Question

What is the source of my laptop's crashes?

Hi all,

For the past few months or so, my laptop (an old MSI GX630, if I had the money to I'd replace it) has been frequently crashing. It has never presented a BSOD, leading me to think it's not a software issue which is very unfortunate. Instead, the screen goes blank to a seemingly random color (occasionally two or three colors with some sheering involved), the audio freezes (where it appears to be repeating the last millisecond of sound), and I am forced to hard-reboot. I've checked the RAM, the harddrive doesn't appear to have any errors, and I've watched the temps and it doesn't appear to crash due to overheating of either the GPU or the CPU. Are these signs of a gfx card going on the fritz? Are there any options I can explore for fixing this without replacing components or the entire machine? I am running Windows 7 Ultimate by the way. Here is a DXDiag on the off chance it will help:

------------------
System Information
------------------
Time of this report: 11/3/2015, 14:06:51
Machine name: TORA-PC
Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit (6.1, Build 7601) Service Pack 1 (7601.win7sp1_gdr.150928-1507)
Language: English (Regional Setting: English)
System Manufacturer: Micro-Star International
System Model: GX-630
BIOS: BIOS Date: 02/08/08 17:50:03 Ver: 08.00.10
Processor: AMD Athlon(tm) X2 Dual-Core QL-62 (2 CPUs), ~2.0GHz
Memory: 4096MB RAM
Available OS Memory: 4092MB RAM
Page File: 2435MB used, 5747MB available
Windows Dir: C:\Windows
DirectX Version: DirectX 11
DX Setup Parameters: Not found
User DPI Setting: Using System DPI
System DPI Setting: 96 DPI (100 percent)
DWM DPI Scaling: Disabled
DxDiag Version: 6.01.7601.17514 32bit Unicode

------------
DxDiag Notes
------------
Display Tab 1: No problems found.
Sound Tab 1: No problems found.
Sound Tab 2: No problems found.
Input Tab: No problems found.

--------------------
DirectX Debug Levels
--------------------
Direct3D: 0/4 (retail)
DirectDraw: 0/4 (retail)
DirectInput: 0/5 (retail)
DirectMusic: 0/5 (retail)
DirectPlay: 0/9 (retail)
DirectSound: 0/5 (retail)
DirectShow: 0/6 (retail)

---------------
Display Devices
---------------
Card name: NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT
Manufacturer: NVIDIA
Chip type: GeForce 9600M GT
DAC type: Integrated RAMDAC
Device Key: Enum\PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0649&SUBSYS_65201462&REV_A1
Display Memory: 2285 MB
Dedicated Memory: 495 MB
Shared Memory: 1790 MB
Current Mode: 1280 x 800 (32 bit) (60Hz)
Monitor Name: Generic PnP Monitor
Monitor Model: unknown
Monitor Id: SEC3945
Native Mode: 1280 x 800(p) (60.004Hz)
Output Type: Internal
Driver Name: nvd3dumx.dll,nvwgf2umx.dll,nvwgf2umx.dll,nvd3dum,nvwgf2um,nvwgf2um
Driver File Version: 9.18.0013.3221 (English)
Driver Version: 9.18.13.3221
DDI Version: 10
Driver Model: WDDM 1.1
Driver Attributes: Final Retail
Driver Date/Size: 12/19/2013 13:33:31, 18222008 bytes
WHQL Logo'd: n/a
WHQL Date Stamp: n/a
Device Identifier: {D7B71E3E-4509-11CF-477B-2D451CC2C435}
Vendor ID: 0x10DE
Device ID: 0x0649
SubSys ID: 0x65201462
Revision ID: 0x00A1
Driver Strong Name: oem2.inf:NVIDIA_SetA_Devices.NTamd64.6.1:Section010:9.18.13.3221:pci\ven_10de&dev_0649&subsys_65201462
Rank Of Driver: 00E00001
Video Accel: ModeMPEG2_A ModeMPEG2_C ModeVC1_C ModeWMV9_C
D3D9 Overlay: Supported
DXVA-HD: Supported
DDraw Status: Enabled
D3D Status: Enabled
AGP Status: Enabled

