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ASUS Z690 Hero Boards Were Catching Fire Due To An Allegedly Reversed Capacitor

ASUS Z690 Hero Boards Were Catching Fire Due To An Allegedly Reversed Capacitor

Categories: Technology
Posted: January 04, 2022

ASUS' Z690 Hero boards for high-end Intel Alder Lake CPUs made headlines recently for allegedly catching fire, and this time, someone may have found out the reason why.

ArsTechnica reports that a YouTube channel called Actually Hardcore Overclocking discovered the problem: a backwards-facing capacitor in some boards which caused their owners to notice a burning smell and even a small fire.

This problem, however, seems to only affect select Z690 Hero motherboards and not every single model from ASUS. Fortunately, it would be easy enough to spot the alleged reversed capacitor on the board if you know where to look.


Here is a video from Actually Hardcore Overclocking detailing the spot. Be sure to check from the 1:23 mark onwards:

Now Playing: My thoughts on the ASUS Maximus Z690 Hero failures

As mentioned in the video, the boards which are burning up are likely to not suffer the same problem as others which don't burn up.

The latter are showing the code 53 error, which means that the board isn't detecting any memory installed. However, the components which made some boards burn up are not really connected to the memory, but instead to the boards' power delivery systems.

With the reversed capacitors, the motherboards suffered from current leakage. This leakage leads to heat, and with enough heat, you get burned components. Once the components burn up, only then will the ASUS boards show the code 53 error.

For now, ASUS is initiating a recall for the Z690 Hero boards to help out those who got their boards burned up. And if you're worried that your own motherboard might be in trouble, you are directed to enter the board's serial number into the company's support page to see for yourself.

ASUS Z690 Hero: Design Flaw Couldn't Handle The Power

What basically happened here is that a potentially fatal design flaw could not handle the power being cycled through the board as it attempts to power up the components. The fact that Intel Alder Lake CPUs are quite beastly is only adding up to the equation.

Take note that these Z690 Hero motherboards are intended for the higher-end chips, likely the overclockable i9-12900K and the i5-12600K. With powerful components comes an increased power consumption, and with more power consumption, you get heat.

In a review by Tom's Hardware, it was found that the 12900K coupled with DDR5 memory will already pull 197 watts off the wall on its own. That's not counting all the other components in the system. Compared to the chip's power consumption running DDR4 (172 watts) and the competing Ryzen 9 5950X at its max (148 watts), this is relatively high.

This power consumption rating, however, is pretty normal for a high-end desktop CPU. The only problem here is that a shoddily built motherboard wouldn't be able to handle the current well, hence, the burn-ups.

With this debacle, people will now have to look elsewhere for their DDR5 Intel Alder Lake boards until ASUS fixes the problem.

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