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Constant BSOD No Matter What Game I Play

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 13, 2013 2:39:55 PM

Wow, where to start. Okay, so I have a Dell XPS 15 (L502x, 2010 version). I've owned this computer for 3 years now, and it's served me well, up until a few months ago. Now I've had problems with this laptop before, like how my battery is can only charge to 10% of it's original capacity. But, I've been able to live with that; that's not why I'm here. A while ago I wanted to boot from an .iso file. Unfortunately I didn't know that it isn't possible to boot from a virtual drive. (Newbie mistake!) An error screen popped up when I tried, saying that there was nothing to boot from in this drive. Then it said something like "Finding Mac Addr." I really did not want to know what that meant, so I did a hard reboot. That's when my problems started.

Afterwards my computer was unbelievably slow, to the point of ridiculousness. But strangely, everytime I rebooted it got faster, until it was pretty much back to normal speed. I still had some problems with it so a few weeks ago I replaced the HDD. One thing I should mention is that after my Mac Addr incident, every game that I play crashes within 5-10 minutes of gameplay. I usually get the Windows 8 BSOD DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION. It's not fun. I used to be able to play every AAA game out there. But now, it crashes. There is no warning or stuttering or anything; the screen locks up and that's it.

Here are my specs and the results of some tests I've done:

CPU: Intel Core i5-2410M
RAM: 4GB (DDR3)
GPU: NVidia Geforce GT 525m
HDD: WD 750GB 7200RPM
OS: Windows 8 Pro (32-Bit)

I used Blue Screen View to see what caused my BSODs:

1st BSOD
halmacpi.dll
ntoskrnl.exe
nvlddmkm.sys

2nd BSOD
Same as 1st

3rd BSOD
ntoskrnl.exe
nvlddmkm.sys

4th BSOD
Same as 1st

Thanks for your help!
April 13, 2013 3:26:32 PM

One other detail: I have already updated all of the NVidia drivers, so that's up to date. I did a CPU test using OCCT and it gave me an error: Core #1 over max value! Value reached: 87. Max value: 85. Don't know what this means...hopefully it doesn't mean that my CPU is bad? :??: 
a b Î Nvidia
April 13, 2013 3:53:50 PM

it seems to indicate your CPU is overheating big time. Download speedfan and post the temps.
Related resources
April 13, 2013 4:03:00 PM

CPU:
Core 0 = 54C
Core 1 = 56C

This is at idle of course.
a b Î Nvidia
April 13, 2013 4:08:35 PM

That is warmish for idle. Can you try to load it and see what it goes to? If it exceeds 80c then stop.
April 13, 2013 4:20:16 PM

Both cores got to 80C in only 8 seconds. I have also heard that the XPS 15s have been having mobo problems? I don't know if this helps or not.
a b Î Nvidia
April 13, 2013 4:41:34 PM

That is almost certainly your problem. Overheating badly.
I would open the case and make sure the HSF is clean and running properly. If that fails you will likely need to remove it, clean it and put it back on with new thermal paste.


Non applicable - see below.
April 13, 2013 4:42:07 PM

Temps are fine, it's a laptop. But give it a good cleaning nevertheless with a can of compressed air..

http://ark.intel.com/products/52224

Reinstall Windows or run a repair install.

.ISO's HERE and use COA on the laptop (usually located on the bottom) to activate.

Sorry it's Windows 8 - HERE for setup.

a b Î Nvidia
April 13, 2013 4:51:40 PM

Oh crap. Didn't realize it was a laptop.

Still temps are too high. On my laptop they do not exceed 70c at full load.
April 13, 2013 4:52:17 PM

I've already reinstalled windows. My last HDD even had two partitions, one with Win 8 and the other Win 7. I had the same result.
April 13, 2013 5:08:38 PM

smeezekitty said:
Oh crap. Didn't realize it was a laptop.

Still temps are too high. On my laptop they do not exceed 70c at full load.


Laptops variate...All of my Dells ran on the warm side esp. my M18X-R1 with an i7-2860QM & 580 sli

April 13, 2013 5:11:09 PM

I've updated the BIOS, NVidia, MS Windows is up to date...
April 13, 2013 5:25:24 PM

Now I won't say it's fixed yet, but I tried underclocking my NVidia GPU. It hasn't crashed on me yet. I'll post an update tomorrow and tell you guys how this works...
April 13, 2013 5:30:54 PM

TheTraveller said:
Now I won't say it's fixed yet, but I tried underclocking my NVidia GPU. It hasn't crashed on me yet. I'll post an update tomorrow and tell you guys how this works...



Very good possibility that's what it is.
April 14, 2013 1:24:03 AM

So, I've been using my laptop play multiple games and no crashes yet. I don't call this a very efficient fix. I read on some forums that what I experienced is very common with the L502x. It's some sort of faulty...motherboard I believe? But anyway, even with the underclocking I don't see any real dip in performance. It seems to be fine.
April 14, 2013 4:19:46 AM

TheTraveller said:
So, I've been using my laptop play multiple games and no crashes yet. I don't call this a very efficient fix. I read on some forums that what I experienced is very common with the L502x. It's some sort of faulty...motherboard I believe? But anyway, even with the underclocking I don't see any real dip in performance. It seems to be fine.



April 14, 2013 4:22:26 AM

Can you think of any other way instead of underclocking my GPU to get games working again? I'm fine with it but I don't want underclocking to cause problems in the long run...
April 14, 2013 4:28:59 AM

TheTraveller said:
Can you think of any other way instead of underclocking my GPU to get games working again? I'm fine with it but I don't want underclocking to cause problems in the long run...



Underclocking won't cause problems but you are being cheated.
April 14, 2013 4:34:11 AM

I know that's right. I can't believe that after two years this reliable laptop breaks down. Dell is ridiculous sometimes.
April 14, 2013 6:11:46 AM

TheTraveller said:
I know that's right. I can't believe that after two years this reliable laptop breaks down. Dell is ridiculous sometimes.


That's Dells modus operandi...
April 14, 2013 6:22:01 AM

For anybody else who has this problem, I'll show you what I underclocked my Core Clock to:

Initially, the Core Clock was at 600 MHz. Whatever yours is, tune it down by 80 MHz. This worked for me.
!