Feature PCG's Virtual Halloween Party: Share your PC Building Horror Stories!

SWard

Supergirl
Staff member
Nov 25, 2019
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656
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It's that time of year again...

Every year we ask you to share your PC Building Horror stories, and what better time then right now?

"Building a PC is supposed to be a magical experience. All of your parts arrive on time, you take an afternoon to unwrap and assemble everything and then, with glorious satisfaction, you press the power button and hear your new creation whir to life. But sometimes building a PC can be harrowing. I'm not talking about having some dead-on-arrival RAM either, I'm talking true horror as pins bend and PSUs fry components."

Share your PC Gaming stories in this thread, (real or made up as long as they are scary) and the best ones may get featured in a spooky article!

Now, pull up a log, get close to the fire... flashlights on, and let's start telling stories...
 
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CParsons

Staff member
Dec 9, 2019
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Mine is a horror story that I will probably never forgive myself for. Like many folks, I can never have too much storage space and once about 13+ years ago I was adding an additional hard drive to my tower, which already had 3 or 4 within.

For whatever reason, I forgot to cut the power off but went ahead with connecting the IDE cable and power cable for the drive anyway and ZAP! That zap of electricity somehow managed to kill off two hard drives and on one of them was the majority of my kid's baby pics. I never had any backups and was never able to recover them. Luckily, plenty of family members have pics from that time as well but it's just not the same.

Since that incident, I have become pretty obsessive when it comes to backing things up in numerous places.
 
Feb 2, 2020
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Literally a horror experience. I was shocked how my pc moves on its own finding out that my brother had installed a pc controlling software where he can control my PC. That was around 2:00AM and it kept on moving on its own I was scared that I had to leave my PC and go to sleep. But by any chance, I busted my brother who kept on laughing.
 

SWard

Supergirl
Staff member
Nov 25, 2019
358
656
1,270
Literally a horror experience. I was shocked how my pc moves on its own finding out that my brother had installed a pc controlling software where he can control my PC. That was around 2:00AM and it kept on moving on its own I was scared that I had to leave my PC and go to sleep. But by any chance, I busted my brother who kept on laughing.
Funny but scary! :D
 
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Jan 13, 2020
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Adding a hard drive to my brother in Law's computer and finding out that whoever "built" his crappy clone screwed up the 4pin Molex power plug so the 12 volts went to the 5 Volt line and killed his hard drive. $300 later, I had his hard drive restored by a company in California.
The BEST one was getting back the only baby pictures that my niece had that were lost when her hard drive would not boot.
 

SWard

Supergirl
Staff member
Nov 25, 2019
358
656
1,270
Adding a hard drive to my brother in Law's computer and finding out that whoever "built" his crappy clone screwed up the 4pin Molex power plug so the 12 volts went to the 5 Volt line and killed his hard drive. $300 later, I had his hard drive restored by a company in California.
The BEST one was getting back the only baby pictures that my niece had that were lost when her hard drive would not boot.
You're a hero!
 
Oct 6, 2020
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When I built my first ever system when I was 9, got a blue screen and It scared the hell out of me.. Later found out my cooler wasn't installed properly.
 
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Jan 13, 2020
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First ever build, I fired it up and immediately heard a loud "WHIRRRRRR" sound. I thought "CRAP ITS MY HARD DRIVE!!" I spent an hour on the phone with Gigabytes tech support (Why did I call them?) and we narrowed it down to being my CPU fans wires brushing against the fan itself loudly.

7 yrs later when I got a new mobo and cpu, I accidentally bent four of the pins on my brand new cpu. I experienced anxiety and fear I'd not felt in forever. I was hyperventilating, my wife was trying to keep me calm, I was crying even. I grabbed a magnifying glass and a credit card and got to meticulously straightening each pin. Shaking throughout the process.

Anyways, I'm typing to you today through that processor so, it went well.
 
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Oct 6, 2020
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I was doing a brand new build about 2 weeks ago in anticipation for the 3080 (if that exists, has anyone seen one?), anyways, had to remove the tempered glass on my new Corsair 4000X case .... I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, needless to say I think I cried?