-------------
Sound Devices
-------------
Description: Speakers (Realtek High Definition Audio)
Default Sound Playback: Yes
Default Voice Playback: Yes
Hardware ID: HDAUDIO\FUNC_01&VEN_10EC&DEV_0888&SUBSYS_14626520&REV_1001
Manufacturer ID: 1
Product ID: 100
Type: WDM
Driver Name: RTKVHD64.sys
Driver Version: 6.00.0001.5995 (English)
Driver Attributes: Final Retail
WHQL Logo'd: n/a
Date and Size: 7/19/2015 22:23:18, 2217504 bytes
Other Files:
Driver Provider: Realtek Semiconductor Corp.
HW Accel Level: Basic
Cap Flags: 0x0
Min/Max Sample Rate: 0, 0
Static/Strm HW Mix Bufs: 0, 0
Static/Strm HW 3D Bufs: 0, 0
HW Memory: 0
Voice Management: No
EAX(tm) 2.0 Listen/Src: No, No
I3DL2(tm) Listen/Src: No, No
Sensaura(tm) ZoomFX(tm): No

Description: Digital Audio (HDMI) (High Definition Audio Device)
Default Sound Playback: No
Default Voice Playback: No
Hardware ID: HDAUDIO\FUNC_01&VEN_10DE&DEV_0006&SUBSYS_10DE0101&REV_1000
Manufacturer ID: 1
Product ID: 65535
Type: WDM
Driver Name: HdAudio.sys
Driver Version: 6.01.7601.17514 (English)
Driver Attributes: Final Retail
WHQL Logo'd: n/a
Date and Size: 11/20/2010 20:23:47, 350208 bytes
Other Files:
Driver Provider: Microsoft
HW Accel Level: Basic
Cap Flags: 0x0
Min/Max Sample Rate: 0, 0
Static/Strm HW Mix Bufs: 0, 0
Static/Strm HW 3D Bufs: 0, 0
HW Memory: 0
Voice Management: No
EAX(tm) 2.0 Listen/Src: No, No
I3DL2(tm) Listen/Src: No, No
Sensaura(tm) ZoomFX(tm): No

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Comments
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Answer
DXDiag Continued

---------------------
Sound Capture Devices
---------------------
Description: Microphone (Realtek High Definition Audio)
Default Sound Capture: Yes
Default Voice Capture: Yes
Driver Name: RTKVHD64.sys
Driver Version: 6.00.0001.5995 (English)
Driver Attributes: Final Retail
Date and Size: 7/19/2015 22:23:18, 2217504 bytes
Cap Flags: 0x0
Format Flags: 0x0

-------------------
DirectInput Devices
-------------------
Device Name: Mouse
Attached: 1
Controller ID: n/a
Vendor/Product ID: n/a
FF Driver: n/a

Device Name: Keyboard
Attached: 1
Controller ID: n/a
Vendor/Product ID: n/a
FF Driver: n/a

Device Name: Razer DeathAdder
Attached: 1
Controller ID: 0x0
Vendor/Product ID: 0x1532, 0x0037
FF Driver: n/a

Device Name: Razer DeathAdder
Attached: 1
Controller ID: 0x0
Vendor/Product ID: 0x1532, 0x0037
FF Driver: n/a

Device Name: Razer DeathAdder
Attached: 1
Controller ID: 0x0
Vendor/Product ID: 0x1532, 0x0037
FF Driver: n/a

Device Name: Razer DeathAdder
Attached: 1
Controller ID: 0x0
Vendor/Product ID: 0x1532, 0x0037
FF Driver: n/a

Poll w/ Interrupt: No

-----------
USB Devices
-----------
+ USB Root Hub
| Vendor/Product ID: 0x10DE, 0x077D
| Matching Device ID: usb\root_hub
| Service: usbhub

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Ever see TL;DR?

That's a lot of data dumping with little substance.

The 9600M is a variant of the doomed 8600m. I'm sure you know this search:
https://www.google.com/#q=are+all+8600m+defective

Given the age you can try a deep cleaning and replacement of all heat sink compounds and when reassembling testing all fans. Then a factory reload of the OS and if it fails, it's time for a new motherboard.

There are priors on this so I won't duplicate the other ideas.

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PS. Not recommended.

Post was last edited on November 3, 2015 1:26 PM PST

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