Static and USB drive fries motherboard?

Yesterday I was plugging in a USB hard drive (I didn't actually get to plug it in, just touched it cable to port) when my computer made a screeching noise and froze. I attempted to restart the computer. The power light will turn on and the cooling fans will run very fast but nothing else will happen (monitors act like there is no source). I've tried removing some of the RAM and all of the RAM and I get the same results (nothing). Was this static electricity? Did I somehow damaged the motherboard? Could I have damaged the CPU?

I have an HP a350y with the Stingray motherboard (Asus P4SD-LA). I managed to find a replacement for $100. I don't want to buy the motherboard to find out the CPU is also damaged (I might as well get a new computer at that point). The computer is a bit older, but I've been upgrading it here and there and I'd hate to toss it.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.


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  1. Had you used that usb port before, I'm assuming you have since you said it's an old computer? Sounds like you may have had the usb wires plugged in improperly and or have a grounding issue with your case.

    I've never heard of a usb device blowing a mobo/cpu, but I'm wondering if it was a very old usb port which tried to put too much juice through to the newer usb device and it blew.
  2. I have used that device in that set of ports before. I don't know if this level of detail helps, but it is a hard drive in an external enclosure. It attaches via two USB connections. The drive was in the off setting at the time I tried to connect it.
  3. Well, the screech you heard was most likely a good sign... The pc probably noticed a "thermal event" and started to emergency turn off...

    I would open up the case and reset the bios (look at a manual). Also, inspect the motherboard for blown capacitors. If it still doesn't work, list everything you have and a budget and the kind people here will help you rebuild.
  4. I was went through the steps of resetting the bios with no change to the computer. I've been looking at the motherboard for a blown capacitor, but I don't have any experience in looking for something like that and everything looks fine (I searched for motherboard blown capacitor with Google and compared the image results with what my motherboard looks like).

    Computer specs:
    3GB PC3200 DDR SDRAM
    3.2GHz Pentium 4 HT

    GeForce 7800GS AGP
    Wirless card
    SoundBlaster Audiology2 SB0240
    A couple hard drives
    A couple writable DVD drives

    I would love to just replace the motherboard and be done with it for $100, but I don't know if that's the best choice.

    Thanks for your help!
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