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My computer is broken, but I'm having trouble narrowing down the issue. I replaced the power supply, because I assumed that was the issue, but it has the same problem.

The issue started with my computer starting the fans and running, but it didn't turn on the monitor to get to the startup screen for about 10 seconds. Now it refuses to do anything when the power button is pressed, except when I turn off the machine and take the processor out for 10-20 seconds, then put it back in, hit the power button immediately, and the fans start for 1/2 second, and then it no longer works.

Does this sound like a is a processor or motherboard issue? I removed all components, so I know that the issue is with one of these two things.

EDIT: Now the power light is going on and off every 3 seconds.

It's an MSI K9MM-V motherboard.

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I would say the processor is overheating if it starts for a few seconds like normal and automatically resets (a temperature threshold failsafe causes this symptom). But that doesn't seem to be the case. –  Evan Plaice Feb 11 '11 at 2:40

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I was just about to say what MarkM said. It sounds like you already did a very good job of troubleshooting. I would also try taking out the CPU and memory and blowing out all the connectors with compressed air but I don't have very high hopes for this.

I would bet on it being a bad motherboard. I've not seen CPU's go bad unless you are over-clocking them. The motherboard is more likely to go bad due to age.

EDIT: Also just remembered that this exact problem happened to me once when the motherboard was shorted out. Thankfully there are some fail-safes that keep it from melting down. Make sure that there are no extra metal pegs in the case that are shorting out the bottom of the motherboard and no other possible shorts.

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Good info, thanks. –  bradlis7 Jun 1 '10 at 1:10
    
I might try taking it out of the case and seeing if it works if I get a chance. –  bradlis7 Jun 2 '10 at 16:56

Assuming you're not overclocking, it's pretty unlikely that it's your processor: all other things being equal, it's the most durable part of your computer.

The delay before posting definitely suggests motherboard, and the complete lack of error codes and other poasting information bears that out: if your board were working correctly, you should get an error code if your processor was malfunctioning.

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I'm not overclocking. I am getting the feeling that it's the motherboard. –  bradlis7 Jun 1 '10 at 1:05
    
Make sure the motherboard isn't grounded to the case. Grounding issues like this can cause flaky behavior. I'm more inclined to say the motherboard is the culprit than anything else. You might also want to check the capacitors on the motherboard to make sure none of them have blown the top. Go here if you've never heard of such a thing: badcaps.net –  Russ Warren Jun 1 '10 at 17:56

It could be either, but it is much more likely that it is the motherboard. There's no way for us to know.

Why not pop it into a different board and see if it works, or take it to a local shop and pay them to pop the CPU into a different board and test?

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We don't have a lot of computer shops here. It's an AMD X2 processor, which is a little older, so I don't even know if they would have a compatible motherboard. I'd rather do it myself anyways. –  bradlis7 Jun 1 '10 at 1:09
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@bradlis7 - Well, unless you get a compatible motherboard, or bring it to a shop, there's no way to test the CPU. You can't rule out the motherboard unless you've removed it from the equation, because it can cause problems that look CPU related even if the CPU is fine. –  MDMarra Jun 1 '10 at 1:17

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