Why does my brand new gaming PC keep freezing?

If you recently bought or built a new gaming PC and are experiencing random freezes, crashes, or blue screen errors, you’re not alone. Getting a new PC up and running smoothly can be frustrating, but there are several potential causes and solutions to try.

Quick Answers

Here are some quick potential answers to why a new gaming PC might be freezing or crashing:

  • Faulty hardware component – One part like the GPU, RAM, or hard drive could be defective and causing crashes.
  • Software conflicts – Incompatible drivers, programs, Windows updates or BIOS settings could be clashing.
  • Overheating – The CPU or GPU overheating can cause freezes or shutdowns.
  • Insufficient power supply – A weak or faulty PSU can cause crashes under heavy loads.
  • BIOS settings – Outdated or misconfigured BIOS settings can lead to boot or stability issues.

Troubleshooting Steps

Here are some steps you can try to troubleshoot and fix random crashes or freezes on a new gaming PC:

1. Update Drivers and Windows

Outdated drivers are a common cause of crashes and conflicts. Use a tool like Driver Booster to update all your system drivers to the latest stable versions. Also check Windows Update and install the latest Windows patches and fixes.

2. Check CPU and GPU Temperatures

Excessive heat can make components and systems unstable. Monitor your CPU and GPU core temps with a system monitor tool while gaming or running intensive applications. If temperatures exceed 85-90°C, then improper cooling could be causing crashes.

3. Test and Replace Hardware Components

Faulty components like RAM, GPUs, hard drives etc are a leading culprit for random PC crashes. Try testing components individually with tools like MemTest86+ for RAM and Furmark for the GPU. If you have spare parts available, replace components one at a time until the issue is fixed.

4. Reseat Components and Reconnect Cables

Loose connections from components being improperly seated or cables being loose can cause boot failures or crashes. Open up your case and firmly reseat the RAM, GPU, any PCIe cards and data cables connected to the motherboard and PSU.

5. Check for BIOS Updates

An outdated motherboard BIOS can have compatibility bugs and issues that are fixed in newer releases. Check the manufacturer website for the latest BIOS update for your model and install if available. Read all instructions carefully before updating.

6. Scan for Malware

Viruses, spyware and malware can sometimes cause havoc with system files and settings leading to crashes. Run a deep virus scan with your installed antivirus software or use a dedicated scanner tool like Malwarebytes to check for and remove malicious programs.

7. Reinstall Graphics Drivers

Display driver conflicts are a very common source of crashes in gaming PCs. Use DDU (Display Driver Uninstaller) to fully uninstall and wipe your current graphics drivers. Then download fresh drivers directly from Nvidia or AMD and do a clean install.

8. Stress Test Hardware

Tools like Prime95 for CPU and Furmark for GPU allow you to stress test components individually to check for faults or cooling issues under heavy loads. Run these overnight to help identify any component that could be defective or prone to overheating.

9. Check Power Supply

Make sure your power supply can provide enough stable power for your complete system configuration under load. Use a PSU calculator and aim for at least a 100-150W buffer for a high-end gaming PC. Test with another PSU if possible.

10. Reset BIOS Settings

Improperly configured or buggy BIOS settings can sometimes cause boot and system stability issues. Reset BIOS settings to default and only make minimal adjustments as needed for performance or compatibility.

Common Causes

Now that we’ve covered some troubleshooting steps, let’s take a closer look at the most frequent reasons for crashes and freezing on a new gaming PC:

Insufficient or Faulty Power Supply

The PSU is one of the most overlooked causes of system instability. A weak power supply can crash under heavy gaming loads with power spikes. A faulty PSU can deliver unstable power or voltages outside ATX specifications. Always choose a PSU from a trusted brand with at least 100-150W overhead.

Overheating Components

Modern gaming PCs generate a lot of heat. CPUs and GPUs reaching temperatures over 90°C can definitely cause crashes, reboots or freezes. Check cooling performance and fan speeds. Consider reapplying thermal paste between the CPU and cooler. Improve case airflow and ensure sufficient system fans.

Driver Conflicts and Issues

Conflicts between different drivers, or driver bugs and incompatibilities are probably the #1 cause of gaming PC crashes. Keeping your BIOS, chipset, GPU, storage and other drivers up-to-date is crucial for stability. Be very cautious when installing new drivers or upgrading operating systems.

Defective Hardware

It’s always possible you received a faulty component right out of the box. Some parts like memory chips are prone to random errors under heavy loads that may manifest as crashes. Test components individually or swap in spares to isolate any defective parts.

BIOS Configuration Issues

An incorrectly configured BIOS can prevent boots or introduce instability in your gaming rig. Reset BIOS settings to default, and make only essential tweaks like enabling XMP for RAM overclocking. Incompatible BIOS settings like incorrect voltages can damage components.

