Solved Motherboards keep frying

October 22, 2011 at 20:23:24
Specs: Windows 7, AMD Phenom 9550 / 4GBs
About a month ago, my computer suddenly shut off; not soon after there was a smell of electrical fire. I took my components out to see what was wrong and re powered it up, and a motherboard chip caught on fire. I've had this computer for about 2.5 years and have done multiple upgrades.

Replaced the motherboard, and it worked fine for about 4 weeks, and then it happened again. Deassembled it again and when I turned it on, smoke, fire, smell ect ect. The same chip caught on fire. This time I noticed the back case fan wasn't working at all,this my guess as of why it burned out (over heating).

Replaced the motherboard with the exact same one as previous and replaced the fan, worked fine for 2 days. I started up a DVD ripper, walked away and came back to find it was shut off. No smoke or smell that I could noticed. However, this time I'm not being stupid and turning it back on just so it can burn out again.

Now here is my dilemma - I narrowed it down to 3 possible issues : PSU, CPU, or my dumb ass leaving out one of the screws on the motherboard stand offs (possible short?)

I took off my heat sink of my CPU and noticed there's basically no more thermal paste on the CPU. Making me think it could have been just a CPU over heat and the computer shut off as a safety precaution (But I'm not turning it back on, just incase). The power supply I'm using is the XFX 650w XXX edition and it isn't even a year old, but the first time it happened my computer was VERY VERY hot and was left on for a few days. The third - I have 4 case stand offs, and I only had 3 screws, so I left one off .... not sure how dangerous this was. This was also the same situation in my first replacement mainboard - only 3 out of 4 screws. Could have caused a short, not sure.

So at the moment, I am returning my Motherboard for a replacement, already replaced the fan, getting a new power supply, putting more thermal paste on my CPU, and getting the last standoff screw replaced.

Of the above, what is the most probable cause? I was thinking the PSU - but its only frying my motherboard (in the same location) and only after prolonged periods of time. Someone else told me the same thing, making me believe it is the PSU even more. what someone else was telling me .... If it happens again - what else could it possible be?

Thanks for any and all help =)

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October 22, 2011 at 21:11:39
✔ Best Answer
Likely culprit is power supply due to the burning, but slowly check ALL wires to make sure you are not running one/some along a sharp part of the case and cutting through.
Thermal compound ALWAYS needs to be completely removed and replaced EVERY time the heat sink is removed. Look here for details:
Choose your cpu type and look up the correct method for properly doing this (too much is almost as bad as too little and is a far easier mistake to do).

Stand off screws are important, but unless the stand off was actually causing a short by being in the wrong place, I doubt it was the cause.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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October 22, 2011 at 22:11:57
A bad case cooling fan won't cause a chip on the motherboard to fry. Case fans aren't even necessary, unless you have happy crappy case with a bottom mounted power supply? And it's unlikely a power supply would cause a specific motherboard chip to fry either. The typical motherboard has 9 mounting holes, therefore it requires 9 standoffs & 9 mounting screws. And they MUST be put in the correct locations.

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October 22, 2011 at 22:14:03
LOL, I don't know where "happy crappy" came from, but I'm unable to edit.

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Related Solutions

October 22, 2011 at 22:16:16
@Fingers - I did have my PSU cords hidden behind the plating, but they are all covered by the plastic mesh sleeve. Nothing is split, so I don't see that to be the cause. Just confused as to why it would work for a month, and burn out the exact thing every time. Also thanks for the information about the CPU grease, going to fix that.

@ Riider - PSU is top mounted and the replacement is a Micro ATX board, so it only has 4 stand offs. All 4 are in the correct locations, just 1 doesn't have a screw in it.

Thanks for the input =)

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October 23, 2011 at 01:11:13
Hi Mtth,

this may have nothing to do with your problem, but comments above prompted this.

Some motherboards use one standoff as an earth, thus the standoff at that point should be metal and a retaining screw used.

Would think the mobo instructions would advise this.

Viewing the mounting holes will show at least one with a earthing metal contact ring as opposed to just the circuit board 's plastic.

Good Luck - Keep us posted.

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October 23, 2011 at 19:11:21
"the replacement is a Micro ATX board, so it only has 4 stand offs"

mATX boards use 7 or 9 mounts. Check your manual.

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October 23, 2011 at 20:09:06
It is VERY possible that a mounting post IS used as a chassis ground. Grounding the chassis through the motherboard's ground would cause the metal of the chassis to become a shield to EMF or electromagnetic interference and static discharge thereby protecting the entire system. Therefore one or more missing screws could definitely be the cause of the premature motherboard failure. Good catch Mike.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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October 23, 2011 at 20:28:00
Wouldn't explain the original motherboard going out though, I was using the computer for about 3 years without an issue. It was a full sized one and it only had 6 standoffs. The day it shorted out, I had my PC running for about 4 days straight, and I had Deus Ex running the background accidently the entire time while I was playing other games.

If the back fan was shorted out, and the side fans were pumping in only hot air - the temperature could have sky rocketed during that time and fried out something in the PSU. My PC is on the ground, on the carpet, under a table. So the hot air rises, and hits the desk above and just stays there. Computer continues to produced heat, builds up. Poof.

I went to the computer store today to exchange the Motherboard and couldnt find any screws that matched my case or a decently priced PSU w/ 2 PCI-E plugs. So I have to wait a while to give you guys some feedback. But I really appreciate all the input, you guys rock!

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October 30, 2011 at 20:18:49
Computer is running fine, no issues so far.

Replaced PSU, Motherboard, and put all 6 standoffs in place.

Voted Fingers as the best answer because of the following:

When I was rebuilding the comp, I was re-arranging the Power connectors.
Turns out a case wire (Temperature LCD front panel) was split wide opent, the live wires were in direct contact with a sharp edge of the case EXACTLY as he said. I examined this wire, and noticed it had burn marks ALL over the wire. This was the obvious answer to my problem that I over looked dozens of times. I cut out this wire, and covered it with electrical tape. My Temperature panel doesn't work, but my entire computer is running fine.

I did replaced the PSU and other pieces, because it is very likely possible that other components were damaged.


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October 31, 2011 at 04:17:42
You are quite welcome.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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