Question Windows 10 BSOD loop, can't boot off USB, even after swapping motherboard

Jun 10, 2022
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A bit of a long winded issue , but I'm really just trying to figure out if I have a faulty CPU or mayyybe GPU at this point.

I bought my PC as a pre-built Lenovo Legion T730-28ICO back in February 2019 and these are the specs I could determine

CPU: Intel Core i7-9700K
RAM: 2 x 16 GB Samsung DDR4-2666 CL19
Storage: 256 GB Toshiba XG5 M.2-2280 (The boot drive) + 2TB Seagate HDD + 1TB HDD (Which I pulled out of my old PC)
PSU: Some dinky 470W unit from LiteOn that I shortly replaced with an EVGA Supernova 650 G+
GPU: RTX 2070 (After some searching online, seems like it's an MSI AERO)
Motherboard: Lenovo motherboard that I can't really find specs for.

Shortly after purchasing I would get crashes (NOT BSOD, just freezes on a black screen and restarts) every now which then promptly went away after I replaced the stock PSU and disabled CPU overclocking through Lenovo Vantage. I did both at once, so I'm going to assume the overclocking was causing the crashes.
I would also get IRQL_NOT_LESS_THAN_OR_EQUAL BSOD's every now and then which was a problem I never quite managed to completely fix, it just kind of stopped on it's own.

Fast forward to about a month ago, and my PC hit a BSOD while watching a Youtube video (FWIW, Pillars of Eternity 2 crashed on me about 2 hours prior, but it wasn't a BSOD, just an error code and the application closed), which turned out to be fatal as it was stuck in a BSOD loop the moment it tried to boot into Windows 10. This problem extended to trying to boot Windows 10 off of a USB, meaning I couldn't even reinstall Windows 10. After troubleshooting for about a week, I figured it was a problem with my motherboard, which I replaced with an ASRock B365M Pro4 as I needed the LGA1151 socket (Honestly surprised I could even find one on Amazon for $150 CAD), replaced the stock cooler with a Noctua NH-U12S Redux, added in a 500GB Samsung 970 Evo Plus M.2 to make use of the second M.2 slot and put it all in a Corsair 4000D Airflow as I wasn't even sure if the Lenovo tower case could support a mATX/ATX board. After swapping all of the components into this new motherboard, I was able to get back into Windows simply by reverting to a 3 week old restore point. After getting into Windows, I still formatted and reinstalled Windows on the 256GB M.2 using the Windows Media Creation Tool since it was new motherboard, but didn't format my two HDD's as they're mostly my Steam Library, recordings, downloads, etc.

The system was working fine after this. I was getting equal 3DMark scores as I was before this whole issue started.
However, about 2 weeks in, the EXACT same problem appeared while I was playing Warhammer 40k: Mechanicus, with almost the exact same BSOD error codes. Yet again, I couldn't even boot Windows off a USB. Even after disconnected all storage drives, it still would not boot off of the USB. I ran Memtest86 and all of the hardware passed... At this point, I'm convinced I'm being haunted or something.
I took my PC to Canada Computers for a diagnostic (it's only 30 CAD, so why not) and as I understand they have their own paid diagnostic tool (I think they said it was Eurosoft or something similar) but as I expected, their diagnostic tool also found no errors. As for the next steps they took:

  1. Replaced my i7-9700K with one of their own i7-9700K's. The same issue, so the tech figured my Windows install was corrupted, but it was only like two weeks old, basically brand new aside from like Steam and Discord.
  2. Replaced my boot 256 GB M.2 with their own windows drive. NO PROBLEMS, it went straight to the desktop, didn't even go to BIOS first.
  3. Popped my CPU back in with their Windows drive, and again, BSOD loop.
So they figured I have a faulty CPU and it likely needs replacing. I mean, the exact same issue reappeared on a new motherboard, but I'm so confused as to why it happened two weeks in.
In retrospect, I maybe should have reinstalled Windows on the new 970 Evo Plus instead of the same 256 GB M.2 it was originally on, but I was so convinced it was the motherboard.
OEM parts may be cheaped out on, but they should at least be relatively stable, right? That's kind of their thing.
Did I just lose the lottery and get a CPU that somehow critically degraded after 3 years?

At this point, I don't even care, I'm willing to get a new i5-12400, an ASUS Prime B660-D4 Plus ATX board, and probably even replace the RAM with Corsair Vengeance PLX 16 GB (2 x GB) DDR4-3600 CL18 Memory. At which point, everything except the GPU and the old storage drives have been replaced.

I have no idea what can even be causing the issue. I'm so paranoid that it could still be something with the RTX 2070, that I'd rather get the 12400 than the 12400F.
What could even be causing the inability to boot Windows, regardless of the media it's on?


Any advice, help, or insight into this issue would honestly just satisfy my curiosity at this point.
 

Nine Layer Nige

Distinguished
I almost TLDR'd your post so skimmed over it.
Have you tried running PC without the GPU for awhile to see if it gets stable as you CPU has internal graphics ?
Have you tried a fresh install of Windows on a different/spare SSD to see if it is stable ?
Have you tried doing a BIOS update on your MOBO as it might be a memory compatibility issue where a later bios might help ?
Have you tried a single stick on RAM in the primary slot only ?
Have you tried a different PSU as dodgy psu's can throw up many different sysmptems

CPU failure is not something that happens almost ever unless you have been toasting it regularly.
 
Jun 10, 2022
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I almost TLDR'd your post so skimmed over it.
Have you tried running PC without the GPU for awhile to see if it gets stable as you CPU has internal graphics ?
Have you tried a fresh install of Windows on a different/spare SSD to see if it is stable ?
Have you tried doing a BIOS update on your MOBO as it might be a memory compatibility issue where a later bios might help ?
Have you tried a single stick on RAM in the primary slot only ?
Have you tried a different PSU as dodgy psu's can throw up many different sysmptems

CPU failure is not something that happens almost ever unless you have been toasting it regularly.
Sadly, Lenovo had the genius idea of disabling the integrated graphics on the processor so no integrated graphics to troubleshoot with actually.
I had the tech try a fresh install of windows with my CPU and it didn't boot, but did with a different 9700K.
I also updated my BIOS to the latest 4.50 and still no good.
Tried running each RAM one at a time in single channel and also no good.
I suppose I can try using the old PSU that I swapped with the EVGA one but I doubt that's what's causing it to fail booting in the first place, but I suppose it could lead to similar issues down the line if it is faulty. I'm just more inclined to believe that I got a dodgy OEM CPU than an EVGA PSU I actually bought myself.

Like I said, with fresh windows and CPU, it boots straight to desktop no problem. So at the moment, the clues seem to point to a faulty CPU but it's still hard to say if the problem will reappear weeks or months down the line again.
 

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