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I'm building a new home PC:

  • Gigabyte H55N micro ITX motherboard
  • Intel Core I3 540 CPU
  • Silverstone NT06-E CPU cooler
  • Silverstone SG07 case with built-in 600w PSU

The PC is not complete - I'm awaiting the delivery of RAM - so I don't expect it to fully work.

I'd like to check that things so far work as they should so as to be sure that the motherboard, CPU and cooler are all fine and fitted properly.

The machine powers on, the main case fan runs (the cooler has no fan) and some LEDs on the motherboard light up.

The machine does not stay on permanently; it reboots every 17 seconds.

I'm not sure how a PC with no RAM should behave - this is not something I've previously tried.

I appreciate it could be an overheating issue, however with the restart interval being quite constant at 17 seconds I'm not so certain.

There could be many possible causes - I'm not looking for a solution to why the machine is restarting.

I'd just like to know how a PC with no RAM is expected to behave.

  • Should it remain on and be otherwise quite useless?
  • Should it be expected to restart at regular intervals?
  • Is the 17 second interval significant, is this when the full POST test gives up?
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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I had a Laptop with no RAM yesterday. It woud turn on, then off after the CPU started, noticed no RAM and stopeed itself.

Rebooting is very similar to resetting at that point in the boot cycle.

So yes, your PC is probably as normal as you'd expect.

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When I receive delivery of my RAM in a few days time I can then hopefully verify that regular restarts are normal behaviour. –  Jon Cram Nov 18 '10 at 20:40

With no ram it will either give you error codes for ram problem or missing ram or it might reboot over and over like you are experiencing.

If you machine gives error codes or beeps, it will either be a continuous repeating short beep or a series of long and short beeps. Every motherboard is different with different codes. If you have a motherboard with a readout of some sort, it will have a code displayed that will reference missing or faulty ram. The board might also have a series of LED that determine a code of some sort. The machine might give the code for a specified amount of time and shut off. Other machines will continue beeping until you shut them off.

Most likely, it is the known missing RAM that is causing the restarting, but there is a chance that the CPU is causing the restarting due to overheating from an improperly mounted heatsink or CPU errors.

I would suggest re checking your heatsink installation with proper use of thermal paste just to make sure. Otherwise, I would wait until your RAM arrives to continue further testing. So far, what you are experiencing with the reboots sounds normal for the known RAM conditions.

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2  
This. It's UNUSUAL, but entirely POSSIBLE that it would behave like this. More often I'd expect a beep code or constant tone. –  Shinrai Nov 17 '10 at 0:12
1  
Sorry, should have said that there's no beeps. I've not connected a speaker and there's no obvious in-built speaker. –  Jon Cram Nov 17 '10 at 0:13
    
@Shinrai True, beep codes are what most motherboards will give you in the event of RAM issues, but for example, I have a board that gives a code readout and no beep codes. It can't even give beep codes because there is no basic on board "beep" speaker. –  Troggy Nov 17 '10 at 0:14
    
Right, hence my agreement and the +1. –  Shinrai Nov 17 '10 at 15:01

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