Asus made a public annoucement on Facebook saying it identified a flaw on the Z690 Maximus Hero motherboard. As Buildzoid suggested, there a reversed capacitor on the PCB causing damage to the board. Asus is now aware of it and preparing a replacement program. The issue potentially affects units manufactured in 2021 with the part number 90MB18E0-MVAAY0 and serial number starting with MA, MB, or MC.
If you are the owner of the board and have any question, we would encourage you to contact the Asus customer support here.
Some users have been showing issues with one of the best Z690 motherboard for Intel 12th gen CPUs. There have been reports on the Asus forums and reddit about the motherboard burning randomly while in use. The two users report burning marks in the same area, under the POST code.
They also both state that the damage rendered the system unable to POST with Qcode 53. From the documentation, the code means there was an error initializing the memory. As of right now, there is not enough information to clarify if the issue is related to the memory VRM or anything else.
What is worth noting is that both reports state the system worked fine before failure. It is very unlikely that parts were faulty from factory or damaged in shipping.
According to Digitaltrends, there are at least 6 different users reporting this kind of problem, which is even more worrying. This could point to a widespread issue and we all know how great fire hazards are. One user on reddit even had 2 boards fail with similar symptoms, each time with burning or fire involved.
To top it all, it is infuriating to see such an expensive board packed with premium features fail like this. We hope to see more details about the failure and proper response from Asus to this issue.
As for now, there is a new bios update for the board (8011) which seem to help with memory stability. It could help reduce the risk of catastrophic failure. If you are in the market for a new Z690 system however, we would recommand looking at other options for now.