[SOLVED] Losing my mind - black screens, restarts and crashes

Nov 15, 2022
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Hi all,

I’ve been having on and off issues for the past year with my PC. I originally did an entirely new build with the exception of the PSU (EVGA 800W) with the specs of:

I7 -11700k
ASUS Z290-A
32GB Corsair dominator DDR4
ASUS Aorus RTX 3080
Windows 10

A few other bits of info. My pc has a custom loop powered by a small EK pump. About 10 months ago my display kept cutting out and GPU thermals were poor under load. No issues were apparent before this. Apparently this is a known issue with my card where the oil on the thermal pads dry out and in the process of replacing them I added the GPU onto the loop via an additional water block. No issues were experienced for a couple of months then I started to get freezes, crashes, restarts very frequently.

Often when I turn my pc on it will freeze/black screen. This could occur at any point, including before bios screen shows and even as late as when I’m opening apps and getting into whatever I’m meant to be using the pc for. It very nearly always does it upon the first boot of a day. Typically I can get it to work flawlessly with a few restarts, with the issue reoccurring quickly if it’s going to happen.

Additionally occasionally after a random black screen (typically after I’ve gotten to the desktop) I’ll log back in to find I have no internet access. Another restart fixes this.

By default the problem is a black screen, occasionally it’ll straight up restart and sometimes it’ll start stuttering with audio doing the same until it freezes and I have to hard shutdown.

After restarts previously I’ve noticed that games can rarely need to be located manually before I can play them in battle.net.

Very occasionally the pc will boot first try. Loading into games the FPS might be a little bit lower, but with another restart this sorts it out.

When it’s working well, it’s absolutely great. That’s the one thing that keeps me hopefully there’s no massive hardware issue.

I should also mention that I replaced my PSU after suspecting it was a cause of the problem with an EVGA supernova 1000W PSU (and have turned eco mode off after a couple of crashes caused by temp spikes and the feature not working).

All in all, the solutions I’ve attempted are:

Clean install multiple times
Reinstall of gpu drivers (not using ddu though)
Unplugging devices
Gpu and ram reseat
Reconfiguring drives
Using older drivers


Short of a complete pc teardown and purge I feel like I’m at a loss.

I haven’t reset cmos yet, I can’t really access the battery without a bit of a teardown so that’s a last resort. I might reapply thermal paste to cpu and gpu for what it’s worth.

A couple of other ideas I have, the building I’m in has a generally poor infrastructure. Building another pc here I encountered a similar issue with black screen on boot and suspect the electrics are not up to scratch. This could have just been a coincidence though since that resolved itself and may have just been used hardware. I’ve checked the pcie cables and I’m using two to power three ports, should I up this to 3?
The usb I used to install windows is ancient and to be honest is in pretty bad shape. Any chance it’s messed with the windows install? Windows has identified corrupted files which I’ve repaired using command manager.

Honestly looking for any input here, as I’ve said I’m at a loss and just want to get this sorted so I can enjoy using my pc again.

Thanks in advance guys!
 
Oh - you' re using PCIE riser cable.
Those can cause problems, if not PCIE 4.0 compatible.

Try forcing graphics card PCIE slot into PCIE 3.0 operation mode in BIOS.

BTW - what is model name of your motherboard?
ASUS Z290-A - is obviously wrong. Probably Z590-A.
 
Last edited:
Nov 15, 2022
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Can you show a photo of your system with side panel removed?
(upload to imgur.com and post link)

Is your gpu being cooled by liquid loop? What water block are you using for gpu cooling?
Here’s the link:
View: https://imgur.com/a/Zkt2tpX


GPU as per the image is been cooled with a loop. I’m using an EK waterblock (an EK quantum vector2 extreme if I remember correctly). There’s a large reservoir behind the GPU which can’t be seen.

One thing I’ve noticed in the picture is that there is a small pocket of air to the top left of the block. If I remember correctly the memory chips do extend downwards to the right of that. Potentially one or more chips getting too hot?

I’ve had my pc on for the best part of the last day or so doing tests etc and the bubble has increased in size as air has been shifted around my system. Normally it’s much smaller, so never really considered it an issue.
 
Oh - you' re using PCIE riser cable.
Those can cause problems, if not PCIE 4.0 compatible.

Try forcing graphics card PCIE slot into PCIE 3.0 operation mode in BIOS.

BTW - what is model name of your motherboard?
ASUS Z290-A - is obviously wrong. Probably Z590-A.
 
Last edited:
Nov 15, 2022
7
1
15
0
Oh - you' re using PCIE riser cable.
Those can cause problems, if not PCIE 4.0 compatible.

Try forcing graphics card PCIE slot into PCIE 3.0 operation mode in BIOS.

BTW - what is model name of your motherboard?
ASUS Z290-A - is obviously wrong.
you’re absolutely correct, it’s a 3.0 riser. I’ll change the options and let you know if that sorts it out. Would it be worth getting a 4.0 compatible riser? Not too certain if changing bios to 3.0 will reduce bandwidth or affect performance? Is my performance currently being reduced by using this as it stands anyways?

My mistake too, it’s a Z590-A
 

AlbertAZ

Prominent
Oct 5, 2021
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Okay so I’ve tested using 4x passes and got a pass with zero errors. Does that rule out RAM issues do you reckon? I have a spare set of DDR4 16GB I could swap in if needed. Worth a shot?
I would rule out any problems with the ram but it would not hurt to do a swap. It is a longshot but any chance your bios is corrupted?
 
Nov 15, 2022
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A bit down the line I can confirm that the 3.0 riser was causing my issues. Motherboard settings changed to force 3.0 pcie fixed it. Took a little bit to stabilise, but haven’t had any issues in a month now. Thanks to both you guys who tried to help!
 
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