Has anyone seen this happen before outside of a virus? I want to say that my computer isn't infected, but I'm a tech, I know there's no way to be 100% sure of that.
The computer seems to be fine most of the time, but once I start playing a game, in less than an hour (time varies), this will occur. All 8 cores will slowly crank up to 100% over the course of about 30 sec, locking up the computer completely once all of them have maxed out. There have been times that this has happened outside of a video game, but it usually takes several hours of normal computer usage (internet, videos, etc.) to get it to trigger.
I thought it might be a driver issue, but all of my drivers are up to date. I also tried several different video drivers in case it was driver mismatch of some kind.
I've googled the heck out of this question and haven't found anything useful thus far. Any help that isn't the obvious "reformat the hard drive" would be useful, since I want to make sure that this doesn't just happen again as soon as I reformat.
You may use the Task manager or Resource monitor to identify the process(es) keeping the processor busy. Disable unnecessary third party services (clean boot) and scan with an anti-malware/spyware program besides your default antivirus.