Question troubleshooting gtx 770 pcie connection


Oct 19, 2016
hi all,

i've been having some odd intermittent behavior from my rig and i'm trying to track it down. any help greatly appreciated. here are my specs:

  • MOBO: Gigabyte GA-Z87-HD3
  • CPU: i7 4770K 3.5 (liquid cooling)
  • RAM: 4x Corsair LP 8GB DDR4(?)
  • PSU: thermaltake toughpower 750 (brand new)
  • 2x spinning drives, 2x SSDs (system / application drive is brand new)
  • GPU: GTX 770
i'm experiencing a specific type of crash, so far only during gaming. this consists of a screen freeze with immediate loss of peripherals; the USB eject sound follows shortly thereafter. the system keeps running, seemingly unaffected. no interaction is possible though, and i have to hard reset. i suspect the GPU, but mobo also seems a possibility.

  • temps are normal, both of CPU and GPU -- mid to high 60s, right up to the crash
  • the GPU is sometimes not recognized by device manager when i boot up. i suspect a "sudden eject" of the PCIE connection may be the immediate cause of the crash, because i kept open hardware monitor running after the last crash and the logs continue to record--with the GPU jumping from 60 degrees to 0 (i.e. no readout)
  • i have not experienced this crash with integrated GPU -- though i also don't use it to game
  • perhaps the USB disconnect sound? is it possible this is all caused by a bad USB port or peripheral?
  • event viewer only gives a kernel-power error 41, which is probably caused by my forced restart
things i have tried:
  • replacing PSU (this was also defective -- fan only -- but doesn't seem to have caused the issue)
  • resetting CMOS
  • DDU of nvidia drivers with a clean install
  • removing overclock on CPU and testing with prime95 small fft
  • opening, cleaning, redoing thermal paste, and reseating GPU
  • cleaning the PCIE slot with compressed air
there is a second PCIE slot (2.0), but i'm not sure if using it will help me know if the problem is in the mobo or the card. i do not have another GPU handy to switch out, at least not without buying one. i haven't tested the SSD yet, but it's a brand new samsung, so it seems unlikely.

appreciate your help!