Question Processor core fatal error causing constant system crashes

Nov 18, 2022
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hello, everybody. i was hoping to get some advice because i'm really at the end of my rope here.

i own a pre-built Inspiron 5675 PC that came with a Ryzen 7 1700x processor, a GTX 1060 graphics card, 16Gb RAM memory, and a 07PR60 motherboard with AM4 sockets and X370 chipset. about a year and a half ago i replaced the power supply unit with a 650w one and upgraded the GPU to a RTX 2080 super. i have had no problems whatsoever and everything has always seemed to work as intended.

however, around 6 months ago i started experiencing occasional blue screens and forced reboots whose cause i wasn't able to pinpoint. those system crashes have only grown in frequency across those following months and now seem to occur in a daily basis granted i use the computer for long enough, sometimes i happen to get multiple system crashes in a row. the curious part is that not only has this problem persisted in spite of all the solutions i tried but it also doesn't seem to be connected to any sort of demanding usage that could possibly be stressing or overwhelming the system. it's rare for me to get a crash while gaming or editing a video, in fact, the vast majority of the crashes happen when i am either performing basic tasks on file explorer or searching the internet on a web browser.

here is a list of things i tried to no avail:

rolled back system changes using point of recovery
rolled back driver updates
updated all drivers to latest version
defragmented and optimized drives
performed full virus scan (found nothing)
performed mem86 memory test (found nothing)
checked for physical faults inside the rig (wasn't able to identify anything wrong or out of place but my knowledge is limited)
wiped the PC clean and started from scratch using a USB Windows installation media (my system runs on x64 architecture and has only ever used Windows 10)
updated BIOS firmware version
updated the motherboard chipset drivers

the event viewer shows me all those crashes are a cache hierarchy error being caused by a machine check exception. it's classified as a processor core fatal hardware error. i looked it up and found people saying that this is usually tied to a faulty motherboard or the CPU itself, but i found no way to identify which one might be the culprit. i have been planning to upgrade my CPU for a while since it has proved insufficient to handle many current gen games that are more demanding on this component (open world games most of all). i had hopes of going with a R7 5700X since i've found my motherboard received and update that allows it to support this processor without any major setbacks. however, if the root of my current problem requires me to replace the motherboard, then i was considering moving to an intel CPU. probably an i5 12400F paired with a H610. from what i gathered, that would be the most cost-effective choice (considering the prices in my country) when it comes to purchasing both a new CPU that can keep up with my needs and a new motherboard that supports said hardware. but first i would need to discover the real reason behind those crashes, which is why i'm seeking help online. any comments are appreciated
 
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i own a pre-built Inspiron 5675 PC that came with a Ryzen 7 1700x processor, a GTX 1060 graphics card, 16Gb RAM memory, and a 07PR60 motherboard with AM4 sockets and X370 chipset
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From what I can tell, that motherboard has a very weak VRM even by B350 board standards. It looks to be 4 CPU VCore phases with only two FET's on each phase (meaning only one lo-side FET which receives the heaviest current loading) and no heatsinking on them whatsoever. Typical Dell: barely enough to get it out the door.

I wouldn't consider any CPU upgrades on that motherboard, not even a 5600X much less 8 core 5700X, and especially so given the troubles you're seeing. Strongly suggest to go looking for a motherboard along with the CPU upgrade. Hopefully the case will fit standard mATX motherboards without serious mods needed.

And by the way: Prime95 testing will not isolate a bad CPU if the VRM isn't capable of feeding it stable, clean output voltage. When voltage output from the VRM is unsteady under extremely heavy load (like P95 presents) you'll certainly find the CPU core that's least tolerant making it crash at some point even though it's still perfectly good. With a decent VRM that can deliver clean power under heavy load it won't do that.
 
