My PC sometimes randomly freezes (for good. restart always needed to use pc again). I don't know how to diagnose the problem.

  • The screen freezes and then you can't do anything. Sometimes it freezes instantly and sometimes there is a lag spike, I can move the mouse very laggy on the screen for about 1-3 seconds and only then completely freezes.
  • If there is any sound playing when the freeze happens the sound also "freezes", by playing one constant sound of what was being played at that point.
  • Sometimes happens three times a day, and sometimes it doesn't happen for 2 weeks.
  • It isn't tied to heavy load on any of the components (CPU, GPU, RAM). Sometimes it happens when I'm playing a game, sometimes when the PC is idle, sometimes when I'm just using the web browser.
  • I recently reinstalled windows on the same machine. Problem persists.
  • It has been happening for a long time now (a year maybe).

PC specs:

  • OS: Windows 10 Educational
  • CPU: Ryzen 5 1500X
  • GPU: AMD R9 270 2GB
  • RAM: 8GB
  • SSD: Samsung 970 EVO 500GB

My biggest suspect is the Samsung drive since it started happening about 3-5 months after I got it (bought a used one). It wasn't over 70% capacity at any point. I got really worried when OS reinstall didn't fix the problem at all. Recently I got a radiator for the drive since the controller got really hot sometimes. I thought that might be the problem but it also didn't change anything.

I'm not expecting to get one clear solution for the problem, but at least some help with diagnosing where the problem might be. And if it is possible to somehow force the crash (freeze) to identify what is at fault here.

  • 1
    Could be faulty RAM, could be your CPU is overheating and throttling. Can you install some monitoring tool (even Speccy would suffice) to check on CPU temperature? – user1019780 Mar 25 '20 at 18:28
  • @Didier The CPU never throttles (always below 60 degrees). I have HWiNFO64 installed and am monitoring the system regularly trying to find the problem. As I mentioned earlier it's not related to any heavy load. The RAM is one of the cheaper ones, but how could I diagnose it? – Eternal Mar 25 '20 at 18:31
  • Several ways to test your RAM, one of them being Windows's own Windows Memory Diagnostic. Press the Windows key on your keyboard and type "mem". WMD should be the first entry you see. Press Enter and let WMD guide you through the process. Your PC will reboot. The test takes some time, depending on how much RAM you've got and how deep you want the testing to go. – user1019780 Mar 25 '20 at 18:37
  • If the sound freeze is the last half second or so playing rapidly in a cycle, I'd suspect failing GPU [not CPU*] or power supply getting 'tired'. Testing PSUs is not a simple job. Getting a pro to test it is probably more expensive than just replacing with a bigger unit… though if it does turn out to be the GPU, you'll end up buying both :\ [*failing CPU would not cycle the sound] – Tetsujin Mar 25 '20 at 18:45
  • @Didier I started WMD, but it took too long. I'll do it later, or leave it overnight. – Eternal Mar 25 '20 at 20:07

My PC stopped crashing after I switched the PCI-e slot the GPU was plugged into.

I used the lower slot for aesthetic reasons, but as it turns out it is an 8x slot, not 16x as I would expect. Does anyone know why this was a cause for the crashes?

  • On some motherboards, some PCI-e 16x slots only offer 8x speed, but are there for format support, the reasoning being that you might want to install two 16x-size peripherals, but only need one to run at full speed. Don't ask. As for why it would freeze or crash your system, well, it's because at times, your activity required 16x speed on graphics, and your GPU could only provide half of what you asked of it, hence the bottleneck, crashes and freezes. – user1019780 Apr 1 '20 at 8:04

I had the same problems and i had also same the GPU. Sometimes happened daily 5 times, sometimes only once / week.

I could test it with using the integrated GPU. Problem stopped immediately, and i sent back the GPU and bought a new (and another) one. But I see you don't have integrated GPU in the Ryzen 1500X. Could you test it with an another GPU maybe?

  • I will probably be upgrading my GPU soom. Will get back with more info in a month maybe – Eternal Apr 1 '20 at 12:24

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