|Keep just enough hardware installed for a POST. This is typically just CPU, 1 DIMM, Cheap $20 video card, and PSU. Ideally on a test bench. |
When observing the CPU for physical damage, did you see ANY marks on it? If so, it's damaged.
When observing the CPU for physical damage, did you check the MB pins? Any bent pin, no matter how slight, can cause problems.
I've had problems with ASUS MBs in the past. On first boot, the MB would reset its DIMM voltage to the lowest possible setting. This was solved by booting off of a cheap DIMM and configuring the BIOS' memory settings to be compatible with my desired DIMMs. Something like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...
You could just have a bad MB. See if you can't RMA the thing.
Also, if you have a volt meter, check the PWR_OK signal. Should be 5V ± 0.25V within half a second of the power button being pressed. (Technically from when PS_ON# is grounded out, but details.)
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