Can't play my video games


I purchased my Dell Studio XPS 1640 in March of 2009. Generally speaking I only really play three games, Medieval2 and Empire Total War and Civilization 5. Although my computer did always get hot while playing the games, it never became an issue. Last week, I noticed that while I was playing Empire and Medieval games, the computer would shut down entirely (there would be a audible click noise and the computer would entirely shut down). I did some research and it all seemed to point towards an overheating issue so I replaced the Thermal Paste on my heat sink as well as bought a new cooling to place underneath the computer. After that I noticed a substantial decrease in the heat generated off of my computer. However, the games still would do that same thing after about 30 seconds of actual gameplay. I then saw a post saying it might be an issue with overtaxing the video card. I turned down the graphics quality on both games to the lowest they could possible go. This did seem to do something as I was able to play may games for about 20 minutes . However, the same issue came up again after that point and the computer would totally shut down. at this point, I am at a loss as to where to go next I have cleaned the fan, replaced the Thermal Paste, running the latest BIOS and drivers. I am willing to accept it could be an overheating issue, but I find it strange that this is now an issue where it has not been one for the past three years I also find it strange that it does not happen with Civ 5 when I play that game. I am currently running Windows 7 64 bit on the computer (though it originally came with 64 bit Vista) have an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3670, an Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU T9550 @ 2.66GHz, and 4 gb or ram. If anyone could point me in a direction I can try next I would be greatly in your debt as I do not know where to go next
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  1. I made sure to clean all of that out when I replaced the thermal paste on the heat sink. I do have heat monitoring software but the readings are saying that nothing ever gets above 70 C which to my knowledge is hot but not hot enough to cause automatic shutdowns to click in i also forgot to mentions I am running Direct X 11 if thats any help
  2. Well now I seemed to have fixed it by forcing the Video Card to not work by setting my power usage to maximize battery life. but it still seems weird to me that I am having this problem after three years of having the computer. Does this seem normal?
  3. Laptops can run hot especially when playing games. In my opinion, the graphics card has become damaged over time as a result of high temperatures.

    My recommendation would be to take your laptop apart and clean the inside of it as well as possible. Then you should clean off the thermal paste used on the heatsink that cools the CPU and GPU. Replace it with good thermal paste like IC Diamond or Arctic Silver 5. That should help bring down temps and may solve your issue somewhat, but just be aware that the GPU may be damaged in some limited capacity.
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