Dear QtTers,

I have been getting crashes on my system while enjoying games (Civ 5, HOI3 and Distant Worlds) since yesterday. It all started late Thanksgiving when I left Civ 5 running for most of the day…looking back,this may have been a mistake. Anyways, I continued playing last night and got a total crash - no error screen, no blue screen, nada. I left it shut down for the night, but the crashes continued during gameplay today. As of right now, I have not had this occur when web browsing or not playing games. I tried a video card driver update and a system restore, but am still getting a slowdown followed by a crash.

My question is, what should I do next? Is there a way I can check individual components for issues? Any help is appreciated.

Thank you,


In cases of general system instability, there are four standard main suspects: power, heat, memory, and drivers. The problem is figuring out which one it is…

For power and heat you can use a tool like SpeedFan to monitor the system voltages and temperature sensors and see if they’re exceeding their safe ranges. For memory, you can try runs with memtest86 or Windows’ own memory test mode (should be available in Vista and up, I think), or try swapping sticks in and out to see if the problem persists. And for drivers…just make sure you’re up-to-date on everything, or google around and see if other people are experiencing crashes with the same versions.

I’m going to go with power, heat, or memory.

Run the memtest mentioned above as it is always worth doing.

Since it is only happening during games, it makes sense that your system is drawing more power (maybe your PSU is buggered?), producing more heat (CPU or Video card), or using more memory (though, mem issues you would probably encounter during regular / non-game usage).

Video memory tester here;

G80 for Nvidia cards, CL for ATI cards

(Modulo-20 errors are not an issue, and random block errors for ATI 7xxx cards, anything else (as long as the card’s not overclocked) means you have an issue!)

First off, I appreciate the help very much.

Windows memory test did not find any errors.

I was able to grab a screenshot of the fan text pre and post Civ 5. About 5 minutes into playing and around 2 minutes before the latest crash, I grabbed a screenshot of the speedfan test. All of the temps were fairly constant except for the GPU. It went from around 56 degrees to 100 degrees while playing VERY quickly. I am guessing (correct me if I’m wrong) that this is the issue.

Now, what does one do about that? I installed a GTX 560 about 8 months ago (no issues until now) on my Dell. How do I check if I am exceeding the power supply? Does this mean I need a new graphics card or is there another fix?

Yes, that sounds like the issue. No way it should be 56 degrees idling!

First, is it overclocked? Even if it was bought overclocked, you can adjust it down to stock speeds and it might well then work. Try running the G80 memory test above and see if it throws any errors. (And which, if it does).

If that doesn’t throw any errors, then you might want to put a third-party cooler onto the card, or get a new one if that doesn’t appeal. (If it is throwing a lot of errors, then it’s the card)

The card is not overclocked…just the term frightens me.

Zero errors from the G80 memory test.

From your statement about the 56 degrees while idling and the fact that the icons next to the temps are FLAMES, I am guessing it may be a bigger issue.

Core 1 through 4 are idling at 53 to 56 C.
Temp 1 is 39C
Temp 2 is listed as 64C

The cores shoudn’t be that high while idling right?

No, not really.

So…the first thing I’d do is dust your PC. See if temperatures drop much.

Yeah, from some light googling, the GPU temp seems way too high for that model of card. 70-80 degrees is more typical while under load, and 100+ is almost hitting the thermal limit of the chip.

Definitely give it a good dusting, with compressed air. I had a similar case a while back where my system would only crash while playing certain games, and it turned out to be dust trapped deeper in the fan bearings slowing down the GPU fan too much. After blowing that dust out, it ran perfectly fine again.

Thanks fellas. I will get to the dusting.

Hold the fan still while using the compressed air. If you allow it to free spin there is a slight chance it will spin over speed and damage the bearings.