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Dell laptop freeze while gaming

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April 4, 2012 6:03:58 PM

I have had my XPS for about 5 months and I have had some problems with it when trying to play games on it.

On many game such as Dead Island, Crysis, Command and Conquer Zero Hour, Killing Floor, Garrys Mod, Homeword 2 and maybe some others. My system will usually play them without any problems for a while, and then, seemingly at random, the screen will freeze(not go black, just freezes), and the audio will stutter on what sounds like a 0.1 second loop. This sometimes continues uninterrupted and also sometimes the screen will resume moving for about a half of a second, but then freeze again and the audio will start playing the game music as if nothing happened.


It never recovers however. If I try to go to task manager and end the process, then my computer will lock up and require a hard restart.

Sometimes it happens right when I start playing the games and sometimes I can play for an hour or two.

One interesting thing though. My laptop never freezes on Runescape, IL Sturmovic 1946, and Dead Rising 2(DR2 is very graphically intensive).

This has been happening for about 3 months. This did not happen when I first got my computer.

My specs:

Dell XPS L502X
Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit.

NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M 2gb.

Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2630QM CPU @ 2.00GHz(with turbo up to 2.90).

RAM, 8gb.

If you need anymore info then tell me.
April 4, 2012 6:59:23 PM

Going to be a tricky one, only because you say you have 2 "heavy" games that seem to run OK.

I would try to troubleshoot, in this order; driver issues, heat, RAM problems, GPU or CPU problems.

Make sure you have the latest GPU drivers from Dell, as well as any other major drivers that might have automatically updated when the problems started.

To troubleshoot heat is to make sure the laptop is vented well (meaning: don't play on your bed, couch, or lap - play on a hard surface with no other items closely around). If you're already doing this, you can vent more by taking a desk fan or alike and point it towards the laptop. Or, you can raise the laptop so that there is a gap under the middle of the laptop (two books on either edge)and use the laptop with an external keyboard and mouse, ideally complement this with a fan too.

If heat isn't the issue, I would then test RAM via memtest. This test can take a couple/several passes (hours) to fully snuff out a RAM problem. Free download of a bootable ISO you can burn for the test.

If GPU or CPU, it's not going to be fun or easy to test. So I will stop with the above 2 in hopes we can keep it simple. :) 
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April 12, 2012 8:56:48 PM

Well, by lowering my GPU clock speed slightly, I have stopped it from freezing.
I'm almost positive that it was not a heat issue.
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April 13, 2012 9:19:05 AM

Well a fix is a fix... if it's working and you're happy, then so be it. :) 
But I would actually say heat is an issue. Maybe the remedial tricks I stated above aren't going to help, but if one could cool the GPU more I bet you could leave the clock higher. (Example, how water cooling helps components overclock further than air cooling).
However, if you were overclocking in the first place... well, get a desktop. :-p
Again, if it's working now, and you're happy with the performance, sounds like all is well.
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October 17, 2013 6:05:04 AM

psaus said:
Well a fix is a fix... if it's working and you're happy, then so be it. :) 
But I would actually say heat is an issue. Maybe the remedial tricks I stated above aren't going to help, but if one could cool the GPU more I bet you could leave the clock higher. (Example, how water cooling helps components overclock further than air cooling).
However, if you were overclocking in the first place... well, get a desktop. :-p
Again, if it's working now, and you're happy with the performance, sounds like all is well.


I realize this thread is dead, but I just wanted to say that I have identical problems to jodupher and I have not overclocked (and the biggest suggestion for fixing the issue is to reduce power settings to 80-90%). Sounds more like a combination of reaching the "ceiling" cooling capability of laptops AND flaws in component design (one guy fixed it by re-soldering his components with a higher-quality electronics-grade solder that cooled more efficiently than the one used in the components).
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October 17, 2013 11:48:00 AM

CharlesHutch said:
psaus said:
Well a fix is a fix... if it's working and you're happy, then so be it. :) 
But I would actually say heat is an issue. Maybe the remedial tricks I stated above aren't going to help, but if one could cool the GPU more I bet you could leave the clock higher. (Example, how water cooling helps components overclock further than air cooling).
However, if you were overclocking in the first place... well, get a desktop. :-p
Again, if it's working now, and you're happy with the performance, sounds like all is well.


I realize this thread is dead, but I just wanted to say that I have identical problems to jodupher and I have not overclocked (and the biggest suggestion for fixing the issue is to reduce power settings to 80-90%). Sounds more like a combination of reaching the "ceiling" cooling capability of laptops AND flaws in component design (one guy fixed it by re-soldering his components with a higher-quality electronics-grade solder that cooled more efficiently than the one used in the components).


Please start a new thread in the laptop forum rather than bump one that's a year old.
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