 
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Jul 1, 2020
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The first PC I built was an original AMD Athlon 800 MHz system back when I was in high school. I remember reading Maximum PC when the Athlons debuted. The articles featured a Secret Service looking dude with the CPU locked in a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist.

At the time Intel CPUs maxed out around like 333 MHz, and I had a 300 MHz Comaq PC that was the family computer. The original Athlons blew the pants off of Intel, ranging from 600 MHz up to 800 MHz (memory's fuzzy), and I had a friend who's sister's uncle's cousin heard someone overclocked one to 1 GHz using liquid nitrogen.

I got everything set up easy enough, except the instructions for the CPU cooler had an indecipherable no-text diagram, and I wound up breaking one of the pins that held the heatsink onto the slotted CPU. I absolutely couldn't wait another week or two to get a new one ordered, so I tried just wedging it on there. It turned out that somehow the heatsink stayed on pretty well without the bracket once the CPU was slotted in.

It worked out nicely for a time, until Unreal Tournament 2003 came out. My guess is that when the CPU got really cooking, the thermal paste would loosen up, and the aluminum heatsink would crash down onto the back of my poor video card. I'd get about an hour of game time before I'd have to shut everything down so that the CPU could cool enough to stick the heatsink back on. I blistered my thumb more than a few times being impatient.

Eventually I found the perfect solution, aluminum tape. Never had a problem after that. I still have that original Athlon CPU in my closet.

My next upgrade was an AMD Athlon XP, which was an even worse nightmare. They had exposed cores, and if you didn't mount the heatsink evenly, it would crunch a corner of the CPU core. I built a bunch of Athlon XP systems using Asus A7n 8X Deluxe motherboards. I must have RMAed at least five CPUs.

Talk about a nightmare, troubleshooting PC hardware problems in the early 2000's internet over a 56k modem.
 
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SWard

Supergirl
Staff member
Nov 25, 2019
358
656
1,270
I was doing a brand new build about 2 weeks ago in anticipation for the 3080 (if that exists, has anyone seen one?), anyways, had to remove the tempered glass on my new Corsair 4000X case .... I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, needless to say I think I cried?


Nooooo! :D
 
Oct 7, 2020
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I don't know what was the problem we were trying to fix but my dad had the brilliant idea of switching the voltage option behind the power supply. BOOM goes the PSU!
 
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Oct 7, 2020
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this was back in my early PC building days, sometime around 2002-2003 (the pentium 4/athlon xp processor era... wow, i feel old now, haha).

back then, many high end CPU fans were in the 5,000-7,000 rpm range, and had names like volcano. these fans were clearly not meant to be quiet. during a LAN party, a bedroom full of gaming PCs sounded like a bunch of high pitched vacuum cleaners or jet engines.

i had just finished putting the PC together on the floor of my bedroom and was making sure all the power/IDE cables were fully inserted. the computer was laying on its side with the open side panel facing upwards, and it had just rebooted, with the CPU fan still running at max speed by default. i believe i was using the thermaltake volcano 6cu+ which had a 7,000rpm fan. (https://www.overclockers.com/thermaltake-volcano-6cu/)

as i was messing with the cables, i moved my hand across the case, from the power supply at the top left to the hard drives on the right, and it passed directly over the CPU fan. one of my fingers was somehow abruptly sucked INTO the CPU fan. the 7,000rpm fan had stopped instantly, and was stuck in place with one of the blades lodged in my finger.

at that same moment, tiny blood droplets were sprayed in all directions around the room, primarily projected upwards, high up where the walls met the ceiling, about 8-10 feet off the ground. amazingly, it didn't seem to hurt at all (maybe it sliced the nerves?), i only felt a slight tingling/numb feeling... although i was in total shock since it happened so quickly and suddenly. i ran to the bathroom holding my finger which had a very deep, paper-cut like slice that bled continuously and soaked through several layers of towels.

when i finally came back to the bedroom, it was both amazing and disturbing to find that hundreds of tiny little dark red blood droplets were spread around the walls and ceiling in a 360 degree radius around the computer, and i had to slowly circle the room with wet paper towels wiping the droplets off of everything. but as careful as i thought i was, there were still some spots that i ended up missing, and years later when visiting my parents for the holidays, i would occasionally discover little droplets that had survived the cleaning. i would notice a few tiny little dark spots from all those years ago, one way up in the far corner where the wall and ceiling meet, one on the edge of the molding around the bedroom window, one on the side of the light fixture hanging from the ceiling...

needless to say, i always make sure to turn off the computer before messing around with any cables now.
 
