Acer Aspire V15 crash while gaming-overheating or PSU?

papercuttheo

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Aug 28, 2017
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A few weeks ago, my laptop just died while gaming on a summer day. No signs of throttling or any struggle whatsoever- the unplugged message (i.e. switching to battery power) message beeped for a split second and then entire laptop was off. After 1 second, the power indicator came back on and I could restart the laptop normally. After the second time I made sure that all my drivers were up to date, that the exhaust and intake were free, etc. But it kept happening. Switching to battery does NOT crash, but likewise a new power cable and adapter did not sort the problem out either. I was later able to duplicate the crash while on battery by manually setting the power plan to max performance. Removing the battery and running purely on AC didn't help either.

Before I continue, here are my specs:

Acer Aspire V15 VN7-571G
CPU: Intel i5-4210U dual core 1.7 GHz with turbo boost up to 2.7 GHz
GPU: Nvidia Geforce GTX 850M
RAM: 8 MB DDR3
Windows 10 Professional

Software side, I have done everything I can think of or could fin on the internet: updated all relevant drivers, virus and malware checks by Avast and Spybot, clearing out space on the HD, etc.

At first I didn't even consider that overheating might be a problem, I clean out the exhaust and intake regularly with compressed air and the laptop rests on a very good 6 fan cooling pad. But after Speedfan and HWinfo showed me that both the cpu and gpu were hitting 80-90°C while gaming, I decided to open up the laptop and look around. Some dust in the fan which I cleaned out. I decided to check the thermal paste, which was quite dried out and atrociously applied in factory. (More around than on the conductors :) ) I cleaned everything nicely, carefully reapplied the paste, and started up. Idle temperatures had dropped to 35-40°, and neither an Intel stress test nor a Furmark gpu burn in were struggling to make the either processor go above 70°. I thought my problem was solved.

5 minutes into gaming- crash.

It seems that running the cpu and gpu together intensively still makes the temperature hit the 90°s (on occassion). I can still run certain games on minimum without going above 68°, but any attempt at higher settings will instantly crash. When running a Furmark test with max settings and more importantly, max anti-aliasing and post-fx, the system will crash before even getting to 70°.
My current worry is that the motherboard is somehow not able to supply enough power under high stress, but I don't know how to check this. I was not able to find any signs of burning or damage on the motherboard itself though, and the crashes happen both on charge and on battery power.

My attempts at underclocking using Intel XPU and Afterburner have not helped much either, but maybe I must be more aggressive. For some reason I cannot set the max multipliers on the CPU though and I am worried about messing too much with the voltages. Also, it seems weird that I need to underclock factory hardware to play a game well within specifications.

Another worry of mine is the fan. Although it is spinning well and very quietly, it doesn't seem to speed up enough under stress, only very rarely hitting max speeds. Unfortunately, no program or setting I have found has let me control the fan speed, so I can't test if this is a problem.

My final concern is the cooling system itself. Both the cpu and gpu are connected by a metal rod to a grid and the fan at the back. Is it normal for all processors to use the same rod? It seems to me that the front processor would cool down much more effectively than the back one, particularly if both were under strain.

TL;DR: Laptop dies when CPU and GPU are simultaneously stressed. Both processors are running close to 90° when playing a game like Dota 2.

The symptoms:
-Possible overheating (but not always)
-Fan is possibly not increasing rpm to deal with increased temperatures
-Fan will occassionally markedly speed up just before shut off
-While I cannot stress Gpu or cpu to go over 70° individually, together they go over 80°

Attempted solutions:
-Replaced thermal paste
-Removed all dust
-Bought cooling stand (usb powered with 6 fans, no intake blockage)
-Updated video drivers
-Found no malware and freed a lot of disk space
-Set cooling options to active wherever possible
-Replaced laptop charger
-Removed battery
-Removed optical drive (Hoped to improve air circulation, no effect)

Would really appreciate any help with this. The laptop runs perfectly fine with any other application, only crashes while gaming.

And if anyone knows how to manually set fan speeds on this model (preferably without changing Bios EC) I would be very grateful; neither Speedfan nor Afterburner have any Option


UPDATE: On a hunch, I decided to unplug the fan and run the Computer. For the first time, Intel XTU showed that the CPU was under thermal throttling and would not go above 60°. Very interesting. I also noticed, as I guessed, that the double heat sink caused the gpu to heat up to 51° even though it was turned off! Seems like a very inefficient design choice for a gaming Laptop.

I did a full gpu-included benchmarking test. Temperatures rose all the way to 90° before I turned it off (was worried about causing serious damage with no fan installed). However there was no crash.

UPDATE 2: I was finally able to find a program allowing me to change the fan speeds! https://github.com/hirschmann/nbfc/releases/tag/1.5.0
It doesn't have a configuration for my exact model, but using a similar one seems to work. I pumped the fan up to max and there was no crash. Unfortunately this means I once again have NO idea what is causing the problem.
 

kookie3010

Honorable
Sep 3, 2013
805
0
12,010
194
v15/vnitros gaming notebooks are well known for it quite fan but the cooling is terrible.even the latest v17 nitro with the gtx 1060 performs badly in term of temps but not to the point where it will shut off.when the cpu/gpu reach 93-95c it will trottle itself down.only thing i can do is undervolting and disabling turbo boost to keep temps from reaching high 80c-90c.how old is your laptop and how is your battery doing?
 

kookie3010

Honorable
Sep 3, 2013
805
0
12,010
194
v15/vnitros gaming notebooks are well known for it quite fan but the cooling is terrible.even the latest v17 nitro with the gtx 1060 performs badly in term of temps but not to the point where it will shut off.when the cpu/gpu reach 93-95c it will trottle itself down.only thing i can do is undervolting and disabling turbo boost to keep temps from reaching high 80c-90c.how old is your laptop and how is your battery doing?
 
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