Which is faulty: Motherboard or CPU?

Posted on 2007-08-12
Last Modified: 2013-12-10
I recently decided, after 4 years, that it was time to upgrade my PC. So I bought a number of new hardware items, including a new CPU, a new motherboard, and new RAM (2 sticks).

I ordered most of those from Newegg, and the RAM from Crucial. I went to install it all, and much to my dismay, nothing really worked right. So being the A+ certified tech I am, I ran MemTest+ right away and found about 30,000 errors before the test stopped completely and shut down the computer. "Okay, so the RAM is bad," I thought. So I sent the RAM back to Crucial, and they sent me another 2 new sticks, which just arrived yesterday.

I went to install them and still ran into many of the same problems. I thought it was awfully strange that 4 different sticks of brand new RAM would all have the same problem, so I went over to a friend's house, installed the RAM on his computer and re-ran MemTest+. No errors. None at all. Okay, so the RAM's not bad.

So then I stripped my system down bare, so that the only components connected were: CPU, Heatsink/fan, Motherboard, RAM, 1 × DVD drive, 1 × Hard Drive, and Power Supply. I unplugged everything else, including the graphics card, opting to use only the onboard graphics. This ensured that as few devices as possible were drawing power from the power supply. I re-ran MemTest+, and still came up with all the same errors.

So now what I'm thinking is this:either the CPU or the motherboard is at fault. However, I'm not sure how to definitively tell which one is faulty. I can see that MemTest+ fails consistently no matter what RAM I put in there, but I'm wondering if anyone else has come across any similar situations, and if so, what does this mean? Do I remove the CPU from the motherboard and send one (or both) of them back? Thanks.

Here are the full details on the hardware I ordered:

* CPU: AMD Athlon 64 6000+ (Socket AM2)
* Motherboard: Giga-Byte GA-M61P-S3
* RAM: 2 × 2.0GB 240-pin DDR2 PC2-5300 DIMM (Product #CT2KIT25664AA667)
Question by:soapergem
    LVL 6

    Author Comment

    P.S. I also verified that the Power Supply is working fine, with my Power Supply tester (
    LVL 39

    Accepted Solution

    Just make sure your system is not underpower. Likely you have defective motherboard since other components work fine on other system. If you bought CPU + Mobo combo, then RMA them.
    LVL 6

    Author Comment

    I kind of thought it would be the motherboard, but I essentially wanted a second opinion. Unfortunately I did not buy the CPU and mobo as a combo, so I'll have to send one or the other.

    Also, is there anything I should be aware of before I try to remove the CPU from the motherboard? (I've put CPUs *in* several times before, but this will be my first time taking one *out*.)
    LVL 39

    Expert Comment

    Power up PC and run for at least 10 minutes so the CPU heat up, then power down and unplug power cord, then remove the cpu while it is still little hot (but touchable). Dont try remove it when cpu is cold because sometime thermal paste sticky could give you hard time.

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