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Thread: I smell burning...

  1. #1
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    I smell burning...

    Just bought a new Corsair HX520W. Plugged everything in and it was working so I left it in. However, I started to smell something was burning so I quickly turned off the pc. I then realised one of the PSU cables was blocking the fan on my HD4770 and therefore my graphics card was overheating big time. I then switched the computer back on so the fan could spin and cool down the graphics card and it is at a much lower temp now. Not sure what temp it was when windows booted up but when I got GPU-Z to open it was 40 degrees core, 50 degrees memory and around 58 degrees shaders.

    On closer inspection and using my nose I can't smell anything burning now and everything seems to run fine... Crysis ran fine for the few seconds I tested it.

    Should I leave it to run on Furmark for a while or something to test it? Maybe it could have been the PSU that burnt somehow? I'm 99% guessing it's the GPU but I couldn't source the smell from it, my nose felt it was from the PSU. As I said now there's no smell. Furmark was running really slow just now so I'll restart the pc and see how it goes and edit the post.

    I guess it's my fault for being so stupid in accidently leaving a cable pointing upwards into the graphics card -_-"

    EDIT: Furmark runs at 14 FPS average now instead of 53 :/

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    Englander (04-12-2009)

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    Re: I smell burning...

    it was probably just the plastic/paint bits on the GPU, as long as everything seems to be stable you should be home free.
    Quote Originally Posted by Agent View Post
    ...every time Creative bring out a new card range their advertising makes it sound like they have discovered a way to insert a thousand Chuck Norris super dwarfs in your ears...

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    Ulti (04-12-2009)

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    Re: I smell burning...

    my PSU gave off a bit of a plastic burning smell when i first built my computer and i asked another forum i was a member of if that's normal and a few of them said they experienced the same thing.
    it could've just been some kind of residue inside the PSU that got burnt away.

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    Ulti (04-12-2009)

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    jim
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    Re: I smell burning...

    If there wasn't any smoke, it didn't happen

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    Ulti (04-12-2009)

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    Re: I smell burning...

    Better it was (probably) the GPU than, say, the CPU because GPUs can typically stand higher temperatures than CPUs, although with all the thermal thresholds these days, the PC would have shut itself down before any real damage could be done.

    Nice PSU, btw!

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    Ulti (04-12-2009)

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    Re: I smell burning...

    My first 4770 gave off a burning smell sometime in March. I removed the case panel while PC was still powered on and could see no fan movement. Seconds later, just as I was about to switch the PC off, the card started smoking. Needless to say it ceased functioning after that.

    From some overclocking/fan speed testing, these cards seem to have issue when running above 70c. With no fan running I'm sure the core would easily hit 80/90c.

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    Ulti (04-12-2009)

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    Re: I smell burning...

    My laptop gave off a burning smell when I plugged in the wrong AC adaptor to the external DVD drive once, although that wasnt so strange because it had caught on fire....

    Anyway, I've had the smell with PSU's before, like a new oven or sandwich toaster, its like manufacturing coatings etc just burning off, at least I hope it was. Mine went away - may not be the same thing of course.

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    Ulti (04-12-2009)

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    Re: I smell burning...

    Well it seems the graphics card is really screwed up, everything seems fine though. Gonna test it a bit more by playing through the last level of Crysis Warhead with Fraps.

    EDIT: Crysis Warhead still runs with about the same FPS, just 2-3 less. Furmark is definitely running a lot slower though, 14 FPS compared to 56 FPS as when I tested my card for stability earlier. (in my overclocking thread) The settings are exactly the same.

    Gonna run 3D Mark Vantage and see how it goes.

    EDIT2: Ran 3D Mark Vantage. Same points.

    I'm guessing I can't RMA it then as it's working perfectly - except in Furmark. Guess I'll see how it goes.
    Last edited by Ulti; 04-12-2009 at 11:27 PM.

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    Re: I smell burning...

    Here are some pictures, looks fine but like I said, Furmark runs retardedly...




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    Re: I smell burning...

    IMHO, there's no way to be SURE what happened, unless you either have dead equipment or visible signs of burning.

    It's certainly not unknown to occasionally get a brief burning smell, either with new equipment or something that hasn't been used for a while, if that equipment has bits that get very hot, and that could apply to both PSUs and graphics cards. It may just have been dust, or a little excess thermal grease or something burning off. But if it's really strong, or lasts for very long, it's not a good sign.

    I would certainly expect any decent PSU to have some element of thermal protection. I've had a couple of PSUs over the years that have intermittently and irregularly shut down unexpectedly after being in use for a while. When I inspected them, it turned out a cheap fan with a sleeve bearing had been used and was seizing up (so not spinning fast enough). I replaced that cheapo fan with a decent (costing a pound or two) ball bearing fan and and never had any more problems from either PSU, both of which worked for years afterwards and one of which I still have.

    Electronics overheating, on the other hand, can go bang both rapidly and spectacularly. That's not to say it always does, but it can. I've had that happen too. One such incident stunk my workshop out for about three weeks with that acrid, electrical burning smell.

    I'd expect that if your graphics card burnt out, you'd know it because it'd stop working. If it was just dust on the PSU and them smell has gone away, I'd expect if it's working now, it'll continue to be fine. But either way, that's a probability, not a guarantee.

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    Ulti (05-12-2009)

  19. #11
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    Re: I smell burning...

    Thanks for your detailed answer, too bad I can't thank you twice haha.

    I don't want to open up the PSU and check whether there's anything burnt as this voids the warranty. However, I remember the smell didn't originate from the PSU itself though but seemed to come from the back of the pc (maybe my exhaust fans exhausted the air there). I opened up everything and accidently touched the bottom of the graphics card and it was hot, too hot to touch even. I then touched the heatsink and it was equally hot, however the fan assembly wasn't melted. I then tried to spin the fan but realised I left the PSU cable poking into it slightly, preventing it from spinning. Without having any other way of cooling the card I quickly moved the cable out of the way and switched the PC back on allowing the fan to cool down the card.

    Wish I wasn't so stupid to not see that a cable was sorta nudged into the graphics card. Hopefully the graphics card will be fine for a while or burn out now so I can RMA it. It's still weird how it runs most other things fine (well 3D Mark Vantage and Crysis Warhead) but not Furmark.

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