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CPU Red Led i7-11700K


The following lines explain the issue I faced a few months ago, it is very important for the context of the issue I'm facing :

|||||||||||||||| MARCH 2 2023 ||||||||||||||||

I have had this PC for almost 2 years now everything was working perfectly fine :

CPU : Intel I7-11700k

GPU : Zotac RTX 3070ti

RAM : 2x8G 3600Mhz to whom I added another exact same 2x8G 3600Mhz a month ago

MoBo : MSI Z590 Plus

SSD(OS : Win10) : Samsung 980 Pro 1Tb M.2 nvMe

HDD : Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm 1Tb

SSD : Crucial MX500 250Gb

PSU : Corsair CX750M


One day I pushed my power button expecting windows to boot, and nothing happened, instead I had the Windows Boot screen (the loading dots thing) frozen, I thought it was weird, so I tried troubleshooting, so I restarted and entered bios to access to the troubleshooting reboot menu of windows, there I verified the OS files, tried a few things, safely ofc, and when it rebooted, it worked.

I thought I had fixed it, but 2 days after I got the same thing happening, so I thought I'd do the same thing, but this time after I forced shut down and turned the pc back on, there was nothing.

The GPU was on, fans were running, aaaand that CPU Red Led (attached file) was lit too.

So I googled it, and tried those steps :

CMOS Reset

   - PC booted once after that, but after I went into the bios to get my old settings back (resize bar and xmp merely), the issue came back


CMOS battery replacement

   - PC booted after again, 2 times, then after putting BIOS settings back, cpu red light came back again.


Cleaned the whole PC (physically), changed thermal paste, checked if there was anything wrong with the CPU's Socket, or if there was any pin that was broken, everything was clear and clean, did a CMOS reset as I was cleaning everything.

This time I did NOT tweak BIOS to check if it was the source if my problems.

It booted, once, then I restarted it to test it, annnd it didn't boot, but this time, IT WAS THE DRAM ORANGE LED. So removed all the ram I had except one, and put it on the first slot, dram led was still on, so I tried with another RAM stick, still on the same slot, and it booted.

Expecting it to fail again, I made a save of all the files that were on the nvMe on my HDD just in case, then performed a clean reinstall (Win10), (the windows installer froze 2 times and I had to restart it, worked on third try), everything worked fine so I put the RAM back in, it worked again, so I kept updating drivers and had to restart a few times for that, and as expected, it failed after 2 or 3 restarts as I was updating everything. CPU Red Led again.


I honestly don't know what to do anymore, so I have several questions, but the two main ones are these :

    - What is possibly going on ?

    - How can I fix that, if I can ?


(EDIT : just tried to turn it on again to take a picture of the Red Led and it just seemed worked, I didn't touch anything, but the system completely froze on the Win10 lock screen).


Anybody can help me with that please ?


I tested the RAM, it doesn't seem to be faulty.


2 months after that, in June 2023, I had the i7-11700k replaced with a new (same) one, and the motherboard changed to a MSI MAG Z590 TOMAHAWK WIFI.

Everything worked fine since then... until this morning November 1 2023.

I had the motherboard displaying the CPU Red led once, DRAM Orange led once, and it froze on BIOS instruction screen during boot once.


It booted after a few tries, and I am currently saving my files, I expect my PC to start failing again. Of all sources I checked, I haven't seen anyone that managed to fix that issue. It appears to happen on Z590 chipset motherboards mostly, but seeing how it disappeared for a long time after changing the CPU, it might come from it too.


Can anybody tell me where that issue comes from, and/or how to fix it please ?

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11 Replies
Super User

I had an Intel NUC system that acted very similar to this. It turned out to be the NVMe SSD that I was using.

Did you keep the same SSD throughout all of this testing?


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Hello, thank you for helping.


I was told that the NVMe SSD I had around April was acting strangely (had weird writing speed after somebody tested it). So I had installed the OS on my SATA SSD (Crucial MX500) and of course, took the NVMe off the computer, however the problem was still occuring.

Since then I sent that faulty NVMe back and got a new one, same brand and series, except this ones has a heatsink : Samsung 980 PRO MZ-V8P1T0CW.


Do you think I should try to remove it again ?

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Super User

Per article Samsung Issues Fix for Dying 980 Pro SSDs, have you upgraded the firmware on this drive?



Okay, so I read the article and downloaded the software for that storage system, it was apparently already up to date.

However I don't believe that specific definitive unlockable read-only mode on the NVMe is the source of the issue I am facing, because according to the article, when the drive fails, there is no going back. However 5% of the time, when I press the power button my system boots properly and is usable.

So unless my drives get in read-only mode by themselves for some reason on boot (which would be very funny, but would make sense seeing the random aspect of my problem), the problem should come from elsewhere, right ?

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Super User
Sorry, I wasn't implying that that was the specific issue, just my automatic response when I hear that SSD mentioned.
So, you've got an issue that would seem to result in what I think is either a PCIe or memory initialization issue. You've replaced the processor, changed (not just replaced) the motherboard and replaced the SSD. What you do next is start replacing the other components (namely graphics and memory) until you see the problem disappear.
For memory, you've stated that the the DIMMs were purchased in pairs. Test these pairs separately first, placing them in first primary and then secondary sockets for each channel. If this doesn't identify a culprit, test individual DIMMs next, trying them in each socket. BTW, in addition to just power-on test, use MemTest86 to test the memory thoroughly; I personally don't trust the Windows built-in test.
If you cannot identify a memory problem, this leaves the graphics card. Replace it next.
Hope this helps,

I am going to try each DIMMs, I had tried them by pairs, and ran a Memtest with no problem detected, but maybe the fact I got 2 pairs is probably causing the issue.

Good thing is all the components are less than 2 years old, same for the GPU, so I can still change them for not much (indeed, change, not replaced, sorry for that poor choice of word).


Thank you so much for these advices, I'll try to apply those !

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Hello @lethm


We sincerely appreciate your engagement within the Intel® communities and thank you for reaching out. We are fully committed to assisting you with your query. We would also like to extend our gratitude to @n_scott_pearson for their valuable contributions to our community.

In the present context, we are keen to ascertain whether the assistance provided by Scott has adequately addressed your issue or if you require any additional support.

Kindly inform us of your current status, and we will be more than willing to continue assisting you.

With best regards,

Isaac Q.

Intel Customer Support Technician

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So I tried each DIMM one by one, and the issue still randomly occured with every one of them.

I asked on another forum about the whole problem, and someone stated that the fact I have enabled XMP with my 3600 mHz could cause an instability in the system, since the i7-11700k's memory type on is said to be "DDR4 3200".


I still don't know if it is really that significant or not yet.

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Super User

So have you actually tried disabling XMP and running the tests again? I doubt that this will make a difference, but still, you never know.


I'll do that as soon as I have some time. Thanks for the tip.

Since we're talking about ut, does the memory type aspect matter this much ? Is it really bad that I go over 3200mHz with my RAM ?
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Super User

I don't think this overage is enough to make a difference, but, technically, this *is* a form of overclocking. The memory controllers in the processor are validated to handle the electrical noise when operating the memory buses at the warranted maximum speed over the course of the processor's expected lifetime. Remember that electrical noise increases with age. Operating the buses at higher frequencies increases thermals and increases electrical noise. As age occurs, this increased noise may become an issue.

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