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Potential Problem?

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September 8, 2010 9:16:54 PM

Hi all, new here and could use some feedback.

My wife went downstairs this morning and smelled a strongish "warm plastic smell" (not burning; sure you guys know what I'm talking about) from my system. I've never had it before, though I know the smell from past systems, am slightly smelling it now and it's not a good smell to be having.

It seems be to exhausting (where I smell it most) out the rear fan, and not the PSU, though the PSU is right above the rear fan, so who knows.

Problem is, temps are completely normal, and I see no visible damage/burnt capacitors etc. on my mobo.

Since I've never had it with this system before, can someone please let me know if I should be concerned? What else could emit this smell out of nowhere?

It's not massively strong, but enough to be noticed, and never had it on this system before.

*Note: I do serious work from home, and really could use feedback about whether or not I could have a potential problem and with what.

Specs:
Gigabyte UD5 X-58
i7 950 (stock)
6GB Corsair Dominator
GTX 480
Corsair 850HX
WD Raptor and a Seagate HDD for storage.

Temps (HWMonitor; perfectly normal/usual):
TMPIN0 34C (northbridge, I think)
TMPIN1 31C (southbridge, I think)
TMPIN2 41C (ambient, I think) ...these three could be mixed-up, but either way, temps are fine.

CPU - all cores between 37C-45C
GPU - 44C-48C
HDDs - 33C and 31C, respectively.

PSU is as cool as can be... not even warm air from exhaust.

Not new to building or troubleshooting systems, but I'm stumped, as I've no symptoms of a problem and no visible cues. I'm concerned because I do serious work from home and cant afford for something to die on me.

Believe I've had this in the past on other systems and it just faded as quick as it came. Right now, it's pretty noticeable.

Thanks in advance for any feedback/ideas.

More about : potential problem

September 8, 2010 9:40:49 PM

PSU perhaps? Do you have a spare one to swap in? I dislike doing what we called "shade tree mechanic" work but if all your other stuff checks out then it could be some internal parts and/or dust in your PSU.

Strip the system, blow it off w/ compressed air and be sure to hold the can as upright as possible. If it's been awhile (2+yrs), you may want to reapply the thermal paste on your CPU/GPU as well as long as you're stripping the rig.
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September 8, 2010 10:05:38 PM

Yeah, I'd second the PSU as the culprit. I had 2 Dell PSU's die & they both gave off a burnt plastic kind of smell when they blew. The last one was about 6 weeks ago & it blew a cap inside the PSU. The system didn't have enough juice to turn over after that. Lucky, I found one on E-Bae for $75.00.




JD
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September 8, 2010 10:20:24 PM

ouroboros said:
PSU perhaps? Do you have a spare one to swap in? I dislike doing what we called "shade tree mechanic" work but if all your other stuff checks out then it could be some internal parts and/or dust in your PSU.

Strip the system, blow it off w/ compressed air and be sure to hold the can as upright as possible. If it's been awhile (2+yrs), you may want to reapply the thermal paste on your CPU/GPU as well as long as you're stripping the rig.


Nope, this build is recent, and runs like a champ. So, CPU TIM is relatively new, and doing it's job (as you can see by my temps), and the GPU is just using it's stock cooler, also with temps still as usual for me.

I keep my system as dust-free as possible, and actually just blew the hell out of it a little while ago... it's pretty darn clean.

I do have a spare PSU, but it's an HX620, which might not be enough to power my system well enough, which could cause issues. Also, the smell doesn't really seem to be coming from the PSU, more straight out of the rear fan, and the PSU (Corsair 850HX) is not even warm, nor am I having any performance issues.

As stupid as this might sound, but because it did start out of nowhere: could it actually be the rear fan itself? Perhaps the bearings going, creating the smell?

I use only Corsair PSUs, HX series, as they're the best I've used over the years. Never had a problem, and the smell doesn't seem to be originating from the PSU.

I've physically touched my RAM, GPU, PSU, CPU base, mobo... and nothing feels even remotely hot.

Quote:
Yeah, I'd second the PSU as the culprit. I had 2 Dell PSU's die & they both gave off a burnt plastic kind of smell when they blew.


Yep, they do, but as I've said, it's not really a "burnt" smell. It's that "overly-warm plastic" smell, like when something is getting too hot, such as your GPU etc., but maybe a little "sweeter" than that.

Really odd how it just started out of nowhere, I suppose overnight until my wife came downstairs, but yet all temps are fine, everything feels fine and is performing fine.

I don't get it, but it's a serious concern, considering the work I do from home.
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September 8, 2010 10:25:45 PM

Quick re-update (to go with above response):

Definitely not the PSU. Just pulled my system out from under my desk, put my nose right up to it, and smell absolutely nothing. It's also almost completely dust-free and I blew it out again to be sure.

The smell is coming out from the rear exhaust, which makes absolutely no sense, unless...

...seriously, could it be the stupid fan?

Ha ha. I mean, if the bearings are going, would they give off that same type of smell?

When bearings start to go, obviously it creates friction, and since fans are plastic...

Don't know, but it's the only common sense thing I can figure.
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September 9, 2010 7:12:44 AM

only way to find out is to unplug the fan. could be a burning motor. also make sure no wires are close to the fans.
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September 9, 2010 5:58:44 PM

After Pulling the Fan pwr and checking (as ^ suggested). The next thing I would do is to put my finger on all the pwr connectors on the MB/GPU. It's a small posibility that one of the +12V connections are not making good contact. This would cause excessive heat (I sq R) on the connector.

Added:
Ref 2nd PSU @ 620. Your power consumpution with a single 480 should be arround 500 W (running Furmark to load system), and with out a full load, under 300 Watts.
The 480 By itself is somewhere between 300 -> 360 Watts runing Furmark and under 100 W at idle.. So 620 Watt should be fine for a test.
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