It’s a smell I don’t notice much when my gaming PC is idle, but after playing a VR game, it is way more pronounced. I always ignored it thinking it was a normal heat smell. The glass side panel would feel warm to the touch. But it is a smell I can’t quite put my finger on, maybe its closer to a burning plastic/dust smell than a chemical smell. My mom has noticed it too. She said it smells like electronics in my room.
Anyway here’s some backstory:
I bought the PC off a high feedback ebay seller back in August 2019. He claimed to have built the PC around Jan 2019 and only used for Xplane 11 simulator. It arrived in a box with a website logo from a company that sells custom made PCs, so it probably was made from them originally. It had the following:
- Thermaltake Smart RGB Pro 750W PSU
- i7 8700 with stock cooler
- 1080 Ti
In October, I replaced my 1080 Ti with a brand new 2080 Ti.
My CPU was very noisy and had temperatures reaching up to 100 degrees under max load, so I replaced the stock cooler in late November, with the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO. During installation, I couldn’t fully tighten one of the screws from the cooler onto the motherboard, it’s about 90 to 95% tightened and that’s because the bottom bolt cap keeps twisting along with the bolt. So I left it as is, since the cooler was on pretty tight already. When it came time to attach the fan onto the cooler grill, the 4 ram sticks were blocking part of it, so I attached the fan to cover about 80% of the grill. The plastic edge of the fan is touching one of the ram sticks. Anyways, after that my CPU never goes above 62C under heavy load and is much quieter. My GPU almost never goes above 75C. Here are the performance stats:
Forward to about a few weeks ago. I was playing a VR game as usual and suddenly my Index headset shut down. Then moments later I heard a grinding metal noise that lasted for a few seconds coming from my PC. I thought oh no! That sounds bad. There was also a critical SteamVR failure message. I took a quick look at my PC components and didn’t see anything amiss. I’ve never had this issue come up again since then.
I don’t know when the smell began as I’ve gotten used to it for quite a while. I decided maybe my PC needs a cleaning, so I open the cover and notice quite a bit of dust on the PSU and the hard drive area. I used an old toothbrush to scrub it off and the dust floated in the air. It seems pretty powdery and I’m not sure if it was really dust. After brushing off my CPU fan, I put my brush thistles inside the cooler grill and was surprised at how much dust/powder vaporized into the air while brushing it. I’m worried there is either a lot of dust or some strange powder inside my PC that has been spread around. My PC has 3 fans in the front, one in the back, and dust filter covers with plenty of openings for air circulation so I don’t think there is any cooling issue. The smell could just be burnt dust.
I don’t want to take all of my PC components out to individually inspect them because it’s a lot of work and there’s just so many cables I’d have to unplug and things to unscrew.