Memory Intensive Slowdown/Freeze Problem

I have recently been having a problem with memory intensive programs. This problem is unique in the sense that the computer will run internet browser, movies, and video games(Tomb Raider, Portal 2, etc.) just fine. However, if I use programs such as WinRAR, PCSX2, or Alcohol 120%, the program itself freezes or slows to a crawl and every other function on the computer is dramatically slowed.

Alcohol's Memory Buffer Usage fills up to 100% and freezes. WINRAR's extracted and processed bars tend to freeze in the same areas. Any program after this freezes when attempting to perform even the most menial process. A shutdown/restart following this issue takes anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes to restart, freezing on the "shutting down" screen.

The SSD that runs my operating system has been active for just under one year and I have encountered no problems with it until this issue cropped up about two weeks ago.

Computer Specs:
CPU: Intel Core i7 3770k
MOBO: ASUS Maximus V Gene
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8GB(4x2) DDR3-1866MHz, 240-pin DIMM
GPU: AMD Radeon HD 6850
Power: Thermaltake TR2 RX 750W Bronze W0382RU Power Supply
OpSys: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
HDD: Mushkin 240GB Chronos Deluxe 2.5" SATA III Solid State Drive

Attempted Resolutions:
• Uninstalled/Reinstalled Alcohol and WinRAR
• Stopped Overclocking (previously OC at 4.2 Ghz, now at optimized defaults)
• CPUZ/DxDiag reads all hardware properly
• Defraggler used on all other storage drives
• CCleaner used on HDD and Registry
• AVG/ Malwarebytes come back clean
• MemTest86 comes back with 0 errors for RAM
• msconfig started with all processes and services both enabled and disabled
• Switched DIMM slots on MOBO
• Switched memory for identical replacements
• Real Temp shows normal temperatures (between 30-40C)
• ProcExp64/ResourceMonitor/Task Manager all show CPU with minimal usage and memory at about 20% physical usage at most.
• Page file moved from ancillary HDD to Main HDD and set to system managed size
Used CMOS reset on MOBO

I am officially out of ideas. Any and all help you can offer is appreciated.
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  1. Best answer
    Might the freeze just be on programs that attempt to read from the CD/DVD drive? Or check for the presence of a disc in the drive. e.g. to display a list of available drives.

    You mentioned that you have "other storage drives". Can you try disconnecting all drives (including optical drives) except the boot drive. maybe one of the drives is going bad, and you are getting a lot of low-level read timeouts / retries.
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