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#1 Posted by Charongreed (110 posts) -

So I left my pc running (which I do almost constantly) and took my dog for a walk (30 minutes?), and returned to find that my pc had crashed to black, with lights still on, and I could smell something odd coming from the GPU. The lights on the motherboard were still on. I switched off the power on the surge protector, back on and tried to boot it - sort of a scratching sound from the GPU, the fans twitched, then nothing. No lights on the motherboard. I did some frantic googling on my phone, decided to try booting without the GPU in to see if its the power supply. Killed the power again, took just the GPU out and tried it again, booted just fine.

So I have to assume its the GPU, right? But I can't see any burn marks on it, the smell seems to be coming from the power port on it but none of the ends, either on the cables or in the sockets are blackened, and I haven't had any problems with performance with it. The fans were acting up last month, they were making a grinding noise, but that went away, I assume from dust that got worked out on its own. I can't smell anything coming from the power supply. I think the GPU is 3 years old? I don't have any old components to switch in to try, this being the first pc I've built.

Any insights, duders? I worry that the power supply may also be boned and burnt out the GPU, but with no signs leading up to it, I don't really have an idea of what's happened.

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#2 Edited by e_p (46 posts) -

It definitely sounds like your graphics card is done, since your system doesn't POST with it attached. Your motherboard should have an integrated graphics card you can attach your monitor to for now to do basic computer stuff, although it's obviously no good for gaming.

From what you've described, it sounds like the fans on your gfx card gave up and it managed to burn itself, but I definitely wouldn't attach anything expensive to that PSU right now. My advice would be to try and ask around for an old gfx card to test things out. If that's not possible, maybe just replace the PSU while getting a new gfx card. PSU's aren't that expensive at least compared to what the graphics cards are going for right now.

Tough luck, I hope you'll get your stuff fixed.

Edit: Also, if your PSU is shot enough to burn out components, it could be a fire hazard, so take care.

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#3 Posted by Charongreed (110 posts) -

The problem is, if it was a POST issue, I'd be getting some kind of beep or light from the motherboard telling me its failing. If it isn't even getting that far, then there's some kind of power issue, or there's a full-on short in the GPU, which is killing the PSU. But if it was that bad, I would think I'd see smoke or see scorch marks on the GPU, which I don't see any of. (But there is the smell? But why is it only coming from the power slots on the GPU?) And if it was an overheating issue with the GPU, then it would have to be under significant stress and would have been hot when i returned. But even if that had occurred, I'm using a Mastercooler case that's basically nothing but fans and mesh, so I would think it would be able to keep it cool long enough for me to get home and see a significant temperature difference, especially just idling. And seeing the fans on it twitch means they aren't full on burnt out, somethings wrong with the power.

The only theory I've got is that there's some kind of odd static discharge that's caused an arc in the GPU and burnt out some sector of the PSU, but my knowledge of the finer specifics of the hardware on either a GPU or PSU is pretty limited. The power drain is pretty significant, I've had to buy a more powerful PSU in the past from not expecting how much the USB and case load was. But how can it function just fine with part of it burnt out? And why did I smell nothing from the PSU if that was the issue?

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#4 Posted by e_p (46 posts) -

@charongreed:

I don't know that much about the electronics of it all either, I'm a software engineer, and what I know about hardware failures is just stuff I've picked up along the career. One thing I thought of: have you checked the system logs for power related events? A failing PSU sometimes leaves trails there.

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#5 Posted by soulcake (2753 posts) -

@charongreed: My guess is the powerslot on the gpu worn out and short circuited it self. frying your gpu in the process.

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#6 Posted by TobbRobb (6582 posts) -

Oh man that's scary. It definitely sounds like the GPU is done. But you are right to worry that the power supply might be the culprit, which could lead to more issues down the line. I would look into the model of power supply you have to see if it has known issues. There's usually a line of production with a common problem. Even solid brands like Corsair have had bad batches. On that note you can post the PSU model here and I'll look a bit too.

Though when all is said and done. If you have the disposable income to do it, I would personally replace both power and graphics just to stay on the safe side. But that is obviously not the economical option.

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#7 Posted by kopcik (98 posts) -

Check you psu with multimeter.

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#8 Edited by Zelyre (1900 posts) -

@tobbrobb said:

Even solid brands like Corsair have had bad batches. On that note you can post the PSU model here and I'll look a bit too.

Though when all is said and done. If you have the disposable income to do it, I would personally replace both power and graphics just to stay on the safe side. But that is obviously not the economical option.

Just had two Corsairs go die on me. One was in my girlfriend's computer. Took the motherboard, an SSD, and 970 out with it. Begrudgingly bought a 1050ti at close to $300 at Microcenter as it was the cheapest thing at the time. I wasn't a happy camper, but looking through my Amazon purchases, that PSU was close to a decade old.

Then a week later, 750 watt Corsair pops on my file/PLEX server. Fortunately, it didn't take anything else out with it.

Since two out of three Corsair power supplies crapped out on me, I just bit the bullet and replaced the PSU in my gaming machine as well since it was approaching 5+ years old. When you get old, everything that happened eons ago feels like it happened yesterday.

When it comes to PSU's, if in doubt, swap it out.

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#9 Posted by OurSin_360 (6158 posts) -

Tried a different connector from the power supply? I think it definitely blew out your gpu but it could have been caused by the psu or PSU cable, which would probably mean that should be replaced as well. I dont think gpu fans would cause an issue while the computer is idle as it wouldn't be drawing much heat so its probably your psu that did it, imo.

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#10 Posted by Charongreed (110 posts) -

Ok so 24 hours later, the PSU is pretty clearly boned - performance drops precipitously after a couple hours, requiring a restart, which is exactly what my last PSU did while it was dying. The PSU in question is this one, and of course I never bothered to register the warranty. With the PSU dying, I have little hope that the GPU can be salvaged, probably arced through the connectors on the GPU. But not having another PC to test it on, I can't be sure until I replace the PSU.

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#11 Posted by xanadu (2037 posts) -

@charongreed: take it as a positive to upgrade to a nicer PSU. Maybe get a modular one?

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#12 Posted by dgtlty (1221 posts) -

Read some reviews before buying your next PSU and don't cut costs, it's not worth it. The few reviews for Rosewill units don't sound promising. Good luck.

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#13 Posted by TobbRobb (6582 posts) -

@zelyre: What model was the 750 one in the plex server? Just for my curiosity.

If I remember correctly, CS and to some exten CX are the cheaper versions that are more prone to fail. So I tended to get HX years ago or nowadays RM.

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#14 Posted by Lumbermancer (312 posts) -

The GPU might be fine. If PSU is dying, it might not be giving enough power for the PCI lanes so it all locked up, albeit burning smell from socket does not bode well. When you pulled out the card, the power draw went down so it booted.

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#15 Edited by Zelyre (1900 posts) -

@tobbrobb said:

@zelyre: What model was the 750 one in the plex server? Just for my curiosity.

The one in my file server that failed was an HX - going through my Amazon history, it looks like I bought it in 2011. The one in my girlfriend's machine was a CX series from 2014 or so...

I ended up replacing her's with an RM series.