Ok, so after some more googling when I realized my computer crashed in this when running Asus' Fan Xpert 4 calibration, I started suspecting the NZXT CAM software for my Kraken x62. Found some posts on reddit having the exact same symptoms and I have now uninstalled NZXT CAM and I'm waiting to see if the crashing stops.
YES! This was it. After removing CAM, I am now using krakenx to control my pump, and it's working great.