Speck of dust vs. CPU

Rob Williams

Staff member
This is not about a CPU death, so apologies in advance. I am sure that would have been far more satisfying of a read. No, this is a tale of how one speck of dust wasted about six hours of my life, leading me to believe that the motherboard I was testing was broken.

Last night, I hooked up Sapphire's PURE Z68 board to do some testing, and it just wouldn't boot. I'd see the BIOS splash screen, but it'd never pass it. I tried four different kits of RAM, the IGP and a discrete GPU, unhooked everything from the motherboard except for the CPU cooler, and no cigar. Oh, and I cleared the CMOS on -both- BIOSes what must have been 50 times (I wish this were a joke). The thing just wouldn't boot, no matter what I did.

Though, I did oddly have more success once I hauled the BIOS battery out and let it sit for a while. After putting it back in and booting up, I'd actually make it to Windows, or the BIOS, depending on how quick I hit Delete when I booted up. Odd as this is, it wasn't a solution.

I hauled out the CPU and put another in, and was shocked when the machine booted. So I grabbed the CPU that was in there prior, and lo and behold, a small speck of dust in the corner. That is what caused all the issues... something so simple. In some ways, I am lucky the CPU and board didn't burn out, so I'm pleased there. How the dust got there though is a different story. I literally moved that CPU from one board straight to the next without setting it down. It must have acted like a magnet :p


Techgage Staff
Staff member
Wow... I've heard of dust causing that problem with PCIe cards, but yeah... good lesson to learn I guess. When all else fails, check for dust. :D


Tech Monkey
lmao, that's insane.... I typically check for dust 1st however due to the problems I have had with it. (some caught fire in a running pc from who the heck knows what)