[CLOSED] Share your PC Building Horror Story and enter to win a 3070 Graphics Card!

edited February 2021 in Past Contests

Ever had a water-cooling system break in your PC? A graphics card catch fire? Did you touch all the CPU pins? Or maybe you just used the wrong RAM? Well, this contest is for you!

Starting today, January 11th, we want to hear your PC disaster stories. Tell us all about your cracked cases and DOA graphics cards, your bad RAM and failed PSUs. Then, when the entry window closes on January 31st, 11:59 PM EST, we’ll be randomly selecting one entry to win a brand new 3070 graphics card!

And be sure to check out the Micro Center Asks section of our forum for more light-hearted PC discussions, as well as our Service Center for assistance with builds, including build repairs and full-build services.

Winners will be contacted the week after the contest ends.

 How to enter (see terms and conditions for full contest rules):

·         Join the Micro Center community

·         Post a comment below describing your most disastrous PC building experiences

 We can't wait to hear from you!

Good luck!

See attached contest terms and conditions.

Contest submission window: 1/11/21 – 1/31/21

1 winner will receive a 3070 Graphics Card.



  • JeffP
    Several years ago I was building a computer for a friend. Installed all of the hardware without an issue. We left to grab some food to bring back and when we returned we found that his dog had decided to urinate on the interior. Fortunately nothing was permanently harmed though cleaning it was less than fun. That was the last time I left a computer, with an open case, on the floor.
  • haussie1
    Over the summer I was unloading lawn bags at the local dump with my dad. My dad who was there a week earlier found an older receiver that someone had just thrown away my dad an audiophile noticed the brand and how it looked barely used picked it up. It turned out he was luckier than me as when I was there I noticed a prebuilt pc that looked barely used. After taking it home and using a power cord I had I plugged it in a light came on so I hit the power button but as I did the CPU fan did not turn on. Seeing this I tried to turn the system off and as I did a capacitor short-circuited or something blowing it up this fried every component and caused the cheap graphics card that was in the system to catch on fire. I only kept the DVD drive so I could harvest the laser diodes. Needless to say, don't pick up random pcs out of the dump only the pc, and my ego was damaged.
  • Cold71
    I once was watching a TV show on my computer and knocked an entire glass of orange soda over and pretty much every last oz poured in to the top of my case. The case was the type that has triple 120mm fans in the top, so needless to say it just poured right in there perfectly. I powered it off as quickly as I could and started ripped every last component out as quickly as I could while making noises that varied between a dying raccoon and anger. I spent the next day at Micro Center buying new parts for what couldn't be salvaged. The build itself went fairly smooth, and to this day I keep my PC under my desk instead of on the side. A hard lesson to learn...
  • I was building my first PC with my high school friend back in 2001. This was around the time where older CPU's didn't need thermal paste, but the newer CPU's required them. Well, we decided that it was not needed for my build...and we didn't have any on hand. Needless to say that this was the wrong decision. CPU lasted about 2 seconds before it was zapped. Costly mistake, and lesson learned.
  • bricepoi3
    I was building my pc it was a super nice 650 dollar build but, then when i went to update bios by usb drive i took it out way to earlier i was so scared and then about 20 search results later I was able to fix
  • Never dropped a glass panel, or knowingly shorted out anything, but I've definitely had that moment, after carefully building my rig & plugging it in, that it wouldn't turn on, spent half an hour stressing over everything, only to have it work on the next (5th) try! Haven't built anything in a minute because parts cost money & Covid decimated my earnings this past year, but this card would be a sweet place to start a new box
  • jhaluska
    In my early 20s, I killed a CPU, and two motherboard/CPU combinations with a Vapochill system.  I realized that while my spirit was willing, my wallet was too weak to go that extreme.
  • G_RED
