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What broke? (Smoke!)

Last response: in Systems
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October 16, 2010 7:54:34 AM

Well, poop. I got my parts, put everything together, worked right from the start. I installed windows, installed motherboard and video card drivers, restarted the computer a few of times between all of this, and then restarted the computer a final time and it turned off after about a second, and a puff of smoke came the RAM/RAM slot area. It had been running just fine for 3 hours or so, nothing running hot or out of the ordinary, and then bam, dead.

What do I do? Is it the RAM that is dead or the motherboard or both or both or other parts or what? I don't have any extra DDR3 RAM laying around, or an extra AM3 motherboard, or an extra power supply, so I think my options are probably limited to RMAing the most likely broken thing. The fans still run when I turn on the computer, but there's no display. I hooked up the speaker, but I'm not getting any beeps.

Any ideas?

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a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
October 16, 2010 8:50:11 AM

I'd say its the motherboard not the RAM.

Can you find scorch marks on the motherboard? You should be able to. If there are marks on the board then it is likely that it is the board. Just hopefully nothing else died with it.

You don't have any friends with DDR3 PCs? If you do take your RAM to them and test it to make sure. But if it is dead the board could also be.

I'd say its the board, if you can find the marks then it should be obvious. Oh well thats my thoughts, hope it helps.
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October 16, 2010 9:15:33 AM

Simple solution. When u dont know what is the problem, use the elimination system (most technicians do that). Buy all the parts to build a new PC from store near you (Frys, BestBuy, ect...). Replace the memory, check if is working. Replace the HDD, Video... check again. always change 1 by 1. Maybe change the power supply, u never know. Just dont change 2 things at the same time, cuze u wont know which one is working and which one. Last thing to change and check is the Mobo and CPU cuze they are the hardest to replace. Once u find the problem, return the parts u dont need and keep the one u need, or find it cheaper elsewhere :)  good luck. Let us know what happen.
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October 16, 2010 10:40:17 AM

I initially looked and didn't see any scorch marks, but I guess that's because I was only looking for it where I thought I saw smoke. There's a tiny tiny scorch mark (which makes since, because it was a tiny puff of smoke) maybe half an inch or an inch away from the RAM slots.

I don't have any friends with parts that I can use to test anything. :(  Based on this, would you suggest I start with trying to replace the motherboard, then try replacing the RAM too if that doesn't work? Also, do I need to be worried about maybe the power supply being the cause of it all? I'd hope not seeing as how it was the highest rated part I got from newegg.
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
October 16, 2010 10:57:17 AM

If theres a scorch on the board its most likely it. You could try one RAM stick in a heap of different slots as the scorch could be localized to one slot.

Yeah I'd say you should RMA the board, also try both RAM (1 at a time) sticks in a variety of slots. You could find that one DIMM is dead and also one slot is dead in which case you could RMA both the RAM and Board.

What PSU is it? If its a quality one I don't think it caused it, they generally die without blowing anything. Also they don't die often either.
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
October 16, 2010 7:42:51 PM

Listing full specs would help. What PSU?
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October 16, 2010 11:29:25 PM

RAM - 4gb PC1333
CPU - X4 955
Motherboard - some ASUS thing
GPU - GTS 450
PSU (was rated highly and had a rebate+promo going on)

I went with with brands I've used lots of times without problems. I've tried using every combination of RAM stick and slot, nothing worked. Also, I hooked up the PSU to an older computer and everything worked fine. So get a replacement motherboard, and if that alone doesn't work, get the RAM replaced too?
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
October 17, 2010 2:26:50 AM

^ I was afraid you had some DiabloTek PSU, hence why I asked. lol. Since your PSU still works with another PC, the board or the RAM was the problem. My guess is the RAMand board are probably dead. Can you post some pics of the board & RAM? Can you see any blown MOSFETS or caps or broken/missing resistors? Also, you DID use the motherboard stands offs right?
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October 17, 2010 2:53:39 AM

I can't get any pictures of it, but the only thing I can actually find that's wrong is the tiny scorch mark half an inch away from the RAM slots. I spent a solid 15 or 20 minutes looking over every millimeter of the board with a flashlight, so I think that's it.

And yup, I used stand offs; that'd be crazy not to.

Good news is Newegg said they'll replace it; bad news is it'll cost $10 shipping and probably another $10 since I think I need thermal paste now; I just used the stuff that came with the CPU, and I've gotta take the CPU out of the motherboard to ship it back.
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