Last night I was playing a game on my computer and it froze completely and would not respond to anything. After crashing it would not boot up.
I have unplugged all hard drives as well as alternated the memory and the problem still persists. Essentially, whenever the computer starts to do work it just stops responding and eventually reboots. I have tried to start up a new installation and it either goes blank then reboots or I get a big "EXCEPTION trap" string. (right after i click any key to boot from DVD device). I can actually get into bios and it navigates bios ok. But when i start a boot from CD or a boot from HDD it does nothing--then reboot. Memory test also fails but I suspect the memory is ok. I have tried 4 sticks in isolation and all give the same problem. I feel it unlikely that all 4 sticks would go bad at once . . .
my gut is telling me it is a CPU issue but I'm not sure. other than dropping the CPU into a known working motherboard, does anyone have experience with determining the broken component?