Motherboard failing?

A friends PC has been behaving erratically, particuly at Start Up. On some occassions it starts normally, but most other times the system fans etc come on but there is no display and no HDD activity.

My inital thought was this was memory related and Memtest+ stalled the first couple of times I ran it. I have never had Memtest+ stall before so I removed one of the modules and hey presto Memtest+ ran correctly. However on testing the module I had previously removed it ran fine in the first memory slot but not the second. This led me to believe the motherboard may be suspect.

I have since tried another set of memory modules that I know work as a pair and individually in all possible combinations and at one time or another they have reproduced the same problem.

I have disconnected all unneccesary hardware, DVD drive, HDD in case they were causing a problem but the problems continued.

I have also tested it with a different PSU with the same results, starts correctly sometimes but most times it does not.

I am leaning very heavily towards the motherboard being the problem but is there anything else I can check.
riffraff9Asked:
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CallandorCommented:
I also think you have a motherboard problem, but to be sure, try it with a different power supply of the same or higher rating.  A bad power supply can be at the root of many failed powerups.  The most common failure in motherboards (and power supplies) is bad capacitors - see www.badcaps.net.  If you see bad caps, then those are the cause of the problem.
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riffraff9Author Commented:
Thnaks for the reply. Tried a different PSU. The one that is in their is a FSP 250W that came with the PC (Packard Bell Pentium 4 3.06Ghz circa 2003. I have tried it with a new Optronix 400W PSU that has been powering a basic spare PC of mine with no problems. The Optronic comes under the heading of 'generic' PSU's but when connected to the suspect PC on some occassions it starts, but usually displays all the symptons described above so I am happy its not PSU related.
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stronghold888Commented:
If with other components it's ok...then it might be the motherboard. You need to download updated drivers from the vendor website and then update the BIOS. That should work, but if it does not, then the motherboard you have it's not good anymore and needs to be replaced with a new one.
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CallandorCommented:
I think you have it narrowed down to the motherboard at this point.
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nobusCommented:
not entirily imho; it can be the cpu too; but you need another mobo or cpu to test it  :-(
most likely though it is the mobo, since they fail much more often
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riffraff9Author Commented:
CPU works OK in my Socket 478 system. However I may have stumbled on a solution. Its so simple I feel daft that I didnt try it before. As I said earlier on this is an intermitent problem so as a last (should have been the first) throw of the dice I simply rest the BIOS back to Fail Safe settings. Hey presto - harmony appears to have been restored with the PC starting up time after time with no problems.

I've given it back to the owner for now and told him if it goes wonky again he is looking at a new motherboard.

Thanks for your assistance folks

Dave
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nobusCommented:
you don't remember any changed settings?
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riffraff9Author Commented:
It wasnt my PC - it belonged to a friend. I have asked him if he remembers going into the BIOS and he cannot. Having said that the PC was playing up for a number of weeks so he might have accidently dabbled with the settings.
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glenboisCommented:
Please could I ask what the Fail Safe options was for the Bios.

Thanks in anticipation
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