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Fried Motherboard


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7 replies to this topic

#1 Hipponax

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 03:57 PM

When I went to turn on my computer this morning, there was something of a disaster. At first nothing happened, so I checked my power supply to assure that power was getting to the machine. Everything seemed fine, but the power switch still did not work. I then opened my computer up to see if there was anything I could determine about the inner workings of the computer and indeed there was. When I flipped the system on, there was visible sparking in the north bridge of the mother board not far from the memory. This sparking was accompanied by a disheartening (though mild) burning smell. There is no obvious damage that I can see, but clearly the board is fried.

My questions are these: What is the likeliest cause of this? Was it a faulty board, or do you think it got overloaded by a bad power supply or other faulty device? How likely do you think it is that other components were lost in this catastrophe? Would it be worth it/safe to try to simply replace the board and use the old CPU and memory? I bought the components in May so they are still pretty high end and valuable. I'd prefer not to replace them if I don't have to. If this happened to your computer, what would you do to rebuild?

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#2 504Steve

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 04:28 PM

Hello Hipponax,

1) There are many likely causes, although I'd pitch it to faulty motherboard, overheating, or a wiring issue before anything else.

2) It is possible that other components got damaged, but try to "sniff" each individual component and see if it smells or looks burned.

3) As far as replacing the board, that sounds like your best bet. Keep your old CPU and try each stick of memory one at a time on your new board.

4) If this was my computer, I would strip it and fill out an RMA form with the manufacturer of the motherboard. If you purchased everything in May, I am almost positive you'd still have some kind of warranty left. At this point, I'd test my components in a compatible board and examine my power supply connectors, make sure there's no grounding or wires that fell out the back of the connector (Common in many case fans and accessories I've seen). When you get your new board back in from the manufacturer, you should test it out with the basics first, processor and memory with just the ATX and 4-pin power connector and of course your CPU cooling method. See if you get video and everything works out ok, then start adding components one by one until your system is fully rebuilt.

I hope this has been informative for you, feel free to provide additional details for further assistance.

#3 Miguel Leiva-Gomez

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 04:31 PM

You bought the board in May. Did you change the power supply recently? If you did, it might be something going on with the PSU.

The northbridge frying makes me think that it's a circuitry issue in the motherboard - probably damaged circuits or faulty board. Use its warranty, get a new one, and best of luck!
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#4 rotor123

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 04:56 PM

Being the cautious type that I am I would also replace the Power supply. If you were to post the make and model here so someone could look it up and see if ti is a problematic P/S.

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#5 hamluis

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 05:06 PM

<<If this happened to your computer, what would you do to rebuild?>>

First thing I would do...try a different PSU.

I tend to think of PSUs and hard drives as the components most likely fail in a system...so I like to eliminate them from contention before I speculate further.

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#6 Miguel Leiva-Gomez

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 08:34 AM

Being the cautious type that I am I would also replace the Power supply. If you were to post the make and model here so someone could look it up and see if ti is a problematic P/S.


Technically, a power supply would burn other components before burning the north bridge. If it makes you feel better, though, you can always get a second power supply. Testing the older one with a multimeter will help you find out if there are really any problems with it.
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#7 rotor123

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 10:16 AM


Being the cautious type that I am I would also replace the Power supply. If you were to post the make and model here so someone could look it up and see if it is a problematic P/S.


Technically, a power supply would burn other components before burning the north bridge. If it makes you feel better, though, you can always get a second power supply. Testing the older one with a multimeter will help you find out if there are really any problems with it.


There are certain brands/model of power supply that are known to eat motherboards.

Many of the older eMachines computers ended up with both the Power supply and the motherboard bad. The Drives, Memory, and CPU would be reusable with a new motherboard and Power supply. Therefor I tend to be conservative. The power supply and the mainboard are the heart of the computer when it comes to stability.

Edited by rotor123, 17 November 2011 - 10:18 AM.

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#8 Miguel Leiva-Gomez

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 04:16 PM

You're right on the money. I've heard of manufacturing difficulties, but I never heard of the power travelling such a path and ending up overwhelming the north bridge while not having issues first with the CPU socket or memory. Circuitry on the motherboard doesn't pass through the northbridge first, and that's what has me suspicious.
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