Why Does My Laptop Freeze Playing Skyrim and MGSV?

Nakatoshi January 28, 2015
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Hello, I’d like some help with my laptop. Firstly, my laptop has the following specifications:

  • HP Pavilion DV6
  • Intel Core i7-2630QM 2.00 GHz
  • 6GB RAM
  • DirectX 11

It also includes switchable graphics between:

  • AMD Radeon HD 6700M
  • Intel HD Graphics 3000

Last year, before December 2014, all was working fine. Around early December, I ran into some problems with my games. Within the first few minutes of starting a game (I tried it on Sleeping Dogs, Bad Company 2 & CS:GO), the fan would start making loud noises and after 5 minutes or so, the game lags hard even at the lowest graphical settings (around 10 FPS), and when I touch the fan vents, the air coming out is hot.

So hot. I ran some fan temperature tests after playing a game: It goes up all the way into 90C+. I was afraid the fan was broken, so I had it fixed by some PC repair shop. After it has been fixed, the heat problems were already gone and it had been upgraded to Windows 8.1.

Of course, I was delighted. Even though the heat problem was gone, a new one showed up.

After launching a game (Skyrim & MGSV: GZ), it would start, however, after half a minute, my laptop would freeze.

Other applications can run. I can run multiple tasks, and no freezing would occur.

Now, I have no idea what the problem is, but if it can help, I think it is within the graphic drivers or something. On dxdiag, it shows that the current display device is Intel HD Graphics 3000, which, I believe, is not for gaming. I have updated my AMD Radeon and Intel HD to the latest.

Is this related to the fan replacement? Please help me. Thanks in advance.

  1. Doc
    February 2, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    HP's DV-series laptops have a long history of overheated GPUs (or, putting it another way, inadequate cooling). Try adding a powerful laptop cooler underneath the laptop, and see if that helps. Pick one that would place one fan directly under the area of the laptop where the GPU is. You may have some luck cleaning the fans and cooling ducts; it's a good idea to blow them out with compressed air every few weeks.

  2. Kannon Y
    January 30, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    I don't think it's an issue with switching. My best guess is that the freezing is caused by either the 6700M or by a RAM mismatch.

    Here's a discussion on driver issues with the 6700M and Skyrim:

    http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2823250

    There might be an older version of the Catalyst drivers that work better. I've read that the 12.6 beta drivers are the best match, but please read the thread for more details.

    RAM mismatch: If you increased the amount of RAM by adding a second 2GB of 4GB stick, that's a distinct possibility. The manufacturer sometimes pair 2GB sticks with 4GB sticks but these probably are properly timed. On a desktop systems this isn't a big issue because you can play around with the timings and voltages. On a laptop, that's not an option most of the time. RAM mismatches cause unpredictable behavior in mobile systems sometimes. You have a discrete GPU, so it has its own RAM.

    Have you tried removing one stick of RAM and trying to run any games?

    • Nakatoshi
      January 30, 2015 at 11:27 pm

      I quite have the knowledge in removing RAM but not to those great lengths. I shall use this as a last resort.

  3. ha14
    January 29, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Jan F is right can be that the Game not detecting a dedicated graphics card.

    before running a game on your laptop check this
    http://www.systemrequirementslab.com/cyri

    Radeon HD 6700M Benchmark
    http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=Radeon+HD+6700M
    Overall Rank: 235

    Guide: How To Completely Uninstall AMD Graphics Drivers
    http://www.vrworld.com/2012/04/04/guide-how-to-completely-uninstall-amd-graphics-drivers/

    How to switch between Intel graphic cards and AMD Radeon graphic cards for Hp Pavilion laptops
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_nT976HDRo

  4. Jan F.
    January 28, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    For your initial issue my first impression would have been that the system wasn't switching to the AMD graphics card and using the integrated graphics solution instead. That would account for the poor performance as the CPU would have had a hard time doing both, game as well as graphics calculation. This would certainly also result in the CPU and therefor the whole device running hot.

    Now with your system freezing up all together it is a 'good' indication that you are looking at a hardware issue. Either the replacement fan fails to do it's job and the system freezes up duo to heat or something got damaged because of the heat and is therefor freezing up. But let's not go there straight away...

    Assuming everything is working "normal" dxdiag should report the Intel HD as the current device as the laptop will only switch to the AMD card on demand.

    I would start by properly uninstalling and re-installing the latest drivers, remove both, then start with the Intel HD followed by the AMD Catalyst driver, perform all the suggested restarts (even if it seems tedious). Also grab the drivers from the hp support site and make sure the drivers are for Windows 8.1.
    Any other driver is considered unsupported and can lead to all sorts of problems including freezes. You can technically use the latest drivers from Intel as well as AMD but you may have sacrifice functionality e.g. set the graphics card to fixed mode.

    The following article has all the information about graphics switching:
    http://support.hp.com/us-en/product/HP-Pavilion-dv6-Entertainment-Notebook-PC-series/5048664/model/5096676/document/c03048374#AbT4

    Whichever driver you end up using it would probably be a good test to set the graphics card to be the AMD in Fixed Mode and try running games.

    If you are still experiencing freezes with that check the temperatures again.

    • Nakatoshi
      January 29, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      Thanks for the help. I'll try this solution later. However, what do you mean by "remove both, then start with the Intel HD followed by the AMD Catalyst driver,"?

    • Jan F.
      January 29, 2015 at 6:25 pm

      First download both the Intel HD Graphics driver as well as the AMD Catalayst driver from the support/driver section of hp.

      Then on your computer go into the Control Panel and under Programs select to "uninstall a program". Select the AMD Catalyst Install Manager and press Change at the top. In the new InstallShield window select "Express Uninstall ALL AMD Software
      http://support.amd.com/en-us/kb-articles/Pages/GPU57RemoveOldGraphicsDrivers.aspx#Win8

      Again, in the "uninstall a program" window look for something called "Intel Graphics Driver" or "Intel(R) Processor Graphics" and select to uninstall.
      http://www.intel.com/support/graphics/sb/CS-034574.htm

      Then install the Intel HD graphics driver followed by the AMD Catalyst driver.

    • Nakatoshi
      January 30, 2015 at 11:25 pm

      Unfortunately, I have tried your solution a few times and it still did not fix the problem. Thanks for the help, though.

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