Strange problem. PC failed then resurrected itself. Now dead.Opinions?

I built my friend a VERY budget PC just so he could play SC2 (he used to be addicted to sc1, and never had a PC since, and went ape**** when SC2 came out and he couldn't play it). Here are the specs

AMD Athlon II X3 440 Rana 3.0GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX440WFGIBOX
Item #: N82E16819103843

G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL4D-2GBPK
Item #: N82E16820231087

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
Item #: N82E16832116754

GIGABYTE GA-MA74GM-S2 AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 740G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813128342

SAPPHIRE 100293L Radeon HD 5570 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Low Profile Ready Video ...
Item #: N82E16814102874

Antec Basiq BP500U 500W Continuous Power ATX12V Version 2.01 Active PFC Power Supply
Item #: N82E16817371004

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3320418AS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

His issue is that one day he went to turn it on and it would not even POST. It just beeped really loudly. He called me and I proceeded to play IT, trying to get him to zero in on the problem. Being as he has no extra components to try and troubleshoot, I asked him to open it up just to make sure that everything was still plugged in and nice and snug. When he turned it on its side, and then checked everything (nothing was loose). He hit the power button and it booted just fine. With seemingly nothing done to it besides turning it on its side, it booted up fine. Two days later and it is dead again, with the beeping again. I am guessing it is a hard drive failure; any thoughts? Can hard drives fail for a little and then work for a little as described above? Is there any chance (if it is the HDD) that he would possibly be able to save his data? Any opinions on what could be the culprit if it is NOT the hdd?

Thanks in advance for any assistance.
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More about strange problem failed resurrected itself dead opinions
  1. Go through the checklist in the sticky.

    Unlikely HD, though if you get it to post you can take a look at HD SMART data in the BIOS.

    Likely loose/bad wiring, RAM or PSU issue.

    Also, read over mobo manual and figure out what that beep means. That'll tell you one problem right away.
  2. I think the PSU is fine for 440 and 5570 and one hd. The ram is fine too. He isn't trying to max fps here, he just wanted to be able to play starcraft 2, which he can now. I wish I could run through the checklist, but he is at school somewhere else. I am trying to get him to get the PC to me so I can fix it. I was just wondering about the fact that it failed, then worked for two days flawlessly, then failed again. Anyone have something like this happen? If he does get it to me, going through the checklist will find out the problem, but I am still baffled about the intermittent booting. Seems a little strange. I thought that if a component goes, it goes, and does not return. Any thoughts?
  3. download and burn MemTest86+ from here . download the .zip with the .iso file. Using Win7, double click on the extracted/decompressed .iso file. Windows can burn the .iso to disc the proper way to make a bootable disc image. Send your friend the disc in the mail. Tell him that the test will run automatically, and if he sees red, he's got bad RAM.
  4. It was the RAM. He got it to me this weekend. Pulled one stick, still wouldn't boot, switched the sticks, and shazaam! I think it's strange that it would fail, then "unfail" for him. Well, he is in the process of RMAing the RAM. Thanks for all the advice guys.
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