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Recently, my year-old laptop began BSODing, turning off unexpectedly and heating up very fast when playing games. This is regardless of the integrated graphics or the add-on NVidia graphics used.

My specs:

Model: Samsung RF711-S02-US 
OS: Win 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1 
CPU: Intel Core i7 2630QM @ 2GHz (current temp 78°C - 81°C)
RAM: 4GB DDR3 @ 668MHz (9-9-9-24)
Motherboard: SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD. RF511/RF411/RF711 (CPU 1) (current temp 80°C - 84°C)
GPU: Intel HD Graphics Family + NVidia GT540M
HDD: 699GB Hitachi (SATA) (current temp 41°C)

It looks to me like a heat issue since it lasts longer when I use low game settings and focus an external fan on the left side of the laptop (where the grills are, the area where it becomes hottest).

This was never an issue on the first few months of usage as I was playing WoW/SC2 Starter most of the time and doing file transfers overnight, so the laptop is on almost 'round the clock.

Recently though, when my son started playing Skyrim, it would BSOD with DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE. More recently, it just turns off.

During those times, I would notice that the left side of the laptop, the grills under the power cord, puts out a lot of heat.

I am not sure how to get this fixed (should I have this serviced already?). I'm concerned because this is just a year old. Should I consider re-seating the CPU?

The temp readings I mentioned above are from Speccy and I'm not even playing any game. I have 2 Chrome tabs and 4 explorer windows.

Any idea how I can solve the issue? Other smart recommendations to make my laptop last longer?

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Can you hear the CPU fan spinning? –  ÃŁŁǫǛȉЖΦΤїҪ Sep 19 '12 at 20:29
    
"inexpensive" laptops will do this more often. The best you can do is keep the air vents clean and unclogged, and make sure there are no obstructions near the vents. May laptops are really designed for "typical" usage, such as writing documents etc. where the can stay on low frequency setting more often. –  Keith Sep 19 '12 at 20:30

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Processor:

Download the Intel Tuning utility to see if the processor is actually throttling. Many temperature monitors are not precise and provide temps based on the Thermal junction max, which isn't always accurate. I've found it is best to monitor the throttling if I suspect a chip is over heating and not the core temperature. See below for more info.

According to Intel the formula for core temperature is: Tjunction max - DTS (digital thermal sensor) = current thermal junction temperature (which we see as core temperature in applications). DTS is based off of distance to tjmax, so if it reports 20 and the tjmax is 91 your current temperature is 71. Most monitoring software is calibrated to a tjmax of 91. Why is this an issue? Well take a look at the specifications from Intel, which states the thermal junction target is 100, not 91.

The developers of Real Temp go into more detail about why it is 91 degrees and the difference between TJmax and TJ target... This is why I generally monitor thermal throttling when trying to figure out if a processor is over heating.

Graphics Card:

You don't give any temperature readings for your graphics card so it's a possibility that it may be over heating. First get a utility to see the GPU temperatures so we have an idea of how hot it is getting. EVGA precision or MSI afterburner work well for this purpose because if it is over heating you can under clock memory/gpu. I've found that turning the clock down on the video memory frees up a little thermal room with no noticeable performance loss... Also note if it is shutting down while you are not gaming, as this is a optimus laptop the dedicated GPU 'shouldn't' even be on when your just browsing the web.

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GPU reading from MSI Afterburner is 48°C - 64°C. The laptop has not shut down while not gaming. Interestingly, VLC is set to use NVIDIA, per NVIDIA Control Panel, and it has not shut down when watching movies or TV series –  sjlewis Sep 19 '12 at 21:13
1  
Those temperatures look okay, your event log error on the above answer indicates the processor is at fault. Have you noticed that the throttling corroborates the message? The Intel utility will give you a history of throttling if you hover over it. –  Kyle Sep 19 '12 at 21:49
    
Doing the stress test using Intel XTU, no throttling so far, but CPU core temp reads 60°C - 90°C. –  sjlewis Sep 19 '12 at 22:53
    
I did a series of tests different settings using Tropics Demo. CPU reached 88°C, NVidia reached 99°C, throttling reached 1% only. The laptop never died on me after these, so I left it on stress test using XTU for 30 mins and went to work. When I got back, it was still on, throttling read 4% max. Then I did a 1hr graphics stress test in XTU and left it alone; when I got back, the laptop was already dead. –  sjlewis Sep 20 '12 at 17:26
1  
It sounds like the graphics card... 99 degrees is ridiculous. Try down clocking your graphics memory taking down to 800mhz should cause no noticeable performance loss. If it's still a problem take the core clock down 100 mhz or so. You can also open it up and check the heatsync isn't caked with dust. If you don't feel comfortable with either of those suggestions, you can try a cooling mat, it's generally a idea to use one when gaming with a laptop anyway... –  Kyle Sep 20 '12 at 18:30

Check your Windows system logs and BIOS logs to see if the even was a thermal shutdown. If its not listed there, that doesnt necessarily mean its not a thermal shutdown, but if it is, then you know for sure.

If you are comfortable with opening a laptop up, then do so and blow out any dust, hair, whatever that might have accumulated inside. See if any internal fans are blocked or dont spin well.

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Maybe check to see if newer drivers are more optimized too - my previous PC ran WoW ok but was borderline for the new WoW Expansion that's about to come out.... until I updated the video drivers, and now it runs it great. –  Mark Allen Sep 19 '12 at 20:06
    
I found these: Source: Microsoft-Windows-Kernel-Power Event ID: 86 Task Category: (83) Description: The system was shut down due to a critical thermal event. Shutdown Time = ‎2012‎-‎09‎-‎18T19:21:39.380174100Z ACPI Thermal Zone = ACPI\ThermalZone\TZ00 _CRT = 371K and a few of these: Source: Microsoft-Windows-Kernel-Processor-Power Event ID: 37 Task Category: (7) Description: The speed of processor 7 in group 0 is being limited by system firmware. The processor has been in this reduced performance state for 20 seconds since the last report. –  sjlewis Sep 19 '12 at 20:07
    
I missed this one, which is most recent. Source: EventLog Event ID: 6008 Description: The previous system shutdown at 1:18:15 AM on ‎9/‎20/‎2012 was unexpected. I think this got logged when I turned on the laptop after it unexpectedly turned off. –  sjlewis Sep 19 '12 at 20:20
    
yep, so its definitely heat. have you tried opening the laptop and blowing out the dust? Its not hard, just make sure you take a good mental note of where you take each screw out so you can get them back in. –  Keltari Sep 20 '12 at 1:34

That graphics card isn't great, and is probably struggling to keep up with Skyrim. All I can say is for you to look into FPS configs for the game.
This is of course assuming that it's a heat issue.

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