Computer problems, please help

So about 2 weeks ago I turn my computer on, and it freezes at the Windows login screen. I turned it off and when I turned it back on, it seems to have made it past POST (keyboard lights flash) but then freezes. Nothing shows on the computer screen. From this point on, the computer sometimes (10-20% of the time) boots up past this initial freeze, and makes it to Windows login, where it either freezes then, or shortly after logging into the computer. I tried replacing components from a similar computer - Video card, hard drive, memory, PSU - but none of these seemed to fix the problem. Usually the computer doesn't even make it to a point that signals are sent to the monitors, which (as far as I know) is long before the OS would have anything to do with startup. It freezes in roughly 1 second or less. It seems there is an issue at the hardware level either during POST or shortly after it. I can always tell whether the computer will boot properly or not because I can hear the "grinding" (for lack of a better word) sound made by the floppy drive (I think its the floppy) within seconds of powering on the system, and this doesn't occur when the system freezes up.

After this I assumed it was the motherboard and sent it into ASUS to be tested. I recieved it yesterday and put it into my system. Its not fixed though. It does seem to boot more frequently (50% of the time) and when it boots it makes it into Windows. Once in windows it usually freezes up within a few minutes, but a couple times it has been stable for hours (able to do a virus scan and my system was clean) until I restarted it, and it froze up in windows after the reboot. Another symptom is that the 2nd monitor (dual view) doesn't recieve anything from the computer. I tried switching monitors, but the problem isn't the monitor, its the slot on the video card (the monitor is working just fine).

Asus said that they reset the CMOS and firmware because of an error in BIOS.

I have reinstalled new chipset and video card drivers, but neither helped the situation.

Computer Specs:
nVidia XFX 6800GT
AMD Athlon 64 4000+
Corsair XMS 2x1G DDR 400

I'm mainly trying to see if anyone has had a similar problem. This is hell to diagnose since the problems are so vague (computer freezes up), there are no error messages, and the problems are so inconsistent. If anybody has any ideas please let me know. My friend has a computer I could probably rip parts from to test it again, but he has to completely disassemble his desk to get the computer out, so I'd like to avoid that if possible.

Please let me know if you need more info or have any ideas. Thanks!!!
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  1. such problems sound very familiar to me, cause I experience stuff like that very often too, especially after buying a new system. almost 90% of the times the mainboard was the culprit. So you sent it to Asus and they supposedly fixed it, but it didn't help... then from my viewpoint there is only one solution and that is get a different mainboard from your retailer (or from whoever you purchased it), don't just let them give you another copy, demand another model, because this one might just have internal conflicts with some of your other hardware or it might just be a piece of junk.

    actually I had a similar problem with a new mainboard I bought just 1 month ago and I had to return it 2 times (!) and the new copies showed the exact same problem and even the guy at the store was baffled how one could be so unlucky. anyways I asked for a different mobo from another manufacturer with the same functions/abilities and that one works fine.

    so my advice is simply do that and try a different mainboard, cause your problem is so vague and since you've tested all of the other components there really isn't much else you can do at this point. plus, since asus sent you back the same board and said it was fixed it is very likely that simply getting a new copy of the same board will not solve the problem and the same symptoms will keep occurring.

    hope i could help... let us know how it goes, I always sympathize with people experiencing such problems cause I know those situations just too well :/
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