Apologies for the long post...I believe it is worth it to give you all the investigation that I have done yet.
I am seeking for some help and advices regarding an issue that has been going for some time with my computer. I can't pinpoint at what point in time exactly, but for weeks my computer has been freezing randomly. It started many weeks ago at which point the computer would completely freeze and be non-responsive. Any input peripherals stop working, everything on my G13 LCD freezes and my Dell monitor displays the latest image. The only way that I can recover from this is doing a hard reset or hard shutdown. There is no BSOD or automatic reboot, it just freezes. Even though my computer is set to dump a memory dump, it doesn't do that. It justs freezes. This happens randomly, wether I am browsing using Chrome, doing some file copy or even doing my taxes. There is no pattern. I can be browsing in Feedly, on Google or Youtube. It might freezes. Weirdly, I did not have any issue while gaming. I game about 8-10 hours/week and never it has freeze (yet) in a game. The issue started slowly at the rate of freezing once per week, but for the past weeks it is now many times per day and becoming very annoying.
I have a fair bit of knowledge in support and hardware, so I have done some troubleshooting :
I own an Intel i5 Haswell 4570. The CPU is not overclocked and is cooled by a Coolermaster Evo 212 heatsink + Noctua NF-F12 fan. I also own AIDA64 Extreme so I did multiple system stability tests by selecting the CPU, FPU and CPU cache. It has never froze while doing this test. While gaming, my CPU is around 35-50% and never froze. When the computer freezes, I can see some stats on my G13 LCD, including my CPU usage. It is usually very low (below 5%) when it freezes. The CPU temperatures never go over 44C while stressing. Therefore, I don't think the CPU is the issue.
I own 4x4GB sticks of DDR3 (GSkill 1600MHZ 7-8-8-24 2T). One pair is 2 years old while the other one is about 1 year old. It is the same SKU. I know which one is which using their serial number. I tested all sticks at the same time using Memtest86+ for 19 hours and no issues. I also tested all the sticks with Memtest86 for 2 hours, which is around 2 passes and no issues. I played around with the sticks to see if it was a faulty stick :
Newest pair in DIMM1 and DIMM2 (dual channel). Still freezing in Windows.
Oldest pair in DIMM1 and DIMM2 (dual channel). Still freezing in Windows.
Oldest pair in DIMM3 and DIMM4 (dual channel). Still freezing in Windows.
I also did a memory stress test in AIDA64 using all sticks at the same time. It crashed once, the very first time I did it. I've been trying multiple time since to make it crash again in AIDA64, but no luck. It might have only been a coincidence. Still not ruling out the RAM however...RAM is very tricky to troubleshoot to my knowledge. During all the stress test in AIDA64, the voltage of the RAM was a steady 1.5V.
When my compute freezes, I can see the RAM usage on my G13 LCD as well. It is not an overflow. Because it usually freezes when I'm in Windows or Chrome, my memory usage is well below 40% most of the time. Only when doing stress tests that the memory usage goes to the roof and I have yet to make it crash again.
I own a 256GB Samsung 850 Pro and a WD 1TB Blue hdd. The SSD is for Windows and games, while the hdd is for data storage. For some time now, the SMART status was showing about 6 bad/relocated sectors on the hdd. So, in case that was the issue, yesterday I moved all my data to my NAS and retired my WD hdd. My computer is now only running on the SSD. The issue still happens. The SMART status of the SSD is perfect. I tried multiple SSD/HDD monitoring softwares (Hard Drive Sentinel, SSDLife, Samsung Magician, Intel Rapid Storage utility) and every software was showing my SSD as healthy. Nothing is wrong in the SMART values. I tried using AIDA64, Anvil Storage and ASSD software to benchmark the s*it of the SSD to make it crash, but all my attempts failed.
At work (I work as IT support) however, I did have some weird issues with SSDs in the past years. Even though they were showing as healthy, the computers would run very slow or locks up for few seconds.
I don't have another SSD to switch and confirm that the SSD is the issue. But I'm not ruling it out, based on my past experiences at work.
I own a Seasonic X-650w Gold certified power supply. I unfortunately do not have the values of the voltages displayed on my G13 LCD when the computer freezes. However, when benchmarking with AIDA64, I can confirm that my values are holding steady. On the top of my head, the values looked like this :
+12V varies from 11,98 to 12,09.
