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Why would the BIOS return a memory error on a random DIMM slot?

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There is no UPS on this system, it's used as a client machine with a basic surge protector on it. I did try plugging into a different surge protector to see if it was a power issue, but that made no difference.
The tech did not swap the processor, and that was something I had mentioned to Dell. Dell tech support dismissed that as a possibility out of hand, which is documented in the chat I had with them (online chat) so chances of me convincing them to send a replacement CPU when it was already dismissed as a source of the issue is slim at best.