Computer kind of crashes when video card under heavy load

I have a MSI TwinFrozr GTX260 video card. Under a heavy load, the card hits 75-80 degrees, which if I understand correctly isn't anything to be worried about (especially since the TwinFrozr is an overclocked card out of the box, and I should expect slightly high temperatures from it). When it starts to get up to these temperatures, though, I start to experience pseudo-crashes. Specifically, the game I'm playing freezes, but if I hit ctrl-alt-del, then escape, the game is back for normal for a couple minutes.

Is this just a case of the card running too hot, and if so, should I exchange the card? It already has a really good stock fan on it, so there's not a whole lot I could add to it in terms of cooling. Or is the crashing unrelated to the temperature? I'm running the latest drivers and am experiencing the crash in multiple games (Batman, Crysis 2, Risen), and only when the temperature starts to his the mid-70s.
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More about computer kind crashes video card heavy load
  1. What is the make and model number of the power supply unit?

    What are the other components in the system?
  2. Why does everyone immediately blame the video card? Putting these new video cards into an existing system is like dropping a V8 into a car that comes with a 4 cylinder engine.

    When you crash out of a game consistently, you need to examine the CPU temp, the GPU temp and ensure they are fine. Then you need to test your systems under load.

    A majority of the time it is either temperature issues in the system caused by the video card, or the power supply not delivering the needed power. The trick is to find it.
  3. The reason I immediately blamed the video card is I regularly put my computer under huge amounts of stress -- lots of long After Effects renders, in which case every core is firing at 100% for hours on end. I'm also pretty sure I have more than enough power for my setup.

    CPU idles at ~30, peaks around ~60 under a heavy load.

    Here's my full setup:

    PSU: Corsair TX750W
    CPU: Intel i5 750 LGA1156 2.66
    MB: Gigabyte P55A-UD3P
    RAM: OCZ OCZ3G1333LV8GK (2x4gb + 2x2gb)
    GPU: MSI GeForce GTX 260 Twin Frozr OC
    HDD: WD 250gb, WB Caviar Black 1tb
  4. Tested again this evening -- the loss in stability seems to happen around the time the fans speed up on the video card. When it gets to the low 70s, I can hear the fans speed up a lot, and shortly thereafter things start to become unstable. To date, no program has ever crashed outright, and there's been no artifacting or anything like that. The image just freezes, with music continuing (but no input getting through -- sound stops) only to recover after ctrl+alt+del followed by escape. Also, after I come back from the ctrl+alt+del screen, the game has usually paused itself.

    Does anyone have any thoughts?
  5. adjust fanspeed profile with msi afterburner or something if you think its the problem. otherwise run memtest86+ run hdd diagnostics
  6. I've run memtest86+ and done HDD diagnostics recently, no errors.
  7. I changed the fan speed curve on my card to jump up to 100% much earlier -- it didn't seem to have a huge effect on the heat (still peaked around the same temps, thought it may have slowed down the heat-up just a bit), but I still run into the same half-freeze problem.

    Does anyone have any ideas? To recap:
    When my video card hits ~75 degrees (which is where it tends to peak), the game I'm playing freezes
    Hitting ctrl+alt+del followed by escape makes the game go back to normal, usually in a paused state
    I've run memtest86+ and tested my hard drive for problems, everything comes up clean
    I regularly do very intensive video renders on my computer, using all cores and all my memory for hours on end without issue
    I've adjusted the fan speed on my video card to kick in earlier to try to keep temperatures down, but it doesn't seem to have much of an effect on temperature (though it certainly makes my computer louder)
    Does this sound like a video card defect? Since it's still under warranty, should I look into getting it replaced?
  8. Does anyone know how else I should be testing, or if I should RMA the video card? In the meantime, my only solution has been to stick to games that keep the card from going over 70.
  9. I have an EVGA GTS250 - same deal for me - 75 degrees .. boom game starts hiccupping or slowing down and I will get a crash to the desktop.

    I've tried two different nVidia video cards - same issue. Tried a higher end ATI card from a friend of mine and problem went away.

    Just starting to get serious about the testing however. I am going to run a 24 hour+ memtest scan .. the longer scans can show more. Then I think I need to monitor the voltage and see if anything is happening there.
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