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If the PCI connector on my GPU snapped off (ex. heavy cooler fell on GPU) while the PC was on, would it be a fire hazard (earthquake worries)?

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DA_McCoy 7 months ago

Hi all! I recently posted in the CPU Cooler section about my concerns. I have a Noctua DH-14 cooler attached to my mobo and I've always been a little concerned with it falling off since I had some initial issues with it wobbling (I reinstalled it and it seems fine now, although the springs on the screws aren't equally taught even though both screws feel equally screwed in and secure).

Since I live in California, I started to become concerned at what would happen if a major earthquake (strong enough to make the cooler snap off/break) hit while the PC was on. From the answers I got in the other topic, it sounds like the mobo wouldn't suddenly burst into flames even if it was damaged.

However, my GPU is directly underneath the 2 pound cooler. While my GPU is connected through the usual case brackets, it seems like they wouldn't be strong enough to keep the card secure if a 2 pound chunk of metal fell on it. My worry then is that the cooler would hit the card, causing it to break off from it's PCI express connector/slot and fall to the ground. That makes me concerned that sparks or even a fire could occur if the card snapped off from the PCI connection.

What do you guys think? Could that scenario potentially create a fire hazard, or would the card break off pretty "cleanly"? I wouldn't care too much about the PC breaking but I don't want it to burn my house down in the middle of an earthquake!


Comments Sorted by:

A5PECT 1 Build 2 points 7 months ago

The PCIe slot holding it will probably break off of the motherboard before anything can happen to the PCIe connector on the card.

It's much more difficult to break a PCB than you seem to believe.

DA_McCoy submitter 1 Build 1 point 7 months ago

Great! Thank you! I remember when researching my cooler issues there some discussions that a heavy cooler like that could possibly damage the mobo if uninstalled incorrectly, so I was concerned, but it's good to know that things will probably be fine. Thanks a lot!

A5PECT 1 Build 2 points 7 months ago

Your research was correct, though. Improper installation of a large heat sink can end up damaging your system. Not as catastrophically as you were thinking, but things can break.

Just make sure you install the cooler properly: read the instruction manual thoroughly, and if you feel you need to, watch installation videos online (there are plenty for that particular cooler). If earthquakes are a concern, put your computer on the floor - under a heavy, sturdy desk if possible. That way the tower should only topple over and receive minimal damage, as opposed to potentially being knocked off of a desk and striking the ground with much more force.

DA_McCoy submitter 1 Build 1 point 7 months ago

Thanks a lot! After I noticed the wobbling I reinstalled it and double checked and everything seems fine. Only thing is the spring on one screw isn't as equally taut as the other, but both screws were firmly screwed in so I'm assuming it's just that the screws aren't being viewed from the same viewing angle. It doesn't wobble at all (sometimes when the system is really working I see it vibrating slightly from the fans, but not nearly to the extant of what it was before.)

As you said, I checked everything and I did exactly what it was supposed to, and it's been 5 months with no issues, so it seems ok!

Thanks a lot!!!!