First, here are the possibly relevant hardware details:
HP Pavilion 7960
Pentium 4 1.3 MHz
Intel i850E Chipset
384 MB RDRAM
350W Antec ATX12V Power Supply
Geforce FX 5200 256MB
Award Modular BIOS v6.0
Computer is around 3 years old.
For months now, I've had this strange problem. Whenever I shut off or restart the PC, and tried to turn it back on, the power would come on, but the computer would not boot. All the fans spin and the CD-RW, DVD, and hard drives would spin a little, but I'd get no display and no beep. But after several hours, and in some cases, days, it would eventually boot up, and everything would work perfectly.
-Removing everything except the PS and CPU, hoping to at least get those memory error beeps, but nothing, just spinning fans. I tried removing the CPU as well, but nothing (can a motherboard even POST without a CPU?).
-A new power supply. I was sure this would solve the problem. The old power supply was way too weak (150W, and my Geforce requires at least 250W) and when I looked inside it, sure enough, there was dried orange goop all over the capacitors. But after getting a new one, I still had the same problem.
-Clearing the CMOs
-Reseating the memory, CPU, graphics card and sound card
-Checked for burn marks on the memory and CPU, but they don't look fried. (but something does smell kinda burnt in the case)
I'm guessing the problem lies in my motherboard or CPU, but what really confuses me is the fact that when the computer does boot up, everything works perfectly fine.
What would make my computer only boot up sometimes?
I really want a professional opinion before I go getting a new motherboard or CPU, so any suggestions/insights/guesses at all would be greatly appreciated.. thanks.