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Oct 7, 2020
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Once upon a time I had the best gpu anyone could ever dream of . A mighty GT 610 2gb Asus Silent Edition . (Dads Gift ) When I bought it I was overjoyed and extremely proud that my I had found a 2 GB gpu for a mere 35 bucks whereas other models of 1 GB cost 120 bucks .(At that time I wasnt even aware that a company named Nvidia made gpus . All I knew was that my shitty PC crashes while playing NFS MW because it doesnt have any graphics and Gpu Power ~ Higher GB . (Yep silly me )

I almost started crying when my father was not able to install it in my Cpu . (He was trying install it in the Ram slot )
But finally Youtube gave me some relief and after 2 hours of struggling with my Pc I had 2 gigs of gaming juice in my Pc.
(After another 2 hours of pondering what The fancy CD was for I finally had my GPU working )
I couldnt had been any more satisfied to play NFS MW smoothly on my PC . It was after a couple of years I realised that what a crappy card it was . It was phobic to video games . It couldnt run any game released after 2013 and also the earlier games on good resolution and quality . I was frustated and lost my mind when I was not even able to play GTA 4 on even the lowest of resolutions and quality . (A 2008 game with 256 mb VRAM requirement whereas this card was released in 2012 )

I just wanted to play that game and so I went Hardcore . I overclocked IT . And that also how , I just tweaked every setting to absolute MAX in my Asus Gpu Tweak software . And then with a smirk on my face I started GTAIV.exe . It was mere 45 sec that had I started the game , a firecracker burst inside my CPU and in the next few seconds it started throwing out white smoke like a SpaceX rocket . I thought that my gpu had caught fire and so I rushed to grab my portable fire extinguisher . One way it was throwing out white smoke and one way I was throwing in the same . Later , on inspection I found out that it was not my gpu (who still smiled like Madonna ) but instead in my PSU that a capacitor had burst . I thought that maybe the capacitor was not powerful enough to withstand such high load and so it burst . Then I turned Einstien and bought a higher capacity capacitor and soldered it in my PSU . Guess what ?

Nothing but I just had to dump my whole motherboard along with my PSU . Still the dustbin had its apetite .

Moral of the Story : Roses are Red and Violets are Blue
Never try to game
On a shitty GPU

THANK YOU
 
Oct 7, 2020
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Not me, but my older brother once installed a motherboard on his highly-conductive metal case without using the included standoff screws. Pop!
 
Jan 30, 2020
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One memory comes to mind, I had left an old build at a friends house while we went drinking. His dog decided to urinate on both the front of the Sharkoon T28 case and on the back right onto the Ezcool 700w Infinity PSU. I'll never know why he decided to leave it on the floor but that's just how it is with people sometimes.

The next day I took the PC home and made sure it was as dry as possible, I didn't even turn it on for about 3 days to making sure it was thoroughly air dried.
Although the front of the case was starting to rust the thing turned on and seemed to work as well as before. Later in the week I left the PC running overnight to download GTA5 and was woken by the PSU smoking (with a tiny fire inside) and smelling real bad.
Then 6 year ago me ended up rushing to the closest PC store instead of using my phone to order from the internet and panic buying a spare PSU for £75 which I later realised only sold for £35 on amazon.
 
