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My laptop ( Dell XPS M1530 ) with WIndows Vista SP2 shuts down when I play a resource hungry game like crysis,Half Life 2 etc.Found this warning in my event logs

The speed of processor 1 is being limited by system firmware. The processor has been in this reduced performance state for 71 seconds since the last report.

Its been a year since I got this laptop and these games used to run well before.

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Note, this is not especially video-game related. It happens in games, because they are usually the most demanding for cpu and graphical card. – Gnoupi Sep 2 '09 at 8:58
Incidentally if you want to know for sure if it's overheating, you can get CPUID's HWMonitor and leave it running while you play. Doesn't need installation, it's just a single exe file that you can run. It should tell you what your CPU/GPU temperatures are – Manos Dilaverakis Sep 2 '09 at 13:22
up vote 0 down vote accepted

It's probably too hot. The cheapest an most portable solution is to put the computer on 4 rubber-erasers. One under each of the already existing rubber-feet. It will increase the airflow under the computer.

If you have an empty expresscard-slot, also try to remove the cover if possible. On my computer this area doesn't become as hot as if i don't have the cover on while playing games.

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Since you have a Dell laptop, I recommend you to install I8kfanGUI. This utility will allow you to track temperature of your CPU, Graphical card, memory, main board, and hard-drive. (It can also trigger fans on the speed you want, but that's something else.)

Then, use on of these games in a windowed mode, and check temperature at same time. If they are going in peaks like 90-95°C, you have your reason. Due to temperature, your laptop triggered the safety shutdown, to protect the hardware from overheating.

I have an XPS m1710, and had the same issue of computer stopping during some highly demanding graphics. Since then, I bought a laptop fan, to put it under. For information, I used a Notepal Infinite, from CoolerMaster. (has the advantage of ventilating the whole surface).

Notepal Infinite

Before buying this, I was using simple DVD boxes under the back of the laptop to elevate it, and allow fans for graphical card to work better. Believe me, it was already helping.

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  1. It's probably getting too hot.
  2. Have you got it plugged in? Some laptops scale back the processor if the battery is low.
  3. Try checking the BIOS for processor settings - there may be more detail in the logs there.
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1. It does get a little hot, just like how it used to before but it never shut down earlier. 2. Yes.I always "plug and play" games. 3. The BIOS settings are same as they were before when it used to run without issues. – Sharjeel Sep 2 '09 at 10:26
I had this problem on my Gateway. I took it apart and found the tiny fan that cooled the CPU was clogged with cat hair. A quick cleaning and it worked like new. – Michaelkay Sep 2 '09 at 14:22

It definitely sounds like a heat issue. You might want to check the fan outlets and intakes aren't clogged with dust and that there is sufficient clearance between the bottom of the laptop and whatever surface it's on. If there is dust in the vents the easiest way to clear it is to use a compressed air can although in extreme cases you may need to remove the keyboard and blow dust out from inside the laptop.

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