A hot potato: Following an increasing number of user reports complaining of melting MOSFETs, error codes and smoke erupting from Z690 Hero motherboards, Asus launched an investigation and has identified a backward installed capacitor to be the culprit. The hardware maker is now working towards a replacement program for affected customers.

If you've recently spent some sweet dough on Asus' premium ROG Maximus Z690 Hero motherboard, it's highly recommended that you check it for a faulty capacitor before deciding to post or boot up. Multiple owners began reporting issues with their hardware last week, ranging from a burned-up section on the motherboard, to smoke and post error codes indicating memory problems.

A Reddit user said they went through two Z690 Hero mobos in just three days, one of which caught fire, while others reported similar incidents on platforms like YouTube and Asus' forums. The culprit, as it turns out, was a capacitor installed backward next to the mobo's DDR5 slots, which also damaged nearby MOSFETs and components, leading to code 53 errors.

An excerpt from Asus' statement reads as follows:

"We have recently received incident reports regarding the ROG Maximus Z690 Hero motherboard. In our ongoing investigation, we have preliminarily identified a potential reversed memory capacitor issue in the production process from one of the production lines that may cause debug error code 53, no post, or motherboard components damage."

Asus revealed that motherboards with part no. 90MB18E0-MVAAY0 and serial number starting with MA, MB, or MC were potentially affected units and is asking owners to identify theirs by referring to the product packaging.

The company also shared that a few incidents had been reported in North America as of Dec 28 and that it's working on a replacement program as it continues inspection with suppliers and customers to identify all faulty units. Affected buyers are requested to get in touch with ASUS customer service.