Please Advise

A few days ago, after working flawlessly for 2 years, my self-assembled computer would not boot one morning. I tried all the obvious things to remedy the problem, but nothing worked. Took off the cover and watched the motherboard lights and codes when I tried to boot up. The Gigabyte motherboard (GA-EX58-UD5) was constantly stuck on code "C1," which, according to the manual, is a memory detection error.

(I should note at this point that I have never tried overclocking this system in any way. The only BIOS setting I ever changed was to have the CPU fan run on maximum 24/7.)

Called Gigabyte tech support. They had me remove all three 2GB memory sticks, then put each one in the #1 memory slot one after the other and try to boot with each of the single sticks. Same result each time. Then try to boot with no memory sticks. Same result. Then unplug the 8-pin power connector for the CPU, at which point the motherboard showed code "8.8." Plugged the CPU power back in, then again put one stick back in, and again code "C1." The tech's conclusion was that the memory controller on the CPU was fried.

So then I called Intel. Told them what the Gigabyte tech told me. Intel agreed to replace the CPU (Core i7-940).

However, when I removed the CPU, I noticed what appeared to be a slight discoloration on a small area of pins, about the size of a fingernail, on both the CPU underside, and in the socket. I have tentatively guessed that there was a short circuit there. However, when I say "slight," I mean it didn't really look blackened like other short circuits I've seen. More like a slightly tan smudge, so I'm not sure about that admittedly untrained diagnosis.

Assuming it was a short circuit, who's fault is it, Gigabyte's or Intel's? When I get the replacement CPU, do I dare try to install it? Should I try to get the motherboard replaced first? If the answer to my last question is yes, how do I justify to Gigabyte my request to RMA the board without being able to conduct any tests to prove my claim?

I'd appreciate any advice you can give me. I may not even know the right questions to ask, or you might think of something I hadn't considered.

Many thanks in advance, and Happy New Year!

Additional hardware/software info, if necessary: P & C Silencer 750, 3 X 2GB Crucial DDR3 PC1066, Velociraptor 300GB, Caviar Black 1TB, AMD Radeon 4870 X2, Xonar D2, Avery video capture card, running on Vista SP2.
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  1. It sounds very much like the socket has failed. This was very common on LGA 1156 Foxconn sockets for a good 6 months before they cleared it up. Here is a link about that issue:

    This is probably very rare for an LGA 1366 board, and would certainly fool Gigabyte tech support. Call them back and describe what you see, and perhaps you'll get a new board too.
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