I just received a replacement for my ASRock P67 Extreme4 motherboard (I had one that I bought in January with the SATA issue). I also just bought an HAF 922 case. When I was installing the motherboard, I stupidly connected the USB cable for the front panel to the Firewire header. Should have been more careful Anyway, as soon as I powered up, I saw smoke coming from that area of the mobo and immediately turned it back off (I always boot up for the first time with the case open). I saw what was wrong and unplugged the USB cable. The chip right next to the Firewire header is fried. I booted up and installed Windows and everything seems to be working fine. I also disabled firewire in BIOS. I've never used firewire and don't plan to, so if that's all that's damaged, I suppose can live with it. The cable for the USB front ports is still unplugged. I know I'm not the only one who has done this, and I've read that doing so can damage your motherboard. What I'm wondering is, do you actually have to connect a firewire or USB device for damage to occur? Is it possible (albeit less likely...) the damage was caused by a short in the front panel hardware/wiring? I'm scared to plug the USB cable into the proper header now.
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The USB is probably fine the short was probably voltage straight to ground because of the different pin assignment.
Thanks for the reply. You're probably right. I took apart the top panel and there wasn't anything visibly wrong - no exposed/crossed wires.