Question Sudden flame and smoke on ASUS Pro WS X570-ACE setup that worked for 9 months. What could be the cause(s)? Photo included

Feb 2, 2021
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Setup worked for 9 months without major issues, except for occasional bootup hang ups (<2% of the time) which were always resolved with reboot. Today after turning power on case fan was off (very unusual), memory LED on, motherboard red light on - I don't think I have ever seen this combination of symptoms before. I turned the computer off and then back on and immediately heard a popping sound, saw shooting flame and smoke through the tempered glass. I immediately powered down and flame died out. Cauterized mark seemed to have originated from near or beneath the heat sink labeled "Build for Pros", in close proximity to but does not directly come from the DIMM banks). What could potentially be the problems and what components may be fried? Still waiting for Asus technical to get back to me after getting in the queue by chat.



Setup with:
  • 128gb G Skill Trident Z Royal
  • CPU: AMD 3950X
  • Geforce 2060
  • Samsung SSD 1TB HD
  • Seagates HD 8 TB
  • CPU overclocked at 2% for the last 9 months. BIOS last updated ~3-4 months ago.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
What is that "foot" looking thing in the upper right photograph. Part of the heat sink?

Something does not look right about that. Any more photos?

It appears to be resting on the motherboard and in contact with solder points.

Massive short and I will be surprised if anything survived.

What work was being done prior to the sparks, etc.?

PSU: make, model, wattage, age, condition?

This motherboard?

https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=mekZYOSpI9er5NoPosiziAI&q=ASUS+Pro+WS+X570-ACE&oq=ASUS+Pro+WS+X570-ACE&gs_lcp=CgZwc3ktYWIQAzICCAAyAggAMgIIADICCAAyAggAMgIIADICCAAyAggAMgIIADICCABQmg5Ymg5g3xloAHAAeACAAS6IAS6SAQExmAEAoAECoAEBqgEHZ3dzLXdpeg&sclient=psy-ab&ved=0ahUKEwik2s6ltszuAhXXFVkFHSLkDCEQ4dUDCAk&uact=5
 
Feb 2, 2021
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The "foot" looking thing is part of the onboard heat sink that came screwed and built into the Asus WS Pro X570-ACE mother board. Standard components that had worked for 9 months without major issues (G skill Trident Royal 3600 DR4 128gb, 1TB Samsung SSD, 500gb WD SSD, two 8 TB HD, 2060 Super Nvidia card, running Linuxs), except the occasional minor boot up hangs mentioned earlier. Did do a BIOS firmware update about 3-4 months ago. PSU is Seasonic GX750 Gold 750 watts, also bought new 9 mo ago. PSU still working on PSU tester. Just trying to boot up from a cold machine that was power down the night before. No hardware tinkering since built 9 mo ago, no thunderstorm recently, computer is on a APC + surge protection since built, and this is very puzzling to me. I don't have new photos - this was bout it. Interestingly there is a heat sink screw nearby where the burn occurs and there is a burn mark on the case on the other side of the MB, indicating the flame also shot the other way too threw the sink hole screw connection.
 
Mar 2, 2021
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@dylee
Was there any further insight into what may have happened? Any correspondence with Asus? I have the same MB and just now experienced a strange total loss of power to the computer. It's on an APC-UPS and that continued to behave as though nothing happened. The computer behaved as though I just pulled the plug abruptly.
My build is only a few weeks old, so this is obviously concerning when I was researching and found your post. I initially thought that maybe my panel Reset pins might have shorted or not seated properly, but that wasn't the case. However, those pins are very close to where your photos indicate the problem started. The computer powered up fine, and there is no indication that anything happened.
Any additional insights comments would be appreciated.
Thanks
 
Feb 2, 2021
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@dylee
Was there any further insight into what may have happened? Any correspondence with Asus? I have the same MB and just now experienced a strange total loss of power to the computer. It's on an APC-UPS and that continued to behave as though nothing happened. The computer behaved as though I just pulled the plug abruptly.
My build is only a few weeks old, so this is obviously concerning when I was researching and found your post. I initially thought that maybe my panel Reset pins might have shorted or not seated properly, but that wasn't the case. However, those pins are very close to where your photos indicate the problem started. The computer powered up fine, and there is no indication that anything happened.
Any additional insights comments would be appreciated.
Thanks
Hi Npudar,
Mine was also on an APC (Schneider 900w) but I don't think that's the cause. If anything, it suggest power surge is less likely the cause. I also purchased a power supply tester to make sure my power supply was functional, which was the case. I did make an update to BIOs a few months ago but otherwise the system was behaving more or less normal since. No additional hardware added since the system was built 9 months ago. Corresponding with Asus was painful and absurd- every single response takes exactly 24 hrs to hear back - it was as if their customer service is only allowed to respond once every 24 hrs for each customer. Asus eventually replaced the mobo for free although all said and done it took them almost 4 weeks to take care of this matter. Surprising when I plug everything else back in the system booted up without problems, as I was expecting major component damage/failure after such a large fire. Asus gave no clarity whatsoever on what happened or what could be the cause. My suspicion is something shorted / overheated near or under the heat sink. The heat sink seems to have the same foamy pad as the heat sink for the SSD which may be flammable and caused the popping and shooting flame in my case. It is also very close to one of the screws and perhaps the circuitry close to that was compromised when I screw it in and eventually shorted (although I never screwed it in too tight)? The flame was severe enough to shoot thru the back and made a scorching mark on the case right beneath the MoBo. Hope you resolve your issue soon.
 
Mar 2, 2021
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@dylee
Thanks for the fast response. I'm glad to hear that they replaced the MB.
I will send them a note describing my issue and pointing to your post, since I don't think all support people may be up to speed on all things that happen to customers. My computer appears to be having no issues in the last hour since it happened.
But in the meantime, I will be powering down when I'm not using the computer.
I'd love to hear any updates in the coming months even if it is just "all is well."
Thanks
 
Feb 2, 2021
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Hi Npudar,
Mine was also on an APC (Schneider 900w) but I don't think that's the cause. If anything, it suggest power surge is less likely the cause. I also purchased a power supply tester to make sure my power supply was functional, which was the case. I did make an update to BIOs a few months ago but otherwise the system was behaving more or less normal since. No additional hardware added since the system was built 9 months ago. Corresponding with Asus was painful and absurd- every single response takes exactly 24 hrs to hear back - it was as if their customer service is only allowed to respond once every 24 hrs for each customer. Asus eventually replaced the mobo for free although all said and done it took them almost 4 weeks to take care of this matter. Surprising when I plug everything else back in the system booted up without problems, as I was expecting major component damage/failure after such a large fire. Asus gave no clarity whatsoever on what happened or what could be the cause. My suspicion is something shorted / overheated near or under the heat sink. The heat sink seems to have the same foamy pad as the heat sink for the SSD which may be flammable and caused the popping and shooting flame in my case. It is also very close to one of the screws and perhaps the circuitry close to that was compromised when I screw it in and eventually shorted (although I never screwed it in too tight)? The flame was severe enough to shoot thru the back and made a scorching mark on the case right beneath the MoBo. Hope you resolve your issue soon.
 
Feb 2, 2021
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Hi Npudar,

One thing possibly unrelated to this you may want to note is that if you choose to overclock, I noticed that I cannot leave the CPU voltage on auto in the BIOs since it was displaying something like 1.48v which I think is too high (and was causing occasional reboot on the new mobo. so I manually set it at 1.35v which seems to fix the issue and no more reboot. That was with the new mobo on linux. I am afraid to upgrade the bios (if it ain't break don't fix it) and will see how this work and let you know.
 

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