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I have a Dell XPS 17 (L702x). I've noticed repeatedly and constantly that when I run GPU intensive apps, they will crash to the desktop after 30-60 minutes. If the app uses the NVidia GPU, and does heavy usage of it, the fans on the left will churn like mad, and at some point it will crash.

I've tried a number of things to fix this but to no avail:

  • updated to the latest NVidia drivers (see question here)

  • monitored the temperature of the video card: it gets to something like 90-95 degrees Celsius at peak usage. From what I gather this is not too hot for such a card under heavy usage.

  • tried switching to the non-nvidia card (forced the app in the NVidia control panel to use integrated graphics) - this doesn't result in crashes as far as I can see.

  • bought one of those fan "plates" that go under the laptop. The card does get 5-10 degrees cooler with that, but I still have the crashes.

I've noticed also that, if I run a game with highest quality graphic settings (set via in-game menus and/or NVidia control panel) the crashes will happen more often than if I run the same game with lowest quality graphics.

What I gather from this (and googling - but no definite answer found there) is that the card gets too hot for its own good, and stops (resulting in app/game crashing) in order to avoid physical damage (I guess).

My question is: is there a way to set the video card such that it will not get as hot as to need to crash my apps/games? Should I under clock it?

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Have you tried cleaning the laptop? Sounds like you have a problem with dust bunnies. Be sure not to feed them they like to multiple and sit in your window seal. –  Ramhound Apr 29 '13 at 11:03
    
Thanks, that's good advice. However, after opening my old XPS 15, I'm kindda scared of doing it on this one. There are A LOT of small parts that get connected every which way! :( Also, I've had this issue from like the first month when I bought it, when surely the dust bunny numbers were low... –  Shivan Dragon Apr 29 '13 at 11:52
    
Have you tried just lowering the graphics on these games? If this has been happening since you purchase the laptop sounds like the laptop simply is not up to the task of running those games. –  Ramhound Apr 29 '13 at 11:57
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I own an XPS 15z (l502x), that also went up to terrifying heat levels when I used the nvidia card. I disassembled it in order to clean it and also took of the heat sink. There I found that they used almost no thermal paste and put it on places that were pretty close to kill the system. tl;dr Check the thermal paste under the heatsinks or send that thing back and buy from another company. –  Michael K Apr 29 '13 at 12:24
    
@MichaelK Thanks, I will check that. –  Shivan Dragon Apr 29 '13 at 12:43
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