Should I be worried about the smoke?

By Tongan ยท 16 replies
Dec 12, 2008
  1. I had been playing Crysis for maybe 2 hours when the Computer just turned off without warning. I decided to leave it off for half an hour, but when I got back the frying began...

    I turned on my PC and heard a crackling sound. I looked over and saw SMOKE coming out of my GFX card!
    I cut the power immediately and watched a white smoke cloud fade away inside the case; The smell was quite strong.

    After removing, inspecting and re-inserting both my GFX card and RAM, the PC started up perfectly normal. It was a very strange 'miracle', and I'm wondering if this is some kind of freak occurrence... Because I was CERTAIN that the thing was fried to hell...

    I am currently using the pc to write this post, but am still very nervous as to what might happen next...And I don't think I'll play any more games until I get a bit of advice first.

    P.S There are no evident side-effects that I can tell of so far.
    Any advice is appreciated.
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Where there's smoke, there's fire

    Something must have been burning :confused:

    I would suggest to check further, even removing parts (ie the Video card) and really thoroughly inspecting it
  3. Tongan

    Tongan TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 53

    Thanks mate.
    I've done as you said, but from what I could see there was no visible damage to any of my hardware; and the computer is continuing to run smoothly...

    Whether something is dead or not is currently unnoticeable, and I am wondering what exactly caused this, so maybe I can prevent it from ever occurring again.

    If anyone may have an idea or has experienced a similar event; further suggestions are much appreciated.
  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    I've had experience in this area ;)

    What I did was Benchtest and remove all parts, until I found the presently unknown issue
  5. Tongan

    Tongan TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 53

    Thanks Kimsland.
    I've taken the rig apart but the problem is somewhere inside the GFX card itself, and it's getting extremely hot all the time now.
    I'm not sure how GFX cards work, but I think I've killed something that kept temperatures down on the right-hand side of the card (Which is where the smoke came from).

    Thanks for the help anyways mate. Not sure where I'll go from here...
  6. Papaki

    Papaki TS Rookie

    Is the gfx card's fan still running? Maybe you killed the sensor that control the speed of the onboard fan (if it has one)..
  7. alphnumeric

    alphnumeric TS Rookie Posts: 173

    The actual graphics processor may have over heated. The smoke could have been the thermal pad or past burning. What I'm saying is it may have been something under the heat sink. If it's still under warranty I'd return it. If it's not you might want to think about removing the heat sink and fan to check for damage. Personally I wouldn't trust it. It's even conceivable that if it fails again it could damage other components in your PC like the motherboard and or power supply.
  8. Tongan

    Tongan TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 53

    Yes fans are running fine.

    I reckon your right mate, but unfortuneately I have no choice but to keep using this card for at least a couple months...
    However, I've had a good look under the card's heatsink/fan and the thermal paste (Along with everything else) looks normal.

    I will continue to use this card until I get another, and just hope for the best.
    Thankyou all for the advice/help.
  9. FairCold

    FairCold TS Rookie

    what kind of GFX that you used? im using palit HD4870 dual version. i have the same problem as you. lucky foe me the smoke didnt come out, it means nothing burn. but while that happen, the a spark of electric occur and the smell of electronic burn. im familiar with this smell cause im taking electrical engineering, i often mess with electronic component. lol. the first this happen about last month, after removing and reinserting the gfx, thank god it back to normal. but this afternoon after some OC to my CPU, i tried to test stability of OC, i play game for 4hours non-stop, unfortunately the same thing happen again, smell of burn electronic component. this time i decide to send back to factory for claiming warranty. i think u should too. u got nothing to lose.

    i dont think this cause by overheating because i always monitor my cpu and gpu temperature. this might be cause by device failure.
  10. Tongan

    Tongan TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 53

    Yeah we got the same card; PALIT Dual Edition.

    By the sounds of it I've had a similar experience to you FairCold...Except my games experience small on-screen glitches; Some games experience this frequently (e.g Crysis), but other games hardly ever (e.g Assassins Creed), so I guess it's not such a bad aftermath overrall.

    Now I don't plan on doing any O.Cing or even pushing it (Timewise) whilst gaming so as to avoid overheating, and hopefully this will prevent another problem.

    If it was device failure then I'm screwed since I've got no warranty and any hope of card replacement is sadly out of the question...I think?

    Gaming in moderation is about all I can do for now...
    Thanks for the advice mate.
  11. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    Artifacting appearing after what happened is a confirmation of the GPU being damaged. How do you not have warranty on the card BTW? The cards haven't even been out for a year. Or did you buy it off eBay?
  12. alphnumeric

    alphnumeric TS Rookie Posts: 173

    Artifacting was the beginning of the end for my Voodoo 5500 card. It started out with just the odd one in games but eventually they showed up on my windows desktop too. It steadily got worse until the PC wouldn't post anymore. Happened rather quickly too, only about 3 or 4 days from first glitch until complete failure. Luckily for me it didn't damage anything else in my system. I figure one of the memory chips flacked out.
  13. Tongan

    Tongan TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 53

    My mistake; I just read on the bottom of my tax invoice that there is a 'one year return to base warranty for above hardware goods'.
    So I'm guessing I can take the card to the next Computer-Fair and ask for a replacement now? If so...What exactly should I tell them?

    apologies for my cluelessness. (Never done this stuff before)
  14. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    Hopefully you bought the system on a credit card that will extend or cover a warranty that the manufacturer won't honor..... (if that happens)
  15. Tongan

    Tongan TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 53

    So if I bought the card with cash, then I can't get a refund?
  16. k.jacko

    k.jacko TS Rookie Posts: 493

    Its doubtful they will refund it. They are within their rights (afaik) to return the card to the manufacturer for a free repair, thus leaving you with no card at all, until you get it back, which in my experience, can take time.
  17. Tongan

    Tongan TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 53

    oh ok.
    I guess I'll just have to try that.
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