So, here's the story. We started out with the following:
- Apevia X-QPACK2-NW black micro ATX case w/500W power supply
- Gigabyte GA-MA785GMT-UD2H micro ATX motherboard
- G.Skill 2 x 2GB DDR3 1333 RAM
- AMD Athlon II 620 Propus 2.6 GHz quad core CPU
- Western Digital Caviar Green 750GB SATA hard drive
- Lite-On DVD/CD burner of the SATA persuasion
We put it together...and the BIOS didn't recognize the hard drive. We found that the Ubuntu Live CD ran fine if we disconnected the hard drive, but not if we connected it. Inference: the hard drive is DOA.
We'll do the RMA thing... in the meantime, we get a Caviar Black 1 TB hard drive. The BIOS sees it... but the results are otherwise the same. Inference: despite Antec's web site saying that with the stuff we have in that box, 325 W would do (and the power supply having sufficient total current on 12V for the graphics card), we could use a bigger power supply.
We go get one--and find out the hard way that the ATX spec must just fix the cross-sectional dimensions and face plate, not the depth, and exchange it for a modular power supply that we still only barely manage to fit in. (Those cables are stiff!)
Ubuntu 9.10 installs beautifully (and quickly, too--Cox Cable gives my sister 20 Mb/s download, 5 Mb/s upload, as opposed to Mediacom's pathetic 12 Mb/s down, 1 Mb/s up, and for less money, too). As instructed, we remove the CD, press enter to reboot...
Now when we power up, we get the initial beep and display on the screen, but it stops before even doing the scan of RAM, and does not respond to the keyboard.
The motherboard knows about that particular CPU; we checked on Gigabyte's web site. We ran memtest86+, so we think the memory is OK. The keyboard has power, because we can get the num lock LED to light up.
UPDATE: Disconnected the hard drive and it boots. Fiddled with the BIOS SATA settings and it came up on the hard drive, but after installing updates and rebooting--same old thing. Here
we see something about difficulties with Karmic Koala and AHCI, so I will try IDE mode. That may have been the whole problem. Will update here as we learn more.
UPDATE: That wasn't it. We set the SATA mode to IDE, and still a reboot causes it to hang in POST. I have to power down, disconnect the hard drive, power up, and then reboot. When it runs, it runs beautifully... but I can't expect my sister and niece to have to futz with the innards each time they reboot. Time to look at Gigabyte's web site again, I think.
UPDATE: A fellow on a forum claimed that the DVD and hard drive had to be hooked up to specific SATA ports, but that claim is inconsistent with the manual, and having to take enough stuff apart to do that would be a big pain for dubious benefit, so we didn't do it... but when we moved it back from the kitchen table to the desk, plugged things back in, and powered up, it came right up. Several hours running perfectly, reboot... and it hangs in POST. What is different between the two attempts? Actually being without power. Power down, throw the on/off switch on the power supply, twiddle thumbs a bit, turn it back on, push the button... and it comes right up. I now very seriously suspect the BIOS. Something (a race condition?) is different between a cold boot and a reboot.