Oct 7, 2020
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Was working on an i5-2320 build and had an hd 7850 gpu in it that was giving me problems. Was using an Intel dz68db motherboard. Did not want to boot consistently and had issues with display(which later turned out I needed to update bios which is itself a challenge on a discontinued Intel board.) Anyways I took the gpu out and put it into another computer to test it. As soon as I powered it on it smoked a vrm on the gpu and belched out a metric **** ton of the magic blue smoke. Luckily it didn't take out anything else with it. The motherboard ended up being an excellent board after updating the bios and I got it for like 10 bucks off Ebay.
 
Oct 7, 2020
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I was rebuilding my water cooled pc a few years ago. It was probably my 5th time rebuilding a water cooled pc. I had just received my new evga 1080 hydro copper GPU and was anxious to start using it. While I was installing the card I was also replacing all of the tubing in the system. I had also sprung for a nonconductive coolant for the first time. I always just used distilled water in the past to save money.
I started my rebuild after work around 5pm and after about 3 hours I was ready to fill the system and start trying to get rid of air bubbles. At this point it was getting dark but I hadn’t turned on any lights. Next thing I know there is liquid all over my floor. My system had a five axis adjustable fitting going to the cpu and I had accidentally loosened the fitting to the cpu when i was replacing the hoses. Now I had liquid running down my CPU on to my brand new GPU and it created a waterfall off of my GPU. ALL WHILE IT WAS RUNNING. This was a $4,000 plus rig and was terrified I had just ruined it and my new GPU. I quickly flipped off my power unit and began trying to dry up everything before starting to assess the damage.
Luckily for the first time in my life I did splurge on nonconductive fluid and it performed as advertised. Judging by the mess on my floor I think about a liter of coolant spilled out of the PC while it was running. Even though just about every component in the PC was soaked it started right up with no issues after I dried it out for two days. It was definitely the last time I try to fill a system in the dark
 
Oct 8, 2020
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With my very first PC build I had a rather bizarre idea, that shedding every article of clothing would drastically reduce static build up and effectively turn my entire body in to the equivalent of a giant anti-static strap. If the very thought of me merrily plugging in CPU's and GPU's stark bollock naked doesn't send shivers up your spine, nothing will.
 
Oct 8, 2020
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I was tech support for a now defunct company (you'll understand why they went bankrupt shortly) .

What I'm about to type here all happened in one day in our workshop where we repaired computers that customers sent us.

A customers system finally arrives at our warehouse. It's in for possible RAM/motherboard defect. The box is being carted over to our side of the building when the person pushing that cart gets in a conversation. While this is happening someone else walking by snags a corner of the cart with their clothing. Everything goes tumbling over. The system crashes to the ground with a muffled metallic clattering noise. I saw this happen from down the hall and begin walking over to help get everything back on the cart. We then notice that dark red transparent liquid is leaking out of the box. At first me and my co worker are thinking "what?" and then he picks up the invoice off of the system and reads the part list. It's a hard tubing EK water loop setup that had transparent tubes and dark red liquid. dual 1080ti, 6700k (this was brand new at the time) all cooled by the loop. The GPU was ripped out of its PCI-E 16 slot by the force of the drop, leaving a chunk of graphics card PCB stuck in the slot while the rest was cracked and seperated. The red liquid at this point had leaked all over the concrete floor of the hallway and had seeped under the door of an adjacent office, scaring the crap out of the woman that worked in there. She had light grey carpets and now the entire entry way to her office was soaked red. The cardboard box and styrofoam packing material was all stained red and the cardboard was soggy. Pretty much the whole loop had drained onto our floors. We at this point just replaced the entire system for the customer at a 3200 dollar loss.

Silver lining I guess is we got to skip the trouble shooting stage and just tell the customer we rebuilt the entire computer with all brand new parts . Never did find out what went wrong with that system but the brand new identical replacement we sent him seemed to fix the issue.


Second incident of the day.
.
For whatever stupid reason I was tasked with building a computer for some business account we had, I guess our system assembly department was booked full. It was an easy enough job, just a basic air cooled computer with the latest and greatest parts of 2015. It was supposed to be for some kind of industrial application.

Anyways, the disaster is as follows. The system is built, and posts, and passes all our quick tests to make sure things like temperature and BIOS settings are all dialed in, as well as the operating system having all of the basic drivers it needs. We shut the PC down at 5PM, content with the machines performance.

