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Questions about CPU degradation

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-04-2020, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
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I think LLC was just placebo, it did not fix the problem. How likely does this sound like a capacitor problem? Thinking of replacing all of the motherboard capacitors.

TL;DR: I have to wait at least a few hours with the computer turned off until I can turn it on and expect relative stability for a day or two, excluding using anything like prime95, that pretty much always freezes it now.

Long version:
It seems if I turn off the computer for at least a few hours (ex. overnight) and then turn it on, it can stay relatively stable (as long as it doesn't stress the CPU too much, so no prime95, video encoding or anything like that) up to maybe 2 days in a row. When it does eventually freeze I notice that if I reboot immediately, it almost always gets stuck in a boot loop (turns on for 3 secs, turns off, waits 5 seconds, then repeat). If I wait 10 seconds before rebooting then it's like 66% chance it gets stuck in a boot loop instead of making it to POST, and then like 50/50 after 30 seconds, and then like 10% chance if I wait 1 minute. I notice that if I reboot soon after a freeze and manage to get to BIOS settings (UEFI), if I stay on BIOS long enough, maybe 20 seconds or so, the BIOS starts responding quite slowly to my keyboard presses, it feels laggy, and if I try to save & exit, it just turns to a black screen with the cursor and freezes for like 10 seconds and then turns off, and then reboots after 5 seconds and gets stuck in a boot loop. The BIOS does always save though even if it starts lagging and enters a boot loop after exiting, so it can't be a CMOS battery problem. If I wait like 5 minutes after a freeze, the computer gets past POST but it usually freezes at the "Starting Windows" screen. If I wait 10-30 minutes, it usually gets past "Starting Windows" but freezes right after everything loaded (taskbar, windows explorer, network, sound etc.). Anyway I have to wait at least a few hours with the computer turned off until I turn it on again and can expect BIOS or Windows to be running stable and smoothly for a day or two.

Tried these BIOS settings and PC configurations, none of them made any difference:
Disabled Turbo Boost (I now have it always disabled, since it seems to make the computer freeze sooner)
Reflashed BIOS
Tried all LLC settings (Auto, Medium, High, Very High, Extreme)
Tried manual CPU voltages (0.900V, 0.950V, 0.980V, 1.000V, 1.050V, 1.080V)
Disabled SpeedStep and all C states
Downclocked with CPU multiplier (16x100 = 1.6GHz, instead of 31x100 = 3.1GHz default)
Downclocked with BCLK (96 is the lowest I could get it to POST, from 100 default)
Downclocked RAM from 1333MHz down to 1000-ish
Increased PCH voltage from 1.050V to 1.090V
Increased DRAM voltage +20mV
Disabled iGPU and using dGPU only
Removed dGPU and using iGPU only
Tried without HDDs, booted Kubuntu live usb (still froze like in Windows) as mentioned earlier
Tried different PSU as mentioned earlier

Literally the only thing that helps keep it stable for at least a day is keeping it turned off long enough, for at least a few hours. Unplugging the power cable and clicking the power button to discharge the system doesn't seem to expedite this process, still have to wait a few hours. I have another CPU (G3258) I could test but I'm not going to bother, it seems almost certainly a motherboard problem, but I don't know whether to gamble on replacing the capacitors. There is no visible problem I can see with these "solid" smd electrolytic capacitors, don't have a multimeter or anything to test with.

Last edited by johnsmythe; 07-04-2020 at 10:13 AM.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-04-2020, 10:36 AM
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If you already have another CPU you can test, I'd test it anyway. It may do nothing, as you suspect/guess, but in that case it gives you the piece of mind it's all the more likely to be the motherboard. If, by chance, it does fix it, it could still be the motherboard at fault and not the CPU, but if it doesn't fix it, that really points to the motherboard all the more as the issue (if you know the other CPU to be good, at least).

Are those voltages enough for that CPU though? My CPU was a generation older but it needed a fair bit more than thought (though it's also overclocked).

LLC is loadline calibration, and I believe what you said is right. As far as I know, setting it higher typically aims to decrease the Vdrop and/or Vdroop (I confuse these a lot) so that you don't have to set a higher idle voltage to retain stability under load, but as you said, I think this can increase transient voltage during changes, which are short lived but I think higher voltage is typically more dangerous when paired with higher amperage/temperatures so I think a slightly higher idle voltage would be preferable to higher transient voltages, but... I'm not totally sure, nor am I sure which would be more dangerous long term (I would imagine it's probably a case of "it depends"). This is all from memory from way back when when. I've personally always typically kept loadline calibration at milder settings (like the lowest one) if I ever used it.

"The heart has it's reasons that reason knows nothing of."
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-18-2020, 09:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Fixed the problem, just cleaned off the thermal compound and reseated the CPU. Could've been either chip creep or the thermal compound shorting something. I suspect the latter because there was a small gob of thermal paste that leaked out to those gold circles on the top front of the CPU above the heatspreader. Doesn't freeze anymore on prime95 or idle at -115mV offset, LLC back to Auto, Turbo Boost enabled.
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