I helped build my fiancee's computer.

Any graphically intense game will eventually (usually after about 15 to 30 minutes) will crash her computer. And by crash, I mean both of her monitors will go black and not display anything. You can still hear the game sound in the back.

Here comes the strange part. If we hard reset her computer right away, nothing will display on her monitors, not even the BIOS POST or anything like that. We can hear the windows startup sound when Windows loads. Sometimes when we wait a few minutes and hard reset the computer, the monitors will start getting picture again. Other times we have to actually turn the power supply off and on in order for her to get any picture.

She has a R9 390 video card.

Things I've tried:

I have tried stress testing the computer with 3DMark, and it ran the tests for over 2 hours without crashing. (I don't know why games cause crashes yet a stress-test that brings GPU usage to 100% doesn't)

I've checked the temps of the CPU and GPU and they are both within well acceptable levels. (about 40 for the cpu and before a crash the GPU was anywhere from 50 - 60)

Ran a Memtest overnight with no errors

I've uninstalled and reinstalling the graphics drivers.

Games that have crashed her computer so far: Cities skylines, Sims, Skyrim

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    It is possible that the quick reset is not clearing memory. Some BIOS have a setting to securely clear memory. One can actually physically transfer memory to another machine and be able to read contents of it from the previous boot if done right. This might explain the GPU still having issues on a quick reset. For the "black screens but the game still works," I have seen this in relation to "number of frames to render in advance." If you have access to this setting via driver software, try setting it to 1 or 0. – Yorik Dec 28 '16 at 16:51
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    I had a strange issue like this once. I had the same problem where it would only crash, within your same time period, while playing high end games, mostly GTA 5 and Battlefield. After troubleshooting RAM, stress testing my video card, CPU, etc. I could find nothing and could never get it to crash, unless gaming. I eventually just decided to switch my video card into another PCI-e slot. After switching, it never crashed again. After about a month of zero crashes, I put the video card back into the first PCI-e slot. GTA crashed in 15 minutes. So I say, try a new PCI-e slot. See what happens. – DrZoo Dec 28 '16 at 16:58
  • @DrZoo I didn't even think about the PCI slot, I'll give that a try tonight. Thanks! – Austin Dec 28 '16 at 17:00
  • @Yorik I'm not entirely sure if the game is "working", just that the sound is playing. I'll check for the settings and see what I can find. Thank you – Austin Dec 28 '16 at 17:00
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    @DrZoo We switched the PCI slot the card was in last night, and so far she's gone about 4 hours and no crash so far. – Austin Dec 29 '16 at 14:08

The spontaneous crashing during graphically intense applications was caused by a faulty PCI-e slot that the video card was in. Switching the card to a different PCI-e slot solved the crashing issues.

Note: This is a very tricky issue to pinpoint and is best used as a last resort option. You should try other troubleshooting steps mentioned above in the question body and comments first.

If you do encounter a similar problem and a PCI-e slot is your culprit, be sure to RMA your motherboard if it is still under warranty.

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