it BIOS LED in the original post).
In the BIOS I don't see anything obviously wrong, but I'm not really an expert, so that's nothing definitive.
In windows, the network adapter and some other stuff still seem to be missing.

It feels like the PCIe controller is messing up, because the VGA, the M.2 SSD, and the PCIe USB expansion cards are all on that, and maybe the network controller is there too.

I'll probably gonna pack up the MB+CPU+RAM trio and send it back to the shop so they can take a look at it, since everything is still under warranty.
 

m_mark

Commendable
Nov 30, 2018
4
1
1,515
0
Turns out some thermal paste got under the CPU and into the socket somehow. It is in the middle part of the bottom two pin rows. That most likely explains the issue. I'm sure getting it out of the pinholes will be loads of fun.

The real question is how the hell did it get there. I put the CPU in once, when I assembled the system, and at that point there was no paste anywhere near it yet. The only thing I can imagine is that the paste that came with the cooler (Cooler Master H411R) is some garbage brand that gets more liquid when heated, ran down to the bottom of the CPU, from under the cooler, and got sucked into the socket via capillary effect or something. The fact that I found some paste on the bottom curve of the cooler's heat pipes that looks like it ran down there in small drops seems to suggest the same thing.

tl:dr : It's time to invest into some quality thermal paste, and maybe a new MB.
 

m_mark

Commendable
Nov 30, 2018
4
1
1,515
0
So here is the end of the story:

I cleaned everything with 98% IPA, a toothbrush, and a toothpick. Unfortunately this did not solve the issue, so it was probably not the paste in the socket.

In the end I sent the MB and the CPU back to the vendor. They determined that the CPU was faulty, and replaced it.

I put the system back together yesterday, and everything seems to work fine. I used cryonaut thermal paste this time, so hopefully this won't decide to go on a tour around the socket. The 10-15C lower max CPU temperature is just the icing on the cake.

Thanks for the advice.
 
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