Computer Freezes with Cycles Render, How to Identify Hardware Issue?

My computer is very stable and doesn’t normally have freezing issues. It’s been running solid for years. I recently wanted to start getting into Blender, but I haven’t been able to get Cycles to render without freezing the computer. If I use CPU rendering, it always freezes the entire computer (requiring a restart) immediately. Even the default cube freezes, and the freeze is within seconds of turning on cycles and changing the view-port to rendered. It also freezes when rendering via the command line with the CPU.

I’ve run Memtest for 12 hours with no errors. If I use GPU only rendering, Cycles works for a while (maybe even 20 minutes of work gets done) but it will freeze the computer at some random point, eventually too.

I thought it might be Blender software related, but the developers asked me to run a program called mprime that crunches prime numbers and that immediatly freezes my machine as well.

The hardware specs are:

Operating system: Linux Mint 19.1, Mate, 64 bit
Graphics card: GeForce GTX 760, 4096 MB, proprietary NVIDIA Driver Version: 410.93
CPU: AMD FX-8150 Eight-Core Processor, 3.6 Ghz
Motherboard: ASUSTeK M5A99FX PRO R2.0
RAM: 2x4GB (8gb total) Corsair DDR3, 1600, Memtested OK

So what is it that Cycles CPU rendering and Mprime are doing that every other program on my computer doesn’t do, since only Cycles or Mprime cause the freeze and the computer is perfectly stable otherwise?

It’s not the RAM, it’s not heat (heat would set off an alarm and also wouldn’t freeze immediately).

Is there some extra feature of the CPU that these programs use that “normal” programs don’t? Is there a way to test if this is a CPU or motherboard hardware issue, or a firmware/driver issue? Any suggestions appreciated. I’m running a recent version of the 2.8 Beta.

Keep on exploring! Gather more data.
So many similar issues, some resolved… Google search results for "Mprime cause the freeze"