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Computer turned off then back on again

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November 4, 2011 9:03:05 PM

About 5 minutes ago my computer just suddenly turned off completely, during which I heard what sounded like a 'popping' noise. Then, after about ten seconds, it proceeded to boot up again, yet during this I could smell a 'burning' kind of smell. Immediately I turned off the computer again and checked the components inside to see where the smell was coming from but I couldn't pinpoint it as it was only there for a few seconds and then it vanished, and I can no longer smell it now.

I was thinking a power supply issue, but the fact that the computer is actually still fully working (as I'm on it now typing this), I don't really know where to start looking for what just happened and whether it's actually safe to be using the computer considering the 'popping' noise and the burning smell. Can anyone make any suggestions as to what they think may have happened and where to start looking with regards to troubleshooting the problem? Thanks

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a b B Homebuilt system
November 5, 2011 2:02:23 AM

Burn smell is never good. It sounds like you had a power fluctuation that tripped your power supply and then restored itself. Either that or was the popping noise a sudden increase in your cpu fan that kicked up to higher revs and then tripped on high heat? Those are the only poppy kind of sounds I can think of well the cpu sound is more of beep.
November 5, 2011 8:06:54 AM

The sound was definitely a 'popping' sound, sort of like a firecracker but not as loud. I have read that a capacitor could have burst on the three components which have them, the PSU, motherboard or graphics card.

My question is, if I now replace the PSU and graphics card (as I have wanted a GPU upgrade for a while and now is as good a time as any), would I be right to think that this would solve the issue and I would have no issues using the computer again and any damage being done to it? As I also read that it's very unlikely that a capacitor would burst on the motherboard, as opposed to the PSU/GPU, although how true that is I don't know.
November 5, 2011 8:41:25 AM

A capacitor can burst on any piece of hardware. You may have been the 2-4% of people who get bad hardware. Look at the capacitors on all your components that have them and see if they look normal.
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