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ASUS Z690 Hero boards caught fire due to allegedly inverted capacitor

ASUS Z690 Hero cards for high-end Intel Alder Lake processors recently grabbed the headlines for allegedly catching fire, and this time someone may have discovered the reason.

(Photo: by Mandy Cheng / AFP / GettyImages)
A visitor walks past an ASUS logo at Computex 2012 in Taipei on June 7, 2012. Computex is Asia’s premier computer show.

ArsTechnica reports that a YouTube channel called Really Hardcore Overclocking discovered the problem: a rear-facing capacitor in some cards that made their owners notice a burning smell and even a small fire.

This problem, however, appears to affect only some Z690 Hero motherboards and not all models from ASUS. Fortunately, it would be pretty easy to spot the alleged reverse capacitor on the board if you know where to look.

Here’s an Actually Hardcore Overclocking video detailing the spot. Make sure to check from the 1:23 mark:

As mentioned in the video, planks that burn are likely not to suffer from the same problem as those that don’t.

These display error code 53, which means that the card does not detect any memory installed. However, the components that caused some boards to burn are not really connected to memory, but rather to the board power systems.

With the capacitors reversed, motherboards suffered from current leakage. This leak leads to heat, and with enough heat you get burnt components. After the components are burnt out, only then will ASUS boards show the code 53 error.

For now, ASUS is launching a Z690 Hero card recall to help those who have burned their cards. And if you are concerned that your own motherboard is having issues, you are prompted to enter the card’s serial number on the company’s support page to see for yourself.

Also read: Intel regains AMD’s lost market share with Alder Lake

ASUS Z690 Hero: a design flaw could not handle the power

What essentially happened here was that a potentially fatal design flaw could not handle power cycling through the board as it attempted to power up components. The fact that Intel Alder Lake processors are pretty beastly only adds to the equation.

Intel Alder Lake i5 and i9

(Photo: YouTube – Material from Paul)

Note that these Z690 Hero motherboards are for high end chips, probably the overclockable i9-12900K and i5-12600K. With powerful components, energy consumption increases, and with higher energy consumption, you get heat.

In a Tom’s Hardware review, it was found that the 12900K paired with DDR5 memory would already squeeze 197 watts out of the wall on its own. This is without counting all the other components of the system. Compared to the power consumption of the chip running on DDR4 (172 watts) and the competing Ryzen 9 5950X at its maximum (148 watts), this is relatively high.

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

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

Related article: Intel Alder Lake i3 Chips Are Faster Than AMD Ryzen 3 Series, Latest Leak Says

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Written by RJ Pierce

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