If older PATA drives were set to PIO instead of DMA mode, PC performance would seriously suffer because of the change, usually due to the OS attempting to read a badly scratched disk in an optical drive, so the OS would downgrade the -hard drive- xfer mode from UDMAn all the way down to PIO mode, at which point the user complained of their PC freezing all the time.
Since you have a SATA drive, you could check the event log to ensure you don't have any disk read/write or IO errors. If you do, you have a bad drive.
If you don't have a bad drive, then you could check to see if write-caching is enabled on the drive (Device Manager, Disk Drive, Policies).
Also check to see if write-cache buffer flushing is DISabled. This 2nd option is a bit dangerous but if you're not always having power outages you should be okay.
The first option above would affect performance more though.
You can also check to confirm in the BIOS settings that the SATA interface is set for AHCI (1st choice, NCQ, TRIM, no RAID overhead), or RAID (2nd choice, a bit slower, and TRIM USUALLY not supported for SSD's ), instead of IDE (slowest). Changing the SATA setting though, AFTER the OS has been installed will usually get you a blue screen. i've seen instructions on how to update the OS/drivers/registry to change SATA modes w/o a re-install, but I personally haven't successfully attempted that. If I see a SATA drive installed and the BIOS set for IDE or RAID, I just re-install after backing whatever data I need, and then changing the BIOS setting.
I'd still want to run Procexp (Sysinternals Process Explorer) just to see if there was something that was hogging CPU cycles. Some anti-virus programs are notorious for causing freezes due to hogging 90%+ of the CPU for several minutes while performing 'updates' or 'scans'. You could have something installed that is corrupt and causing your issue. You may be able to see it in Procexp. You could also use Procmon, and I'd almost guarantee you could find the culprit, but describing the use of Procmon would be as some might say, beyond the scope of this short post.