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How to Fix PC Shutting Down When Playing Games

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Your PC suddenly turns off when you play video games but works very well when you do office work? This problem is quite serious and is an indication that something is wrong with the hardware. We will see together in this article the most probable causes and how to solve this problem.

Why is your PC shutting down while gaming? The most frequent reason is overheating, indeed to protect itself the PC will stop working to preserve the physical integrity of the components which overheat.

In the rest of the article I will list the other possible causes and solutions that I have found.

Overheating of components: the most common problem

On old or poorly designed machines, it often happens that overheating of the components causes the PC to turn off in the middle of a game. Indeed, video games are applications that use the processor and the graphics card intensively. As a result, more heat is released when you play.
If the PC is not well designed, this amount of heat can exceed the expected dissipation capacities. Heat builds up and therefore the component overheats.

This is especially true on low-end laptops or “thin & light” laptops that are not made for gaming. Modern chips, however, have mechanisms to avoid a total shutdown of the machine. They will lower their operating frequencies to reduce the heat emitted. On poorly designed gaming laptops it can happen that the cooling system is outdated.

On fixed machines it is rarer but not impossible. Fans clogged with dust can lead to overheating. Finally, poorly adapted cooling systems lead to heating problems. For example, the cooler supplied as standard by Intel is not very efficient and therefore it can only be used on low-powered processors. If you use it on your 10900K, it won’t be able to dissipate as much heat .

The solutions are quite simple, you have to reduce the temperature of your components, fortunately there are several ways to achieve this.

  • Clean radiator fins and fan blades
  • Increase airflow: add fans to your case, put a laptop fan, etc.
  • Boost your CPU and/or GPU.
  • Limit CPU usage to 99%
  • Change the thermal paste
  • Change your CPU cooling.

Normally by doing one of these solutions you should have very reasonable temperatures and therefore your problem of stopping in the middle of the game should disappear.

Power supply faulty or not powerful enough

Here we go into the more delicate hardware problems. Indeed it is possible that your PSU (power supply in French) is defective or not powerful enough.

Faulty power supplies are quite difficult to identify, you will generally observe poor stability of your machine, this can result in “BSODs”, blue screens, or unexpected shutdowns.

In any case, the components of your PC suffer if they are not well powered, so it is imperative to change your power supply as soon as possible.

If you just have an underpower problem, it’s your PSU that can’t supply the requested power, so it starts to heat up and to avoid a breakage, the computer shuts down. You can reduce the consumption of your components, but the best thing is to change to a more powerful power supply.

For fixed PCs, turn to well-known brands: Corsair, Seasonic, NZXT, Be Quiet, etc. I have a small preference for Seasonic feeds, but take quality feeds.

For laptops normally, the manufacturer has provided you with a power supply brick that is powerful enough for your machine. If it is defective, you will have to turn to the after-sales service

Unstable overclocking

If you have overclocked one of your components, it may be the cause of your stability problem. Indeed, it sometimes happens that an overclock on one of the components is not stable for the task you are performing.

Try playing with the default frequencies to see if the problem persists.

Restore the default settings in your BIOS to ensure that no weird settings are causing the problem.

Another faulty component

The final and trickiest possibility to diagnose is that a component in your PC (aside from the PSU) is faulty.

If problem only occurs in game I would start by checking if your graphics card is not defective . A defective card can cause a PC to stop, especially when it is requested. My standby 9700GT was doing the same to me on the end of its life.

I will then check your CPU. Do a stress test on it to see how it behaves and if you have the same problem. I wrote a dedicated guide on how to test your CPU to see if it is working well.

If the problem comes from the CPU, you will have to try the same test with another one.

Then I will turn to the RAM. Try removing a module to see if the PC keeps shutting down .

Change the kit completely to see if the problem still persists.

If after changing all that the problem persists, it is that something is happening on the motherboard itself.

Try unplugging then reconnecting all the power cables , to see if they are in good contact with the motherboard.

Visually check the PCB (printed circuit board) of the motherboard. By observing carefully, you may be able to detect a capacitor that has a bad head or a bad contact, the goal is to check if your motherboard is not defective . Be careful with metal, if a piece of metal touches two components of the electrical circuit it can create bad contact. Check that there is no cable directly touching the motherboard, for example.

If you have the guts you can do the same with your graphics card. It will be necessary to remove the cooler attached to it to observe the components. It may be that a poorly placed thermal pad overheats a component such as the memory and therefore the card stops to preserve the chip.

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Bradford Stokes

After a bachelor's degree in computer science and an express experience as a web developer, Bradford joined the FrontWire team to share his knowledge of accessories, peripherals, and high-tech gadgets through detailed shopping guides.

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