I have a system that keeps freezing after multiple attempts to fix it.

What I've done thus far:

  • Reset BIOS by removing CMOS battery for 10 minutes.
  • Fresh install of Windows 7 (twice)
  • Booted into Ubuntu from USB thumbdrive
  • Replaced HDD from Seagate 1TB to WD 1TB

The only other thing I can think of at this point is that it's something with the motherboard, CPU, or combination of both. Or, by some long shot it's the video card causing the display to freeze.

CPU: AMD FX-4300
MB : Biostar TA970
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series (4GB stick)
GPU: MSI AMD Radeon 7770 r7770-PMD1GD5
HD : WD 1TB WDBH2D10HNC-NRSN (brand new)

I'm at a loss at this point. I don't really want to replace the motherboard/cpu but I am starting to think this is going to be my only option. Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated!

update: I swapped out the memory for a stick I had in another system and it ran longer than usual but still froze. I'm going to try flashing the BIOS to see if this will fix it.

update 2: I updated the BIOS and put the original memory and hard drive back in. MemTest86 passed and now I've been running prime95 to test both the CPU and RAM, MSI Kombustor to test the GPU, and SQLIO to test the filesystem. I've been running all of these concurrently for the past hour and so far so good. I've turned on the record feature of AMD System Monitor and will leave all tests besides SQLIO going all night and will be back with another update in the morning.

update 3: I was successfully able to run the system from around 12:30am to 9:30am with prime95 and Kombustor running the entire time. Recording all levels with AMD System Monitor. Looking at the csv dump there are no gaps or any indications of a freeze throughout the night. I'm now running OCCT to test the PSU just to make sure, but it seems like this is going to work. It seems like the BIOS update did the trick.

update 4: (solved) I ran the OCCT GPU DX11 test (testing GPU, CPU, PSU, and RAM) for the past hour and everything seems to be running great from the CPU to the PSU. Out of everything I tried, updating the BIOS seemed to do the trick.

update 5: After having the system run stress tests for the past 11 hours and now running MemTest86+ just to be certain, the CPU is sitting at 30° C so this can definitely out rule any heating issues.

  • How far into the boot sequence does it get? Do you get the initial BIOS screen? Windows loading? Is your RAM just a single stick or do you have multiple sticks?
    – kazoni
    Sep 6 '15 at 4:25
  • I can boot into Windows and into Linux just fine. It's freezing at random times. It will always get past the BIOS screen, occasionally at the loading screen, but usually when trying to navigate the system. As far as the RAM, it is a single stick.
    – bnlucas
    Sep 6 '15 at 4:28
  • 2
    Might try running MemTest86 to rule out memory being the issue (or try to find another stick to swap out temporarily).
    – kazoni
    Sep 6 '15 at 4:31
  • I ran MemTest86 but it actually froze while testing. I'm going to try it again and also see if my other system has compatible memory I can test with.
    – bnlucas
    Sep 6 '15 at 5:00
  • Swapped out the memory and it's still freezing on me. II added an update to the post, I'm going to try flashing the BIOS and after that, admit defeat and order a motherboard and CPU.
    – bnlucas
    Sep 6 '15 at 6:23

Is the system getting very hot before it freezes? On most laptops you can just touch bottom left corner and check. If it's too hot to touch -

  1. disable windows services you don't need (obviously carefully). Change them to manual. In particular Adobe and Google updates. Plus at least a dozen services which automatically start. See if dot net and c++ services can be closed.
  2. Control panel - find processor settings. Reduce it to say 50%.
  3. Check running applications. See which uses max memory. Turn it off if you don't use it. Check which uses max CPU. Think about closing some of them.
  4. If you know what sites you visit, turn off virus scanner.
  5. Turn off bit locker.
  • The system never overheated. It's a tower and I was checking heat levels during each step and the only time it overheated and shut itself down was when it frozen during MemTest86. Since it's not just freezing in Windows, it's freezing in Ubuntu and things like MemTest86 and StressLinux, I know it's on the hardware side.
    – bnlucas
    Sep 6 '15 at 15:50

I have the updates in the question that touch on the resolution, but I wanted to add an answer to this as well along with all the steps taking on resolving.

  1. The system started freezing up on Friday. Thought it was a Windows issue.
    • Booting into Safe-Mode caused the same issues.
    • Was able to run chkdsk.exe and mdsched.exe, no issues reported.
    • Would freeze on Widnow's splash screen, BIOS screen, and in Windows itself.
  2. First thought was to reinstall a fresh copy of Windows 7 Ultimate on the system.
    • Still freezing at this point while trying to install all the drivers.
  3. Another fresh install of Windows 7 Ultimate. Still freezing when installing drivers.
  4. Created USB drive for Ubuntu Desktop 15.04 and booted into this.
    • Ran for about 20-30 minutes but then froze.
    • Ran checks on hard drive, came back fine.
  5. Swapped out hard drive just in case from a 1TB Seagate to a 1TB WD, still freezing.
  6. Swapped out memory, 1 stick of 4GB DDR3-1600 for another 1 stick of 4GB DDR3-1600, still freezing.
  7. Downloaded the latest BIOS from Biostar, 97XAD807.BSS, and updated using the Biostar BIOS Update Utility.
  8. Put the original hard drive and memory back into the system, installed a fresh copy of Windows 7 Ultimate.
  9. Ran all three tests concurrently for 1 hours, still no freezing!
  10. Ran prime95 and Kombustor overnight, from 12:30am to 9:30am and recorded all data from AMD System Monitor. Reviewed the CSV file from the monitor and no indications of freezing at all.
  11. Ran OCCT's GPU DX11 test for 1 hour to check CPU, GPU, RAM, and PSU. No freezing!
    • Ran SQLIO once again during the OCCT test, no issues found.

Wanted to say thanks to kazoni for recommending MemTest86 and Nick Eagle for recommending checking the PSU as well.

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