Question RESOLVED: Progress Checklist for a New Build: Step 1 - Motherboard + ?

Jun 7, 2019
Attempted to build a computer with my son (11) which did not go as well as some guides / videos made it out to be. After some initial attempts at debugging / troubleshooting we came to believe there was an issue with the motherboard. We're starting from the beginning again with new hardware.

Is there any advice on a progressive checklists or minimal viable tests we could do to make sure each component is functioning properly and not damaged at each step along the way? The all-or-nothing build left a lot of room for errors to backtrack through. For example, would it be sensible to start with just a motherboard + psu + cpu and power it up before putting it in a case or adding any other components to make sure the fan starts?

Any good first steps like this we can try to prove at each step we've been successful in verifying a component or two is not damaged and installed properly would be very helpful. Thanks for any tips, suggestions, or links to other threads my searching didn't turn up.

Components (not looking for any specific feedback on these, just providing context): ASUS ROG Strix x470F, AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, EVGA GeForce RTX 2080, EVGA SuperNova 750 G2 Gold, Corsair Vengeance 2x8 DDR4, WD Blue 3D NAND 1TB SSD. Not planning on overclocking or anything fancy, not trying to upgrade any components.
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You can try "breadboarding" which is essentially just installing the CPU/Cooler and one RAM module into the motherboard on a non-conductive surface with the power supply connected. If the cooling fan starts to spin, you should be good to go.

Add the graphics card and connect a display to see if you get a POST screen.

If you get this far, it's time to start installing inside the case.

-Wolf sends
Reactions: j12y
Jun 7, 2019
Breadboarding is a great answer -- thank you. This limits the number of variables to debug and get things working. I made a few more mistakes along the way but was successful in seeing the fan spin. That means I can move on to a second stage of connecting GPU, etc.

What I did:
  • Disassembled original build that wasn't working to swap in a new motherboard (ASUS ROG Strix X470-F)
  • Found plastic lid to use for build surface (conveniently has extra ring good for holding screws
  • Realized can't install CPU with cooler still attached, and that it wasn't supposed to rip out of old motherboard bending a pin in the process
  • Managed to get pin (luckily only one) straightened again
  • Removed fan cooler from the CPU with rubbing alcohol, q-tips, dental floss, and gentle twisting
  • Accidentally got thermal paste to drip down and onto pins, which I managed to clean up using toothpick
  • Cleaned up rest of thermal paste with rubbing alcohol and paper towel
  • Installed CPU (AMD Ryzen 7 2700X)
  • Ordered thermal paste from Amazon (Arctic MX-4)
  • Installed cooler (Wraith Prism with a dab of thermal paste)
  • Put single memory (Corsair Vengeance 8GB) into slot B2
  • Plugged in PSU (EVGA SuperNOVA 750 G2)
  • Turned on PSU and LEDs showed it was in standby
  • Asked another question ( to figure out how to power it up
  • Plugged in power button from the case
  • Fan started spinning = SUCCESS
Will now start on second phase of installing the GPU, storage, second memory, etc. Thanks again for your suggestion.
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