bleh, sadly looks like i'll have to return everything and just spare more money for a prebuilt system cuz i can't wrap my head around this
Hang on a second and don't give up hope just yet. These will require a little more time and effort on your part but THIS
is where builders learn. Here are two other options I strongly recommend:
If you have a MicroCenter nearby, collect all your belongings and head over there. They have a help desk where you can talk to a technician. You tell them (or demonstrate) what you're doing and they can provide assistance (from what I understand they generally don't "touch" the computer but they will observe).
Even better, find a local repair shop and explain to them that you can't get it to POST. Let them diagnose the situation and tell you what they find. Be sure to explain you're trying to build your first computer and you really want to learn about building computers. I've found most of them will diagnose for about $40 and once they find the cause, they'll often show you what they did. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Ask for advice on building. When I first started, one of the technicians actually let me go to the workbench so he could show me more.
Even if they charge you $100, it's absolutely worth it. The knowledge and sense of accomplishment you receive is worth much more than that.
I guarantee if you figure this out, you will be better prepared for the next time. Here's an example
of a frustrating build I just recently assembled. Trust me, the frustration happens to all of us.
Hope this helps.