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Computer instantly died, smells burnt and won't start.

Tags:
  • GPUs
  • Power Supplies
  • Computers
  • Crash
  • Components
Last response: in Components
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December 15, 2013 9:08:26 AM

So today my computer suddenly died. While running Bioshock 2 for an hour or so, it shut off as if the power had just cut. Right after crashing, I smell something burnt. So I immediately flipped the switch on the PSU and plugged everything out.

I opened it up, and checked for any visible signs of burns, but found nothing. Nearly every part was warm to touch, even the DVD-driver. And the metal tubes on my GPU, which I assume are to lead off heat, were very hot. The smell came mostly from the GPU and the PSU.

After a while, I tried to turn it back on, as to the PSU fan started for about a second before stopping, and nothing else happened. Any attempt after this resulted in nothing. After waiting a while before reattempting to start it, the PSU flashed a bright blue light, and then nothing.

The computer has been working fine for a year and a half, with very minor problems. Although recently, I installed a new set of fans, which I suspect have been pulling in a lot of dust. But I haven't noticed too much dust inside.

Intel i7
ASUS GeForce 660 ti
Corsair GS600 PSU
8GB RAM (Corsair Vengeance I think)
SSD and HDD

More about : computer instantly died smells burnt start

December 15, 2013 9:15:42 AM

If you can´t make out any visual causes for the problem like dust on the coolers or burnt capacitors or something like that, I´d try to boot it up with a minimal configuration. Only PSU, motherboard, CPU and one RAM stick. If you have no onboard graphics, you also would need to connect the GPU.
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December 15, 2013 9:30:54 AM

The whole computer is quite dusty all over, maybe my standards for dusty may not be the same as yours. Anyhow, I can't see how I would be able to boot it up with a minimal configuration, since I cannot start it at all. :/ 
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December 15, 2013 9:37:33 AM

Ok, wrong choice of words.
Try to start it with minimal configuration.
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December 15, 2013 10:06:52 AM

Okay, progress.

Tried the minimal configuration, and it started up with no problem. I removed one stick of RAM (4GB) and the graphics card. The PSU ran smoothly, and the blue light seemed to be LED's that were always on (apologies). Sadly, I believe the burnt smell originates from the GPU. I am about to plug it back in and see what happens.

I'm going to check the warranty on the GPU, and hope for the best. If there's no way to repair it, I guess I'll have to buy a new one. In that case, Nvidia hopefully still has that campaign of theirs going.
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December 15, 2013 10:26:40 AM

jst got 2 questions fr u:
have u assembelled ur pc in a briefcase?
dude seriously?!
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December 15, 2013 10:49:07 AM

Cazral said:
Okay, progress.

Tried the minimal configuration, and it started up with no problem. I removed one stick of RAM (4GB) and the graphics card. The PSU ran smoothly, and the blue light seemed to be LED's that were always on (apologies). Sadly, I believe the burnt smell originates from the GPU. I am about to plug it back in and see what happens.

I'm going to check the warranty on the GPU, and hope for the best. If there's no way to repair it, I guess I'll have to buy a new one. In that case, Nvidia hopefully still has that campaign of theirs going.

Damn, that´s too bad.
But at least now you know what it is.
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December 15, 2013 11:43:04 AM

However, I still have no idea what caused it to crash in the first place. My guess is that it somehow overheated, or crashed and then overheated, and then the heat kinda spread throughout the box.

Any clue as to what happened so I don't have to post again next week when I plug in a new GPU? Might it have been that it was too dusty?
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December 15, 2013 12:01:08 PM

I mean it could be.
But I would have expected your GPU to throttle or BSOD on you or something like that.
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a b ) Power supply
December 15, 2013 12:24:32 PM

Cazral said:
However, I still have no idea what caused it to crash in the first place. My guess is that it somehow overheated, or crashed and then overheated, and then the heat kinda spread throughout the box.

Any clue as to what happened so I don't have to post again next week when I plug in a new GPU? Might it have been that it was too dusty?


Have you cleaned out your case, used canned air on the video card and cleaned it? Do that first, then try the card again.
YOu are probably correct, the video card died,, but it could have been the RAM stick, too.
I would be very suspicious of your power supply!! Som3one is correct, when video cards go you usually get some warning such as graphics glitches, slow downs, error warnings. But a power supply circuit can fail, produce a big surge of power, and destroy equipment. Yes, the psu might function under the light load of a minimal configuration, but when is is loaded with additional equipment (think video card etc) it can't produce the power, shuts down, or overheats and shuts down.
Would be a shame to get a new video card and toast it when you turn on the computer.

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December 15, 2013 12:55:37 PM

Okay, so I can go back to considering that it is the PSU that's causing issues. If it were to be the GPU would it then just refuse to start like that? I need to find out which one it is, and what's causing the problem. And finally what to do about it.

So the GPU is smelling burnt, that's a fact, so if the PSU is at fault it has damaged the GPU. Or, the PSU is fine and the GPU somehow fried itself. Since I can't see anything that looks weird on neither, it's hard to tell. The PSU's wattage should be enough for the GPU.

What should I do? Both have warranty so I should be fine with replacing them.

Edit: I noticed a small slightly darker circle on my GPU, and next to it one of those small metal capsules that might just have busted. So I'm starting to think that it is the GPU, but it might still be because of the PSU.
How do I figure if my PSU is busted too?
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a b ) Power supply
December 15, 2013 4:05:46 PM

Cazral said:
Okay, so I can go back to considering that it is the PSU that's causing issues. If it were to be the GPU would it then just refuse to start like that? I need to find out which one it is, and what's causing the problem. And finally what to do about it.

So the GPU is smelling burnt, that's a fact, so if the PSU is at fault it has damaged the GPU. Or, the PSU is fine and the GPU somehow fried itself. Since I can't see anything that looks weird on neither, it's hard to tell. The PSU's wattage should be enough for the GPU.

What should I do? Both have warranty so I should be fine with replacing them.

Edit: I noticed a small slightly darker circle on my GPU, and next to it one of those small metal capsules that might just have busted. So I'm starting to think that it is the GPU, but it might still be because of the PSU.
How do I figure if my PSU is busted too?

Good job tracking down the problems.
I agree, the GPU is toast. Your were able to boot into a minimal configuration, so that is a plus also. The GS series of Corsair's line up is an all-right psu, but that is probably where the disaster struck first. If you have another good, working psu that you can use, even borrow, that has the two PCI=E connectors; put that in your system, try a minimal boot, shut down and install your new card and try again. If it boots you should be good-to-go.
With any luck, when the incident happened it didn't hurt anyother components. With really good luck it was simply the capacitor on the video card!! If it was JUST the card dieing, I doubt there was/is any other damage.
That was a long winded answer, here's a shorter one: With both under warranty, replace them both. If you can get your money back for the PSU you can either upgrade to a TX or HX model of Corsair, or maybe an XFX. Even if you don't get your $$$ back, you can get new parts.

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!