Insufficient RAM

Gaming PCs with only 8GB of RAM can sometimes crash or freeze, especially when running heavy games or having multiple programs open. Upgrade to at least 16GB for smooth performance in modern games. Make sure to install RAM sticks in dual channel mode.

Unstable CPU or Memory Overclock

Overclocking increases performance but reduces system stability if not done properly. Too much additional voltage or clock speed on a CPU/RAM overclock will lead to crashes under load. Stress test overclocks and increase conservatively in small increments.

Prevention Tips

Here are some good practices you can follow to help avoid or minimize crashes and instability on a new gaming PC build:

  • Choose quality components from reputable brands to minimize DOA parts.
  • Make sure the PSU provides adequate wattage and efficiency for your specific hardware.
  • Enable XMP profile in BIOS for RAM instead of manually overclocking.
  • Keep BIOS updated and only change necessary settings like boot order.
  • Use metal motherboard standoffs and routinely check for loose connections.
  • Maintain positive case air pressure and unrestricted airflow across components.
  • Limit overclocking on CPU and GPU to modest levels that are confirmed stable through stress testing.
  • Keep graphics drivers and Windows fully updated, and don’t fix what isn’t broken.
  • Use two separate PCIe power cables, not splitters, for power hungry GPUs.
  • Add a dedicated fan controller to properly balance all case fans and airflow.

When to Call for Service

If you’ve methodically tried the troubleshooting steps outlined above and crashes or freezes still persist, it may be time to seek professional assistance.

Continuing to use an unstable PC can corrupt the operating system, cause file loss, and even damage components in some cases. Prolonged excessive heat also reduces the lifespan of electronics.

A computer repair technician can isolate faulty hardware, identify BIOS issues, perform component stress testing, diagnose driver and software problems, and help restore your system to full working order.

The advantage with professional PC service is specialized diagnostic tools, spare parts availability, microsoldering capability, and the skill and experience to quickly resolve problems you may struggle with on your own.

However, reputable and competent techs don’t come cheap. Expect to pay anywhere from $50 – $150 per hour depending on where you live and their skill level. You can also ship your PC to a service depot, but that takes time.

When to Do Further Troubleshooting

Before shelling out money and handing your gaming rig off for repair, it’s smart to conduct some further self-troubleshooting when:

  • Crashes or freezes only seem to happen during gaming or under heavy system loads.
  • Issues are intermittent and temporary, with your PC sometimes running normally.
  • You haven’t yet tested components like the PSU or RAM with spares.
  • You notice the CPU or GPU getting excessively hot right before crashes.
  • Problems started suddenly after a driver update, Windows update or new component installation.
  • Issues occur randomly and don’t seem tied to any specific trigger or program.

In scenarios like these, it’s likely you’re experiencing software conflicts or component overheating issues that may be fixable on your own with enough patience and testing.

When to Consider an RMA

If after extensive troubleshooting you end up with a crash or freeze prone system, it may be time to return components and replace potentially defective parts.

Most computer components come with at least a 1-3 year manufacturer warranty or RMA policy. Take advantage of this as needed, especially if problems started right out of the box or followed soon after installation.

Good candidates for an RMA or replacement include:

  • CPU or GPU overheating persistently under load despite adequate cooling.
  • RAM showing errors during extended MemTest86+ testing.
  • PSU that is unable to provide stable power under stress testing.
  • Primary SSD or HDD displaying excessive bad sectors.
  • GPU artifacting or failing dedicated stress tests like FurMark.
  • Motherboard showing obvious signs of physical damage or component issues.

RMAing multiple components can be time consuming, but necessary if you want a fully stable system. Work methodically to identify each faulty part, and don’t risk further damage by continuing to use them.

When to Do a Clean OS Install

If you can’t pinpoint hardware defects, the cause of crashes may lie with your Windows installation and drivers.

A clean OS reinstall should always be one of the first solutions attempted to fix any PC issues. It eliminates software variables and driver conflicts.

Reinstall Windows if you experience freezes or BSODs right out of the box before installing programs. Also consider reinstalling if:

  • You upgraded an existing PC with new components.
  • Problems started after a major Windows update or new driver installation.
  • Crashing still happens after swapping out faulty hardware.
  • OS and programs were migrated from old drive using cloning software.
  • Virus scan found major threats that were cleaned.

Backup important data, format the boot drive, delete all partitions, and perform a clean Windows install from scratch. Only install essential drivers at first. If BSODs are fixed, start adding back programs one by one.


Random crashes and freezing on a new gaming PC can be frustrating, but are rarely caused by a single issue alone. With consistent troubleshooting and process of elimination, the offending component(s) or software conflicts can usually be identified and resolved.

Work through fundamental solutions like driver updates, hardware testing, and OS reinstallation first before seeking advanced technical help. Don’t rush into expensive repairs or replacements before isolating the root cause.

With patience and diligence, you can get your gaming system running smoothly and stable. But if problems persist after you’ve exhausted software fixes and component swaps, then professional PC repair may be your best option in the end.