    My first PC that I built myself nearly gave me a heart attack. When I was about to put my cpu in the motherboard, my clumsy fingers bent a few pins on the motherboard while opening the latch, so rather than having to buy a new mobo, I opted to try and fix it myself.  So I bought some magnifier goggles, and an ifixit kit, and with my shaky hands, I tried my best to straighten the pins as best I could, it took a while as I was very nervous, but thankfully I managed to fix it enough for the cpu to fit, and have been using it for a couple years now. Hopefully I never have to do that again.
  • JosephG
    One time I was building my pc. I put my cpu then cpu fan then ram etc.. Then I got to the power supply, one of the thick cables got stuck in the case and wouldn’t come out. So I had to force it out and it bent a pin. Turns out, that pin was not needed for anything.
  • So I got into PC building because I loved playing on my uncle's computer at his house, so he gave me some 5 year old parts at the start of quarantine to build my own (RAM, CPU, and Motherboard) and I bought some budget parts for the rest of the build with some leftover money. Fast forward to December I had saved up about 1,000 dollars from working every weekend about 7 hours each day, to do a massive upgrade for my computer as those starter parts were barely able to run any games I played. I went to my local Microcenter for the first time after doing hours for research to get these parts and it was an amazing experience, I got a new CPU, motherboard, RAM, and headphones, and a GPU. I went home with my boxes disassembled my PC and began to upgrade and mid-build my parents called me to do something. This is where it gets bad, my little brother had been hovering around watching, and I told him not to touch anything when I left to help my parents. I came back and he had opened my CPU up and had destroyed the pins on the bottom because he was playing with it as well as spilled milk all over my motherboard after leaving his cup on the desk, I kid you not I yelled so loud in desperation to save my parts my friends who lived next door could hear. Luckily my parents saw what happened and let me go back a little while later after saving up so more money to buy new parts, and this time I made sure my brother was on the other side of the house when I built to avoid burning another hole in my pocket. 
  • Anthnyb
    Last year I did some major upgrades to my PC to prepare for the RTX 30 series launch, which included an i5-10600k and my first AIO. Initially bought some Deepcool AIO but soon replaced it with the new EK-AIO. I was very paranoid about leaks and every time I heard bubbles displacing inside the cooler it'd scare the hell out of me. About a month later I turned my PC on and left it idling while I left the room to do something, I come back a few minutes later to all my fans going at 100% and CPU temps at 100c, after trying to troubleshoot for a couple of minutes I opened my PC and found that my worst fear had come true. The AIO had started leaking and there was water on my mobo and some even got underneath the CPU socket. When letting my pc dry for the next 2 days I was terrified that almost $500 in new parts had gotten severely damaged by the leak. Everything still worked in the end but it was by far the worst and most scary experience I had in my short history of building PCs.
  • RyuGTX
    When connecting the wi-fi antenna cable to the wi-fi module on my ASUS Z97I-Plus motherboard, I think I either applied too much pressure to try to snap it in place and/or did it at a slightly incorrect angle. This resulted in chipping off a piece of the connector on the motherboard wi-fi module, so I can no longer connect one of the antenna cables. Wi-fi still works, but only with one cable connected. 
  • Kenlos
    My horror story is from about 10 years ago, when I was young, reckless, and generally had a pretty low attention to detail. Anyway, I was working on one of my first builds which involved a 2500K. Man, I loved that quad core.  Anyway, I was putting everything together, assuming that I new everything there was to know about building pc's, and pretty much totally botched mounting my Hyper-212 cooler onto the cpu. Of course, at the time I did not realize this.  

    I go in to boot up my pc for the first time, and notice that it turns on for about 2 seconds and then shuts off. "Weird!" I say to myself, and then go on to try turning it on another ten times before even thinking to visually inspect the set up. Finally, I decide to take a look and notice there is about a centimeter of space in between my cooler and the cpu.  A whole centimeter! I'm still surprised that it would even turn on for 2 seconds.  

