DMA Error, Fatal Error, System Halted

That error seems to be one that will never go away.

It started when a friend brought in his computer for me to look at it. It gave that error- "DMA Error, Fatal Error, System Halted"- on bootup, before locking up. The computer was running fine for him for about 5 months before he brought it in. After giving the error the computer would not respond in any way and had to be shutdown with the power switch.

Hardware in question-
Intel 3.2Ghz Pentium 4 (Northwood)
D875PBZ Desktop Board
Radeon 9800, also tested with Geforce 6600 GT
Antec True330 330 Watt PS, also tested with Generic brand 400 Watt PS
Mitsumi PS/2 Keyboard
Crucial PC400 DDR, also tested with Generic Brand PC400 DDR, single and dual channel modes

Anyway, I have diagnosed many hardware issue for myself and others over the last few years so I didn't expect this to be a serious problem. I started with stripping the computer down to the bare essentials. I removed all PCI cards, the hard drive, CD-ROM, cables, mouse, etc. Only the motherboard, CPU, memory, power supply, keyboard, and video card were in use. I still got the error. I tested with memory in a different slot, no change. Different memory, different video card- no change.

At this point I was sure it was the CPU or the Motherboard. I spoke with the ownder and he decided it was worth buying a new board for $80 for testing purpose. Bought and recieved new board, same model but a newer revision. Installed CPU, video card, RAM, power supply- exact same error. "DMA Error, Fatal Error, System Halted".

So at this point I was thinking maybe it is the CPU. I have NEVER come across a CPU failure like this, but maybe it was the first time? I located another CPU in a spare machine, and swapped it in. Now instead of the original 3.2Ghz Pentium 4 northwood, it had a 2.8Ghz Northwood.

Same freaking error.

Swapped out other components- so what I have is the newly ordered board, different power supply, different CPU, different video card- no part at all from the original broken system- and I still see the same error. Reset the BIOS defaults as well incase it was just a bad setting.

At this point, the only thing I can think is that the CPU broke the original board somehow, and putting it in the new board broke the new board in the same way. I'm almost afraid to try the CPU in any other boards for fear of "breaking" them the same way. I have never seen anything like this.


Anyone have any ideas?
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