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I'm running Linux Mint 15, and my machine is spontaneously rebooting. It appears to happen when the computer is under load. Normal use doesn't seem to cause it, but I'm trying to create a windows vm and I can't make it through the install, because the host keeps crashing. This is what my syslog looks like right before/after a crash.

Can anyone help me decipher this? FYI Cerebro is the hostname.

Dec 21 23:18:33 Cerebro kernel: [    6.294603] [Hardware Error]: MC4 Error (node 0): Protocol error (link, L3, probe filter).
Dec 21 23:18:33 Cerebro kernel: [    6.294606] [Hardware Error]: Error Status: System Fatal error.
Dec 21 23:18:33 Cerebro kernel: [    6.294608] [Hardware Error]: CPU:0 (15:2:0) MC4_STATUS[Over|UE|MiscV|PCC|-|-|-]: 0xfa000000000b0c0f
Dec 21 23:18:33 Cerebro kernel: [    6.294610] [Hardware Error]: cache level: L3/GEN, mem/io: GEN, mem-tx: GEN, part-proc: OBS (no timeout)
Dec 21 23:23:18 Cerebro kernel: [  301.422760] mce: [Hardware Error]: Machine check events logged

2 Answers 2

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That is a machine check exception -- a hardware fault in your CPU. Specifically your log mentions the L3 cache, which is a cache shared across your CPU cores between the L2 cache and main memory.

I don't have experience decoding the exceptions but this wikipedia artice has a section on decoders you can use.

The value you want to decode is 0xfa000000000b0c0f using one of the utilities in the linked article e.g. mcelog --ascii.

If you are overclocking your computer my first advice would be to go back to stock timings and frequencies and see if stability returns.

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  • I second what Casey said : hardware problem seemingly linked to your cpu. Maybe you could try to disable cache on the cpu from the bios (if this option Is available on the particular version of your motherboard's bios)? Which software are you using to run a virtual machine on this pc? Maybe there's an option in it to specify on which core you could run the vm (assuming your cpu is multicore).
    – haken29a
    Commented Dec 22, 2013 at 17:45
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I also got the same problem on Ubuntu 14.04:

[Hardware Error]: MC4 Error (node 0): Protocol error (link, L3, probe filter).
[Hardware Error]: Error Status: System Fatal error.
[Hardware Error]: CPU:0 (15:2:0) MC4_STATUS[Over|UE|MiscV|PCC|-|-|-]: 0xfa000010000b0c0f
[Hardware Error]: cache level: L3/GEN, mem/io: GEN, mem-tx: GEN, part-proc: OBS (no timeout)

..While running a VirtualBox vm under load. The machine had a cheap motherboard and a high TDP processor and I've since changed the motherboard to a more higher quality version that provides enough power to the CPU (the same hw error hasn't occurred with the new motherboard).

So I'd suggest checking that the motherboard and PSU are up to spec.

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