I spent last night trying to get a new motherboard to work.
If you’ve ever done this, you’re probably familiar with the situation where you get everything put together, all the wires connected, you fire up the board, and nothing happens. It’s pretty frustrating, since the motherboard knows what’s wrong, but it can’t tell you since getting the video card started is one of the last steps of the system’s startup routine. Most boards have little beep codes that try to telegraph the problem (ie 3 long, 2 short equals bad RAM), but it’s a pain to try to catch the beeps.
Fortunately, I was installing an MSI board that comes with something called a D-Bracket. This little doodad plugs to the motherboard and installs in an empty PCI bracket on the back of the case. It has 4 LED’s that flash different codes across as the system goes through different stages of the POST routine. Bingo! Now I can easily tell exactly what’s causing the problem. Very impressive.
This is the first MSI board I’ve worked with. The manual sucked, but the rest of the package has lots of nice little extra touches like that.