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My friend is a bit of a dunce when it comes to tech. He was complaining about frame rate issues and we went through a number of attempts to fix it. Turning off anti-aliasing, lower the settings stuff of that nature in the game. I eventually told him to update his graphics card driver.

Two days later his system goes "pop!" when he attempts to boot it up. PSU is smoking and leaking and now were checking his other computer parts to see what survived. Did updating the driver cause his system to die spectacularly or was it just bad luck? I don't know his exact specs as it's a pre-built but here is what I do know:
PSU Apevia ATX-PR600W
GPU Radeon 580
CPU Ryzen 5 3600

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  • 6
    I have never heard of the PSU manufacturer "Apevia". That's almost always a bad sign.
    – Manawyrm
    Oct 8, 2022 at 19:19

2 Answers 2

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Did updating the driver cause his system to die spectacularly

No. That is entirely unlikely (99.5 plus %).

Some other event, some other power surge, coincidence, bad luck will have caused this.

Leaking is likely an electrolytic capacitor gone bad. A PSU does not normally contain a battery that would leak.

Test the components, replace the PSU and any other components needing replacement as the result of the PSU failure and test again for proper operation.

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  • If the power supply was already either at marginal health or seriously underspecified, a driver update changing some initialization behaviour of the hardware could tip the balance catastrophically... Oct 9, 2022 at 12:14
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No, updating the driver did not cause the problem. The PSU just went bad. As you mentioned that it's a pre-built check the warranty. If it's still in warranty send the machine back to the seller and let them fix/replace it.

As an aside, when your friend does get his machine back, here's a list of things to try to fix the graphics issues:

Overheating issues

  • Make sure the PC is clean and free of dust.
  • Make sure the PC is in a well ventilated case. If the fans get noticeably quieter when you open the side-panel, you likely have a problem.
  • Make sure the PC is in an open space with the intakes and outtakes unobstructed.
  • GPU-Z can be a great tool to help you check what the temperature of your card is and what is holding your card back (temp, power limits, voltage).

Driver/Software issues

  • Make sure the BIOS, system, Windows, GPU, etc are all up to date.
  • Make sure the PC doesn't have two different performance managers fighting for control.
  • Check Task Manager so you can find where all the performance is going to.
  • Remove bloatware.
  • Verify your friend hasn't been downloading shady stuff off the web.

Misc

  • Verify that the DisplayPort/HDMI cables are undamaged and plugged into the GPU.
  • Verify that the DisplayPort/HDMI cables are modern enough to support the resolution/framerate you are trying to reach.
  • If you haven't already, get that PC a surge protector. Don't let a $1000 machine be ruined because you weren't willing to shell out $35.
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