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Graphics Cards Fried, Is Everything Else OK?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 4, 2013 2:33:08 PM

Hi all

So here is what happened. I was finishing up my case lighting (bitspower cold cathodes) and needed an extra molex power plug for one of the lights. I have a Corsair HX1000W molular PSU so all I had to do was plug in a string of extra molex power plugs and connect it up. As I plugged the cold cathode power into one of the new molex plugs, a little chip on my GPU popped smoldered. I immediately switched off the PC and unplugged the power. Upon further examination, both my GTX 580's had blown at the same spot.

I disconnected everything to do with the cold cathodes and swapped out the fried cards for an old HD5770 I had. The system powered up fine although the BIOS had reset. Was able to get into windows with no problems. I turned the computer off and turned it on again but this time it powered up for a second or 2 and shut off again. After flicking the switch at the back of the power supply off then on again and re-connecting the power plug, it started normally.

I have now rebuilt the entire PC and examined every component to check for visible damage and the motherboard and CPU appear to be fine. There are no blown capacitors or chips on the motherboard that I can see and same with the CPU and CPU socket. The HDD's appear to be working fine, same with the CD drive so I am hoping everything will be ok. I am about to order a GTX 780 and an new Corsair AX860i PSU. ( I don't trust my old PSU, especially seeing as the system was only powering on sometimes after the incident)

What are the chances of there being unseen damage to the motherboard or CPU? As I said, the system booted fine and I even ran Prime 95 on the CPU to ensure it was working correctly. The motherboard (ASRock z77 Extreme6) and CPU (I7 3770K) are practically brand new. I am hoping the charge went through the GPU power connectors and not through the motherboard and through the PCI slots.

I have no Idea why or how this has happened but lately we have been experiencing some pretty stormy conditions. One afternoon, there was a storm not far off and I was about to switch off the PC and unplug everything when a lightening bolt hit not far from my house. The power went off then on again and it appeared no harm was done. Maybe this blew the over voltage protector or something in the PSU?

Anyway, input into what might have happened and what I should do will be greatly appreciated, this really hurts as I have spent a lot of time and money on this rig. Needless to say I am never touching cold cathode lighting kits again, not sure if it was the cause but I am not taking the risk.

Attached is an image of the blown chip on one of the cards. Sorry for the poor Picture quality, it was hard to photograph.

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a b U Graphics card
December 4, 2013 2:39:36 PM

the lighting kits are not the issue. it's just that you should have powered off and unplugged the pc when you were adding them. never work anything in it when not powered down...
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a c 1411 U Graphics card
December 4, 2013 2:40:01 PM

Chances are you found the extent of the damage! Lesson is do not mess with components when running.
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a b U Graphics card
December 4, 2013 2:46:45 PM

ALWAYS power down and unplug your pc before connecting or disconnecting ANYTHING to your computer.
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December 4, 2013 3:07:44 PM

Ah yep, very silly mistake and it has cost me big time. It was always in the back of my head that I should power down before changing the lights around. It's hard to find the right color combination lol. Just out of curiosity, how would it have made a difference having the PC off? Surely when I booted it up it would have done the same thing?
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a b U Graphics card
December 4, 2013 3:08:55 PM

it was the difference in power usage caused by the lights that killed it
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a b U Graphics card
December 4, 2013 3:12:28 PM

Nope the change in power while the pc is on and running through all the components will zap stuff quick. Even plugging in a case fan or something like that the whole system needs to be off.
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December 4, 2013 10:13:39 PM

Sorta makes sense I guess but it seems as though too much voltage was sent though the GPU's. Anyway, is there a way I can test my motherboard for any damage? If the system boots and runs ok, does that mean I am out of trouble?
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a c 1411 U Graphics card
December 4, 2013 10:16:10 PM

If everything runs fine you should be out of trouble.
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December 15, 2013 10:18:01 PM

Update: The new graphics card and PSU arrived and I very VERY carefully installed them and triple checked everything. I powered on the system and there was instantly a loud crack of electricity followed by a chip on the motherboard burning just like the GPU's did. The system did not shut down and I had to manually pull the plug (believe me, I did not sit around to see how long it was going to run).

Here is a pic I pulled off the internet of the exact same motherboard with an arrow pointing to the chip that burnt. I could not get a pic of mine because my camera is out of battery and the charger has gone missing.



I really need some professional advice here, I am afraid my brand new PSU is faulty and has caused this second failure as I ran the system with the old power supply and it was fine. I am also afraid my new 780 is damaged from this. So far this has cost $1000 and I obviously need a new motherboard. I seriously can't afford to damage anything else, This computer is used just as much for work as gaming. I am absolutely devastated.

Regards
Ryan
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a c 1411 U Graphics card
December 15, 2013 10:38:05 PM

Is something in your case shorting out like an extra misplaced standoff under the motherboard?
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a c 92 U Graphics card
December 15, 2013 10:41:31 PM

It may have been damaged previously and just fried with the new PSU.
It doesn't look to be critical but it looks like there was a fair amount of damage.
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December 15, 2013 11:13:46 PM

rolli59 said:
Is something in your case shorting out like an extra misplaced standoff under the motherboard?


Just checked that, they are all in the correct place and there are no extras.

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December 16, 2013 3:49:01 AM

Does anyone know what part of the motherboard this is?
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a b U Graphics card
December 16, 2013 4:07:53 AM

Looks like the sockets where all the front usb 3.0 headers, hd audio port used to jack headphones in, power switch and reset switch etc are plugged in.
See that on the bottom left? HD_AUDIO1. That's where the wire from your front headphone jacks is going to go. On the extreme right, you'd plug in your front usb port wires, and the big array in the middle, above FLOPPY1, will be used to connect the power switch, reset switch, power on led, all that stuff.

The arrow doesn't look like a chip-- more like a plug on a FireWire port connector. I don't have a similar motherboard and case so I can't say for sure.

I feel kinda sorry for you. Hope you have a good working computer soon.
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a c 92 U Graphics card
December 16, 2013 10:50:24 AM

Looks like a small resistor or diode that has something to do with one of those plugs on that side.
You might as well try it again but remove anything that you are concerned about damaging.
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December 16, 2013 12:37:29 PM

What do you think the chances are this has damaged my new 780 and PSU? That's what I am most concerned about right now, the motherboard will be replaced.
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a c 92 U Graphics card
December 16, 2013 1:42:12 PM

If no smoke came out of them, they are most likely ok
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!