    In the end, I had to replace the cpu, but the mobo and everything else was fine.  Several hundred dollar lesson learned - don't rush it!
  • Peatun
    Not so much as a horror build... well I guess it could have been if the furry little guy stuck it's head in the fan.
    Years ago a coworker brought me their home PC to fix as it was over heating and they didn't know enough to open up the case and clean it out. I threw it on our workbench in the office and started to crack it open. When I got inside I found a big nest sitting right on top of the motherboard. Her kids pet hamster liked to escape, it would always come back but they had no idea where it would hide... I found out for them. The hamster's nest was made out of fluff I can only guess came from the stuffing of some toy or bedding in their house but it was jammed in there full of little hamster turds and was jamming up the GFX card's fan causing the heat issues. Took a while to clean that up, but I'm glad there were not hamster parts in the case fans.
  • AlexKM33
    I bought a brand new monitor from Micro Center, and then a week later the DisplayPort on my GPU went out. I thought my brand new monitor had died!
  • Ana
    First Comment
    edited January 2021
    My horror story isn't finished. :'(   My son has a December 20th birthday and I didn't ever want to blend birthday and Christmas into one gift. But.. now he is a teenager and has been studying PC parts and dreaming of a gaming PC. So, we got him a gaming monitor for his birthday (good for XBox too).  We decided to get him a PC, part by part, for Christmas. I got some good deals at MicroCenter before Black Friday and got a Ryzen 7 3800 CPU and an x570 motherboard. I didn't know that video cards are nearly impossible to get. Aunts and uncles chipped in and bought a case and RAM.  It eventuallywill be a great gift for a super excited teen. But, we can't get a video card and here we are a few weeks after Christmas and he hasn't really gotten a complete gift. We just have PC parts sitting in the corner. I've made a few two hour round trips to Micro Center but haven't been lucky enough to land a decent video card.  We have jobs and can't camp out at the store. Knowing that MSRP is in the 400's I can't  pay $800 from 3rd party pirates. Help a kid out!
  • JJdro
    A couple years after building my first computer I was ready to upgrade my gtx 660 with a gtx 1060.  I was so excited to start gaming at 60fps as my computer had been struggling with anything beyond csgo or starcraft II.  Unfortunately my zotac 1060 mini had a capacitor that was part of the capacitor plague from the mid 2010s.  The first time I booted up my new computer I heard a loud bang and the tiniest puff of magic smoke escape my case.  Luckily the only thing dead was my 1060 so I wasn't out of commission and Zotac was good with a quick RMA.  

    Bon Chance.
  • Hohlraum
    In the early 90s when I was in college I called up a vendor to do some troubleshooting. I had bought several components from them and something was preventing post so I needed to figure out what part was bad.  I had to wait on hold for almost an hour and missed class.  I finally got them on the phone and they had me pulling various components and I sliced my finger open on the side of the case.  So I'm standing there holding the phone to my ear with my chin and pulling parts all while trying to stem the blood flow from this cut that was bleeding like the bajesus.  We figured out it was some memory incompatibility so I had to send it back.  They never said anything about the blood all over the sticks though :smile: :blush: 

  • Aflak
    I woke up on a late Saturday ready to use my brand new computer. But before that I thought I should have some breakfast. While enjoying the amazing meal I made myself my brother yells my name and tells me to hurry downstairs. When I went downstairs I found my computer which was next to a open window taking a shower. I immediately closed the window and grabbed a rag to save whatever I could. I waited a week for everything to dry. Finally turned it on and everything was alright. I’m very lucky that I have a Rx 590 with a backplate. My r7 2700x stock cooler also blocked some of the water from hitting my motherboard and gpu. And even if something got damaged Microcenter had me covered since I got a warranty. 
  • LB3
    LB3 ✭✭
    5 Likes First Answer First Comment Name Dropper
    Circa 2010, when Zalman coolers were still a legitimate option, I was building an office system for my mother-in-law. At the time, the AMD FX-series with more "cores" beat Intel in multitasking due to core and thread counts. I picked out a Zalman cooler with a bazillion copper fins arched around the fan. With this design you must hold the cooler by the fins to mount and install the cooler.