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Nov 18, 2022
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I wouldn't consider any CPU upgrades on that motherboard, not even a 5600X much less 8 core 5700X, and especially so given the troubles you're seeing. Strongly suggest to go looking for a motherboard along with the CPU upgrade. Hopefully the case will fit standard mATX motherboards without serious mods needed.
thank you for the response. i understand very little about motherboards. would you have any idea what could have caused such issue to pop up now after so many years without any red flags? also, what do you think of my idea about pairing an i5 12400F with a H610? i'm aware the H610 is the weakest recommended moba for this CPU but the price gap between it and the other options is quite significant and based on what i have seen on youtube tech channels it shouldn't have any relevant drawbacks.

additionally, would you say the i5 12400F should be sufficient? after this it's very likely i won't be able to spare the cash for another upgrade for a very good while and i use my PC mostly for gaming. i was aiming for a setup that would allow me to run things like current gen demanding open world games such as the upcoming S.T.A.L.K.E.R 2 at high settings with stable 60fps. thanks for the attention
 
thank you for the response. i understand very little about motherboards. would you have any idea what could have caused such issue to pop up now after so many years without any red flags?
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Well, in view of the fact you've recently upgraded PSU and clean-installed Windows I can only guess why this happened to you. But I'd imagine that the 1700X processor on that board has over-stressed the VRM to the point it's no longer able to deliver stable voltage under some operating conditions. All it takes is one or two capacitors in the output section (they can get EXTREMELY hot when overloaded) to no longer work properly and voltage spikes and dropouts get through to the CPU to make a core crash. Dell is well known for using some low quality components and designs in their consumer-grade prebuilts, so it seems reasonable.

I can't advise you on Intel other than I see no good reason to do business with them if not buying the extreme top-end of their most recent processor line. I do have a reason not to do business with them: I like to reward the company that's done the most to advance technology and performance at consumer pricing levels. Intel was just refreshing old product to keep the price for high performance beyond most people's reach and would still be doing that if Ryzen hadn't clicked. Although, at the extreme high end AMD's kinda poked the pooch, so to speak, so shop Intel when shopping the high end right now...but you can thank AMD for giving you that option.
 
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Nov 18, 2022
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I can't advise you on Intel other than I see no good reason to do business with them if not buying the extreme top-end of their most recent processor line. I do have a reason not to do business with them: I like to reward the company that's done the most to advance technology and performance at consumer pricing levels.
i understand. do you have any alternative in mind that you would personally recommend for my case? also, you mentioned the core crashes are probably tied to capacitors getting overloaded. wouldn't this mean i should be getting crashes during the use of demanding applications? as i said before, those crashes seem to happen almost exclusively when performing basic tasks (internet browser, file explorer stuff) i'm still trying to wrap my head around that.
 
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... wouldn't this mean i should be getting crashes during the use of demanding applications? ...
Actually, not always. The way Ryzen processors work they aggressively boost to max rated clocks from idle in light, bursty workloads (the kind of processing load browsing, or just moving windows around on your desktop, presents). When a core wants to boost to a maximum clock the processor requests a high voltage from the VRM, and then it requests it pull back just as quickly once the processing burst has passed. If the VRM's voltage response is too slow (due to one or more capacitors' degradation) it results in a voltage that's too low at the peak. It's just for a split moment, just enough to make the core crash. So it's the sudden transitions that brings instability not a steady workload. With a heavy, continuous worklod the processor gets hot and doesn't try to boost very high anymore so it's not requesting the high voltage needed to do so. And I'm not confident enough to say it's probably the cause, just a reasonable possibility.

It's pretty hard to recommend without knowing your use case. A good, economical CPU for light useage and yet quite capable for gaming is a Ryzen 5 5600 (6 cores) on a B550 motherboard. For more all-around useage a Ryzen 7 5700X (8 cores) will also give you fairly good processing power if you render videos or something else more demanding. Move up to 5800X for even more capable heavy processing needs, or 5800X3d for one of the best gaming CPU's going. Then there's a 5900X and 5950X for low-end HEDT class processing.
 
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