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Did OC + Prime95 just fry my new computer? (chill pill taken ;)

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November 9, 2009 3:49:08 AM

(Didn’t realize I was ‘shouting’ in a previous post until I read your replies to another poster, so I took a pill chill and will try my petition again… :) 

I’m new to overclocking and I’m hoping I didn’t just fry my brand new rig in the attempt. Hopefully it's just the power supply or some other component that can be easily replaced... How can I tell?

Symptoms: no power at all, and a faint smell of burned electricals

What I was doing when it happened: was running prime 95 to test stability of my "EZ" overclock settings (native in the BIOS) and rendering a video at the same time. When the temps hit 85c I shut down prime 95 but the temps kept going up. Found the prime 95 process was still running, so I stopped it using the Task Manager. Computer froze. I restarted, went into BIOS and loaded defaults, restarted again and tried to start windows (version 7-64). Windows stalled in the middle of startup, so I restarted again. Boot options came up and I chose the "safe startup (recommended)" option. It stalled again. Tried to restart, it shut off and nothing happened; it wouldn't restart or power on at all. Tested the power strip, it was working. Burnt smell. Crap. Pulled everything off the power supply except the motherboard... Nothing. Hoping it's just the power supply, cause if it's the motherboard I don't think they'll take it back under warranty, right? (though i did get everything from new egg...).

My rig:

ASROCK X58 EXTREME
CORE i7 920
XIGMATEC 1283 COOLER
CORSAIR 650W PS
MUSHKIN 6 GB 1333 DDR3
COOLERMASTER 690
GIGABYTE 9600GT
WINDOWS 7 64-bit
(2) WD Caviar Black 640G


Any help on troubleshooting would be appreciated…
a b K Overclocking
November 9, 2009 8:52:28 AM

first i would turn off everything and press the bios flash button. Then re-start and see if that fixes your problem.

If not then re-seat the ram

If it still doesnt boot then re-install windows on a single drive and remove the other one.

If that still doesnt work then buy a psu tester from frys, or newegg and test the psu.

If it still doesnt work we will have to go from there.


Where is the burnt smell coming from?
This doesnt sound like a mobo problem, but they would take it back if you RMA'd it.

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a b K Overclocking
November 9, 2009 10:49:15 AM

Prime95 is made to stress your hardware. When your CPU hits 100% it also means that POWER CONSUMPTION IS CLOSED TO MAX with the exception on the activity of your video card. The PSU is one of the hardware that is stressed.

Its is plausible that your PS is fried.

When something smells burn reduce your hardware to bare minimum before power-up. It will reduce the risk of further damage.

I had similar incident with my PC. PC have been Powerd-ON for > 2 years 24x7 except when i clean it. I run Prime95 from time to time to stress test the hardware. Sure enough my Antec 850W Quatro blew-up. Everything is normaly after i replace the power supply.
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November 9, 2009 12:46:21 PM

Removed power from everything except the mobo, still nada, so it's got to be the PS or the mobo. Going to try a different PS and see if I can get the mobo lit up...

If it is the PS, what are the chances the dying PS took out some other components as well?
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a b K Overclocking
November 9, 2009 3:57:36 PM

Bad PSU can take out some of the hardware. These things happen. Thats why the first thing it happen take out the other loads before trying to power up the PC again.

The last incident i had, i use a brand new PSU to power up my PC. Never power it up with PSU that just failed. When it boot up then i put back the other HW.
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a b K Overclocking
November 9, 2009 8:53:55 PM

ruffhouseutah,

I received your PM. As you become familiar with long-time members, those of us who have an incept date of 1970 are simply members who have been here since the big software srew up :heink:  upgrade a few years ago.

Concerning your power down problem and burnt component odor, it smells like you're on the right track. As has been suggested, it's very likely that your PSU has failed. My Corsair 650 also failed recently, however under somewhat different circumstances. Fortunately, no other components in my rig were affected. Here's the link:

Autopsy Report: Corsair 650 PSU Smoked - http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/268840-28-autopsy-rep...

Hope this helps,

Comp :sol: 
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November 10, 2009 3:06:23 AM

Thanks for everyone's help and tips... here's the conclusion:

Corsair had a simple PS test idea on their website: disconnect ALL from the mobo, connect a single fan directly to the PS, then short the 24-pin connector with a paper clip (green to any black--not enough watts to be dangerous).

Guess what? The fan worked fine. Just to be sure it was the motherboard that was the problem, I hooked up a different power supply to it and... nada. The board is now on its way back to New Egg, RMA.

So back to my original question: could Prime95, high temps (90C), and a 3.6 GHz OC (using the single "EZ" OC setting in BIOS) cook my board, or was it just a faulty board?

Messing with manual settings can really mess things up, right? ... but shouldn't the native "EZ" settings be safe? Surprisingly 3.6 GHz is the lowest EZ setting available, up to 4.2.

You'd probably say ASRock is a cheap board, and I got what I paid for... maybe true. But ASRock is getting great reviews right here on Tom's, and they are owned by Asus... I thought it was a safe bet.

One thing's for sure... my wife probably won't let me overclock any more... had a hard time talking her into this system in the first place... :( 
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a b K Overclocking
November 10, 2009 3:20:03 AM

ruffhouseutah,

Nice piece of troubleshooting! :D  "Messing with manual settings" is how we all overclock, and is the only appropriate way to do it well. In your instance, it was simply a faulty board ... it happens ... which unfortunately, is cheaper and easier to replace than a wife. :??: 

Good luck with your rig! :sol: 
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a b K Overclocking
November 10, 2009 5:55:44 AM

Nice trouble shooting.