+5V is from 5,0 to 5,03.
+3.3V varies from 3,01 to 3,04.
+1.5V steady for the RAM
I doubt that my power supply is in cause. But please advise if I should troubleshoot something else in there. I have a PSU tester at home, but this PSU tester is not causing any load on the power supply.
I own an MSI R290 LE (Light Edition). I did not overclock this card. While gaming and stress testing the card with AIDA64, I was never able to make it freeze. While gaming, my GPU is easily at 75%+ of GPU usage and it has never failed. Because I use a framerate limiter in AMD drivers and this limits my GPU usage overall, my GPU temperatures are around 72C while gaming.
Few months ago, I changed the thermal paste on the GPU for MX-4 because the stock thermal paste was all dryed up already. When the computer freezes, there are no graphics glitches what so ever.
I own the following :
Logitech Revolution MX mouse
Logitech K800 keyboard
Logitech Extreme 3D joystick
Logitech G13 keyboard
CH Pro Throttle
EDTracker (head movement tracker)
SMSL SD793-ii DAC (Optical input)
Logitech Setpoint is installed and update to date for the keyboard and mouse. The Logitech Gaming software is also installed and up to date for the G13 keyboard. No drivers are installed or required for the Logitech Extreme 3D joystick, the CH Pro Throttle and EDTracker. Windows deals with them as basic joysticks. The SMSL SD793-ii DAC does not require drivers and connects directly to the Realtek optical output. The Realtek drivers are the latest.
Thinking about it, other than the EDTracker, I did not mess around and unplug any peripherals in my investigation. I'll try that tonight. Unplug everything (other than keyboard and mouse) and see if it freezes again.
Here's a list of softwares that are running all the time upon startup :
ESET NOD32 Antivirus
MalwareBytes Anti-Malware Premium
Hard Drive Sentinel
LCDHost (for G13 LCD)
Brother software to monitor my Brother printer
Plex Media Server
Intel Rapid Storage software
Yesterday night, I thought about the issue being a Windows update that was done recently. I have found an issue between ESET software and a Windows Update patch. I applied a fix (KB2664888) provided by Microsoft and recommended by ESET. Unfortunately, the computer froze in the hour following the installation and reboot of that fix. Many Google results pointed to KB2265716 which is known to fix this kind of issue, but I couldn't install the hotfix on my computer. It says that it is not applicable. Probably because another Windows update succeeds it or is already installed.
Regarding all the other softwares, they've been running on my system for more than a year. They usually will auto-update themselves or pops me an information box that there is a new version. I update every software on my PC quite often. Unless I got to pay for an update/upgrade and I judge that it is not worth it, I update everything.
I update drivers very often, probably every 2 weeks I check everything and update to the latest. My drivers are therefore up to date for every piece of hardware (including Intel Rapid Storage, Intel USB 3.0 and Intel NIC). Because I upgrade many drivers at once and very often, I can't pinpoint if it something specific and I cannot pinpoint when the issue started exactly.
Windows Events logs
Nothing in there unfortunately. I checked all the logs. Everything works great and then all of the sudden, a log says that the computer was restarted incorrectly. I have no trace of what I should look for. Even though I know the precise moment to the very second (because the time of the crash is frozen on my G13 LCD), I can't find any log anywhere that would give me pointers.
So as you can see, I've done a bit of investigation already. I'm looking for some advices/tips on what to look next. Because I don't have a memory dump (no BSOD), I can't see what is causing the issue. I have some doubts about the SSD, because I've seen SSDs in the past behaving very weird. I'll also unplug peripherals tonight.
Every synthetic stress test that I do says that my hardware is healthy. It might be a software issue and reinstalling Windows 7 might fix it. I would, of course, like to avoid that. My plan was in the next few months to get an M.2 950 Pro SSD + PCIe-M.2 adapter and install Windows 10 from scratch on that. Then recycle my SATA 850 Pro for games only. I would be OK to buy that today already, if I can confirm that buying that will in fact fixes my issue. I wouldn't want to spend 300$ and not fix the issue.
Do you guys have any tips or pointers on what I should do next ?
Thanks for your help,