Question I'm trying to upgrade my build and it keeps smoking

Oct 29, 2020
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I recently tried to upgrade my RAM (G Skill DDR4 3200), CPU (i9-9900) and motherboard (ASUS Z390-A), retaining my case, PSU, RAID array and SSD boot drive. The first attempt failed as white smoke started pouring from the main PSU connector. Many posts said that if there's smoke it's likely the PSU. I was using a Corsair 750W PSU but it was about six years old so I figured that was the problem.

So I got a new Corsair RM750x and I also tried a lighter i7-9700 CPU and a brand new mobo (same model). I thought the i9-9900 might be overkill and require more cooling. I saw many similar builds using a similar PSU. I wanted to eliminate problems.

After hooking up the new components nothing happened at all. I tried swapping the RAM since it was the only component I hadn't bought new. I used two other DDR4 sticks I had nearby. Looked great! The mobo lit up, the CPU and chassis fans were spinning. I was thrilled and went to connect my monitor but before I could the system shut itself down and the mobo started making a strange clicking sound. I waited a little while thinking the BIOS was resetting. But nothing happened,..finally I shut the power off and tried again. The PSU connector started smoking just like the first time.

I'm not sure what to do next. It seems the RAM might be the problem. I tried removing all RAM as I did previously but now the mobo does not light up. Is my board fried? Can bad RAM is fry a motherboard? I don't want to keep repeating the same mistakes. Both times mobo only "smoked" for a few seconds. Should I assume they are toasted? Should I toss everything and start over?
 

PrinceTexasLoaf

Respectable
Sep 28, 2018
725
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I recently tried to upgrade my RAM (G Skill DDR4 3200), CPU (i9-9900) and motherboard (ASUS Z390-A), retaining my case, PSU, RAID array and SSD boot drive. The first attempt failed as white smoke started pouring from the main PSU connector. Many posts said that if there's smoke it's likely the PSU. I was using a Corsair 750W PSU but it was about six years old so I figured that was the problem.

So I got a new Corsair RM750x and I also tried a lighter i7-9700 CPU and a brand new mobo (same model). I thought the i9-9900 might be overkill and require more cooling. I saw many similar builds using a similar PSU. I wanted to eliminate problems.

After hooking up the new components nothing happened at all. I tried swapping the RAM since it was the only component I hadn't bought new. I used two other DDR4 sticks I had nearby. Looked great! The mobo lit up, the CPU and chassis fans were spinning. I was thrilled and went to connect my monitor but before I could the system shut itself down and the mobo started making a strange clicking sound. I waited a little while thinking the BIOS was resetting. But nothing happened,..finally I shut the power off and tried again. The PSU connector started smoking just like the first time.

I'm not sure what to do next. It seems the RAM might be the problem. I tried removing all RAM as I did previously but now the mobo does not light up. Is my board fried? Can bad RAM is fry a motherboard? I don't want to keep repeating the same mistakes. Both times mobo only "smoked" for a few seconds. Should I assume they are toasted? Should I toss everything and start over?
Ram shouldn't be able to do that.
 

Mtop

Prominent
Nov 21, 2019
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Look for a short on one of your standoffs that hold MB to case.
Remove everything except processor, should have memory led fault all ok then add ram, all ok add boot drive.
 
Oct 29, 2020
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Wow, I followed your instructions and I can now power on and leave it on without any white smoke, The mobo has many colorful lights that were not there before. However I'm not posting or getting any errors with all my RAM slots empty. I'm guessing the CPU is fried. Can I assume the mobo is OK with all the lights on and all?
 

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