Read through most all the Dell 3000 threads, my problem is a little bit different. Well, not the problem but the symptoms.

Power up: fans turn, green light on mobo. That's it, no beeps, no BIOS, no diag lights, no nothin'. The machine came to me after its owner upped the RAM, so I tried all the configurations and nothing. Reseated every removable part just for fun. Noticed the cooling fins on the CPU heat sink were discolored, and it gets hot right away with the cover off, but I don't know if that is normal for this machine.

The owner said she "vacuumed" it- but the best clue so far I have seen here is liquid canned air in the mobo. Any new ideas- or confirmation of probable DOA appreciated.

"confirmation of probable DOA appreciated" Your last note was probably the best. I would question the WHY of the sudden need for RAM. Best guess however is the increasingly poor performance of the CPU. Discoloration could be a variety of reasons. Black could be just plain dirt. Varying shades of blue or purple is definite signs of overheating. Vacuming strikes me as too little too late. The CPU is most likely fried which usually means a new most everything.

Thanks- all good insights and thoughts. The copper was from heat (I am a sometimes plumber, which is what drew my eye to it). The owner suspected the performance issue was due spyware, in another machine scanning and adding a gig definitely helped. For the dead one, I found one on eBay for $30, swapped the drive and she was good to go. With a parts machine too, but the only thing usable is maybe the power supply and CD drive.

I noticed this one had an aluminum CPU heatsink, would you know if that denotes a later model or earlier" It's a Celron 2.4 Ghz. Have no idea what the old one was, so it may have been an improvement.

"an aluminum CPU heatsink, " Heatsinks are made by many a manuf. so I doubt it makes that much difference. The difference in RAM speed could also get to be an issue.

Well, they haven't called back yet!