    To my surprise these thin, metal fins are very, very sharp and cause tiny lacerations when skin comes into contact with them. By the 2nd time I mounted the cooler my knuckles looked like I had been punching broken glass. To this day there is blood, my blood, on some of the fins in this PC build. Blood, sweat and tears - 1 out of 3 ain't bad.
  • keela
    I built a system with an RX 480 8GB that I wanted to vertical mount. I flashed the RX 580 bios on the RX 480 and vertical mounted the card. My GPU riser cable burnt out and took the card with it.
    The PCI-e slot on the motherboard survived though.
  • AdamL
    Back in 2018, I had a computer and it was running perfectly. I went to start up PUBG to play with some friends, and all within what seemed like days happened in seconds. I heard a loud POP and saw a big blue spark come out from underneath my PC. Everything shut down immediately, and I reacted quickly and unplugged my PC from the surge protector. I took a minute to collect myself as I had never had a PSU fail on me, and a I opened up the side panel to check it out further. I was hit with a strong smell of burning electronics, and tried to stay calm. I inspected each component one at a time, every wire pointing out obvious failures. Now, to this day I'm not sure what exactly caused it, but 8 of the 24 pins on my motherboard power cable were toasted and a little melted about 2cm from the connector. The pins on the RAM were also a little, well ... black. After totaling everything up, I had toasted a power supply, motherboard, and RAM. Somehow the CPU was unaffected, and the GPU was perfectly fine. Both hard drives and NVMe were fine as well. I won't say what brand the PSU was because I stand by that it was not their fault, and I'm not mad about it either. It gave me a reason to visit my local microcenter and get some upgrades :D tl;dr - Turn your PC off when you're not using it lol
  • Leobardo
    I built my first 2 PCs in 2020 1st build was a i7 10700 2070s 32gb ram 1tb SSD(Which I ultimately gave to my little brother as he wanted to stream lol and his build wasn't cutting it so as somewhat of a bday present I gave it to him), 2nd was my current 3700x 580 32gb 1tb SSD. Both came with their fair shares of problems in all honestly. The Intel build GPU didn't wanna run, it randomly crashed on me and a few times him and the CPU was locked at 2.9ghz even after turbo in all honesty completely forgot how I got it to actually activate the turbo. But now my current modest build doesn't appreciate it being overclocked as the 2x I've tried it just turns up my RPMs and completely reboots into safe mode. Also a bit more fun with it is if I accidentally tap the pc itself too hard it completely turns off no idea if something is not properly plugged or what not but that's my most recent problem so I completely avoid touching it if possible.
  • Tanoris
    Built my first PC back in 2007, was really stoked to finally have a good PC For World of Warcraft to play with some buddies.
    Like many noobs, I wanted to take the existing lame GPU out and put it my new exciting one. Little did I know there was a notch/lever you needed to push out in order to remove the card. I kept tugging and tugging and thought, what the heck, let me force it. BOOM out comes the MOBO the Card itself broken in half and screws and some of my case with it. Had to save up for a longer time and didn't even get to play by summer.

    Moral of the story: Don't force anything when building, you'll probably break it.
    So here I was, on an i3-4170 and a 750 ti, for long, very long. Struggled to run a lot of stuff, and didn't have the money to upgrade. My friend comes and surprises me with ''I wanna help you upgrade!'', he's sending a 4690 and a 1060(which is my current setup) I get extremely happy, start watching vids of how many FPS would I get and stuff, I was so overwhelmed because there was no way of me upgrading on my own. The day comes, everything arrives safely, i'm so anxious and nervous, there's a visit in the house too so was a bit stressed since I wanted to build and these people would not leave. I say, whatever, lets build, I get to it, switch cpus and such, plug everything. It's not posting. ''Oh no, oh no no no'' I watch many vids, I try many things. Nothing works. Last thing i check online has a particular phrase, ''you could've bent the pins on the mobo'' I inmediately go ''that was it wasn't it...'' and well, that's the story of how I bent the stupid pins on that old mobo the very same day the parts arrived because I didn't know you weren't supposed to push hard and it took another 3 months for a new mobo. I took the system apart and yes, most pins were bent, like 80%, that thing was super dead. lol.
  • Shupinna
    I was using a AMD Phenom ll 965 Black Edition with ay GTX 760 and was doing me good for almost 8+ years. Over the years I was upgrading the pieces bit by bit, want to eventually upgrade the platform once I had all the other parts I needed. I was satisfied with moving on and was about to upgrade platforms. About 3 days before going into the store to buy a new platform (Z390 + an i7 8700k), my PSU died and took everything with it...I was really depressed and still haven't fully recovered a new PC but slowly and patiently waiting. The biggest lost is coincidentally the GPU which I just bought as the last upgrade (a gtx 1060). Here's to hoping I could receive a nice 2021 present to help push my new build out. Good luck to everyone else! 
  • ceustice1
    A couple years ago I was building in a LianLi. Case with a glass side panel, and well dropped it... then the motherboard fell off the case
  • STPDSaucePan
    So I ordered a corsair obsidian 1000d from Corsair to do a build had all the fans and everything the day comes and the computer case arrives with the front panel shattered Corsair tried to send me a new one but unfortunately it was out of stock and I wound up with at the time useless in store credit because they didn’t have the 1000d in stock anymore they also told me to not open it up as it might be dangerous with all the shattered tempered glass. I tried to salvage the case and remove the broken glass but they haven’t had the front panel for this case in stock the last few times I checked so it just sits in its box now
  • Staznak
    My story is actually how I got into building computers.