The next morning we're all filing in at 9AM and the computer we'd finished the previous day is to be shipped out within the first few hours of the day. Just before doing so we decide to give it a quick boot and make sure everything is still working (you never know if you'll catch an issue last second).

As soon as the power button is pressed we hear a loud SNAP and this intense smell. The power supply blew a capacitor.

Our office smelled like exploded capacitor for the rest of the day that we spent replacing that power supply and re-testing the components. Thankfully nothing else was damaged. We ended up having to delay one day. Thankfully the customer wasn't in a rush for this system and we were told to take as much time as we'd like.
 
Apr 21, 2020
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My first ever build went great. That is, until I tried to play a game. Every five minutes or so I'd get a kernel power system failure. I spent months trying to fix it, rma-ing or replacing every single component. This process cost me a few hundred dollars and a least half a year. All told not a great experience. My problem? The vega 64 I used(https://pcpartpicker.com/product/GFHRsY/asus-radeon-rx-vega-64-8gb-arez-strix-oc-edition-video-card-arez-strix-rxvega64-o8g-gaming) gobbled up so much power I had to upgrade from an 850 watt psu to a 1200watt. At least I'm ready for whatever ampere throws at me.
 
Jan 14, 2020
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My first major build attempt was a total fiasco. I bought all the parts I needed, I researched them as thoroughly as I could, briefly read online how to build it, and then... was offline while I built it, with no instructions on-hand, because I didn't have a working printer at the time and was using my old modem for the new PC. (And I had no other internet device available, this being in 1997.) I put it all together in a hurry, but it all looked good, and I flipped the power switch, and... NOTHING. No lights, no whirring, nada. Might have been a tiny power indicator light on the power supply. I took the modem out, put it back in my old Cyrix 586 Pentium knockoff, and scoured what meager PC building/troubleshooting webpages I could find at the time. (So much easier now with YouTube and everything else.)

I was stumped, so my dad's friend who ran a PC repair shop offered to take a look at it, so I brought it to him, and he called later and said to my dad "I had to take the whole thing apart and put it back together again, I'm surprised everything wasn't fried, the way he had it set up." Apparently I had the motherboard installed wrong, with no risers, and screws where there shouldn't have been screws, and... I have blocked a lot of the details, but it was a humbling experience and I almost never built another PC after that, I was so humiliated. (I paid the guy $100 for rebuilding it. Which was a ton [for me] in 1997.) But I've since built about a dozen or so PC's (a lot more carefully), and none of them have fried or exploded or anything, so yay.
 
Sep 5, 2020
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About 10 years ago I was working on my first build. Cheap case, cheap mobo, cheap everything. I built the PC at the kitchen table and moved it downstairs to my office. The very first time I went to turn it on it would not post.
I spent the next 2 days doing all the trouble shooting I could without the help of the internet as the one and only PC I had would not post. 2 days later I was sitting at the kitchen table and I noticed a blue piece of plastic the size of a tic tac in the seat of the kitchen chair!!! It was a "JUMPER" that was needed on the motherboard to jump the "BIOS"!!!! Once I got it back in the motherboard all was fine and the PC booted!! It was a real horror story and I thought I really messed up my first try and build!!! LOL
 
May 4, 2020
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My PC building horror story happened recently. My fan bracket randomly broke off my mobo, cooking my cpu and the mobo. Cpu looked like it might have survived the volcanic temperatures but I replaced the mobo. Worked for a little while but then it failed to post. Replaced the cpu. Still no joy. Figured the mobo might have been DOA so got a replacement sent out. Worked for a little bit and then same problem again. OK, I thought. It MUST be the psu then. One brand new PSU and several weeks later, it turns on. Ok success. Stick on a game and ....it powers off. At this point I'm about ready to throw money at someone with more time and patience than an old woman like me. Finally in a last desperate attempt at ending my PC nightmare I brought a new (more expensive) mobo....and low and behold my pc finally breathed life again. Lesson learned...dont buy budget mobos.
 

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