Question PC freezing under low load

Nov 8, 2022
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It all started about 2 years ago when I encountered this issue (short version: PC freezes caused by NZXT CAM, mostly on Ryzen systems). I uninstalled CAM and the issue was gone.
Now since a few months it has come back with a vengeance, often freezing the PC multiple times a day. First the screen freezes, key presses no longer work, audio keeps going for some time then also stops, necessitating a reset. The interesting thing is: PC is fine under load (gaming, stress tests, etc.), the issue mostly comes up during browsing or watching a video in browser (Youtube, Plex).
My specs:
  • CPU: Ryzen 3700x
  • Cooler: NZXT Kraken X62 (controlled by liquidctl since the aforementioned issue with CAM)
  • RAM: 2x G.Skill Trident Z RGB DIMM Kit 16GB ( F4-3200C16D-16GTZR) , 4 sticks in total
  • MB: GIGABYTE X470 AORUS Gaming 7 WIFI
  • GPU: GIGABYTE AORUS GeForce RTX 2080 Xtreme 8G
  • PSU: be quiet! Straight Power 11 Platinum 1000W
  • OS: Windows 10 21H2
Things I tried (issue persisted in all cases):
  • Checking Event Viewer, there is nothing notable going on around the time of the freezes
  • Updating drivers/ BIOS (all on latest version)
  • sfc /scannow, no corrupted files found.
  • Clearing CMOS
  • Disabling AMD Cool and Quiet and Global C-States (found multiple posts of people with similar problems where this was the solution)
  • Disabling XMP
  • Increasing CPU vcore
I also started testing with Prime95 Blend and Furmark, with inconclusive results (all with cnq and c-states still disabled):
  • prime95 blend + furmark -> Prime workers kept crashing ("rounding error ")
  • set dram voltage to 1.4 (xmp set it to 1.35): blend 10 minutes ok without errors, large ffts 10 minutes without errors, freezing still occurs
  • using only memory sticks 1 and 2, XMP on, dram voltage back to 1.35: prime95 blend + furmark 20 minutes ok without errors, freezing still occurs
  • ran Prime95 + Furmark with sticks 3 and 4, Furmark stopped after a few seconds. While trying to restart Furmark, PC was very slow with multiples issues (i.e. Explorer not responding) before freezing up completely.
  • Switching back to sticks 1 and 2, Prime and Furmark ran without issue.
  • Switching back to sticks 3 and 4, and the previous issue could not be replicated, stress testing about 20 minutes and everything looks good. Haven't experienced a freeze yet with only sticks 3 and 4, but probably will, since up until now it always happened eventually, regardless of stress testing.
Out of ideas really, let me know if there's any more info I should provide.
 

Vic 40

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Forgot to click post yesterday ...

When you test with two sticks do you keep kits together? Somehow still after all your testing think it's a ram problem.

Might want to take all sticks out, do a clear cmos, insert one kit that truly belongs together (slots 2+4=A2+B2), go into the bios, set bios to optimal default values and after that enable XMP, test again.

The pc runs power of the wall directly?

Don't know " liquidctl " so don't know how it impacts other software or the pc in general. Guess you tried without it.
 
Nov 8, 2022
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update on the last test, of course it also froze eventually with only sticks 3 and 4.

When you test with two sticks do you keep kits together? Somehow still after all your testing think it's a ram problem.
yup, always. that would mean that both kits contain at least 1 defective stick. not impossible, but cmon, i can't be that unlucky, can i? xD

Might want to take all sticks out, do a clear cmos, insert one kit that truly belongs together (slots 2+4=A2+B2), go into the bios, set bios to optimal default values and after that enable XMP, test again.
i mean i'll try, but i really don't think there's anything wrong with the ram itself. my prime suspect right now is the mainboard, either one of the bios updates messed something up or there's some small hardware issue that only comes up under certain conditions.

The pc runs power of the wall directly?
nope, connector strip, but a pretty decent one with surge protection even. is that really still an issue in the year of our lord 2022?

Don't know " liquidctl " so don't know how it impacts other software or the pc in general. Guess you tried without it.
tbh i'm not even sure at this point. maybe i'll do another clean install on another partition with literally nothing installed except the browser i'm using to watch videos. but honestly, i'm at a point where i'm really tempted to just start throwing money at the problem until it goes away (i.e. replace motherboard, then cpu and if both doesn't help, return and just go back to papa intel, since i found so many issues like this during my research, nearly all of them on ryzen systems)

in any case, thanks for your time, i'll try your suggestions and update with the results.
 

dennisr48

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Nov 16, 2009
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I had a somewhat similar problem. Vexed me for months. I put together a gaming pc. Initially it worked fine but then I experienced hard freezing always under low load, such as watching videos. It never froze during heavy loads? This was a complete hardware freeze that required a hard power reboot. The freeze ups continued randomly about once every 2 or 3 days. I tried every type of troubleshooting software I could run but everything seemed to check out fine. I finally tried a different brand of memory - no effect. Next I tried a different SSD. I got a Samsung 970 model 2T, cloned it and swapped out the Samsung 1T 980 Pro. After that, the freeze ups stopped. In my case, it seemed clear that the cause of the problem was the Samsung 980. Of course, there are other possibilities but your problem seemed close enough that I thought I'd share my experience.
 
Nov 8, 2022
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UPDATE: tried the suggestions, freezes still happen. last one happened when watching youtube in browser (as most times), when the video froze i quickly terminated firefox and the pc, while showing all kinds of bugs and general unresponsiveness, didn't freeze up completely. i was able to mess around for several minutes, during which i discovered that right before the freeze, gpu usage in taskmanger went to 100% (taskmanager also stopped monotoring when the freeze started). instead of restarting or hard resetting, i then logged off, logged back on, and lo and behold, everything was fine again, which to my understanding would point more towards a software issue, would it not?

I had a somewhat similar problem. Vexed me for months. I put together a gaming pc. Initially it worked fine but then I experienced hard freezing always under low load, such as watching videos. It never froze during heavy loads? This was a complete hardware freeze that required a hard power reboot. The freeze ups continued randomly about once every 2 or 3 days. I tried every type of troubleshooting software I could run but everything seemed to check out fine. I finally tried a different brand of memory - no effect. Next I tried a different SSD. I got a Samsung 970 model 2T, cloned it and swapped out the Samsung 1T 980 Pro. After that, the freeze ups stopped. In my case, it seemed clear that the cause of the problem was the Samsung 980. Of course, there are other possibilities but your problem seemed close enough that I thought I'd share my experience.
interesting, my os drive is in fact a 970. i'm currently waiting on a new mainboard (went ahead with the "throwing money at the problem" phase of the plan because <Mod Edit>), but in case that won't solve the problem, this is definitely something i will also try, especially since i have other ssds lying around unused. thanks!
 
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Vic 40

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nope, connector strip, but a pretty decent one with surge protection even. is that really still an issue in the year of our lord 2022?
Back to this one, yeah low quality extensions can give issues.

Might in the end just be something with windows, may be time for a reinstall. Since having other ssd's around do a fresh install on one of those and see if you still have problems.
 

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