System hard freezes with the AMD FX-8350

As an update to my post here, I observed seemingly random freezes on my system upgraded with the AMD FX-8350. The behaviour encountered was a total freeze of the desktop environment, no response to local keyboard nor mouse, no response to attempting to launch a virtual console, no reponse to pings over the network, and no ability to log in remotely. The only way to restore system operation was to perform a hard reset. Interestingly I could also consistently crash the system running a GraphicsMagick benchmark. Additionally, the freezes were OS-agnostic, occurring under both OpenIndiana and Ubuntu Linux.

Looking around online you can find several posts from folks on AMD Bulldozer rigs with very similar issues (such as detailed here), including a few from people who have rather alarmingly downgraded to a Phenom or Intel CPU as a “fix”, after having received advice to alternately update the motherboard BIOS, faff around with multiple BIOS settings, test and replace the RAM, power supply and hard disk, RMA-ing the new CPU (!?), and on and on and on. Most of this didn’t really add up, and similarly my problems were encountered on a system that was hitherto generally stable using an older-generation CPU (the Phenom II X6 in my case).

To cut a long story short, this quite simply turned out to be the motherboard not stably supporting the FX-8350. Although the ASRock 870iCafe 2.0 is an AM3+ compatible part and advertised as being “8 Core Ready” (to the point of specifically claiming compatibility with the FX-8350), the reality is that the latest BIOS release was in December of 2011 – a major red flag. After upgrading my motherboard to a Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 with the recent F9 BIOS, the system is now stable. And yes, this is using the original PSU, RAM, graphics card etc.

For the OpenIndiana readers, the GA-990FXA-UD3 works fine, although don’t expect USB3.0 support:

Gigabyte GA-990FX-UD3 driver support on OpenIndiana


11 thoughts on “System hard freezes with the AMD FX-8350

  1. Pingback: AMD “Piledriver” FX-8350 on OpenIndiana « Dave Koelmeyer

  2. Tom

    Were you able to get the Gigabyte board with the F9 BIOS update preisntalled? Without the update it will not post, I’ve heard. I am thinking of getting a Sempron just to update the motherboard BIOS for the Vishera when I get it. I feel kinda stupid, but you gotta do what you gotta do, I suppose.

    1. davekoelmeyer Post author

      Thanks for commenting 🙂 No, but the motherboard as purchased had a BIOS revision earlier than F9 (I didn’t note which however), and the computer POSTed and booted fine with the FX-8350 installed. I updated it to F9 to be certain. I should think that if you go to a good vendor they should be able to help you out and update the BIOS at the store, rather than having to purchase a cheap CPU simply to do this yourself.

      1. Tom

        Thank you for the post! It is nice to hear that it got far enough to let you QFlash. I’ll see how it goes in January when I build the beast. I too will be using it as a Linux machine. So many cores makes for a nice experience in OpenMP applications. Should be great, and I’m glad you got yours going so well!

  3. cnxsoft

    If some prefer a cheaper motherboard with FX8350, I’ve just bought a custom system with Gigabyte GA-970A-D3 PCB revision 1.4 (previous PCB revisions won’t work), and Ubuntu 12.04 works just fine.

  4. Lunar Marshall

    did changing the board really fixed it cause i have the same issues on my 990fx extreme 4 and even if it’s newer than the 3 it’s clear that asrock doesn’t really care to upgrade it any time soon

  5. Tyler

    So I have the MoBo you recommended switching to and it’s BIOS is currently flashed to F9. Exact same CPU as you and I’m constantly plagued with these freezes still. Any ideas? I’m grasping at straws trying to figure out a solution. I’ve dumped 100’s of hours into trying to figure this thing out

    1. Dave Koelmeyer Post author

      Hmm, sadly no. I’m not an expert when it comes to system building, so I can only suggest checking for the obvious stuff (cooling, test your RAM, eliminate any driver weirdness) – which I’m sure you already have. In three years the system has been completely stable for me, so seeing as we’re using both the same CPU and motherboard it might point to a component in your case. Let me know if there’s any information I can provide which might help you.

      (EDIT: this system also runs 24/7.)


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