Doing it the old fashoned way, i like it.
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November 10, 2009 11:42:34 AM

Thanks guys!

So you think it would be safe to carefully and slowly tweak the manual settings and try again? I was willing to try that, but the settings in the ASRock BIOS didn't use the exact same terms as your Core i7 overclocking guide does, so I took the EZ route to be safe.

I just snuck an order for a few more case fans and some AS5 compound, just in case I could talk her in to trying again... the extra speed makes so much of a difference when rendering/transcoding video. Wish me luck...
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a b K Overclocking
November 10, 2009 12:59:43 PM

ruffhouseutah said:
... So you think it would be safe to carefully and slowly tweak the manual settings and try again? ...
Absolutely! :D  Perhaps overshocked would be willing to offer you a little guidance if you post your OC questions on his Guides' thread. Have you paged through it to see if your answers are already there?
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November 10, 2009 1:36:09 PM

I would welcome the help, gladly!

Yes... I have reviewed overshocked's guides, very carefully, including printing them out and attempting to follow step-by-step, but the options in my BIOS do not match his steps, including the first few. The terms and optional settings were different enough that I dared not change them, hence my attempt with the EZ settings that seemed to work so well for other owners of the same board (according to New Egg reviews).

Next time--if there be one--I will post the exact terms used in my BIOS and hopefully overshocked or anyone can help me translate ASRock's "Engrish"...

(ASRock's user's manual is useless, as is their website, lack of forums, no specific OC steps for their board that I can find on the www, no specific steps on Tom's either... I've read and read and read, so I'll be at your mercy, guys!)

P.S. overshocked: perhaps I can give you a Noob's perspective on your i7 guide, point by point, where I'm getting stuck or don't understand, so you can add some clarification language like "your BIOS might also list this setting as "XYZ", which is really the same thing as "123"...?
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a b K Overclocking
November 10, 2009 10:43:12 PM

Congratulations !

WHAT WAS BURNED?

Did you find the part that is burned? You mentioned smelling burnt parts or something. Was that on the PSU or on the motherboard?

Just make sure your original PSU is really good before you plug it in to the new motherboard. Running fans do not equate to good PSU.

If you are not sure you might as well get an RMA from corsair as you are waiting for your replacement board.

Thats for your consideration

OC and Prime95 Question:

Boards today are protected from damage due OC. If your board is not get another brand.

As to my previous post Prime95 will increase the electrical load of your PC. CPU @ 100% means max current draw for the CPU and directly associate components on the motherboard. Prime-95 will stress your PSU.

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November 11, 2009 12:27:40 AM

Leon, you make a very logical point here and give me pause... Is the only way to plug it into my new replacement board? If so, you're right, I should probably look into returning it just in case, but that seems kinda unfair to New Egg and Corsair... no?

Got any other way to test the PSU to be sure it's still okay?

No, the electrical burn smell was there for certain, but it wasn't strong unless I was standing directly over the case and right when I opened it. Honestly, I forgot to look for anything that burned... doh! As soon as a completely different power supply did the exact same thing with the board, I felt the troubleshooting was over and RMA'd it...

If it were you would you simply RMA it without another thought or test? If a running fan doesn't do it, why would Corsair's site use that as a test? They say the simple paper clip/fan test would reveal that the PSU is "fine"...? (http://www.corsair.com/faq/default.aspx)
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a b K Overclocking
November 11, 2009 10:02:32 AM

If something smelled burn something get burned. You won't be the first the return PSU (Good or Bad) to newegg. Its part of their business that's why we like newegg. Take advantage of it for your own interest. The policy was made for customer protection/satisfaction.

A quick check (Paper clip) is not a complete & absolute check.

Its your decision but i strongly recommend you RMA your PSU considering you were not able to identifiy which hardware has burn-part issue.

Its your choice.

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a b K Overclocking
November 11, 2009 10:09:00 AM

Unless absolutely sure that your current PSU is free of defect don't plug it in on new your motherboard & other HW.

Bad supplies are known to cause permanent failure on other HW. If that happens you go to another cycle of RMAs.
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a c 235 K Overclocking
November 11, 2009 11:23:07 AM

CompuTronix said:
ruffhouseutah,

Nice piece of troubleshooting! :D  "Messing with manual settings" is how we all overclock, and is the only appropriate way to do it well. In your instance, it was simply a faulty board ... it happens ... which unfortunately, is cheaper and easier to replace than a wife. :??: 

Good luck with your rig! :sol: 



:lol:  The wife comment almost got my monitor sprayed with my morning coffee, LOL Good One Comp! :lol: 
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a c 235 K Overclocking
November 11, 2009 11:27:22 AM

leon2006 said:
Unless absolutely sure that your current PSU is free of defect don't plug it in on new your motherboard & other HW.

Bad supplies are known to cause permanent failure on other HW. If that happens you go to another cycle of RMAs.


Ditto on the P/S concerns, to the OP, use that nose of yours and sniff that P/S real good if the burning came from it, its still there, that burnt electrical smell has staying power.

If it smells burnt, RMA the thing don't take a chance with it.
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November 11, 2009 12:06:13 PM

The PSU is gone! Thank heavens for New Egg!

No need to take a chance... soon I'll have a new board and PSU, plus I ordered 3 more case fans, ready to try again WITHOUT using the BIOS' "EZ" settings...

THANKS EVERYONE!!! (shouting :) )
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