Graphics card smoking with VGA cables connected. Power supply or GPU issue?

Jun 25, 2018
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PC Specs
Mobo: ASUS ROG Strix Z370-E
CPU: i78700k w/Noctua NH-D15 cooler
GPU: EVGA 980ti Superclocked ACX 2.0+
PSU: EVGA 750w 80+ Bronze
RAM: 8x2GB G.Skill Ripjaws 4
Storage: Samsung 850 EVO 250gb

Earlier today my computer suddenly shut off and wouldn't turn on. I suspected initially that the shutdown was caused by the GPU getting too hot, I usually run MSI Afterburner with a custom fan profile to keep the temps at 65C~. With it off I thought maybe the card reached it's thermal threshold and shutdown. I took the card out and it was relatively hot. I let it cool with a fan blowing on it and plugged it back into my PC and it still didn't power. I did a few of the recommended trouble shooting options I found online before re-connecting the reset and power button motherboard connectors. Upon installing my new motherboard 2 months back I never took the time to enable the LED's on the power button, nor make the reset button functional. Fixing these connections allowed the computer to boot normally. In hindsight I realized the computer would have turned on just fine if I hit the reset button(for whatever reason the power button was actually the reset button upon the sudden shutdown). Anyway, once all that was said and done I went to boot the computer with the graphics card and everything plugged in and it immediately made a sparking noise and started smoking. I shut down the computer ASAP and pulled the card out.

At this point I assumed the graphics card was to blame so I tried powering without it and voila, no problems. Then I plugged in the card(probably not the best idea lol) with no VGA connectors and the computer ran without issue. For the sake of being thorough I plugged in the VGA connectors and of course, the smoke came back. This is definitely a GPU issue, right? I'm not the most well rounded as far as the inner workings of computers go - I know how to build them and take them apart, and understand basic concepts regarding certain components but that's about it. The smoke is coming purely from the graphics card, and had it been a power supply issue then surely the PC wouldn't boot period? From my POV the only remaining PSU issue I can think of is that the VGA connectors themselves are to blame, though out of ignorance I genuinely don't know if that's even possible. Any thoughts?
 
Jun 25, 2018
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Yeah I realized that immediately after posting, just updated.
 

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