Recently I replaced my old nVidia GTX 480 with a new Asus AMD R9 290. Since then, my computer has been randomly locking up (as in, the mouse stops moving and network services stop responding to requests) and I need to press the reset button to get it to work again.

It has never happened while playing a game (like Watch Dogs) or otherwise actively using the computer. But I've left it alone before only to find some hours later that I can no longer access my server, and sure enough it is hard-frozen.

Maybe I dislodged something when installing the video card. Maybe the card is just bad and somehow this freezes the entire system, maybe the PSU isn't rated high enough for the new hardware (this is unlikely because as I said, it doesn't seem to be brought on by high load).

My specs:

  • AMD Phenom II X4 965 3.4GHz
  • Asus M4A78T-E motherboard (4 years old, latest BIOS)
  • 8GB RAM
  • Asus AMD R9 290 4GB
  • 3 hard drives totaling 3.5TB
  • Antec 900 case
  • Corsair VX550 (4 years old)
  • Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

I run a Debian install under Virtualbox

I am not overclocking anything. There is no indication of overheating. Voltages and timings are unchanged. Nothing remotely unusual shows up in the event log and there are no BSODs or odd behaviour except for this.

Any ideas? I'm really at a loss.

Update: This happens under Linux as well, so it can't be drivers or such.


I never did find out the exact cause. I removed the AMD card and put the GTX 480 back in, and it stopped happening. I RMA'd the R9 290 and I installed the new one that they sent me. The problem still occurred. Later on, I upgraded the motherboard and the CPU (to a Gigabyte Z97X-UD3H-BK and an i7 4790, respectively), and after that it didn't seem to happen anymore.

So it seems that replacing the motherboard fixed the problem (could have been the CPU I suppose, but when was the last time you saw a CPU go bad?), but I don't know why that particular graphics card and that motherboard conflicted in a way that caused these symptoms.

  • Could also have been the drivers, unless it was happening in Linux-installed-natively (as opposed to inside Virtualbox). But thanks for updating your question with what ended up working for you! – ChrisInEdmonton Feb 23 '16 at 1:12
  • Yeah, it was happening on native Linux as well as Windows. – Frogging101 Feb 23 '16 at 1:51

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