First of all, GPU specs: GTX 660M with driver version 320.18.

It had been awhile since I had last tried to game, and then when I tried to play something just a couple of days ago the game wound up crashing on me. Typically, the screen would freeze so that the graphics were not being updated, but the game was still running (as could be deduced from the sound reacting to my input); shortly thereafter, the game would crash.

Because of the particular symptoms, I suspected that the problem was with my video card, so I decided to monitor its temperature and I noticed that, the drivers consistently crashed (with a little bubble popping up on the task-bar saying that it had also "safely recovered") at 77-78 C.

Any idea why the driver would be crashing at such low temps and how to fix it? Could my video card be damaged? I should mention that, before it hits the critical temperature of 77-78 C, all games run perfectly fine: no artifacts, no tearing, nothing abnormal at all.

For what it's worth, while I had not been gaming recently, I had been using my GPU to mine Litecoin. Is it possible that the mining could have damaged my card in such a way so as to cause this particular problem?

Additional Specs: OS is 64-bit Windows 8 Professional, processor is Intel Core i7-3630QM @ 2.4 GHz, 8 GB RAM

EDIT: This result happens uniformly over all games I have tried. Same effect (screen freezing) occurring at the same temperature. I also tried un-installing and re-installing the most recent drivers before the current 320.18 drivers (314.22), and oddly, they wouldn't install, but instead complained that they couldn't detect an nVidia card on my system. On the other hand, upon re-installing the 320.18 drivers, everything went smoothly.

  • Although you've given a lot of information in your question, it's mostly speculation. We need more facts to help you. Does this happen with all games or only certain ones? Have you researched anything? Looked at support data at the GEForce website? Have you tried rolling back the driver to a previous version? What OS are you using? – CharlieRB Jun 12 '13 at 11:37
  • The kernel is crashing because of your driver. Do you have a driver designed to work with your 660M. Mobile graphic card drivers are normally different then their desktop counterparts. Furthermore how can you say that ALL games run perfectly fine but at the sametime say the games are locking up. Have you made sure you have disabled the Litecoin mining application. – Ramhound Jun 12 '13 at 12:18
  • @CharlieRB I updated my post with answers to most of your questions. – Jonathan Gleason Jun 12 '13 at 21:29
  • @Ramhound I definitely do not mine any kind of crypto-currency while trying to game. – Jonathan Gleason Jun 12 '13 at 21:30
  • The mining of litecoins cannot damage your graphics card unless it overheated and you did nothing about it but that has nothing to do with mining of litecoins. You need to figure out how to rollback to 314.22. – Ramhound Jun 13 '13 at 11:12

Based on the approximate temperature at which the crash happens, I have a guess: the issue could be related to frequency scaling / throttling. The target max temperature of NVIDIA Kepler cards is, as far as I know, depending on the model, 80-84 C (but in the case of mobile GPUs it may even be lower). Again, tt's just a guess, but there could be either a driver bug or hardware problem which surfaces when the card starts to throttle and causes the crash.

If you had a desktop card, I would suggest that you manually set the fan speed to its maximum and try again, but I'm not sure this is possible with your mobile GPU.

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