Intermittent Crash - No BSOD - Need help identifying the source


After having the PC running non-stop for 10+ hours (mostly non-stressful things like surfing, watching movies etc.) the first crash occurred when I started playing Dota2.

The crash itself was fairly strange, everything froze but I could keep talking to my friend on Skype for a few minutes then I manually restarted. After the restart I got a BSOD when Windows tried to open normally again. Trying to get back into the game as fast as I can I bypassed the windows repair etc. and when all failed I shut the PC down, opened the case and started the PC again, just to see if there was any Fan not working etc. since I couldn't check the temps at the time of first crash.

Funnily after a shutdown Windows opened normally and I thought all is good - just a random event. About 5 minutes later it crashed again, this time the game froze, computer accepted no input from the mouse or keyboard but on my 2nd screen I could see the Temperatures, the usage percentages etc. still being updated, and I was still able to talk on Skype. After a few minutes though weird noises came out of the speakers so I shut down the PC. So long story short I finished that game with coming back from crashes 7 times.

So here is a brief list of what I know so far;
- First of all the system runs absolutely normally the first 3-5 minutes I open it. Nothing I do seems to speed things up or cause the crash.
- Never had a crash with BSOD. The crashes seem to follow a rather odd pattern. First it feels like the CPU is under pure %100 load, even if I just right click something the mouse icon keeps turning. Then everything freezes out but I can keep watching a youtube video or keep talking on Skype for a little more while. Then the sound gets screwed up. Honestly I never waited any longer to see what will happen next :)
- After each crash windows will always send a BSOD after the restart. A shut down will fix the issue and Windows can run again.
- The CPU / GPU temperatures are never above 50 at the time of crash.
- It doesn't seem to matter what I do before a crash, I tried doing absolutely nothing for 5 minutes after Windows comes up and it still crashes the same way.
- Tried Safe Mode once running Prime 95, all 4 cores were at %100 load for 5 minutes, the same crash happened nevertheless - honestly I wished for a BSOD to say the CPU is the culprit :)
- Visually checked the Capacitors on Mobo but failed to identify any deformation whatsoever.
- The system has been running without a single problem for over 8 months or so.

Since all this feels like a 5 minutes time bomb and doesn't feel absolutely random I don't think its CPU, and RAM would simply cause a BSOD. Knowing that after a crash a Shutdown is required (restart will only cause a BSOD) I eliminated the Software option too.

I think the most specific Hint here is that a Shut Down instead of a restart is required to gets things running again and the system basically is a 5 min time bomb whatever you do with it. I'm hoping that someone can pinpoint the issue to the MOBO or PSU with this knowledge :)

One final note - the computer is fairly new, maybe a year old however the PSU has suffered 3-4 years of hard work on my previous computer.

The Computer Specs are:
Mother Board: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H
CPU: Intel i5-3570K
GPU: Asus GeForce GTX 660
Ram: GSKILL 8GB (2x4GB) RipjawsX DDR3 1600MHz CL9 1.5V
HDD: Corsair 120GB Force GS SSD
PSU: Corsair HX 650W

Any help / comments will be greatly appreciated :)
Thanks in Advance.
5 answers Last reply
More about intermittent crash bsod identifying source
  1. i would do a memtest to see what happens .
  2. I will probably do it tomorrow but I still find the source of the issue being RAM highly unlikely, if that was the case I would expect much more randomness in the crashes and BSODs honestly. I mean if it was the RAM causing this I would be seeing random crashes loading up Windows, random crashing loading a game etc. However my particular problem is very exact, with same issues at the same time.

    That's why I moved on to Capacitor failures basically, they are the only parts that can simulate a timing device :) I'm no expert though, so will try the memtest anyhow.
  3. Ok so I had the chance to try with another PSU and it didn't help (and it was a 800W instead of my 650W PSU with better amperes all around).

    - Going forward I tried taking GPU off only working with Internal Graphics Card;
    - During routine testing I opened torrents a bunch of times just to stack a few programs etc. in there. The torrents download to my storage HDDs but most of the time it shoot out a Write Error after which that storage drive completely disappears and soon after the crash comes.
    - Took out all of the storage HDDs, didn't help.
    - Ran a Windows 7 Mem Test successfully
    - Took out rams 1 by 1 to see if any one of them alone can stabilize, didn't work.
    - One of my storage HDDs had an old Windows installed on it (from my old rig), took out the SSD and tried to boot it but failed, then Windows Repair started checking the HDD (which said would take Hours :)) but after just a few minutes it said it failed, then the crash came.

    So its not the RAMs, not the GPU, not the HDDs, not the PSU, I believe its not the SSD either else somehow I would have been able to boot with the Windows on the HDD.

    Only CPU, MOBO left to check.

    Any ideas about what to do next?
  4. Forgot to add, for the last 20 mins I have been trying to cause a crash on Bios.

    On my first try after waiting for over 5-10 mins, I tried to go into 3D Bios mode (Gigabyte MOBO), it froze. However so far I have been unsuccessful to repeat that event so its not conclusive
  5. i would use the motherboard user manual and carefully check those bios settings also see if there is a note on something about the 3d mode .
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