Dell Inspiron 531 shuts down while playing games

I have a 4 year old Dell Inspiron 531 that has been experiencing shut downs while playing games periodically over the past few years. Lately it's gotten to be every time I run any game or application that uses the video card. Within 10 minutes the entire computer turns off.

I was told by several people that I was getting shut downs because I had 2 gb of ram and needed more. Many games I was playing reccomended a minimum of 1 to 1.5 gb with Windows Vista so I upgraded to 4 gb. I was still experiencing shut downs.

A few months after the ram upgrade, I was told it had to be a power issue. I replaced the stock Dell power supply with a Corsair CX500 and added a second hard drive as storage for games. My computer is still shutting down.

At this point I think it may be the video card overheating based on running speed fan but I am hesitant to replace anything else at this point. The video card is running at 60 C when idle while the CPU is at 30-40 C. I really think it may be the video card. 60 C idle seems very high. Video card is a Nvidia Gforce 8600 GT that came with the computer.

general specs:
inspiron 531 motherboard
Hard drive 1: 250 gb drive that came with the computer
Hard drive 2: 500 gb Seagate drive
Ram: 4 gb (max motherboard can use)
power supply: corsair cx500
processor: AMD 64 X2 5000

I've been leaving the case open for air flow but it has no effect on the video card temps at all.

At this point I don't know what to replace. The video card itself? The fan on the card seems to be spinning but I don't know if the power supply or motherboard can handle a higher video card. Or is it the processor? Or something unrelated?
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  1. I am afraid you cannot replace your video card in that laptop, unless it's a MXM factor, but I highly doubt it is. You can also check that here.

    I used to have an Acer laptop with a 8600 GS in it, and boy, it ran hot. Idle and while under stress. There's a been a huge scandal a while back for those G84 and G86 chips, as all were deemed bad GPU chips, and you can follow that piece of news here.

    So... those temps are high when idle. And they get higher when playing. Not much in the way of help here, unless you can keep it cooler (a cooling pad will help you, but not much). Also try to blow the dust from the heatsink, blow some dry air into your laptop, if you get to open it up. But it will come back, the temps.

    The only advice I have for you now is to switch gaming to a desktop. I have been where you are for almost a year, and nothing helped much, sorry to break this out to you.
  2. It is a desk top computer not a laptop. Sorry that was not clear. I know there are inspiron laptops but this is a desk top computer.

    power supply:
  3. I am sorry, I assumed it was a laptop, as I had one with almost the same characteristics as your PC, it was only an Acer machine, although at some point you specified you replaced your PSU, my mistake.

    Your PSU should be enough for the system, unless it somehow doesn't perform up to standards. But just to make sure, you can check out this Power Supply Calculator.

    Make sure there is enough air flow for the GPU inside your case, also check for dust building up inside. And one more thing, you can check your motherboard and see if everything looks alright with Motherboard Monitor. And there is a high probability that your video card is dying on you as well...
  4. air flow is fine. i have the case open to let more air in. I do use compressed air to clean the dust out. I installed motherboard monitor but it's not showing any data at all so I am not sure if I did something wrong setting it up. The power supply calculator does not show my processor. The power supply is new. I just got it a week ago so hopefully no factory defects on it.
  5. I have a table top fan that we use on our night stand when it was hot. It was cold all summer so it hasn't been used. would it help to sit it in front of the case so more cool air was blowing on the video card?
  6. See if you can take that card to a compture tech and take a look at it, cause right now it sounds like it's the main culprit. Or maybe if you can install it in another PC and give it a go in there and also check the temps. But I would still advise you should have that card checked by a tech person.
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