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I'm using a 5 years old ASUS K53SV with Win 7 using a Nvidia GT540M GPU.

Recently, especially when playing games, everything runs smoothly, but after a while, usually a few minutes, there's a half second freeze, and then the performances get terrible, usually less than 20 FPS on medium settings. And everytime I launch a game after, the performances will be outright awful.

Lowering the graphical settings doesn't change anything, the only solution is to restart the computer every time.

My drivers are up to date, I selected the Nvidia card as the default GPU and not the integrated Intel chip, temperatures are OK.

  • You could try reverting to Nvidia drivers from about six months ago. I have a similar problem, but with HTML5 YouTube videos (try watching a few EEVBlog ones) - the display driver crashes in Win7, claiming a hardware error in the GTX 660 Ti card, but on the same computer (dual boot) it does not crash in Win10 with the same version of the driver. A recent Win7 update regarding the DirectX drivers made it not so bad, but did not remove the problem. – Andrew Morton May 20 '16 at 19:11
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Your computer's glitchy performance is characteristic of video RAM artifacts. If the RAM in your graphics processor is failing, sometimes just a small fraction of the RAM goes bad while the rest of the RAM continues to work properly. This results in the part of the operating system that was being stored in that RAM malfunctioning. Sometimes as a result of this the screen also freezes. Rebooting the computer also clears whatever was stored in the RAM, and the laptop's performance goes back to normal.

If the situation becomes intolerable you may have to disable the NVIDIA graphics on your laptop and use only the integrated Intel graphics.

  • So it's an hardware issue ? I don't think I can run much on Intel graphics. – Pollux May 20 '16 at 18:53
  • It may be a hardware issue and it's a cruel issue because if your computer was a desktop instead of a laptop, you could take out the graphics card and test it in a different computer. – karel May 20 '16 at 18:55
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Try 341.44 driver and if you don't like the results, the 337.88 driver.

Use a performance oriented power plan.

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