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mining to gaming rig don't want to fry another radeon 7950 gpu

I'm trying to figure out how to prevent frying another AMD Radeon Sapphire 7950 GPU. I started by building a litecoin mining rig. It had 4 of these GPUs, an ASRock 970 Extreme4 motherboard, an AMD Sempron CPU and a Seasonic SS1250XM PSU. I put them in a plastic milk crate, and had a box fan for cooling. The first time I turned on my mining rig, I heard a slight electrical buzzing noise, the rig shut itself down, and the gpu smelt burnt. I returned the GPU, got another one, plugged it in, and the mining rig ran fine 24/7 for a year. Then when it became unprofitable to mine litecoins anymore, I took apart my mining rig and built a gaming rig. I started by buying a Cooler Master HAF+912 Mid tower case. I repaced the AMD Sempron CPU with an AMD FX-8320 Vishera 3.5GHz CPU. I put only one of the GPU's into the gaming rig. I turned it on. Windows 7 booted up and the 30 second countdown for CGMiner (mining software) started. I clicked the red "X" to prevent the the mining software from running. I was poking around in the windows UI for about 30 seconds when heard an electrical buzzing noise and the power cut itself off. I smelt a burning smell. Took it apart, and could smell the burnt smell coming from the GPU. I never overclocked or undervolted either rig. Rather than just putting one of my 3 remaining GPUs in, and frying those, I'm looking for some advice on next steps that could keep me from burining out more GPUs. Here are some hairbrained theories as to why the GPU decided to fry itself based on what is different between the mining rig environment and the Gaming rig.

Faster CPU: The mining rig had an AMD Sempron CPU and for the Gaming rig, I upgraded the CPU to a AMD FX-8320 Vishera 3.5GHz. I don't understand why this would cause the GPU to fry.
Plugging directly into mboard slot rather than using riser cable: When I first built my mining rig, I only had 3 riser cables, so I had to plug one of the GPU's directly into the mboard. Then one of the GPUs fried. I don't remember if it was the one plugged directly into the mboard or one using the riser cable that fried. But by the time I got a replacement GPU, I had riser cables for all 4 GPUs.
Bad graphics slot on mboard: see above theory. Maybe one of the 5 slots on the mboard is bad, and I just picked it again.
Dust: The mining rig sat next to a dryer. After a year of constant running, all the components were filled with dust. I heavilly blasted both the motherboard and the gpu with compressed air, and huge chunks of dust went flying everywhere. I suppose it's possible that some chunks of dust were wedged somewhere.
Need more airflow: This doesn't make sense, but maybe due to dust, or heavy use as a mining rig it now needed the airflow of being in a milk crate with a box fan blowing on it. The Cooler Master only has 2 case fans.
Wrong mode selected on PSU switch: There's a switch on the Seasonic that says hybrid or normal. I played around with it while building the gaming rig. It was on hybrid when the GPU fried.
Wrong power connection for case fans: Due to wire length I was forced to plug one case fan power plug into the motherboard, and the other was plugged into a power feed coming from the PSU. Maybe one of these was wrong, but all the fans were spinning.
Failing PSU: It's possible that my Seasonic SS1250XM is getting flaky due to the 1 full year of use, but this is the king of all power supplies, so I doubt it. It was also full of dust which I thoroughly blasted clean with compressed air before use.

What can I do to prevent frying the next GPU I try?
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  1. Best answer
    I put in another radeon 7950, in a different slot with the seasonic switched to normal. It works fine now. GPU temp 23-29 normal use 49C when gaming.
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