Question Oily substance on Motherboard - Won’t boot

Nov 8, 2020
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Hi guys,
First time posting so let me know if you need more information.

So, I built my PC about 5 years ago now, and she’s been a good machine to me. In those 5 years, I’ve had one major issue and done two upgrades; a fan short fried my HDD, the RAM was upgrades, and she was given a new case.

However yesterday, I think she might have died. I was on a video call while I had Minecraft going, and suddenty i get the BSOD with the very unhelpful error code “SYSTEM_THREAD_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED” and no hexadecimal code. After this she auto rebooted, and all seemed fine, only the video chat wouldn’t accept that it already had permissions to use the mic and camera, so i rebooted her myself.

This is when the issues started - first she wouldn’t even get tot he BIOS screen - usually it goes black and has a rapidly changing number in the corner before the BIOS logo, but it was getting frozen on the number. Then after a power off/on cycle, I can’t even get back the those numbers.

I let her cool off for 12 hours and tried again, still the same issue. I have opened her up and removed the RAM to check the beeper was working (it is), and all the fans/lights etc turn on. There is power in the USBs but the board isn’t reading the mouse/keyboard (they usually light up just after BIOS).

Visually I saw there was an oily stain on the board just under the VRMs heatsink, so i removed it and confirmed that is the location the oil is coming from. Is on both the front and the back of the board, in different places, and on the heat sink itself (see the photos)

View: https://imgur.com/a/qjxzRA1


So my question is: Why wont she turn on? My thoughts are that the board is gone and will need replacing, but I wanted some outside thoughts before committing.

The board in question is a MSI 970 Gaming
Yes its water cooled, but no leaks there
 
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The board in question is a MSI 970 Gaming
Yes its water cooled, but no leaks there
What CPU, how heavily overclocked and what do you do with it?

The oily stain under the VRM FET's is pretty typical and, alone, shouldn't be cause for alarm. It seems to be pretty common but it does show the VRM has been running hot for extended periods. It's source is probably oils in the thermal pads between the FET's and their heatsinks.

If heavily overclocked with high voltages it could be the CPU just it gave up, but not completely. Back out any overclock and try again. The VRM could also be bad...have you looked at the caps? are any bulging or leaning oddly?
 
Nov 8, 2020
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The CPU is a AMD FX8320, and the machine hasn’t been over locked at all, all set to factory defaults. I use it for gaming and work - No Mans Sky is probably the heaviest game I own?

nothing seems out of place or damaged
 
The CPU is a AMD FX8320, and the machine hasn’t been over locked at all, all set to factory defaults. I use it for gaming and work - No Mans Sky is probably the heaviest game I own?

nothing seems out of place or damaged
Well, those CPU's do tend to run hot...makeing the VRM do so too...even when not overclocked. So maybe that can explain the VRM FET's cooking out thermal pad oils.

So what's bad is the question. Try swapping memory DIMM's - one at a time, in each location. You've an older system so reseating connections may help...even pulling the CPU out of socket and changing thermal paste. In general, reseat connections all over the motherboard and to drives and don't forget to unseat the GPU and reinstall. You might even try a different GPU if you have one just to eliminate it.
 
Nov 8, 2020
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I’ve tried reseating everything other than the CPU as I don’t have any paste to hand, with no luck.
I also don’t have a spare GPU, but I don’t think that’s the cause as the keyboard and mouse aren’t lighting up
 
Nov 8, 2020
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The PSU is a Corsair CXM750, 5 years old (this was my first build and this is the first time I can’t fix and issue I’ve had so haven’t worried about it being a little dated)

I have not, what is the paper lip test? I should point out that I know theirs still power in the system as the fans and cooler turn on, as do the RGBs and the usb hub has its power light on.

The GPU is a MSI RADEON R9 380 4GB, and that still lights up and has the fans on
 
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I should point out that I know theirs still power in the system as the fans and cooler turn on, as do the RGBs and the usb hub has its power light on.
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That pretty much suggests the PSU's not bad, although I don't believe a CX750M is one of the favored models by the gurus here.

It's kind of down to CPU or motherboard, with still an outside chance a 5yo CX750m is the culprit. It's not really a good idea trying to replace such old tech when it's faulty like this if you have buy something to swap in and find what's bad. Swapping the PSU for brand new is easy as it can definitely be used in a new build if it comes to that.

Sorting out whether it's CPU or MB is a bit trickier, the only thing really to get a new one and try it out too. The risk with that is if BOTH happen to be bad in a way that it will just damage the other (which can happen). And in the end, you'll just be left with a barely functional gaming system...or a costly web browser and Youtube watcher.
 
Nov 8, 2020
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That was my fear!
what I’ve done is buy a new board (Which thanks to a change in chip sockets, also means a new processor). Hopefully that will sort all the issues! I might actually get a new PSU now youve said that, just to bring it all up to date safely.
only issue I have to fix now I guess, possibly, is making Win 10 play nice with the new hardware
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
That was my fear!
what I’ve done is buy a new board (Which thanks to a change in chip sockets, also means a new processor). Hopefully that will sort all the issues! I might actually get a new PSU now youve said that, just to bring it all up to date safely.
only issue I have to fix now I guess, possibly, is making Win 10 play nice with the new hardware
You need to prepare for a clean OS install. A motherboard change usually means a new OS install.
 
Easier said than done when you can’t access the drives... thankfully my OS is on its own drive with only minimal bits on it
That problem can be mitigated by removing even the OS drives and attaching it to another computer. You should be able to access and even direct a backup program to get any desireable user files. It may only raise problems if you've encrypted it...or folders.

But if ALL the files of interest are on secondary drives, just remove them and re-connect them in the new system and it will access the drives for you to get to the files.
 

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