PC Screen goes black after playing games for 5 minutes

Hello everyone,

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Firstly, I’d like to sheepishly admit that I’m tech newbie so pardon my simple explanations and please bear with me :slight_smile:

I’ve had this Dell Studio XPS 435MT model since September 2009. Here are the specs I managed to scrounge up. I’ve included my Dell Service Tag in case you need more details.

Processor: Intel®Core™ i7 CPU 920@2.67Ghz
Memory: 8.00 GB
O/S: Windows Vista 64 bit
Graphics card: Nvidia GEForce 220
Dell Service Tag: 8DR0H4J

I used to be able play games such as Starcraft 2, The Sims 3 and Dragon Age Origins without any problems until December 2010/Jan 2011 thereabouts. Since then, every time I start up a game, even a much older one, my screen goes black into standby mode after 5 minutes of gameplay, and the sound used to loop. The computer didn’t respond to Ctrl-Alt-Del so I’ve had to restart it using the Power button. I tried checking for Error Reports but there were none.
I just installed the latest driver for my graphics card from the Nvidia website : http://www.nvidia.co.uk/object/win7-winvista-64bit-275.33-whql-driver-uk.html
I tried running Dragon Age 2 again but the same thing happened, only this time there wasn’t any sound when the screen went black.

I’ve also just cleaned the dust from inside my PC with compressed air.

The temperature read-outs for my PC are 41-42C and its ‘Distance to TJ Max’ reads 57-59 when running normally.

I rang up Dell tech support and he told me that my only options were to reinstall Windows or get a technician to fit a new graphics card, without identifying if that even is the problem.

A friend suggested I should defrag my hard drive but I haven’t attempted that yet.

I hope some of you can spare the time and patience to help me with this. It’s very disheartening to have been without games for so long and be so helpless about remedying the situation :sad:

Thank you in advance

Yo Nat-

Your problem could be one of several things. If it were my pc - I would do the following:

-remove and reset your video card - being sure that it is seated firmly into the slot.
-carefully but thoroughly clean out the fan and heatsinks on the video card.

If that doesn’t solve your problem then I would suspect that the computers power supply is failing (Dell uses very low powered power supplies and they tend to be overworked and thus tend to fail early). You don’t say what country you are located in so I cannot recommend any variety of brands for you - but you should use a good brand of at least 500 watts.

Good luck-eh.

Hey Mike,

Thanks so much for responding. Yeah getting a Dell wouldn’t have even crossed my mind if only I knew how to put a computer together, sigh. I’ll defo give it a go within the next week when I have the time and I’ll let you know whether it worked =)

I’m in the UK btw. And thanks again!


Isnt that gfx card a bit too weak for playing such games for a while??

Yeah, honestly that is a very very weak video card. It draws very little power too, so I wouldn’t suspect the PSU. Chances are the video card is whats overheating and the paste may be dried out or something causing the card to get hot faster.

You really need another video card, if you can give us more info about the PC, either the power supply rating, model number or service tag we could figure out if you can get another video card and keep the PSU.

Edit: I see the service tag you posted, it looks like a 360W PSU. You can upgrade your video card and keep that PSU but you can’t go too crazy with a performance card. You CPU uses a lot of power when working hard (its not the latest power sipping Sandy Bridge).

Here are some cards you can consider:

MSI R6570-MD1GD3/LP Radeon HD 6570 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile Ready Video Card $80

XFX HD-667X-ZHF3 Radeon HD 6670 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card $84

HIS H675F1GD Radeon HD 6750 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity $105

EVGA SuperClocked 01G-P3-1367-TR GeForce GTX 460 SE (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card $150 (but $40 rebate)