Think I got a faulty mobo or cpu


Bought a new cpu/mobo/ram in Columbus on 11/21.  After about a day started getting constant "driver irql not less than or equal" bsod.  After two clean installs and updating drivers it was fine for a few days before it started happening again. Now most crashes don't include a bsod. 
Component list at end.

Current status: 
It never crashes before the mobo splash screen.  It crashes before it reaches login.  After it crashes enough times to trigger startup repair, that crashes.  If I try to boot to a newly made windows install usb, that crashes.  Memtest still works and finds no errors.  The bios's built in nvme test finds no errors.


bsod encountered:

  • driver irql not less than or equal (most)
  • kmode exception not handled
  • 0x000007b
  • system exception thread not handled
  • driver overran stack buffer
  • bsods missing letters
  • bad system config info (think the current windows install is corrupt)

Exceptional things encountered

  • crashes during safe mode (mostly driver irql)
  • crashes while booting to windows install usb (no bsod)
  • crash during system restore (no bsod; was later able to successfully complete one from same restore point)
  • sometimes when a bsod makes the computer fully power off before restarting the screen is completely black and the cpu debug led on the mobo is lit up.  manual power off/on fixes it


attempts so far:

  • reset bios to default 
  • installed latest bios 
  • reinstalled windows (3 times)
  • used amd's program to install chipset drivers
  • installed drivers from msi website
  • installed gpu driver from nvidia website
  • both ram sticks alone in every ram slot
  • memtest (no errors)
  • stress tests (no temps went over 75 C)


new components:

  • amd r5 5600x
  • msi mag b550 gaming edge wifi
  • 16x2 gskill ripjaws 3600 16-19-19-39 1.35v

returning components:

  • gtx 1060 6gb
  • 1tb 970 evo nvme boot drive
  • 2 hdd + 1 ssd
  • 550w seasonic psu 80+ gold
  • fractal design define r4
  • corsair h100i (it somehow still works; removing the usb cable didn't stop the crashing)

replaced components:

  • intel i5 4690k
  • gigabyte z97x ud5h
  • 4x2 gskill ares 1600 9-9-9-24


  • Almost every crash results in the computer restarting without fully shutting off, so I don't think its the psu.
  • TSPhillipT
    Hello @muchuchubacca

    Thank you for posting on the Micro Center Community! 

    This type of BSOD usually involved your RAM but doesn't necessarily mean it's an issue with your RAM.  These can also be an issue with your processor as that is what manages your RAM or the motherboard that links the processor and the RAM together.  

    Are you trying to XMP your RAM?  My brothers PC would encounter this issue and we were able to isolate it to XMPing the RAM and was an issue with the processor as it couldn't manage it properly.  

    We can also exchange the parts at our store if you would like.  Ideally, replacing it with newer items will help isolate the issue, say if you exchange the RAM at our store and you are still getting the issue, then we can cross RAM off our list and then look at the processor.  
  • I disabled xmp when it first started crashing and it didn't help.  Should I schedule an appointment for repair services?
  • Ian
    An appointment is not needed for service, there may be some available online at Otherwise please visit the store with the computer and charger/power cable for assistance, store hours are 9am until 10pm Mon-Sat, 10am-7pm Sun. 
  • It's gonna take them two weeks to look at it.
  • AdamL
    If you're still looking for help, I want to recommend a few things. Try a new install, while only the boot drive is installed. Also, while your computer is shut down and you're unplugging your other HDD and SSD, clear the CMOS manually (remove the little battery for 10 seconds). 

    I have a few suspicions of my own and are as follows: The Windows install is leaving remnants of the old build on your boot drive or hiding it on another drive, and is causing some driver overlap. 
    Maybe there is a power cable not seated properly? It wouldn't cause it to hard shut down or anything, just when it hits a certain power target for whichever connector it is, it would either BSOD or soft reset (crash). 
    Check the CPU socket for maybe anything that may have dropped into it. Maybe a small spec of lint or something causing it short or not utilize that specific pin on the CPU. 
    Check to make sure there is nothing in the dimm slots as well. And make sure the contact pads on the RAM is clean and there's nothing stuck to it (I had an issue with this on a GPU recently)

    I'm blanking on any other suggestions right now, but maybe if you haven't done any of those steps you could try them out. Let me know how this goes for you! PCMR has to stick together and look out for each other!
  • muchuchubacca
    edited December 2020
    Either the service guy was wrong or I got a second kit of ram where both sticks are bad.

    edit: tried a stick from my brother's computer and it still crashes.
  • Hey op
    I'm having the same problem, did you find a solution?
  • JS_MC
    Have you tried any of the solutions suggested above?
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