Hello all, I hope this is the right place.
After building my own machines since the eighties, I had Micro Center build me an AMD-based Windows 11 system to replace my previous 10-year-old workstation that I use for software development. I got it in June and have been struggling with it for months.
TL;DR: I'm fairly confident that something in the graphics system is causing my machine to wig out every other day or so, and I strongly believe it's related to the AMD drivers.
System specs below, but I have 2x AMD W6600 Pro Workstation graphics cards.
It feels like it's the window manager: when The Thing Happens(tm), windows become increasingly unresponsive: some apps I can close right away, others when I click the red [X] they start closing but freeze, and then I can't interact with that app any more, even to close it.
In Windows Explorer, I can bring up the Start Menu, and clicking the power icon showed that it toggles, but doesn't do anything: it's like window messages are getting lost.
Task manager won't come up (control-shift-escape)
Eventually the keyboard/mouse become entirely unresponsive, and I have to do a hard reset.
About 2 months ago, a Micro Center tech recommended the Display Driver Uninstaller, after which I installed the AMD driver-only package, rather than the full Adrenaline thing that has all the flashy bits.
Still wigs out every other day or so, but with different enough symptoms that it very much points to an AMD driver issue and not a generic hardware / windows thing.
Now I'm able to actually request a shutdown of windows, but it hangs indefinitely showing "Restarting...". Once I let this sit overnight and had to hard reset it in the morning. It's never completed a restart on its own when The Thing Happens.
I have found no correlation to The Thing Happening with any behavior on my part, and a few times it's happened while I wasn't touching the keyboard or mouse. I cannot reproduce this on demand, it just happens when it happens.
Bizarrely, once while on on a Zoom call, the video froze (and all the other wiggy symptoms), but I was able to talk with my colleagues on my USB-based headset until I hard-reset the machine.
As a side issue, about once a day the audio will do the Brrzzzt stuttering thing for a half a second, unrelated to anything I can identify. The machine is never taxed on any metric (CPU or memory), and a 16-core machine shouldn't be doing this. Maybe unrelated, I can live with it.
I use this as a pro workstation; mostly software development, some 3D modeling with Fusion 360, the usual set of business apps (QuickBooks, MS Office, etc.).
This machine is much bigger than I need, but I want something to last me a long time.
My use cases:
The machine is on a good UPS, and we have generally very clean power here at home.
Micro Center - whose flagship Tustin store is walking distance from my house - did an excellent job helping me spec the components and putting it all together: it's really a work of art (though no LED bling for me).
TROUBLESHOOTING STEPS TAKEN:
WHAT I'M TRYING TO AVOID:
I intentionally and enthusiastically went with an all-AMD system, and when it's working it's *really* nice (fast, smooth) but this every-other-day wigging out is really painful and tiring. It's done this since ~day two.
I also have decades of experience with Windows system-level software development (services, windows print drivers, communications controllers, etc.) so have decent tech chops, but don't know where to look for this.
Any suggestions for how to troubleshoot this further? This whole thing makes me want to cry.
Thank you ~~~ Steve