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Help - Unable to play games without crash

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 27, 2010 4:18:15 PM

Hello, I've had my computer just over two years now and as of yesterday I am unable to play games for more than about 2 minutes.

Each time I attempt to play one of my games (Bad Company 2, Dawn of War 2), after roughly 2 minutes, the display freezes and the image becomes blocky and a mess of colours. It then continues to flicker these improper blocks and colours intermittently around the screen. I am unable to do anything within the game during this time. However it is not a fatal crash as I am able, in some cases, to return to my desktop (ctrl + alt + delete). Though if I continue to use the computer without a restart all processes are exceptionally slow.

If I choose not to play any games on my computer the machine runs without fault; I can access the internet and watch films without the issue repeating.

I can assume this must be a hardware issue, however my knowledge of such things is lacking.

I’m appealing to anyone who might be able to offer any sort of insight into the problem and possibly offer any further advice.

All help in the matter would be much appreciated!

Operating System: Windows XP Home Edition (5.1, Build 2600) Service Pack 3 (2600.xpsp_sp3_gdr.100216-1514)
Processor: Intel(R) Pentium(R) Dual CPU E2180 @ 2.00GHz (2 CPUs)
DirectX Version: DirectX 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
DxDiag Version: 5.03.2600.5512 32bit Unicode
Card name: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT
Display Memory: 512.0 MB
a c 216 U Graphics card
September 27, 2010 4:23:09 PM

Two things come to mind, either a virus (not likely as you don't have issues outside games), or your card is over heating.

If the card is overheating, it could be the fan on it broke or clogged badly with dust bunnies, or it could be the thermal compound used for the heatsink wore down, or the thermal tape on the vram has gone bad.
a c 189 U Graphics card
September 27, 2010 4:23:34 PM

What is your PSU? brand? model?
Also, have you checked your card temps? It could be an overheating...
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a b U Graphics card
September 27, 2010 5:40:02 PM

lucio vichente said:
Hello, I've had my computer just over two years now and as of yesterday I am unable to play games for more than about 2 minutes.

Each time I attempt to play one of my games (Bad Company 2, Dawn of War 2), after roughly 2 minutes, the display freezes and the image becomes blocky and a mess of colours. It then continues to flicker these improper blocks and colours intermittently around the screen. I am unable to do anything within the game during this time. However it is not a fatal crash as I am able, in some cases, to return to my desktop (ctrl + alt + delete). Though if I continue to use the computer without a restart all processes are exceptionally slow.

If I choose not to play any games on my computer the machine runs without fault; I can access the internet and watch films without the issue repeating.

I can assume this must be a hardware issue, however my knowledge of such things is lacking.

I’m appealing to anyone who might be able to offer any sort of insight into the problem and possibly offer any further advice.

All help in the matter would be much appreciated!

Operating System: Windows XP Home Edition (5.1, Build 2600) Service Pack 3 (2600.xpsp_sp3_gdr.100216-1514)
Processor: Intel(R) Pentium(R) Dual CPU E2180 @ 2.00GHz (2 CPUs)
DirectX Version: DirectX 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
DxDiag Version: 5.03.2600.5512 32bit Unicode
Card name: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT
Display Memory: 512.0 MB


It could be PSU problems but with the blocky display I'd say your vid card is dying. Can you possibly install a freinds card of similar power to compare? Also like bystander says what are your temps when the screen goes blocky?
a b U Graphics card
September 27, 2010 5:47:14 PM

Yeah my first thought is a dying video card. That 8800 is a few years old now so I wouldn't be too shocked. Whether it's overheating or just dying is a better question.

I'd take the card out and check it for dust clogging. If you have some compressed air, I'd clean it out, maybe try it again.

Also download MSI Afterburner and check your GPU temperatures, see if they're abnormal during stress.

If there's no dust issue and no heat issue, I'd say that your GPU is definitely dying and it would be time to buy a new one.
a c 226 U Graphics card
September 27, 2010 5:59:17 PM

Classic dust fouling / overheating issue. Remove card and blow out w/ air can of air compressor .... common sense req'd ... Don't blow 150 psi in there :) 
a b U Graphics card
September 27, 2010 6:05:38 PM

LOL 150 psi, doubt he has a 6 gallon air compressor handy.

Funny story, when I was still in Desktop Support, we used a 3 gallon pancake compressor for dusting out PC's, worked really well!
a c 216 U Graphics card
September 27, 2010 6:08:32 PM

Even those 3 gallon pancake, or even 1.5 gallon pancake compressors can reach at least 130 psi.
a b U Graphics card
September 27, 2010 7:18:37 PM

Actually pancake, or other shop compressors can do a great job. Just make sure that is is properly maintained and no water has gotten into the tank. That would make a mess.
September 28, 2010 4:58:51 PM

Wow thanks for all the great replies and useful advice.

I've sprung the thing open and given the interior a much needed clean with the compressed air. I even removed the graphics card to give its heatsink and fan some special attention. All dust was removed, unfortunately it hasn't solved the problem. The manner of the crash has changed somewhat however, where it simply now cuts to a black screen.

I'll follow the advice given and check the temperatures during the crash before I post again.
!