Running Through Motherboards Like Crazy!

Nov 7, 2018
I built a desktop for gaming and media work in early 2016. All the parts were brand new when I put this together.

CPU: i7-4790k (never overclocked it)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper212 Evo
Motherboard: ASRock z97 Extreme4
RAM: 2x8gb G.Skill Rip Jaws X (DDR3-1600)
PSU: EVGA 500W 80+
GPU: Diamond R9 380 4gb
Case: Fractal Design Define R4

Everything worked very well until earlier this summer (~June 2018), when my PC wouldn't turn on one day. All the fans worked and USB devices still received power, but it couldn't even post. I took the whole thing apart and went through all the troubleshooting steps I could find. I later discovered that this motherboard was prone to failing and others had the same board failure issue (reddit post describing the same issues I had).

After coming to terms with the fact that my motherboard was gone, I tried to find a replacement lga1150 board, only to discover that they were all used and expensive. I bought a used Sabertooth z97 Mark II on eBay which worked for about a week and then suffered the same fate as my previous board. The fans all worked, USB devices receive power but no posting. I got another CPU to see if that was the issue, but nothing changed.

I took my pc with both motherboards and the additional test CPU into a PC repair shop, and they ran through the same basic troubleshooting steps I had been doing for a month (pulling everything out and putting it back together, CMOS clearing, single RAM sticks, etc.) and ended up telling me to just get a new motherboard.

My third motherboard purchase was a used Asus z97 Pro, which lasted from early July 2018 until November of 2018. My PC worked wonderfully for those months and then one day it wouldn't power on. I had the same issue as with the other boards, the troubleshooting display showed an error code of 00 (listed as unused in the manual, not D0) with a red CPU light. This board did arrive with a slightly bent pin, but worked fine when I put everything together. This article describes the same problem I had, and other people with the same problem solved it by getting a new motherboard.

At this point I am planning on upgrading to a newer CPU/Board combo to avoid dealing with this headache. Any ideas as to what caused this? Any similar experiences? I am sure that it's not a BIOS issue, I followed all the steps for upgrading each board. My PC is on an intense surge protector to combat the awful power in my apt building. Each board didn't work outside of the case, so I don't think it's an issue with standoffs/case shorting. I feel like I just got unlucky with my motherboards, intel switched to the lga1151 right after I built this


One of the possible causes to this is the out of spec voltages your PSU delivers to your MoBo. EVGA 500 80+ isn't the best quality PSU and i, personally, wouldn't use that HEC/Compucase made unit. Instead, i'd be using anything from Seasonic since Seasonic PSUs are good quality and above (depending on series).

As far as voltages go, according to the ATX PSU standard, safe voltage ranges are:
+12V DC rail - tolerance ±5% ; +11.40V to +12.60V
+5V DC rail - tolerance ±5% ; +4.75V to +5.25V
+3.3V DC rail - tolerance ±5% ; +3.14V to +3.47V
-12V DC rail - tolerance ±10% ; -10.80V to -13.20V
+5V SB rail - tolerance ±5% ; +4.75V to +5.25V

Anything lower or higher than that aren't safe for PC components. Lower voltage can cause data corruption while higher voltage can fry components.

This is guess work but i think that your low quality PSU has fed too much voltage to your system over the time. That would also explain why MoBos work for some time since while e.g +15V on +12V rail would fry the MoBo voltage control unit/chip on the spot, +13.5V would do gradual damage until MoBo gives in.

If it isn't the PSU's fault then i'd say you've been quite unlucky.

I too have LGA1150 system in use but i have MSI MoBo, Z97 Gaming 5 to be exact. Bought my Haswell build (full specs with pics in my sig) in 2015 and it is still going strong. Then again, i have good quality PSU powering it: Seasonic M12II-850 EVO.
Nov 7, 2018

I never thought of that! Thanks for the tip, I was going to use my old PSU in a new build but not any more! I'll check out a Seasonic PSU and hope I have more success with my next build.