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BURNING hot video card

I've been having issues with my HTPC with windows 7 lagging/locking up/freezing
Some suggested more RAM (didn't work) some suggested needing a video card (not sure how a video card helps with running basic processes like firefox or using the start menu)

anyway, I put in an ATI 3850 (video card that I was planning to replace from my gaming system). For some reason, stupid me, I failed to plug in the power to the vid card (the PCI-E 6-pin). First off, the computer failed to post, then I realized the vid card was extremely hot and had a slight burning smell at close range.

Before I realized I was missing the PCI-e power to the video card, I assumed that this was an indication that the root of my problems was a bad mobo.
* My question is that without the PCI-e power connnection to the video card, is this a typical or expected thing to happen (heating and burning smell)? Or could this still be an indication of a bad motherboard, which thus could be the real cause of my windows locking up?

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  1. Best answer
    Not plugging in the PCIe Video card causes it to draw more than the allowed voltage from the PCIe slot off the Mobo, and this can result in burning of the Mobo components and the GPU.
    It is expected to have the result you got if the system was left on without the Power in the GPU.... :(
    The heating of different components does cause windows to lag and lock up.
    A complete component burnout causes a Blue Screen...
  2. Thanks for the info....
    unfortunately, my system was locking up and lagging even before trying to use the video card without the power into the GPU.
    But at least I know now that the heat and smell is expected and not an indication that there was an error with the mobo. I was about to look into getting a new mobo in order to troubleshoot my computer freezing issue.

    It could still be the mobo of course, but also could still be the cpu or hard drive I guess?
  3. I don't see how a missing PCI-E power cable is going to cause that video card / motherboard to fry. It certainly may not start-up/POST, but I dunno about frying.

    I'd be more prone toward removing the motherboard and seeing where it burned at. Should something have fallen back behind the board (like a loose screw for example), that could cause a short between a solder on the board and the metal of the case itself. That would be a more likely culprit.

    On the other hand, there may have just been a problem with the motherboard to begin with, that ultimately lead to catastrophic failure. Or, you could have a bad power supply.

    Can you tell what component actually was damaged? If there was a burning smell, something should be melted or blackened.

    EDIT: So far as the previous lagging issues. Having bad slowdowns at Windows desktop or Firefox, you're looking at either a hard drive slow down, or an overheated CPU possibly. If a CPU is way too hot, it will slow down greatly to help reduce temperatures. This creates significant performance loss in many cases. Or if your hard drive is failing, it may not perform well either.

    Again, it all goes back to your initial inspection. What device actually had the electrical/heat damage?
  4. I also dont see how not pluggin in the pwr connector for your vid card could start to fry components, but in regards to your lagging and freezing:

    Try these:

    -Scan your drives for viruses and spyware.
    -Remove any programs that you have recently installed.
    -Make sure that you have space on your hard drive. (5-10 Mb doesn't count!)
    -Run a scan for HD errors.
    -Check for overheating. (As mentioned above)
    -Update your drivers. (Prob not your problem)
    -Check your RAM. (pull one stick out, boot up... pull the other stick out, boot up... see if there's any difference)

    Hope this helps!
  5. Most of the below I have tried...see brackets

    -Scan your drives for viruses and spyware. (clean system, just reformatted)
    -Remove any programs that you have recently installed. ( no new programs see above)
    -Make sure that you have space on your hard drive. (same as above)
    -Run a scan for HD errors. (the only thing I haven't done thoroughly...what's the best way to do this?)
    -Check for overheating. (core temps are all good, even at high load... these freezes happen even at minimal load! simple opening of windows or clicking links)
    -Update your drivers. (done)
    -Check your RAM. (mem test cleared, also done by using good ram from another system that works perfectly smoothly)

    btw, to clarify, when I say burning, there was no smoke or black stuff.... the vid card was just very hot, and when smelling at close range, it smelt "hot" if that makes sense. I don't see any charring or black marks anywhere, it was just definitely overheating.
    Since re-trying it with power plugged into the GPU, there is no extreme heat or weird smells so it works okay.... but nothing shows up on the screen. The TV is hooked up to the mobo via HDMI, so I am assumed by putting in this old video card, it was forcing the computer to output video through the DVI via the video card.
    SURE ENOUGH, plugging it to a normal monitor via DVI allows me to get picture. :D
    Video card still intact...
    alyoshka must be correct. without power to gpu, it draws to much energy from the mobo itself, causing overheating. This was not a mobo issue because I stupidly tried to do it on another mobo without GPU plugged in (but for a very short time) and it did the same thing!!

    Question solved!
    Case closed on the original question (although not on my continuous lag/lock up issues)
  6. Glad to hear that....
  7. sugarsniffer said:

    ^to check a drive for errors in windows 7...

    Ran it....dont't think it helped any. I had to restart and let it run the disk checker from boot up.... when windows loaded once finished, I tried to open up event viewer to see the results of the disk checker and then event viewer became non-responsive.
    (I was reading online that event viewer is indeed the place to check for the results right?)

  8. Best answer selected by cpulord1.
  9. This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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