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KP4
Beginner
2,203 Views

NUC5i3RYK randomly freezes, while mouse cursor can be moved

Hi,

new here.

I am using a NUC5i3 with the following specs since almost 2 years:

OS: Win10 Home (prev. upgraded from win7)

RAM: 2x8GB Kingston Value RAM DDR3

HDD: Intel SSD535 with 360GB

CPU: i3 5010 2,1GHz

I am using the NUC primarily as a HTPC (using KODI as software) and a music server (running a music server service in the background called Roon). However, since a few days, the NUC freezes randomly during idle times or while I am working on it like browsing, watching movies etc.. ANd it is not a full freeze, rather, the mouse and keyboard seem to be active whereas i can move around the mouse cursor. also i can hover over open windows and they seem to react, such as a highlighted browser tab when hovering the mouse cursor over it. but clicking does not result in any action, also task manager cannot be called via the keyboard short cut.

In order to look into the cause i tried the following:

- Updated all drivers with the NUC Updater Tool incl. the BIOS

- Ran Windows Memory Diagnostic - 0 Errors

- Ran Intel Processor Diagnostic Tool - 0 Errors

- Ran Windows Disk Check - 0 Errors

- Ran System File Checker via CMD /scannow - 0 Errors

- Ran Memtest86+ - 0 Errors

- Ran Crystaldiskinfo - SSD performance looked fine

- Ran HWMonitor while running prime95 in the background - CPU performance and other Temperatures looked fine

Ironically, none of these lengthy tests caused the system to freeze. Only when I started to do the normal stuff as described above the freeze ocurred, however, leaving the NUC alone busy with running diagnostics did not cause any freezes.

As nothing helped, I formatted the SSD, installed win10 from scratch via bootable flash drive, and symptoms still occurred on vanilla win10. Then I formatted again a wrote a music server image on the SSD, which is basically a headless music server service running in the background based on linux. Also here the NUC froze, as the service aborted just after 3 minutes.

Then i replaced the RAM modules with 1x4GB Crucial RAM module to test if it was caused by RAM, but still, the NUC behavs as usual by freezing randomly.

And now, I honestly do not have any idea what is going wrong. Maybe you guys have an idea?

0 Kudos
11 Replies
n_scott_pearson
Super User Retired Employee
195 Views

What BIOS do you have installed?

KP4
Beginner
195 Views

the most recent one (updated it together with all other outdated drivers according to the official Intel Driver & Support Assistant Tool):

0367

KP4
Beginner
195 Views

I somehow have the feeling that the SSD is not working properly, despite the positive diagnostic results.

Maybe it is even the SATA controlle, which is not working properly?

Nevertheless, I would like to test a 0 cost option by using an old Intel 2.5" SSD drive. the NUC5i3 has a blue SATA connector on the mainboard, but it does not have the lengthy part, which (i think) is necesary for powering the 2.5" SSD i have here. Any idea, how I could realize that.

Also, the NUC also seems to support PCIe m.2 SSD drives. Mz question is: would 3rd gen PCIe work? officially, PCIe2.0 x4 are supported by the NUC5i3. as these are hard to find or do not exist anymore, is it posible to use the PCIe 3.0 x4 SSDs instead?

n_scott_pearson
Super User Retired Employee
195 Views

I believe that you can purchase the SATA power cable that you will need through http://www.microsatacables.com/ Micro SATA Cables.

I am not sure where you got your information, but it is incorrect. The 5th generation Core processors and the 9 Series chipset (PCH Component) fully support the PCIe 3.0 standard. You can use virtually any M.2 SATA SSD and any M.2 NVMe SSD. I have used M.2 NVMe SSDs from both Intel and Toshiba/OCZ in my RY NUC.

Hope this helps,

...S

P.S. Note that, if you choose to use an M.2 NVMe SSD, you are required to enable UEFI support in the BIOS.

KP4
Beginner
195 Views

Hi,

OK. I will evaulate buying a PCIe M.2 drive. currently I am eyening Intel 600p series...

But does my test approach make sense? I mean, I would place the SSD into the same slot as the my current Intel M.2 SATA just for testing PCIe.

The reason I do not want to buy another m.2 SATA SSD is simply that I want to avoid throwing away money:

1. should the pcie work, then I am ok

2. should the pcie still not solve my issues, then i can reuse it for a new NUC (NUC7i3)

KP4
Beginner
195 Views

the things we do for testing:

i just couldnt wait 1 week for this stupid proprietary intel sata power cable, so i hooked up the power part of my old ssd to the PSU unit o an old desktop PC

KP4
Beginner
195 Views

OK, now I tested this setup as in the picture above and everything seems to be running smoothly with no issues.

So, having successfully tested a 2.5" SSD the question is:

Can I therefore say that the Intel 535 360gb m.2 SSD is broke and can be replaced with a new one?

I mean all the diagnostics I ran told me that the m.2 SSD is just fine. Maybe it is the m.2's SATA controller indeed?

The alternative would be to buy a new case which also fits a 2.5" SSD (I do not have the RYH but the RYK instead), buy a new high performance 2.5" SSD. Both would cost me around 100€, which is more expensive than buying a new m.2 SSD. What do you think?

n_scott_pearson
Super User Retired Employee
195 Views

Some things to look for: If this hang was occurring as a result of a SATA issue, you would see the HDD access LED being lit continuously. If the issue is occurring as a result of a failure in the M.2 SATA SSD itself, this LED will either be on continuously or off continuously (i.e. no flashing). Bottom line, if, at the point if hang, the LED is still flashing, the issue is likely not SATA or the SSD.

If you choose to try replacing the M.2 SATA SSD with a M.2 NVMe SSD, I suggest that you look closely at the write speeds of the various drives that are available. There are a number (from Samsung, Toshiba/OCZ, etc.) that gave you far higher (double or better, in fact) write speeds than the Intel M.2 NVMe SSDs for essentially the same price. Just saying...

Hope this helps,

...S

KP4
Beginner
195 Views

ok, good points.

just wondering, as I am seriously eyening a 2.5" SSD for the NUC instead of a m.2 SSD:

is there any difference except in size? IF so, are these significant enough so that I should opt for a m.2 SSD?

n_scott_pearson
Super User Retired Employee
195 Views

Well, a 2.5" SSD will be limited to SATA speeds whereas an internal M.2 NVMe SSD will perform at significantly higher speeds. There are some that can read at 5x SATA speeds and write at 3x SATA speeds. Of course, 2.t" SSDs can be cheaper.

I thought you were limited to internal drives because you chose K (as opposed to H) version? There are multiple sources for fanless chassis and some do have bay(s) for 2.5" drive(s).

...S

KP4
Beginner
195 Views

Actually, I just wanted to buy a 2.5" SSD because I know it will work due to the tests I ran. I just didnt want to risk buying a new m.2 SSD only to find out that it is the SATA controller itself.

But I ran your "rule of thumb" test and it turns out it is the m.2 SSD and not the SATA controller, and now given your preference towards m.2 modules I will choose one accordingly.

Thanks for the support!

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