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Chronic System Crash (only when playing games)

Last response: in Video Games
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October 5, 2009 9:22:59 PM

I am having a chronic system crash only when I play games with my laptop.

This is how it happens:

I start up a game I want to play, play it for around 5 minutes to 20 minutes and then it crashes. When it crashes, the screen instantly turns black (like it was turned off) and I hear a half-second sound fragment looping indefinitely until I turn it off.

I have tried to CTRL+ALT+DELETE, ALT+TAB, and ALT+F4 to try to get out of the program but my system is unresponsive to these after the crash.


The laptop I own is a Qosmio X305 Gaming Laptop
http://laptops.toshiba.com/laptops/qosmio/X305

The games I have had the crash happen to me are:

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Fallout 3
Combat Arms
World of Warcraft
Atlantica
Sid Meier's Civilization IV


The games I have not had the crash happen to me are (most are RTS games):

Red Alert 2: Yuri's Revenge
Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath
Warcraft III
Starcraft Broodwar
Diablo I
Diablo II


I have sent my computer to the Toshiba Repair Depot because of overheating problems (this was what I originally thought was causing the crash). I told them what was happening to my computer and they did fix the overheating problem.

A day or so after I got the system back from repairs I had the same exact crash reoccur and it has been reoccurring ever since.

I'm thinking that one of the components in my computer is damaged and that is why it is still crashing in this certain manner. I was wondering if anyone has any experience in a similar crash or has the knowledge to tell what component is damaged just by knowing the circumstances and the type of crash.

Other things that might be important to know:

1. My battery will lose charge even if it is plugged in and charging while playing games (only on High Performance mode).

2. Changing the battery to "Balanced" or "Power Saver" seems to delay the crash by a few minutes.

3. Running the game on lower setting seems to delay the crash by a few minutes.

4. Every time the computer crashes it happens exactly the same, every time.

5. This system was working perfectly fine for the first six months I owned it, this problem hasn't been happening since the purchase.
October 5, 2009 9:49:07 PM

The symptoms you're describing are EXACTLY what I was experiencing over the past few months: http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/page-267599_10_0.ht...

My problem was that my PSU couldn't support my graphics cards under full load - in my case due to me not connecting the wires the right way round, well the good news is that with a laptop that can't be the case with yours! :) 

Because the symptoms are so similar, I'd say the cause is likely to be the same, the PSU not being man enough to supply your GPU. As your hardware hasn't changed and you didn't have the problem previously, I'd say either:
- Your PSU is gradually failing due to age/stress/whatever. If it's under warranty I'd suggest sending it back to Toshiba to replace the PSU.
- or it could be your PSU overheating. Dumb question, when was the last time you sprayed out the heatsinks and exhausts with an air duster? I always forget to do my laptop, but it's always kept clean and away from large dust build ups. Even so, every six months when I remember and wave an air duster at the vents, LOADS of dust comes out and the laptop runs cooler afterwards. If you haven't got an air duster, a vacuum cleaner could do at a pinch, but an air duster is a must for longer term.

My adivse? Try blasting air into the intake and exhaust vents and see if that makes any difference. If it doesn't, I'd suggest getting the PSU checked/repaired/replaced as it definitely seems to be heading downhill from what you've said.

Good luck. :) 
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October 6, 2009 12:23:24 AM

Confused Stu said:
The symptoms you're describing are EXACTLY what I was experiencing over the past few months: http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/page-267599_10_0.ht...

My problem was that my PSU couldn't support my graphics cards under full load - in my case due to me not connecting the wires the right way round, well the good news is that with a laptop that can't be the case with yours! :) 

Because the symptoms are so similar, I'd say the cause is likely to be the same, the PSU not being man enough to supply your GPU. As your hardware hasn't changed and you didn't have the problem previously, I'd say either:
- Your PSU is gradually failing due to age/stress/whatever. If it's under warranty I'd suggest sending it back to Toshiba to replace the PSU.
- or it could be your PSU overheating. Dumb question, when was the last time you sprayed out the heatsinks and exhausts with an air duster? I always forget to do my laptop, but it's always kept clean and away from large dust build ups. Even so, every six months when I remember and wave an air duster at the vents, LOADS of dust comes out and the laptop runs cooler afterwards. If you haven't got an air duster, a vacuum cleaner could do at a pinch, but an air duster is a must for longer term.

My adivse? Try blasting air into the intake and exhaust vents and see if that makes any difference. If it doesn't, I'd suggest getting the PSU checked/repaired/replaced as it definitely seems to be heading downhill from what you've said.

Good luck. :) 


First I want to say thank you for the quick reply (I thought I was going to have to wait a few days).

Everything you say makes sense, I never thought that the PSU "wearing down" would cause other components to not run 100%, I never really thought that much into it. Thanks for bringing that to light for me, it is definitely something I will look into now.

It was cleaned when it was sent in for its first repair (last month). I originally sent it in because it was hitting really high internal temperatures and I thought that was causing the crashes (dirty heat sink and cooling fans).

I have a feeling I've made my PSU age pretty quickly with my marathon charge sessions on High Performance mode. I just hope I wasn't damaging my GPU by letting it run without sufficient power.

If the PSU is not supplying enough power to the GPU would that cause damage to the GPU? I've had a lot of crashes and I'm wondering if I was damaging my GPU by playing to the point of crashing.
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