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Instant Freeze When Game or Graphics Opened


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#1 SchueyFan

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 08:09 AM

As soon as I open a game or other graphical software (e.g. Google Earth, Chess Titans etc.), my computer instantly freezes, and the screen becomes partly pixelated (see image below). Nothing that can reverse this, and I have to turn off the computer by holding the off button. This started happening about a week ago, and I can not think of any changes I made that may have led to this happening.

I have tried updating the drivers and even a System Restore, but this hasn't fixed the problem.

Here is an image of what happens.
Posted Image

Here are my specifications:
OS Version: Microsoft® Windows Vista™ Home Premium , Service Pack 2, 32 bit
Processor: Intel® Core™2 Quad CPU Q9300 @ 2.50GHz, x64 Family 6 Model 23 Stepping 7
Processor Count: 4
RAM: 3068 Mb
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT , 512 Mb
Hard Drives: C: Total - 466643 MB, Free - 37303 MB; D: Total - 10239 MB, Free - 6122 MB;
Motherboard: Dell Inc, 0PP150, A00, ..CN7082182T2054.

Some other information that may or may not be relevant.
- I did some temperature checks using GPU-Z, but there was no change when I opened a game.
- My computer is almost 3 years old, but my video card was replaced last year after it failed.

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#2 dc3

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 11:16 AM

It would help if you were to post the model of this Dell. The model of the motherboard will not suffice.

That graphics card requires a minimum 400W PSU.

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#3 SchueyFan

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Posted 08 May 2011 - 12:51 AM

Sorry.

Dell XPS 630i

#4 dc3

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Posted 08 May 2011 - 09:54 AM

Dell rates that PSU at 750W, so if it is working properly it is more than adequate.

Is this computer still under warranty?

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#5 SchueyFan

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Posted 08 May 2011 - 10:44 AM

No, the warranty was only for 2 years, and it ended in July last year.

Like I said in the first post, one of the video cards failed about a year ago and was replaced. In that case, the problems were much more widespread, as there were dots and lines on the Dell and Vista loading screens, it often froze at random times, and also would only run smoothly in 1024x768 rather than the natural 1920x1200.

Thanks for your assistance so far.

#6 dc3

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Posted 08 May 2011 - 11:03 AM

Have you looked inside the case recently to see if it is clean of dust. Inspect the fan attached to the heat sink assembly on the CPU, and inspect the graphics card for a build up of dust. If there is a build up of dust purchase canned air and blow the dust out.

Do you have a means of monitoring the temperatures of this computer?

If not, you can download SIW which can monitor the temperatures. If you do download it and go to install it be aware that there is an option in the installation do load Crawler. There is a check mark already made in the box to accept this, if you don't wish to install it remove the check mark. Let us know what the temperature is for the CPU and graphics card.

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#7 SchueyFan

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 09:21 AM

Yes, there is quite a lot of dust build up, I will purchase some compressed air tomorrow and do a clean-out.

Here are my SIW temperature readings.
Posted Image

#8 dc3

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 11:01 AM

The temperatures really don't look that bad, but is this representative of the temperatures when you are playing games?

Once you open the case and are ready to clean the dust out be sure to touch the bare metal case before touching any of the components inside. Electrostatic discharges from your body can kill board components such as integrated circuits.

Pay special attention to the heat sink and fan assembly on the CPU and the video cards. When you blow out the fans they will have a tendency to spin, you can place a pencil through the blades to stop this from happening.

I would suggest not using a vacuum cleaner unless it is specifically designed for the use with computers. Vacuum cleaners are great static electricity generators.

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#9 SchueyFan

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 06:12 AM

Unfortunately cleaning out the computer hasn't fixed the problem.

I did manage to significantly cut the video card temperatures, but only cut the CPU temperature by a smaller amount. Should I try further cleaning?
Posted Image

I can't use SIW when I'm playing a game, because the system freezes straight away, and I haven't got a chance to retrieve the data. I did use GPU-Z for the same task though, and this image shows the readings up until the system crashed.
Posted Image


I also tried to re-install an older video card driver again, but for some reason this disabled my internet, so I had to do a System Restore.

#10 SchueyFan

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 12:00 PM

Do you think these symptoms match a power supply problem?

In other words, is it worth purchasing a tester?

#11 dc3

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 04:54 PM

From what you are posting I don't see any problem with the rail voltages or temperatures.

Have you tried running one GPU at a time to see if this is one of them having problems?

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#12 SchueyFan

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Posted 21 May 2011 - 09:46 AM

OK, thanks.

Could you please suggest the most effective way to do this?




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