It turns out that building a motherboard requires the same precision as defusing a bomb – a seemingly small and silly mistake and it all goes up in smoke.
Just ask Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero owners who found their high-end desktop component charred after normal use.
Numerous reports on various social media platforms have emerged over the past few weeks describing how the Asus motherboard would display a BIOS code of 53, indicating a memory initialization failure. Some users smelled smoke billowing from their cards and investigated for a burn mark in the corner, just below the QLED. In most cases, users heard a clicking or clicking sound before the motherboard failed.
“… I got stuck on startup with QCODE 53 and QLED Orange (first time) and noticed a penny-sized burn mark under the bottom right corner of the QLED, almost crisp (top side, a lot soot) and melting the QCODE box a bit ”, someone written on the Asus ROG forums.
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“Then late at night I just surf the web and all of a sudden it turns off again, and this time when I look over there I see a component on the motherboard literally on fire. I quickly turn off the power supply and unplug it from the wall, ”Reddit user TheMaxXHD, who had two failed boards, wrote.
The community of desktop enthusiasts spent a few weeks figuring out what was going on with these new motherboards before Asus stepped in, admit at Tom’s Hardware that the boards are defective because only one capacitor was installed backwards. Here’s what the company had to say:
“In our ongoing investigation, we have preliminarily identified a potential reverse memory capacitor issue in the production process of one of the production lines that can cause debug error code 53, no post or damage. motherboard components. The issue potentially affects units manufactured in 2021 with part number 90MB18E0-MVAAY0 and serial number starting with MA, MB, or MC.
If you have the Asus Z690 Hero motherboard, look at the product packaging and make sure your part is not affected by the manufacturing error. If so, stop using it immediately and wait for Asus to roll out its promised replacement program. Asus is apparently working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPS) to label the replacement program as an official recall; once it’s gone, flaming motherboards can be shipped.
Even if your card does not match these serial numbers, you should proceed with caution as Asus says it is continuing its investigation to see which cards are affected. It might sound silly, but if you don’t know your motherboard’s lot number, check if the “150” printed on the capacitor is right side up or upside down. If it is the latter, contact the Asus support team and request a replacement.
Asus’ statement only confirms what popular YouTuber Buildzoid previously predicted. He identified what was wrong with the motherboard, explaining that the polarity strip on the back-biased capacitor was itself installed backward, causing nearby MOSFETs (transistors) to fry. Effectively, each affected board shares the same problem where two MOSFETs tasked with sending 5V of power to other parts of the motherboard were burnt out by the faulty memory capacitor.
Asus appears to be taking the right steps to remove them from customers’ homes, but such a potentially dangerous mistake calls the company’s quality control into question. We can only hope that the company will take the necessary steps to reassure its vast customer base that its products are safe to use. In the meantime, you should at least avoid the Maximus Z690 Hero.