Question Razer Replaced the Motherboard - Now It Won't Stop Freezing (Blade Stealth 13 2019)

Aug 16, 2019
Hey all,

First time post here, long time lurker. I decided I need some real brain power for this mystery...

tl;dr - Blade Stealth had the motherboard replaced, is now freezing whenever it's unplugged from the AC adapter.

The long version:

Due to some bad luck with a BIOS update, I bricked my 2019 Razer Blade Stealth and had to send it in for a repair. Razer was great about it--paid for quick shipping, and had it back to me with a new motherboard in under a week. They even fixed a broken key for me and solved an issue with the charging port. I was a happy camper. I booted it up.

The first thing I notice is that it automatically logs into the 'Administrator' account, and then freezes.

Totally unresponsive, caps lock LED won't even toggle when I press it. Whatever, I think. It could be a fluke!

I do a hard shut down and power it back up again. Automatically goes back into Administrator. I figure that they wiped my hard drive and this is now the only account on the laptop, but a quick look at the C: drive shows all of my old user files are still there. Not sure why they didn't set the user accounts back to how they were, but figure it will be an easy fix. I log out, get into my own user account, begin to disable the Administrator account and BAM, it freezes again.

That's was when I realized that I had Throttlestop set to automatically apply a -110mV undervolt on startup. It must be too much for the processor in this new motherboard, I thought. So, after another hard reset, I get into Throttlestop, and begin to undo all of my undervolt settings. With the voltage offsets set back to 0, saved, and Throttlestop turned off, the laptop seems to be stable.

I decide to see what happens when I apply a slightly less aggressive undervolt of -50mV. Then as soon as I press the Apply button, the laptop freezes again. I reboot and try a -5 mV undervolt. It freezes again, immediately.

Aha! So it must have to do with undervolting, I think to myself.

Then I recall from some recent YouTube videos that Razer has been undervolting CPU's by -100mV on their newer laptops straight from the factory. Maybe they already applied an undervolt in the BIOS before shipping this unit back to me. Getting excited now, thinking I'm getting to the bottom of the issue, I completely undo all Throttlestop tweaks, delete its config.ini, uninstall it, and reboot. Everything is set back to default. Just a few moments later, the laptop freezes again. :censored:

Now I'm thinking that maybe Razer undervolted it too aggressively, and it's causing the freezes. So I fire up HWInfo to see if there's a voltage offset on the processor. Turns out there's not! Back to square one.

I continue poking around, trying to pinpoint the issue...

After awhile I realize that the laptop is not freezing when I have it plugged into the AC adapter, but freezes within minutes when I unplug it.

Given the odd undervolting behavior and the fact that the freezing is only occuring on battery, I speculate that it must be some power setting that's throwing things for a loop. So I set the only Windows power profile (Balanced) back to default, I reset all of the power settings in the Intel Integrated Graphics Control Panel, and I peek at Device Manager to make sure that there aren't any missing or corrupted drivers messing things up. I also take a moment to run Windows Update and a memory test. Unfortunately even after tweaking all of these settings and making sure that drivers are working, it still freezes moments after it's unplugged.

Getting desperate now, I decide to take a look at the BIOS. A few more possible clues reveal themselves:
  • The BIOS are the newest version for this laptop (release 1.06, from July 11th, 2019)
  • The EC firmware is not the newest version. Rather than 1.02 (which was released with the new BIOS) I only have the old 1.01
  • Finally, there is no SKU or Serial Number entered into my BIOS. They're both just listed as "N/A"
I open up a chat with Razer Support to see what the hell they have to say about all of this, hoping they'll be able to reassure me with a simple solution.

They recommend using Intel's automated driver updater and installing the new Windows May Update 1903; and if that doesn't solve the problem, they say I should update the BIOS and EC firmware. Intel says all of my drivers are up to date, and the Windows May update isn't available for this model yet, so I go forward with downloading the BIOS and EC updates they send me. Then I get this message from both installers:

The updaters are telling me that my Blade Stealth 13 is not a Blade Stealth 13, and they refuse to install the EC update.

This updater must be checking the BIOS to verify the laptop model. But my BIOS no longer has a SKU or Serial Number. :fou:

At this point I decide I need to take a peek under the hood. Clearly there were some oversights with the repair, and i want to make sure there isn't a RAM stick hanging out of its socket or something. One of the first things I notice is a missing screw on part of the cooling system. Then I see this smashed wire on the battery's power cable, which was pinched underneath the backplate:

Is it a pinched wire bad enough to cause some sort of strange freezing issue? Who knows.

So that's where I'm at right now. Obviously I haven't pinpointed the issue, I've just been taking stabs in the dark. Razer doesn't seem to be helping much, though, and I'm wondering if any of you fine folks can help me diagnose what's causing the freezes, then advise a course of action before I have to resort to shipping the laptop back again.

Thank you so much for your time and help

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While this is a pretty long post, the reply would be this after reading the title: Since Razer replaced the motherboard and issues started there, I would beat up their support email, phone, escalate to 2nd or 3rd tier to get someone that knows what they are doing to help you. If you mess with it, they will say "oh sorry you had an issue but since you did all this, no longer in warranty". Sometimes their fixes are "plop motherboard in, does it turn on? If yes, ship it!" I don't mean just Razer I mean tech support in general.