My bad, I meant at start up. Yes, if you cannot get past the start up screen without seeing that error (regardless of it booting or not), it is a sure sign that the motherboard is on it's way out. Laptop components tend to die off faster than their desktop counterparts due to increased heat within the case, i.e. it cannot vent off as efficiently in comparison to a desktop. Translation: heat is the devil for electronic components (amongst a few others).
Depending on how old the laptop is, you can send it in for repair if it is still within the 1 year factory warranty or if you bought an extended warranty. If not, you can order a new motherboard and replace it or have someone do it for you. If you just want to scrap it, save the hard drive and buy an external hard drive enclosure so you can get your vital data off.