Motherboard sparked and no power at all

Micro-star international 790fx-gd70 moth...
April 15, 2011 at 09:41:54
Specs: Windows 7 Pro, Phenom II X6 3.2 ghz six-core, 6GB ram
About 6 months ago i built my own computer using an MSI motherboard and have never had a problem with it (except it had an insanely old BIOS on it, which i later updated). One day as I pressed the power button to turn it on i could see a large spark coming off of the board accompanied by a loud noise, and then absolutely no power was going to any of the components and wouldn't turn back on at all. I took it to a computer store where they determined that the power supply was still working but the motherboard wasn't. I've sent in the motherboard and I'm awaiting its return but what i would like to know is how likely it is that any of my other components have been damaged by the spark. I bought some very expensive parts and I kick myself in the crotch for getting MSI but it'd just be good to know what to expect. Thanks in advance.

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April 15, 2011 at 09:57:16
MSI mboards are well known to be more likely to have this problem.....

Some mboards develop this problem - electrolytic capacitors were installed on them that were not properly made, and they fail eventually - the mboard manufacturer didn't know they were improperly made at the time the mboard was made.

Open up your case and examine the mboard to see if you have bad capacitors, and/or other findable signs of mboard damage .

This was the original bad capacitor problem - has some example pictures.
History of why the exploding capacitors and which mboard makers were affected:

What to look for, mboard symptoms, example pictures:
Home page that site
- what the problem is caused by
- he says there are STILL bad capacitors on more recent mboards.

Pictures of blown capacitors, other components, power supplies, fried Athlon cpus, etc.:

The noise you heard was likely one or more electrolytic capacitors exploding.
I happened to hear one explode once and it sounded like a muffled rifle shot (the computer cased was closed). In that case it was inside the power supply, but it was caused by the same thing.
It's also possible for them to cause shorts while failing , if the aluminum enclosure they're in touches the two leads inside the capacitor, which may explain the sparks you saw.
How did you see them? Was your computer case open at the time ?

Unfortunately, shorts can damage anything connected to the mboard or to the power supply.

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April 15, 2011 at 10:21:57
When I took the board out I looked very closely and really didn't see any visible damage. The board is already sent off and in retrospect i should have waited but i was pretty certain the motherboard was definitely fried so i needed a new one anyways. But my case has a window on the side from which i could clearly see the spark, it wasn't open or anything. And thats totally balls to hear about the short potentially damaging other components. I really should've expected as much but I'm just gonna pray extra hard that they're all ok. Thanks a ton for the info.

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April 15, 2011 at 12:05:26
It would be nice to see a detailed spec list, especially the make/model of the power supply. I don't know how the computer shop could deteremine the power supply was still good? Anyone can check voltages with a voltmeter/multimeter, but just because voltages are within tolerance doesn't guarantee that the required amperages are available. Did they connect it to a SunMoon load tester?

Hardware Secrets Power Supply Test Methodology

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Related Solutions

April 15, 2011 at 12:46:25
MSI 790FX-GD70 AM3 AMD ATX Mboard
Phenom II X6 1090T six-core 3.2 Ghz 125W AM3 socket
XFX Radeon 5850 HD 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 video card
G.skill PI Series 6GB (3x2GB) 240-pin DDR3 SDRAM (PC3 12800)
OCZ Fatal1ty 550W ATX12V v2.2 / EPS12V OCZ550FTY

The person at the computer store hooked it up to another computer and was able to run it that way.

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