The one that catches in your throat and sticks in your sinuses for a day or so.
It started last night, and I immediately put the PC into sleep mode, so it and the monitor power down. The top of the monitor was quite hot, and easy to reach out and touch, so that was the first suspect. I never pay attention to monitor heat though.
I also have a new router, and it's the only piece of kit that's new here, so it too is a suspect. It sits on top/front of the tower.
So I switch off the monitor completely, and power up the PC. And there's that burning smell again. Not the monitor and probably not the router. Power off quick, as the smell is burning metal and plastic now, and it's getting quite thick and worrying.
Open up the case, and unfortunately the mosfets on my mobo are covered with a heatsink (joined to the Northbridge heatsink by a heatpipe). I can't see the mosfets without popping the spring-loaded gromets on both.
Is it the PSU? The mosfets are two inches below the PSU, so I can't tell. OK...assume it's the PSU, pull it and inspect it. No obvious damage, leakage or anything that looks untoward, but it and every other piece of kit in the tower is reeking of the burning smell.
[censored] (it's probably the mosfets)
So given the choices of:
1. Probably the mosfets and any more power to them will blow the mobo and lose the system
2. Probably not the PSU, but it might be, so replace it and see
[censored] Option 2 it is.
Thank God! New PSU and no smell. phew!
So that's an OCZ Stealthxstream 700w been running since March 2009. Probably on 90% of the time, and not in sleep mode or off. So at 3.5 years of say 24/7 times 90%, that maybe amounts to 2-4 times the usage of business or some home users. Can we estimate 7-14 years equivalent?
Also bear in mind that it's a 20% overclock system, I'm not too down-hearted, especially as it's not the mobo. Bought a 750w OCZ today from PC World, or would have to wait until the 3rd or 4th to find out if it was the PSU. I had an old 480w one, but didn't dare.
So that's my little bit of panic/excitement for 2012 over.