Over the last two weeks or so, I have been experiencing what began as intermittent hard crashing while gaming which can only really be described as a hard lock up. Everything is still visible on the screen, but it will not accept any input at all and if a sound was being played at the time of the crash, the speakers emit a buzzing sound as if it's stuck at a particular point in the sound track.
It also very occasionally happens outside of gaming, mainly while watching videos. It never crashes if I'm only doing anything basic like web browsing, photo processing etc.
To add a bit of history, a few months ago I was getting regular BSODs which I pinned down to the graphics card. A full AMD uninstall / clean-up and reinstall of the drivers fixed this and until this started I had no issues.
What I've tried
Uninstalling / reinstalling GPU drivers, chipset drivers, sound drivers
Memtest86 (12 hrs) - no issues
Prime95 (2 hrs) - no issues
FurMark (15 min) - no issues even with sound playing simultaneously and temperatures rising as high as 85C, much higher than when it crashes under gaming
Monitoring temperatures - the below image shows the temperatures at the time of a particular crash
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1
Intel Core i5 2500K @ 3.30Ghz
4GB Single-Channel DDR @ 808Mhz (9-9-9-24) - Corsair Vengeance - I did have dual sticks but one failed a few years ago and I've never got round to replacing it
ASUS P8z68-V PRO/GEN3
1GB ATI AMD Radeon HD 6850
120GB SanDisk SSD, 0.5GB WD SATA3, 2x0.5GB WD SATA2 in RAID0 config, 2TB Samsung SATA2
Opinions on what causes similar issues for others seem to vary the more you read across the web and include the GPU, CPU, Memory, Motherboard, PSU. It's the fact nothing has really changed that makes me think something is failing, I just can't figure out what. Thanks in advance for the help, if you need me to provide anything more specific let me know.
More about :hard crash bsod including buzzing sound gaming gpu issue
Just a quick update and possible solution for this in case anyone looks in the future.
In addition to the hard crashing, I started experiencing strange things happening on initial boot. The computer would switch itself off within three seconds of powering on, then it switches itself on again often with an 'Overclocking Failed' message. The machine has not been overclocked so I know this wasn't the issue.
It's early days but it appears the problem was caused by TP-Link's TL-WN822N USB wireless adapter. When unplugging this device, I instantly experienced a hard-crash that coincided with it disconnecting. I've since been tethering my phone for my networking, leaving the wireless adapter unplugged and all of my issues have disappeared. No weirdness at boot, no crashing when gaming. I can understand why a USB device could cause hard crashing. What I can't understand is why it would cause strange things to happen at initial boot.
I did find a bunch of recent complaints about this specific adapter with Windows 7 64-bit SP1 on the TP-Link forums since the drivers were last updated, including another person who had experienced similar hard crashing.
Anyway hopefully it's not coincidence and that my issue has been resolved. I'll update this thread if anything changes, but would still appreciate thoughts from cleverer people than me to explain why the boot issues could be affected by a dodgy USB device driver.
many of the various bugchecks caused by the wireless USB drivers are caused by:
-outdated chipset drivers
and outdate wireless usb drivers
most people focus on getting the update wireless USB driver without getting the chipset driver updates.
back to the GPU issue: if your drivers are up to date, go to control panel, find your high definition sound devices and disable any that you don't have speakers connected to. your GPU support sound via its HDMI or displayport cable and can have issues even if you don't have speakers in your monitor.
- generally if you don't get a bugcheck the system will be in a deadlock in a driver for a secondary processor
(most often the GPU because they do limited error checking to increase speed of the driver)