So I think I found the problem, and it is, in fact, my motherboard. Below is a picture of one of several capacitors on my motherboard that appear to be trying to bulge out the top.
Apparently this is called capacitor plague, and it’s not all that uncommon.
This is from the inside of my motherboard (It’s hard to get a good picture of capacitors, so this is the best I can do!):
Note the capacitor in the upper right hand corner, which has puffed up to the point of distending the little X shaped vent on the top, and which is reflecting light rather differently than the other, flatter capacitors in the picture.
These capacitors are from an article on capacitor plague, found here:
The pictures are way too similar for my liking. SSH’s machine has the same motherboard as mine, but his is distinctly lacking in capacitor puffiness.
Fortunately, my computer’s version of capacitor plague did not include exploding capacitors and an electrical fire.
Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure at this point I’m going to be building a new machine. The actual testing apparatus to run current through capacitors and test them is considerably more expensive than a new motherboard, and we don’t own any soldering equipment anyway.
While I still have a laptop that is (barely) functional, I’m out of WoW for the foreseeable future. This will give me the opportunity to work on some plots and fiction, but other than that, it may get sparse around here. I’m not sure how long it will take to assemble the parts for a new rig. You’ll still find me on gTalk and twitter though, as usual.
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