[SOLVED] Windows 10 Freezing on Low-intensity tasks. Possibly my 970 Evo Plus?

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Feb 1, 2021
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TL;DR - Windows 10 freezing (without BSOD) doing low intensity stuff like watching youtube/sending emails. Changed multiple components and multiple windows 10 re installs, problem remains. Possible that it is the Storage drive?

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I'm tearing out my hair at this ongoing problem. This is what happens:
  • Context menus 'freeze' on screen even after I do a selection.
  • Task Manager and any system info / hardware monitoring becomes frozen.
  • If I close any windows they close but become a 'ghost app' in the taskbar.
  • When I try to restart or shutdown, it goes to that white spinning wheel and just keeps spinning. I've left it for as long as 15 minutes. Nothing happens.
(All of the above in action in the below pic circled in red). You can see I've clicked refresh but the option remains frozen on-screen semi transparent. I have to hard reset 3-4 times a day.



When does this happen? Seemingly at random during low-intensity tasks:

  • Browsing reddit on Microsoft Edge
  • Just typing in Microsoft Word
  • Pressing send on email in Outlook
  • During screensaver
  • Using Adobe Acrobat
  • Opening a mp4 video file (the file then got corrupted)
  • Watching twitch (the twitch stream immediately froze)
  • Double clicking the bluetooth icon from tray
  • Installing PCMARK10 to the C drive via Steam.
The most frustrating thing is these issues are not replicable. They are happening multiple times daily now, but not in any obvious pattern.

I almost wish the PC would BSOD so at least we have an error message to work off. Event viewer shows nothing out of ordinary.

Why I suspect it's the NVME drive?
  • Tech guy at the store off-the-record told me he suspected it was my motherboard as too many things were plugged into it and it was entry level (B450 Gigabyte Elite) - I had 2 nvme drives, 1 HDD, NZXT Kraken X62, a PCIE Wifi/Bluetooth Card, NZXT Internal USB Hub.
This weekend I upgraded my PC because I couldn't deal with it anymore. Reinstalled Windows 10 Education from scratch:
  • Changed MOBO: Gigabyte B450 Elite -> Asus B550i ROG STRIX
  • Changed Case: NZXT H500i -> CM NR200
  • Changed PSU: Thermaltake 600W Gold -> Corsair SF750 Platinum
  • Changed RAM: Corsair LPX3200 16GB -> Corsair LPX3200 32GB [Both sets of RAM pass Memtest on my old and updated rigs]
What remained the same:
  • Samsung Evo 970 Pro 512GB - This is my Windows drive.
  • Crucial P1 1TB - Games drive.
  • AMD 2600X with Kraken X62 AIO cooler
  • GPU - Gigabyte 2070 Windforce
Peripherals (I think we can rule them out as I've tried in front panel and back all these and still seeing freezes):
  • KBDFANS DZ68RGB / Keychron K6 (I've tried 4 different cables in all usb slots)
  • MX Master 2 (via bluetooth/dongle), MX Master (also via Bluetooth)
  • Beoplay H7 (both BT and plugged directly into Lineout) / Airpods Pro
Within 2 days the problems came back.

The other reason I suspect the Samsung drive is because the pc has never crashed or frozen when playing games which are all installed on the D drive.

I've done the usual: SFC/scannow, DISM etc.

GPU, Unigine Heaven 4.0 - 60 mins, no crash. OCCT (7.3.0) - gpu 3d and vram test. 60 mins no errors.
OCCT CPU Large data set – 60 min no errors.
OCCT memory test – 60 mins no errors. (Although I might just memtest it overnight to be sure).
OCCT Power test – 60 mins no errors.
 
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I'd first consider testing with a slower XMP profile just to make sure some sort of RAM confusion/corruption is not occurring. (Test with Memtest86 boot USB overnight, if needed)

Does your mainboard have the most recent BIOS? Using latest AGESA/AMD chipset drivers?

Assuming the issues are/might be storage related....there are indeed quite a few complaints of 970 EVOs and PROs getting a little 'whacky', even just on this forum, and, including with Intel chipsets..; they do not seem to have durability/reliability records thus far of the 960 series...

However. ...We don't know for sure just yet something else is not contributing to/causing the hangs.

I'd remove the Samsung intact, and, fresh install the OS and several needed apps to the P1 for testing a few days...if problems are gone, then it seems the Samsung is/was 'whacky'. If problems remain, you might try removing all extra added in hardware/bluetooth stuff, any unneeded USB junk, LED crap, etc... Perhaps contact Samsung about possible RMA?
 
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Reactions: Mandark
Feb 1, 2021
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I'd first consider testing with a slower XMP profile just to make sure some sort of RAM confusion/corruption is not occurring. (Test with Memtest86 boot USB overnight, if needed)

Does your mainboard have the most recent BIOS? Using latest AGESA/AMD chipset drivers?

Assuming the issues are/might be storage related....there are indeed quite a few complaints of 970 EVOs and PROs getting a little 'whacky', even just on this forum, and, including with Intel chipsets..; they do not seem to have durability/reliability records thus far of the 960 series...

However. ...We don't know for sure just yet something else is not contributing to/causing the hangs.

I'd remove the Samsung intact, and, fresh install the OS and several needed apps to the P1 for testing a few days...if problems are gone, then it seems the Samsung is/was 'whacky'. If problems remain, you might try removing all extra added in hardware/bluetooth stuff, any unneeded USB junk, LED crap, etc... Perhaps contact Samsung about possible RMA?
Thanks for the help. No issues with memtest. I've tested the memory in another PC also with no issues.

MOBO has the latest non-beta BIOS and yes, latest chipset drivers.

The main reason I'm suspecting the storage, is because the problems are exactly the same from my previous build. And I only transplanted over 4 components - the samsung drive being one of them.

I will do that right now actually. Move the OS to the P1 and remove the samsung drive.

Just before I posted this reply, the system crashed. Uptime of about 5 hours 45 mins. That's the longest it's been up this week. I will use that as somewhat of a baseline to see how long the OS will stay up on the Crucial.

I don't have any extra stuff to remove unfortunately. I only have my keyboard and mouse plugged in. This build has no RGB/LED. Will report back.

The system is still under warranty at my local shop actually, and I have been in touch with them as well. Their take is the PC passes their synthetic tests, including the Samsung Magician diagnostics - therefore it is not faulty. But they too have suggested I run the system on the Crucial for a bit and see what happens.
 
Passing a 1-2 min self test/performance benchmark is hardly a conclusive test of an SSD, especially one that has a history of OS and/or file corruption, and, especially one where those symptoms seemingly followed the drive, but, since the system is still under warranty, let them decide how long they want to avoid swapping it...I guess. If the problems disappear using another SSD, perhaps that will further motivate them to into considering that problems can obviously be intermittent.
 
Reactions: riziger
Feb 1, 2021
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