I need your advice.
Build (2 yrs of daily usage):
Antec nsk3480 with stock earthwatt 380 PSU
My PC kept freezing after 3-4 hours of civ 5. Hard shutdown to reboot was the only solution as alt-tab / ctrl-alt-del did not work.
I suspected the weak PSU (it does make some electrical coil noise) and/or dust were the culprits.
Opened the case, removed the dust on and around the CPU & GPU's heatsinks [with vacuum cleaner ( ), I know I did a terrible mistake there].
After cleaning, all was set and plugged right. At boot, in the BIOS where I wanted to change a couple of settings, artifacts started appearing with increasing intensity and then the monitoring went black.
OK: the GPU's heatsink fan (a zalman VF900) was not running (I got over-zealous w/ the vacuum and most probably damaged the fan) and the GPU was super, super hot (could not touch the heatsink for longer then a second)
I have replaced the zalman with the stock MSI one (fan's working), with t-paste and all. And, in the bios, the same happened: artifacts, black screen, high gpu temp on touch... after less then 2 minutes
Is it likely I burned the GPU? It got too hot the first time ( when the fan was not running) and died. Is that even possible, to burn the chip after just 2-3 minutes after a cold boot?
Thanks in advance for your time (and telling me not to use a vacuum cleaner inside a PC!)