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Question:

What might be the issue in Tim's case, given that he is an avid gamer who spends endless hours on his computer playing the latest World of Warcraft installment? (WoW). During this specific game, he has played for an unbelievable 36 hours straight! He gets a whiff of a burning smell coming from his computer and quickly shuts down.

A burned out hardware
Explaination

Burning smells typically mean the hardware has burned out or that a capacitor has failed. Switch off your machine fully before you can investigate the cause to shield other components of your computer from possible disruption.