Guys and gals, I am at my wits end and could really use some diagnostic advice. This is going to be a long story but I want to be detailed because there's got to be an answer in here somewhere. First, let me state that I've assembled at least a dozen systems over the years without any problems, so while I'm no professional, I should have the hang of this by now. Recently I fried my motherboard when it got hung up during a bios update (read this post thoroughly for that story). So I ordered a new motherboard, the kt4ultra and a second 512mb stick of ddr sdram to match the one I had. The new board had a 8xAGP slot so I made sure my Nvidia Gforce2 was compatible. I installed the motherboard and all boards, drives, etc. in the case -- after plopping in my Athlon XP 1900 in the board, complete with cooling fan -- and fired her up; the cpu cooling fan made a quarter turn, then -- nothing. I had a beer and tried firing up about a dozen more times. Nothing. I couldn't figure out what was happening. I thought perhaps I had a power supply problem (! beer !) and so I strung together my old toasted motherboard, memory chips (or chip; I can't remember if I put both in or not) video card, power supply -- all the basics except for the cpu cooling fan (! beer !) turned on the power and lo! a puff of smoke appeared hovering above my Athlon XP 1900. I quickly put down my beer (!) and yanked the power cord out of the socket but obviously the damage was done. diagnostic question #1: did I at this point damage the memory or video card? OK, so I figure at this point I've got a good power supply but have been unlucky enough to receive a dud motherboard. No more beer, I am too depressed alreadly; I sleep fitfully. So the next day at work, I order another motherboard and a new Athlon XP 2100. But when I get home, it occurs to me that I may have shorted out my motherboard the night before by screwing it down at the wrong points; I reinstall the motherboard and find that I'm right; the night before I had put screws willy-nilly into every hole I could find instead of the six designated; since I've got brass stand-offs, I was grounding the motherboard and that's why it wouldn't power up properly. Now the cpu cooling fan would power up fine but the drives wouldn't spin up and no video; of course at this point I was testing with a dead cpu so I didn't expect much; I was simply relieved that I thought I knew what my initial problem was. diagnostic question #2: did I damage my memory or video card the night before when I was shorting out my motherboard? Beer. Sleep. The next day. Yay! New motherboard arrives, new processor arrives, I carefully install it in case, install video card, memory chips, hard drives and even strap on the cpu cooling fan. I fire it up and I've got fans spinning all over the place but no beeps from bios and no video. I try a different power supply - same result. Hard drives were getting power (they have led's on them) but only briefly; led's go dark after a few seconds. This is a brand new motherboard, brand new processor. I know the power supply is good. I am at my wits end. If the video card alone was bad then I suspect the bios would have loaded normally anyway, so now I suspect I have somehow killed my memory chips. I think I'll next-day-air in the cheapest stick of ddr i can find so I can eliminate that possibility, then move on to the video card. ANY IDEAS? I am at the end of my rope! Any advice and/or words of hope would be greatly appreciated.