Windows 7 hard freeze in games - extensive troubleshooting

To give you an idea of what was done before this started reoccurring. Had solid lock up, which required reboot.

/////////////// Hardware
Windows 7 x64
i7 920
EVGA x58 (RMA'd)
6 GB DDR3 1600 (G.Skill)
2 x 1TB HDD (caviar black WD)
1 x 640GB  HDD (caviar black)
1 x OCZ Agility 60GB SSD
Corsair HX1000W Modular PSW (previously a TX850 Corsair)

/////////////// Problem
Freezing - a hard freeze, requiring a power off. This would only happen while playing games, and it would happen when it wanted to. Battlefield Bad Company 2 could freeze immediately, or I could play for 6 hours. This has happened with Borderlands, Batman AA, Dragon Age etc. I originally went about making sure I wasn't pulling too much power for the 850 TX. NEVER a blue screen, always a hard freeze - no sound stutter, no graphical glitch. Just like someone pressed pause. CTRL ALT DEL does not work.

I did all of the following, with nothing changing the hard freeze. It always happened, but only in games. I could prime95 for hours with no problems.

-reset BIOS to defaults
-Removed secondary GPU
-Removed primary GPU and used 2nd GPU as primary
-Upon reboot I noticed my 640GB was not in the computer
-Moved games from 640GB to the SSD
-Deleted all steam / games and reinstalled it and Battlefield BC2 on the SSD
-removed the 640GB from the loop (no power or data connection)
-removed drivers, tried 5 different versions, even going back up to a year. (used driver sweeper / safe mode method)
-swapped sata ports for the SSD
-used a different sata power on a different line than the rest of the HDD's
-Ran Linx 40 passes, started with 20.
-Ran Prime95 small FFT, large FFT for an hour each
-Ran in game benchmark for Just Cause 2 about 5 times
-Ran Memtest+ overnight (10+ hours)
-Ran Vantage 10 times with varying settings in EVGA Precision, from base clock to FTW speeds.

None of this caused a crash, not even a momentary pause. As a result, I ended up RMA'ing the mobo. I bought the Corsair HX1000W because I wanted to OC / watercool down the road. NOW it gets fun.

Reassembled computer, installed windows on SSD again + drivers and everything else it needs.

I played games without freeze for over a week.

I shut the computer off last night (letting AS5 cure) and today when I turned it on and loaded up Borderlands, it froze within minutes. I've been sitting here for 2 hours testing the memory and now easter egging (pulling 1 dimm out at a time).

This is a completely different motherboard and power supply.

The memory timings are what they are supposed to be, and the voltage is set to manufacturer recommendations.

Here's a question now, could the SSD be causing the problems? When I was on Windows 7 RC1, I had the install located on an actual HDD (caviar black 640GB). When I got windows 7 retail, I bought the SSD as well. It was shortly after having everything up and running, that I noticed the freezing. It seems weird that I would only now notice that, but I never thought the SSD would be causing these problems. It's also in IDE mode, not AHCI. I've noticed that when rebooting into windows, it hangs at the light blue screen just before desk top. It used to flash by, so I'm not sure whats going on.

The SSD is still blazing fast once I'm in windows, and everything is fine until I load a game.

Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Take these steps (some you may have already done but please follow through):
Ensure you got all your IDs.
1) Format your C:
2) Update fully windows
3) Update all your drivers
4) Keep only ONE GPU
5) Keep only one HDD
6) Remove ANY form of overclocking
a) Proceed to load up these games, ONE at a time.
b) Play the installed games for a few hours
c) When you are about to install the next one, uninstall the previous one first.
Some questions:
1) How many Watts does each of your GPUs use? I saw you upgraded to 1KW, which should be enough but it could potentially be a power supply problem or your motherboard not getting proper power due to short circuiting or malfunctioning. The problem with today's hardware is that motherboards are a lot easier to fry... (or for them to ship in and already be damaged)
2) Do you leave your PC on 24/7? It's very important to switch it off at least during the time that you sleep.
Search on the internet about the compatibility of the various parts, especially in relation to your current motherboard

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
And btw, don't worry I did read everything you posted. The problem "appears to be" GPU related. Or let me rephrase it. It appears to be some kind of conflict that is related to your GPU. Try the above, with all the latest drivers, don't go back tracking. Be sure to save any data you want before formatting eh.
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
>>(letting AS5 cure)
What are the i7 temps when you're gaming now? Any chance the paste contracted away from the CPU/heatsink during setting?
Cloud Class® Course: Microsoft Exchange Server

The MCTS: Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 certification validates your skills in supporting the maintenance and administration of the Exchange servers in an enterprise environment. Learn everything you need to know with this course.

underscore_Author Commented:
I used the AS5 recommended method of application. There isn't enough on the die to squish out.
Running at 100% under Prime95, I hit 60-65C, which is amazing for the OC I have. Before I got my motherboard replaced, I ran the i7 at default the entire time. It happened even then.

This happened before the AS5 was reapplied. The only 2 things that changed in my system, now that I think about it: Windows 7 retail (from RC1) and the windows install was moved to SSD.

Perhaps I am better leaving the SSD as just a drive that games are installed on, and not for windows? Could I have a bad SSD causing critical files to stutter and freeze the games? I'm not familiar with how they work.

underscore_Author Commented:
Reinstalled windows on SSD, applied drivers, installed game - plays fine, no freezes.

I have no idea how or why, but I suspect after about a week, it will begin freezing.
I find it funny when we give feedback for troubleshooting , you carry out the advice and don't bother to give the points. (And I got tired ot objecting to such threads, eventually what you'll do is have people not answer them)
underscore_Author Commented:
Formatting was already on my mind, but I didn't want to format for no reason. I see what you mean though, and it was not my intent to rob anyone of points. I appreciate the help. I'll see if I can award points, even after choosing an answer.
I see that you are a brand new Member, so welcome to EE.

All you have to do is click on the "Request Attention" link imbedded in the bottom right corner of your original question. Doing so will auto-open a Community Support request and you can just explain that you want this question re-opened so that you can award points.

You get a notice - with a four day delay - of any 'auto-close' process that is started. Keep in mind that all you have to do is post an 'Object' comment and the auto-close will be halted; bringing in a Moderator to help resolve the situation.

By way of explanation, I only found this question because I am looking to resolve a similar problem - but will now post my own questions.

Outta here!
I am aware of it younghv, as you can see from my earlier reply, but thanks none the less.
I find the whole process of having to object somewhat demeaning and as of recent have had quite a few threads that the author when he got his answer, just never came back to give the points or "gave them to himself".
So, a bit tired of this object process and having to make a case (and waste even more time) on why you deserve these points.
underscore_Author Commented:
Operating System Reinstall is what I wanted to avoid, and is the most basic troubleshooting answer. Nonetheless, it is what I did, and this guy should get points for it. (even if I planned on it anyway)
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Computer Games

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.