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So I'm playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and every half hour or so the entire game freezes, usually accompanied by a message on Windows 7 helpfully telling me:

Your video driver stopped working and has successfully recovered. If the problem persists contact a local vendor.

Or something along those lines. And at first I figured "Well, maybe that's just accompanying the game crash, I'm sure it's nothing to really worry about".

Fast forward several hours into the game, where I hit a blue screen of death and have to shut down my entire computer.

So I won't be playing that game for awhile now, but now I am quite concerned about the time I DID spend playing it.

Is it possible that playing this game has caused permanant damage to my system? And if so, what is it about this 2011 video game that could cause such a problem?

For reference: My computer isn't the greatest gaming machine in the land. It was an out-of-the-box build in 2009 and lower-mid teir back then. I have already lost a motherboard (replaced with a less expensive, smaller one) and recently upgraded my graphics card to a slightly better one with an internal fan, but even that is a lower-tier card.

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    It kind of sound like your GPU is choking on it. Possibly overheating, possibly just dying of old age/production error/ random other reason. – Arperum Feb 21 '14 at 15:00
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    So first off, are your drivers up to date? That should help in reducing power usage. Second, how's the ventilation in the case? It sounds like stuff is possibly overheating. Blow out any dust, and maybe invest in a case fan. Also, make sure there isn't any protective plastic (the kind that's meant to prevent scratches) on the GPU. At work, we've seen some cards with it still on, and it causes heat problems. – MBraedley Feb 21 '14 at 15:01
  • Yeesh...both good suggestions, as I definitely haven't cleaned the thing out in ages...might be about time to do so. And while the drivers SHOULD be up to date, I can check and make sure. Thank you both. – Zibbobz Feb 21 '14 at 15:04
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    Check if it's actually overheating though, your vendor's control panel for the graphics stuff should show it's temp, or use Speedfan. – Ben Brocka Feb 21 '14 at 15:06
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    also make sure your PSU is suppliying enough power for your newer video card. Most out of the box machines skimp on the PSU wattage. – l I Feb 21 '14 at 15:08
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No. There is no way this game, or any other, could be causing permanent damage to your PC. What is most likely happening is that your video card is overheating, or starting to fail, even though you said you replaced it recently. Hopefully it's under warranty. You should try a different game that stresses your video card; if the same problem happens, it's not the game, it's definitely the video card. Like @MBraedley says, try to clean the dust out of your case.

What the game is doing, though, is taxing your system to it's limits, and if a piece is starting to go, playing the game brings the problem to the forefront. It will require perfect functionality to run, and if it doesn't have that, you run into these types of issues.

I've run into issues like this with a wonky video card before; it actually corrupted the Windows 7 install several times until I figured out what the issue is.

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  • don't be so sure, if the temperature sensor fails then the driver won't be able to throttle the card properly and it will burn out, this can also happen if there is a bug in the driver – ratchet freak Feb 21 '14 at 15:25
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    @ratchetfreak And that's a hardware failure if ever I heard one. It's not the game causing the problem; it's the hardware functionality no longer working correctly. Driver bugs still aren't the game causing the problem, either. All it's doing is bringing the problem to light due to failing hardware/bad drivers. – Frank Feb 21 '14 at 15:28
  • I've cooked a (work machine) video card before after a fan failed, and I wasn't doing anything as intensive as 3D gaming. – MBraedley Feb 21 '14 at 19:41
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It is possible to damage your hardware by running it too hard if its failsafe mechanisms (typically throttling based on temperature) aren't working properly, however it is not a common occurrence, most of the time the hardware will protect itself from damage by throttling or shutting down. The first thing to do in this situation is to remove all overclocking (if any) and clean out the dust (be careful not to use any conductive materials when cleaning, as this will destroy your hardware, use compressed air instead). If this doesn't help, consider installing additional or replacing the existing cooling solutions. Aftermarket coolers exist for many GPU models, and better airflow provided by properly installed case fans can also help.

One possible short-term solution is to reduce graphical settings to lower heat generation, but you really want to fix this problem for good by following the above steps.

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No. It's not possible to hurt your PC by playing a game, you might just strain the hardware but that's not anything serious. Try opening the case and cleaning the inside a bit. I like using an aircompressor, but a simple towel will do just as fine. Just try not to hurt anything when digging in the box.

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  • make sure its a dry towel :P – l I Feb 25 '14 at 19:53
  • And that it's not on when you do so. – Frank Feb 26 '14 at 4:41

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