PSU problem caused motherboard and video card problems?

About two months ago, my stepson built a system with a new motherboard, RAM and cpu. He used all other components from his previous machine. A few days ago, his machine would not start. He had lights on the motherboard, but nothing else. No fans spinning or anything - just the lights. Because the psu was not new, it seemed the likeliest culprit. So, he purchased and installed a new Corsair psu. However, the machine still did nothing but the lights. We decided to take off components one at a time. When he replaced the video card with a secondary one he had lying around, the machine booted. Two days later, he's using the machine and smelled smoke. He looked in the case and that video card had a flame on it. Of course, he immediately unplugged.

So, what we're thinking is that the old psu damaged the motherboard, and that damage is what is frying the video cards. I know the motherboard has voltage regulators. Could they have been damaged, leading to the damage to the video cards? Does this make sense to anyone or do people have other ideas of what could have happened here?

Thanks in advance for all responses.
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More about problem caused motherboard video card problems
  1. My guess is that the video card might not be inserted securely on the PCI slots or if the power connectors for this video card was not securely connected or the video card (secondary one) had a fault before and not discovered (like fan no longer spin) so it got burned.

    When you dis assemble everything connecting only the motherboard, PSU and the cpu - you should hear the beep sound indicating no RAM, try touching the southbridge (this is near the sata/ide hard disk connectors) or the northbridge if these two heats up abnormally then their is a short somewhere in your motherboard. It needs to be replaced. If it is ok go to the BIOS try looking in the Hard ware monitor - temp and fan spins should be ok if not or erratic then replaced the motherboard.
  2. He dEAne,

    Thanks for the response. The first video card ran fine for the two months (when the system was built.) It only went dead a couple of days ago, but we suspected that the PSU was to blame for that. My stepson woke up a few mornings ago and the system would not start. PSU was suspected for that, so he put in a new one. At that point, the bad video card was discovered. The card was fine for two months and suddenly goes. That's what made us figure that a bad PSU was probably the culprit. He replaced the video card with one that he pulled from another working system. That card was perfectly fine until placed into the system that was having problems. Two days later, that video card flamed. It was seated securely and ran fine for two days before flaming. Why would two video cards fry in two days in this machine? That's why we suspect that the PSU caused problems to the motherboard, which in turn zapped the video cards.

    We will check the motherboard for a short tonight. If there is a short, though, why would the board have run fine for two days after replacing the PSU before burning up the video card? Just trying to cover all possibilities here and make sense of the situation.

  3. the psu not supplying enough power is a possible problem but as you said the gpu burned in 2 days now i will blame the mobo for that or else the ventillation check if there is enough room in an around the cabinet and satisfactory number of holes for airflow
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