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As my Question on freezings on Dragon Age: Origins seems not to be able to help me, I think it's a rather general problem on my PC.

So what are you doing, when a game keeps on running unstable?

Edit: Well, I bought myself a new graphic card and it solved the problem. However I still don't know what caused the freezes. (Temperature of the graphic card was ok)

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Is this really a common problem? Do you have this with more games? –  Ivo Flipse Aug 6 '10 at 9:39
    
Yes. (I don't play many actual games, but: Bioshock if you're curious...) –  eL13 Aug 6 '10 at 9:46
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Bioshock on the PC is an abomination. I bought it and haven't finished it because it's too buggy. –  Michael Herold Aug 6 '10 at 13:53
    
@Michael Herold: Just curious, what problems were you having? My friend and I both played it more or less straight through without any problems. –  ZoogieZork Aug 6 '10 at 14:05
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@Zoogie: Graphical glitches, crashes, and general gameplay glitches. I don't remember exactly, but I remember there were many artifacts in the graphics. Like the models weren't staying together or something. –  Michael Herold Aug 7 '10 at 21:21
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closed as not a real question by kotekzot, Shadur, fredley, kalina, Michel Jan 31 '13 at 11:29

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5 Answers

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Apart from drivers and game patches, get a monitoring tool that shows your CPU and GPU temps. Overheating is always an issue. A cheap, quick fix for an overheating computer is to buy a little floor fan, open up the side of your computer, and blow the fan into your open box.

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Also check that the heatsinks are clear of dust, which is an issue that tends to plague older machines. A can of compressed air can really help clear that sort of thing out, and it's hugely easier and cheaper than new hardware. –  Donal Fellows Sep 6 '10 at 13:53
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Make sure you are up-to-date with:

  • Drivers
  • Windows Updates
  • Game patches

There could be a hardware explanation, of course. Either a fault in one ore other components or an overheating issue...

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probably someone can precise how to track down those hardware-issues. –  eL13 Aug 6 '10 at 10:26
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@el13 - well the first simple test is to run Memtest86+ overnight: memtest.org –  CJM Aug 6 '10 at 11:54
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Get the newest update of your games. Look also for community patches which are e.g. available for Gothic 3, Vampire: The Masquerade, ...

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I am going to put this one out here even though it's a very specific story:

A friend of mine had a dual GPU graphics card. Radeon 4850X2. He started experiencing bad freezes, crashes and lag. Turns out one of the two GPU's was busted. When he clocked down the bad GPU core the problems dissapeared.

So, if I were you I would try clocking down your card a bit in case it's a overheating problem. If this solves your trouble at least you have narrowed it down =) From there you can determine whether it's a bad fan, clogged heat sink or other nastyness.

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Every single machine I've ever had has had overheating issues on the GPU. When I used to play Deus Ex (like 10 years ago omg) the machine would die for about half an hour after every hour of constant play, which was a great way of keeping my time in check. Of course, that wouldn't work now since I'd need my computer to do work after playing. –  Mechko Aug 7 '10 at 9:04
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One thing I've used to help with this problem in the past is the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit. It's sort of a way-advanced version of the options you get in the compatibility tab of an application (different Windows mode, different color mode, etc.).

In particular, I've found that a lot of Maxis games crash abruptly on my system. A guy suggested in an Amazon review that I try restricting processor affinity. (I have a dual-core system.) I did, and this seems to have alleviated the problem.

Unfortunately, the App Compatibility Toolkit isn't as straightforward as it could be, but it does give you a lot of control. For instance, there are several different ways to identify the application, from path to version to checksum.

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