Assuming you can get into the BIOS, load the defaults by pressing the little red button or taking out the battery for a while. Put in one stick of ram and one of the GTX 480's. Make sure you've got the 8 pin MB power connector plugged in as well as the 24 pin MB connector. 1200 watts should be plenty for your setup.
What kind of CPU cooler are you using? If they are are still using the old style, You won't be doing much overclocking with the stock cooler but it should run at stock speeds. Make sure that is plugged into the correct outlet on the MB or it won't boot at all.
When you first try to boot, make sure the defaults are loaded and then if you can get into the BIOS, change only the RAM voltage to 1.65 and set it to look for the video card in the PCIEx slot first. Make sure that you have both 8 and 6 pin connectors on the GTX 480 and that it is fully seated in the slot and that you hear or see the little locking lever 'click' so that you know it's fully in.
I'm not sure what kind of hard drive you're using, but make sure the boot drive is plugged into the #0 SATA plug, assuming it's SATA and not IDE. Are you sure the SATA cable and the power connector to the HD are good? Make sure your optical drive is plugged into one of the SATA ports and has power and is not connected to the red, external SATA plug.
You say you saw some text on the screen saying it couldn't find any drives. That's normal as it's looking for a RAID array.
It's possible you've got a BIOS chip with a bug in it. If you can, download the latest BIOS for that board, burn an .iso image to a DVD and try flashing the BIOS first, as that DVD will be bootable. Make sure you download the correct BIOS. On second thought, make that one of the things you try later and probably you should ask EVGA support if they think you should try that.
In the BIOS, make sure that you set the first boot device as the CD and then set the second as the HD. Make sure you have the Windows OS disk in when you boot, because you will definitely have problems if your trying to boot from a disk that's looking for drivers from your old system. Make sure that you've got only one HD in there, and especially make sure there are none that an have old operating systems on them.
Yes..., you will have to reformat the drive and do a clean install. I've heard of people having success using an old hard drive with a previous OS install on it, but that is just asking for trouble and instability later.
You mentioned something about overclocking your memory to 1600 mhz, but it looks as though that's what you've bought. You don't have to overclock it. In my experience, speed of the memory will have the smallest effect on performance and your memory will work at lower speed settings. I've also found that memory is probably the least 'overclockable' part of a computer. If you raise the BClock, you may have to set your memory at a lower multiplier so that it doesn't overclock it too much.
Have you got the memory in the correct slots? There should have been a sticker on them showing which ones to use first. Generally the first slot to use on these boards is not the one closest to the CPU, but is the second slot. In the BIOS you may find that you have to set your memory speed manually instead of using the AUTO settings. Those settings should be on the memory package or on the sticks themselves. Set it so that memory control is enabled and set the clock speeds according to the memory literature.
Do you get any 'beeps' from the board as it tries to boot? You should only get one short beep about 10 seconds after you power on which indicates a good POST. If you get one long beep that keeps repeating about every 8-10 seconds, the board isn't seeing the memory. When I first bought my EVGA X58 Classified, I had bought OCZ memory. Even though it was on the compatible list, it just would not boot at all with that memory. I had to return it and bought Patriot memory of the same specs and that booted right up.
Are you getting any codes on the readout while it tries to boot? I'm not sure if that board has the jumpers to disable the PCIEx slots, but if it does, make sure that they are set to enable at least the first, long, X16 PCIEx slot.
Before getting too angry and discouraged, call EVGA support and ask for help. They are very interested in making sure their reputation stays good and that their customers are satisfied.
Now, it just may be that you got a MB with some problem, but give EVGA a chance to help you. (You did remember to register it, didn't you?)
post edited by comrade - 2010/09/14 19:26:00