Weekend Question: What's been your worst PC building catastrophe?


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May 3, 2022
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Hi-Diddly-Ho, gamerinos, I'm here with the return of the PCG Weekend Question. I ask the same question to our staff and forums and publish the best answers on a regular feature on the site. If you've got an answer or anecdote you'd like to add for consideration, please share it on this thread!

This week's question is: What's been your worst PC building catastrophe?

I want to hear about when it all goes wrong. Thermal paste snafus, GPU sag, hard drive failure, even out-and-out fires breaking out. I want to hear about what's made you almost want to be a console gamer, the vexing problems with infuriatingly simple solutions or cinematic catastrophes that almost took your eyebrows off.
I've only had a couple of boom-booms, both with same components, both within months of each other, around 20 years ago.

If you built PCs back then, then you've heard of the infamous exploding capacitors. I hadn't heard until the motherboards in both our PCs went boom, one event also taking out a HDD.

I quickly learned the advantage of making sure my components used Japanese capacitors—the duds were all Chinese as far as I know. There was a lot of talk about industrial espionage being involved, with someone stealing an incomplete formula to start the debacle!
I have a couple, although one is less a catastrophe than noob mistakes.

Sometime in the mid late 2000's I bought a second hand Radeon X1950XTX off Ebay and installed it in the Dell XPS I had at the time. Everything worked fine, for a few weeks. At some point I realized that it wasn't performing in games and when I opened up the case I could see the fan was barely spinning. Obviously I had no idea what I was doing and after a bit of searching online downloaded some sort of fix that forced the card to go to full clockspeeds. At that point the screen threw out some nice pink and green artifacting, and then went black. Funnily enough the card never worked again after that.

The second, more minor one happened when I built my first system from scratch, I put it all together and proudly took pictures. Took a few days to realize that the PSU was upside down. The label should have been a clue. Bonus points for spotting the case fans behind the HDD cage are backwards and the front fans were exhausting as well.

Check out this beaut !

I left the sticky tape that held the heat sink onto fan, on when installing CPU.

It didn't take us long to figure out. That was almost 20 years ago now. I still remember.

Normally get someone to help when making now, hopefully we both don't miss silly things. Last time I missed that we had installed 2 fans in as intakes when they should have been exhausts. Took until I replaced the fans this year, to notice our error. It hadn't really broken anything.
Hi-Diddly-Ho, gamerinos, I'm here with the return of the PCG Weekend Question.
I've never built my own PC as I've always bought custom builds, most recently from Origin, but I'm really happy that you're resurrecting the Weekend Question topic. I love these weekly threads even if they don't relate to any of my personal gaming experiences.
You know how some older case fans came with 2 types of connectors, one that plugged directly into the motherboard and another alternative one that plugs into the power supply?

After I thought I finished connecting everything perfectly, my PC would not power on. The RGB lights were turning on for a few seconds before going out, so it was getting power to it…

turns out I created an infinite power loop where it would send power into my computer and right back out. All because I used both connectors on all of my case fans :ROFLMAO:

Needless to say, using only one of two of those power connectors did the trick and it booted right up.
May 1, 2023
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My brother was getting sheet rock work done in his house.
For some reason his PC would boot and immediately shut down, so he took it apart.
When the carpenters were hanging sheet rock he forgot that he had his PC on in the same room. His CPU heatsink had turned into a solid block of plaster dust and was overheating. After he washed everything ,the PC worked again.