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I have a brand new Alienware, hardware is probably not an issue. My laptop freezes about 5 minutes into playing Battlefield 3 campaign. Is there a known fix for this issue? Is this even a known issue ?

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Not to be cynical, but "I have a brand new alienware, hardware is not an issue." is a bad assumption. I've had to troubleshoot over a half dozen peoples' Alienware machines with driver or hardware issues right out of the box. My point is: don't assume the machine you got has no issues, check for latest drivers and such anyway. –  Nick Craver Oct 26 '11 at 18:01
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Nick, I agree. I am also a owner of a brand new M18x (which I use for my job, not gaming ironically enough) I have already had to have my video cards replaced (radeon 6990m's). I know that for my cards at least, there is a special patch for the drivers to play Battlefield 3. Robotsushi I would check out forum.notebookreview.com/alienware-m18x good forums for alienware. –  Rob Oct 26 '11 at 19:22
    
Ex. Just because I drive a Ferrari doesn't mean the engine can't have an issue... or the tires, etc. But since Dell has acquired Alienware in 2006, um... at least the case looks nice? –  Adanion Oct 26 '11 at 19:47
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You are not alone, it does not matter what you play in Battlefield 3 under right circomstanses. I have tried everything, heat, power, lower graphics, disabling sound (bios) nothing seem to work. This seem to be a problem within the Battlefield software, guess they (DICE) are working on it. –  user13575 Oct 30 '11 at 17:18
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I would install the current GPU drivers FROM YOUR VENDOR first. That is, go to Dell/Alienware support pages and look for the right driver. If you have already installed anything else from AMD/Nvidia download pages, uninstall them right before installing the Dell driver. –  Bora Nov 7 '11 at 12:58
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3 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

This is basically "how do I determine if my hardware is stable?"

Try

  • run Prime95 overnight and see if your CPU is stable

  • run Memtest86 overnight and see if your memory is stable

  • run Furmark for an hour or so (be careful as this thing loads GPUs far beyond any realistic load)

Warning: Battlefield 3 is known to be extremely GPU intensive and may cause more heat than most games.

edit: apparently there might be a possible RealTek sound driver conflict, too. Apparently there's a history of Realtek issues with DICE engine games, so this is not new. A lot of people are saying "use USB audio" as a workaround. Can you try that?

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I'm trying the USB audio right now... –  Robotsushi Oct 29 '11 at 6:24
    
@robot don't forget to update your video drivers as well, this can be odd on laptops –  Jeff Atwood Nov 2 '11 at 1:37
    
Good news all tests ran with positive results. Bad news BF3 still crashes. Im gonna re-install and see if that fixes it. I just downloaded the newest drivers about a week ago(I literally just got this thing). –  Robotsushi Nov 2 '11 at 7:27
    
@Robotsushi both nvidia and ati have furiously been releasing new drivers since just before BF3 came out, it is entirely possible for drivers gotten a week ago to be 1 or 2 revs out of date. –  Zypher Nov 7 '11 at 19:30
    
I got a new update from nvidia a few days ago and this fixed all my problems. –  Robotsushi Nov 7 '11 at 20:50
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This is a very common issue. On the official EA forums (via http://battlelog.battlefield.com), there is a technical support thread with over 500 people reporting the same issue (myself included).

Not to dampen your spirits of getting it fixed, but I reformatted my PC, and the problem remained.

Having contacted EA support, their suggestions were as follows;

  • Try updating Punkbuster manually (download from http://evenbalance.com)
  • Try opening the required ports for Battlefield 3, and try disabling all software (e.g. Windows, AV) and hardware (e.g. router) firewalls.
  • Try closing down all other running applications to eliminate an application conflict.

All of these suggestions screamed "Generic troubleshooting attempts", not specifically directed towards the problem.

As mentioned by Jeff, a lot of people have resolved the problem through playing with their sound drivers;

  • Disable any sound devices in Device Manager you dont use
  • If you have any Realtek sound drivers installed, try uninstalling them so the Windows driver is used instead.
  • Try disabling your sound hardware in your BIOS

(Obviously, playing without sound is a bit of a b$%^£.)

But there are still a huge percentage of people who cannot resolve the issue.

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I had the exact same problem. In the menu, I could stay for 10 minutes and nothing bad happened. When I played the campagin, I had a black screen after a few minutes of gameplay for an unknown reason.

I have a Geforce GTX 560 Ti OC version (but You said You have a laptop, still I hope You have the same issue with the different gpu).

I fixed it by upgrading the bios of the graphics card. The problem disappeared and I am playing BF3 happily for hours straight without any issues.

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