I have a 4 core i7 computer that freezes. The display stays, but nothing will ever move again. This question is not about getting help on that particular problem, but a general question about how a computer can freeze.
And it is not about blue screens either. I am talking about a sudden, complete halt of the system. Although one can never be sure, here are what I mean by completly frozen :
- Incator ligths on the keyboard (like caps lock) no longer toggle
- Purpose built software that blinks an icon in the system tray no longer updates
- No input possible (mouse, keyboard and power button) unresponsive
- can't ping or WOL the computer
- Music (read from network or localy stops)
- Bluetooth radio no longer responsive
- Closing and opening the cover has no effect
- Will stay that way for hours and CPU stays somewhat cool (I can't reach it)
Way back when, your signle CPU could halt if it encountered an unexpected situation. Maybe an unknown opcode. The comptuter would suddenly freeze. If you had an ICE debugger attached to it, you could see the trace that led to the frozen CPU. I've seen that (too) often with Z80, 6800 and 8086 CPU.
With multiple cores, why can't the computer run on the remaining cores, if only to write a core dump ? In other words, what other single point of failure are there on a multi-core computer ?