I purchased a month ago a motherboard (LGA 1156 - Gigabyte P55A-UD6) at about 328USD.

All worked fine until yesterday, when I saw that I had mounted the CPU fan (Thermaltake Frio - a monster of 1.5kg weight) in the opposite way. I decided to put it in the "normal" position.

When I had to unscrew one screw from the back of the motherboard, the screwdriver slipped and I made a scratch on it. It doesn't seem very deep to me, BUT it hit most traces near the CPU / memory.

The system boots up without any problems on both Windows 7 and Gentoo GNU/Linux.

Worried about the damage, I did a memtest86 test and found 40'000+ errors. I already had problems with memory (one defective module I had to change 1 week ago) and the remaining memory was fine.

So I think I hit the traces from the CPU to the RAM. Tried with only 2 modules instead of 4 but same errors. It's not the memory, it's the damaged motherboard.

The motherboard costed a lot of bucks, I don't know if I should attempt a repair with some solder or leave things as they are now. I remember with the damaged RAM the system would hang or give random segmentation faults.

Should I try to stress it with Prime95 to see the "real" impact of the damage ?


If memtest gave you errors you don't need to do any more testing, you have a problem. If you are 100% sure the problem is your motherboard I would attempt repairs, but it would be very risky because you could damage other stuff in the process. Make sure your solder does not bleed between the exposed tracers (this is going to be hard to do). If it does bleed over, depending on what those tracers are, you could junk your processor and/or memory, or some other component that isn't broken.

If you don't attempt repairs and you are still 100% sure your motherboard is the problem I would just get a new motherboard and chalk the incident up to experience, because your motherboard is junk.

Whatever you do don't keep using it like it is.

  • OK thanks. I switched it off after a few attemps to start windows and there were some things which were not going right (slower than usual, graphics not as well, segmentation faults). After that I immediately switched off. I'll wait my new motherboard before power it up again. – user51166 Oct 3 '10 at 14:23

Well, commiserations. It's the chance we take, and despite care, occasionally accidents happen.

You may as well run Prime65 on it, it won't make anything any worse.

I guess you have to weigh up the pros and cons of your options...

Leave it: No effort, maybe it will work for the stuff you want to do. But who's to say whether it will, or whether it will fail just when you don't want it to.

Attempt to fix it: you may wreck it completely, or you may be able to make it better. If you have the skills, maybe worth a try. I certainly don't so it wouldn't be an option for me.

Suck it up, get a new MB, and chalk it up to experience. Expensive, but without a doubt the most reliable option.

Even a slightly unstable system would drive me crazy, guess how I know that...

Good luck!

  • Yeah I know it could be dangerous to leave it as it is (plus it would damage other components plus randomly get seg faults doesn't very seems interesting to me). The problem is that the motherboard itself it's very expensive (guess why I bought expecially that one - priced 320CHF ~ 328$ according to xe.com: I said this way I'll be fine for at least 3 years [the warranty]). It's true to learn from experience (always put something over the working area) but it would suck a lot to buy exactly the same pricey motherboard ? Any alternatives [in the choice of motherboard I mean] ? Thanks ! – user51166 Oct 3 '10 at 8:42
  • The Gigabyte P55A-UD4 and Gigabyte P55A-UD5 are a bit less pricey (Gigabyte P55A-UD4 is about 210USD and Gigabyte P55A-UD5 is about 290USD). Should I change or better take a new UD6 (328USD) ? – user51166 Oct 3 '10 at 8:56

Try a single ram stick, or the other one, and make sure memtest86 doesn't give you any more grief. If that doesn't work, throw away the mainboard.

  • I must use at least 2 ram sticks AND they have to fit into 2 specific slots of the board. With these 2 sticks I get 40'000+ errors :S. Sticks damaged is unlikely, because I tested them before changing that ***** heatsink and they were good. – user51166 Oct 3 '10 at 11:31

Did you try to use other memory slots? If you're a bit lucky you damaged just some lines to some slots.

I would try memtest with one memory in all slots (at one at a time) and asset which are broken and which are not.

(best to do that with 100% working memory - like tested on other computer)

  • I cannot use other memory slots. They have to fit in #1 and #6 respectively, otherwise the machine doesn't boot. If I put the other sticks in, the memtest doesn't change a lot. – user51166 Oct 3 '10 at 11:33
  • >> just some lines to some slots: not really, I didn't count them, nor taken a photo, but I think I scratched about 10 lines (a scratch of about 6 centimeters) so ... – user51166 Oct 3 '10 at 11:34

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