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Dead motherboard, am I right?


Diamond Member
Apr 24, 2001
Hi folks,

I have a problem which defies all my attempts to solve it.

Here's the scenario:

I found a discarded Acer desktop, missing its RAM and HDD.
It's a Socket 775 Q6600 CPU, on a no-name motherboard (probably built for Acer by some OEM manufacturer). I checked the processor, cleaned it and the base of the cooler, added fresh thermal grease and reseated the cooler.

I figured it a q6600 system may still be useful if rebuilt. Four slots of DDR2 RAM on the motherboard also give it some breathing room.

Now, the first problem: the computer won't start with four identical 1 GB RAM sticks. Any random two of them will work, if they're in matching slots. Otherwise, the screen stays black. No beeps, either.

I found this strange, but I figured I'll just boot it with 2 GB RAM and troubleshoot later.
Wiped out the BIOS (replaced battery).
Added a SATA HDD.
Installed Windows 7.

The monitor is connected to the onboard video.
All other peripherals are a keyboard and mouse.
All seemed to be working.

And then I turned it off.

Upon restart, I got a screen directing me to either "repair windows" or "start normally".
Choosing either one of these options results in the machine shutting almost immediately. Not a restart, just power off, as if the PSU switch is thrown.

I tried the following:

1) Different (and known to be good) power supply - shutdown.
2) Different HDD, another fresh Windows install - shutdown just after Windows is installed, and loads for the first couple of times.
3) Different SATA cable - shutdown.
4) Moved the RAM sticks to the other color-matched slots - shutdown.
5) Different power switch attached to the motherboard pinouts - shutdown.

The only thing that seems to be clear is that the system will power on, go to BIOS and stay on for a seemingly indefinite time. It only turns off when an operating system is launched (regardless of the HDD in use or SATA port the disk is connected to).

I looked at thermal data, even disabled the temperature limit shutdown, but the CPU shows normal temperatures anyway (30 C, with 22 C ambient).

I can't come up with any other testing scenarios.
At this point, I can only think that either the CPU is on the fritz, or the motherboard is flaky.

Since CPUs are rarely going bad, the most likely explanation I can think of is that the board is unstable.

I don't see any bulging caps, but that doesn't mean something else couldn't have gone wrong.

Am I correct in thinking the mobo is toast?
Last edited:


Memory and Storage, Graphics Cards
Super Moderator
Sep 13, 2008
Very likely the motherboard is the issue, though it could still be a CPU issue. If you can boot into a bootable linux with a stess test available for CPU. I would also try running memtest86.
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Diamond Member
Apr 24, 2001
I attempted to load a Linux Live CD and it shut down again.
I'm going to just call it quits... At this point it's more trouble than it's worth...


Super Moderator and Elite Member
Aug 22, 2001
Do you have a PCI or PCI-e vid card? That would be the last thing to try if you have an old card that is compatible. I know some did not have PCI-e slots, so a a PCI card can be great for troubleshooting old stuff. Not that a system that old is worth much time or effort, as you pointed out.
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Diamond Member
Apr 24, 2001
Ah, yes. I tried both the onboard video and an added PCIe video card.
Still getting shutdowns.