    in 2014-2015ish I bought an AMD FX 4350 build someone was selling on Amazon and they did not secure the hard drive and so it bounced around freely inside the case while it was shipped and ripped out one SATA port on the MB.  (I tried to return it and the replacement had literally the same issue/thing happen to it).  I kept one, used a different SATA port added a GPU and it was ok.

    In 2018 I was working from home and the computer kept randomly shutting down (I am pretty sure I was over drawing the 450w PSU with too many usb connections and a GPU).  I picked up up a 600W power supply and then wanted to upgrade my GPU (picked up a RX 580) and then experienced bottlenecking and was so frustrated I decided to learn what I am doing.  

    It hardly a horror story...but it so frustrating when the computer seems fine one minute and then plugging in a usb = nap time.  

    While I would be very happy to have that GPU, I just hope it find a good home where it will be loved and not scalped.  

  • TJEmmYHD
    First Comment
    edited January 2021
    This was back in 2013, and my very first custom build. I ended up going a bit overboard and decided to go with TRI Crossfire with 3x 7970's to power three 27-inch ASUS 2560x1440 IPS panel monitors I had synced together for a whopping resolution of 7680x1440 back in 2013 yea. It was cutting edge, maybe a little bit too cutting edge.  AMD was not known for power efficiency, and I researched what power supply could manage such a giant task. After some research on possibly running dual power supplies, someone mentioned a company named LEPA that offered a 1600 Watt gold-certified power supply.

    Finally, I was going to achieve my build, so I, along with my brother, started to put my rig together. Everything went smoothly. We were gitty with excitement to be able to test this monster finally. When finally the time came for us to turn on the power switch with a flip of the switch computer turned on when suddenly a large POP could be heard, and smoke started rising from the back of the power supply. I swear my heart stopped for a good 10 seconds. I nervously laughed at how outrageous the moment was. And I just turned a pale white this 3000-4000 rig probably died on me; I was in shock. My brother finally snapped me out of it to check the remaining components. Luckily, they all still worked.  Naturally, I left a nasty review on Amazon in regards to the power supply. Many others suffered similar fates even with my warning; I think it's currently unavailable and ended its streak at 3/5 stars, many of which I assume were fake reviews' worst power supply ever. 

    With that out of the way, I continued. I ordered a modular 1250 Corsair power supply and used my old 600 watts as well, and ended up running two PSU's. The rig worked, and I was actually able to witness that insane 7680X1440 resolution, but obviously, hardly any games actually supported it. One of the best ones was Bioshock Infinite. It ran at a steady 60 FPS and was gorgeous. I think Operation Flashpoint Dragon rising also ran ok, but after a while, I ended up breaking apart the build and selling everything off. I never lost too much money. It's when bitcoin mining took off, and cards were in High demand, kind of like now. I guess in some ways. The times haven't changed at all. 

    When building your first rig, it's probably a good idea if you can have some help around. I'm pretty sure if my brother didn't unplug that thing, it would have caught fire in seconds. I was just too shocked even to react. 

    1. LEPA G Series1600W 80+ Gold Certified Full Modular ATX12V/EPS12V Power Supply SLI and CrossFire Ready 180mm 
    2. Also, f anyone wants to research some other horror stories people had with this trash heap of a power supply. I tried to warn them I was one of the first reviewers of it. 

    Above is an old pic of the triple monitor set up was cool back then when it worked. 
This discussion has been closed.
We love seeing what our customers build

Submit photos and a description of your PC to our build showcase

Submit Now
Looking for a little inspiration?

See other custom PC builds and get some ideas for what can be done

View Build Showcase


If You Can Dream it, We Can Build it.

Services starting at $149.99