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B350, Ryzen 2200G & Radeon R9 -- System Lockups w/ Frozen or Distorted Display

Question asked by niccador on May 20, 2019
Latest reply on May 21, 2019 by misterj

I have been experiencing random system freezes on my Ryzen 2200G build, with 2 different B350 motherboards. In all honesty, it *feels* like it may be some sort of driver issue, but as I'll explain, I've no actual evidence to point to that.

My original build was as follows:

 

ASRock AB350M-PRO4
Ryzen 2200G (stock, no overclocking)
8GB (2x4GB) Patriot Viper 4 Series DDR4-3000 (running at 2933)
256GB Samsung EVO 970 NVME
Gigabyte Radeon R9 270X 2GB Windforce (added ~September 2018)
Windows 10 Pro

 

This system was assembled in May 2018. It ran fine, no crashes/freezing, save one oddity (using Vega 8, pre-Radeon):
Playing video -- such as YouTube -- in Chrome would cause the screen to go completely blank for a split second and refresh when starting the video, whether full screen or not. In addition, Chrome would occasionally exhibit graphical distortion/artifacting across the middle third of the screen, which would disappear after switching tabs back and forth.
(Note: I did not do any troubleshooting of this behavior at the time, so I do not know now if Chrome's Hardware Acceleration was at fault.)

 

This behavior went away after the R9 was installed, and did not return. The system ran without issue from that time, all the way until February 2019.

Starting the first week of February, I started encountering random freezes. Freezes would occur frequently, but could be minutes or hours from a cold boot, whether gaming or browsing or using Plex -- anything, really.
During a freeze, the display might freeze with a static image, distorted/artifacted image, or just go blank. All inputs would be frozen (i.e., Numlock visibly unresponsive), and no activity leds on the case/motherboard.
During this period, I also experienced intermittent problems rebooting, where the system would hang prior to POST.

 

No Bluescreens occurred with these freezes. No memory dumps, no event logs, absolutely nothing to give me any real direction towards the problem.
The only thing that would happen, is that I'd get the "Wattman settings restored due to unexpected system failure" message.

 

I went through quite a bit of troubleshooting at this point:

 

** HWInfo64 logs show no high/abnormal temps, nothing particularly unusual on the voltages, etc.

** Used MemTest86+ & Windows Memory Diagnostics to test the RAM many, many times. Tested both sticks, as well as individual sticks in alternate slots. Zero errors found.

** Used OCCT to test the CPU and GPU (R9). No errors found. Not a single crash would occur during hours of CPU testing, though crashes during GPU testing were hit and miss.

** Swapped out the R9 with a RX 560. No change in behavior, still freezing.

** Tested multiple AMD GPU drivers from 18.1 to 19.x, still no change in behavior.

** Swapped out the PSU with two other known-good models, still no change in behavior.

** Reinstalled Windows 10. Since there had been a major update in Jan/Feb, I tested a clean install of both the current build at the time, as well as the older build from when I initially built it in May 2018. Combined this with multiple AMD GPU driver versions. Still no change in behavior.

 

At this point -- without another CPU to test, or more RAM to test -- I decided that the problem must be with the motherboard.

I ordered a MSI B350M Bazooka to replace it, and got the system reassembled at the end of March 2019. Clean install of Windows, of course. Latest drivers, etc.
Everything was working great again!
The problem must have been a defective motherboard, right?

 

Well...

 

After about a week of use, I encountered the freezing again. However, this time, it appeared to be isolated to Chrome's hardware acceleration.

 

Specifically, once the first freeze occurred -- remember, I used it normally for about a week with no issues -- anytime Chrome would attempt to load/render any page with any type of video component (YouTube, Netflix, Facebook, misc embeds....so basically anything...), it would lock up the whole system just like before.

Once I was able to get Chrome's hardware acceleration disabled, the freezing stopped. Mostly.
Mind you, I never had to do this during the past year with this system.


Over the past 2 months -- after "fixing" Chrome -- I've experienced about 3 completely random freezes like the above. Unless I'm forgetting something, these have all occured while using Plex Media Player to watch video -- which I imagine probably uses some form of hardware acceleration, thought there's not an easily found setting for it.

Now, that's a HUGE improvement over my experiences with the ASRock, but it still means there's a problem somewhere. And frustratingly, it still feels like it could be anything.

 

Are there any other tests that would determine, without question, that my CPU is not flawed? Or the RAM?
Or just any other thoughts in general?

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