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Laptop locks Up while playing games

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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March 12, 2009 12:36:04 PM

Hi,

I hope you guys can help me. I have a Gateway P-7811FX and I've got a frustrating issue: it locks up during games.

Here are some quick facts: I've reinstalled various versions of vista and XP with no luck. HDD passes tests. RAM passes tests, and the gfx card passes stress tests. I've also tried various drivers to no avail. Its also not a heat issue, I've watched the temps and i've seen it lock up when the GPU was at 60C as well as 49C!

Here is the problem: When I play games, for example WAR, within 5-15 min I have a complete system lockup; no BSOD, just a pure lock up.

After trying various things, I've learned that I can play the games just fine on AC w/o a usb mouse and I have no issues. As soon as I play using a mouse, I lock up in 5-15 min. I've tried three different mice, various brands, and they all cause it to lock up.

He is the kicker: If I play with the laptop on battery alone, (set to max performance, just like on AC) I can use a mouse and never lock up.

Since the battery can provide more power than the lame AC brick that my laptop came with (it doesn't state the watts, but i'm assuming is either 90 or 120) is this just an issue where the laptop needs more power than the what the brick is providing? Or is this a more serious problem?
a b D Laptop
March 12, 2009 5:14:31 PM

Your PSU may not list it's wattage, but you can calculate it by the following equation:

Power=Voltage*Amperidge

Where power is in watts, voltage is in volts (duh), and Ampridge is in amps (double-duh).

It doesn't sound so much like a power problem..but you can test this! Find another USB device that (in the best scenario) will use more power than a mouse. Plug that in instead of the mouse, see if it locks up. Also, try using all different USB ports possible.

I would guess that there's a bug in your USB driver and/or there's a fault in wiring/contact somewhere.

Just to be sure, check your CPU temps.
March 12, 2009 5:48:10 PM

Thanks for the reply! The challenge is going to be finding something that can operate during 3d games, as thats the only time as usb mouse causes my pc to lock up.

If I don't use a mouse in games, i don't lock up, and i can even have my usb powered notebook cooler running on full blast. But plug in that mouse in game and it locks up immediately. plug in a mouse and then start a game and its total system lock up within 15 min.

When I'm not playing games, i can use mice, external HDD's etc, and never lock up. Even watching movies from my HDD while using the mouse doesn't cause issues.

Any ideas what I could use? I'm tempted to buy a targus 180w, but I can only find them online now, and if thats not the problem, return shipping will be costly if it doesn't fix the issue.
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a b D Laptop
March 12, 2009 6:26:31 PM

Try writing a lot of files to an external HDD and fire up a game. Maybe try the same thing with a flash drive at the same time.
March 13, 2009 2:24:54 AM

Well, I did what you suggested, Frozen, and this is what happened. BTW, looks like its a 120 or 130W brick.

First, after doing another fresh Ultimate 64 install, I tried the mouse again while in-game. Locked up in about 10-15 min after starting the game. Hard reboot.

Next I placed an external HDD and a 16 GB flash drive (NTFS), and started to transfer 10GB from one to the other. Then I started WAR. Went about my business and when I came back, it had locked up. I'm not sure how long it ran, at least 15 min (it logged me out due to inactivity before it froze) but no more than 25 or so. Hard reboot.

Looking at the thumb drive, about 7.4GB of the 10GB transfered over before the lock up. As I did many times before, I'm pretty sure I could have played the game using a usb notebook cooler and the touchpad w/o incident.

So, there is definitely an issue when I have USB devices that are using various levels of power. Here is the dilemma though: I only have until the 20th or so to send this back for another computer before the replacement warranty expires. Again, outside of games it works fine with USB devices, which makes me think its just trying to pull more power than what is available when I push it to its limits, especially since it doesn't have this issue on battery power alone.

So, should I order a 180W brick off amazon, 1-day it to me for monday, test it out and see what happens (sending both back if it doesn't work)? Or should I say screw it, send the gateway back, and hope that the whatever refurb they will probably send me works as intended?
a b D Laptop
March 13, 2009 3:00:20 AM

If it's in warranty, I'd send it back. If they don't fix it, you're entitled to an extended warranty or a new computer, most likely.
March 13, 2009 12:19:18 PM

I think i'm going to take a chance and test out a 180W power supply. I should still have enough time to send it in for a replacement afterwards.
a b D Laptop
March 13, 2009 9:33:55 PM

I'm doubting its a PSU issue, but if it was, I wouldn't go out and get a 180W PSU. You might fry your machine.


Find the electrical usage of the devices on the USB bus in watts and add that to your notebook power output from the PSU. That should be the wattage PSU to buy, if you really think you need one.
June 15, 2010 10:59:07 AM

I have been having the same problem as many people here since the day I bought this computer. Lock up and sound loop, only way to restart computer is to force restart by holding power button. I put AS5 on GPU and CPU and cleaned a huge dust elephant out of my case. With my laptop running 15 degrees cooler I was still encountering the lock ups with about the same frequency. Tried every driver known to man. I had read a post that recommended Underclocking the GPU with RivaTuner but I could not get Rivatuner to keep my settings. Someone posted this link on a different blog and this is a confirmed fix for the lockup issue, I am reposting this on every 7811FX board that I have bookmarked over the past year trying to fix this stupid problem

Confirmed fix for Gateway 7811FX screen lock up and sound loop:

http://forum.notebookreview.com/5404773-post36.html

PS, if you need to crack your laptop open and thoroughly clean the dust from the GPU (highly recommended) this was an EXCELLENT guide:

http://www.mediafire.com/?mzmzrfkhjmz

Once you get the laptop cleaned out, blow both the CPU and the GPU vents at least once a week with compressed air. Once a dust clog builds up in the GPU area, you have to tear the whole thing down just to get the GPU properly cleaned and it's about an hour process even knowing what you are doing.
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