XPS L502X Gaming Freeze and Audio stutters - General Hardware - Laptop - Dell Community

XPS L502X Gaming Freeze and Audio stutters


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XPS L502X Gaming Freeze and Audio stutters

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I have had my XPS for about 5 months and I have had some problems with it when trying to play games on it.

On many game such as Dead Island, Crysis, Command and Conquer Zero Hour, Killing Floor, Garrys Mod, Homeword 2 and maybe some others.  My system will usually play them without any problems for a while, and then, seemingly at random, the screen will freeze(not go black, just freezes), and the audio will stutter on what sounds like a 0.1 second loop.  This sometimes continues uninterrupted and also sometimes the screen will resume moving for about a half of a second, but then freeze again and the audio will start playing the game music as if nothing happened.

It never recovers however.  If I try to go to task manager and end the process,  then my computer will lock up and require a hard restart.

Sometimes it happens right when I start playing the games and sometimes I can play for an hour or two.

One interesting thing though.  My laptop never freezes on Runescape, IL Sturmovic 1946, and Dead Rising 2(DR2 is very graphically intensive).

This has been happening for about 3 months.  This did not happen when I first got my computer.

My specs:

Dell XPS L502X
Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit.

NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M 2gb.

Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2630QM CPU @ 2.00GHz(with turbo up to 2.90).

RAM, 8gb.

If you need anymore info then tell me.

All Replies
  • Oh, and I want help fixing it  :P

  • Games aren't always the most stable of software.  The fact that you are able to play Runescape, Sturmovic and Dead Riding 2 implies that it isn’t a hardware problem.  It can be very difficult troubleshooting this type of issue.  The first thing to do if possible is try to determine if the lockups are actually being caused by faulty hardware.  I suggest running diagnostics.

    Start the notebook while tapping F12 and choose diagnostics, allow the basic tests to complete and when asked if you wish to run memory diagnostics choose no, choose yes to booting to the diagnostic partition, choose test system, choose symptom tree and then choose system locks up.  Reply back here with the results. The diags may point to the devices that may be failing.  It isn't going to hurt the PC running diagnostics,  if one run passes everything, run it a second time.

    If the diagnostics pass and give no errors then the hardware on your notebook may be fine.  You can start troubleshooting software issues.   First off make sure that you have the latest video and audio and Ethernet drivers.  Use the AC adapter while playing games and configure Optimus to make sure that your games is using the nVidia card and not the Intel GPU. The following link has more info on Optimus


    Remember games in general and especially 3D games tend to be resource hogs.  Kill programs running in the background while playing games.  A lot of Antivirus programs today have a quite mode where they are configured not to use many resources, check with the AV vendor and see if you can configure the AV accordingly.  If you aren't online turn the AV off (yeah I know, who games anymore offline).  Check the software of the Vendor of the games and make they are all patched and up to date.  To get the games to play smoothly you may have to reduce the settings in the games.

    Please let me know what the results from running the diagnostics are, and what you found out with further troubleshooting.


    Specialize in Laptops, Mobile Devices

  • I'm about to start running diagnostics but before I do I have some info.

    In addition to my Nvidia chip, I also have an integrated chip.  It's not very good for gaming but I leaned that if I tell my games to use the integrated graphics chip my games never crash....

  • I ran said diagnostics twice and there were no problems that were detected.

    However, when I ran the first basic test before booting up to the diagnostic partition, it gave me this warning:

    Error Code 0146.

    Msg: Error Code 2000-0146

    Msg: Hard Drive 0 - self test log contains previous error(s)

    The given error code and message can be used by Technical Support to help diagnose the problem.

    Do you want to continue testing?

    I chose to continue the tests after I noted the error.  

    Thank you so far =)

  • I thought that if I ran games in windowed mode they didn't crash, well looks like they do.  I downloaded Crysis 2 and tried playing it in windowed mode so I could see the temperature of my various devices as I played.

    After about 15-20 minutes of playing, it froze up along with the weird audio sputtering.

    However.  I looked at the temperatures and they were not too high.

    My GPU was 67c, and my cores were 70s-80s...

    This is out of my range of expertise...

  • I had the same exact problem before.  Actually, I had DirectX issue before (no program would recognize DirectX 11 on a NEW L502x and I had to pay $110 for DELL software support....)  After that was fixed, I started to have the same problem as you stated above.  I tried to pinpoint the problem with several representatives from different companies (nVidia, DELL, etc etc) with no avail.

    One day, I saw a post by someone that replacing motherboard would solve the problem so I asked DELL to do the same.  DELL actually sent out a replacement motherboard, power module, and USB 3.0 ports.  After that I didn't have anymore problems with whole system locking up until recently. (DIdn't have issues for months afterwards) However, now it would give me green screen on external monitor connected via HDMI cable.  And of course, lock up the whole system requiring me to hard reboot.

  • Jodupher

    Have you had the hard drive replaced in the past?  Otherwise the hard drive may be failing and that could certainly explain the problems that you are having with games.  Assuming that the hard drive is fine, it could be the nVidia GPU, I am not convinced that is the case as  there are too many software issues that can cause the same symptoms.  the fact that you able to play some games with little issue implies this.   If there was a time that you noticed that you where able to play games with little or no issue one thing that you might try is to reimage the system, I suggest PC restore as it is much quicker and easier.  If you do decide on taking this route please back up any saved games, emails an other personal data before do so as running PC restore will delete the C drive.  This will also give clues if the hard drive is possibly defective. For more on PC restore please check out the following website.


    Other than that, if there are further hard drive failures running diagnsotics or PC restore fails please let me know.  If the performance of games keeps getting worse no matter what you do please feel free to shoot me a private message with your name and the service tag of the notebook.  


    Specialize in Laptops, Mobile Devices

  • I have already done a fresh reinstall of windows to try to fix the issue at hand and it did nothing.

    The hard drive I have in the computer is the same hard drive the computer came with and about 6 months old.

  • We can try a service to have the GPU replaced.  I am not convinced here that is the problem, but if the problems continue after the repair we both will know at least that it isn't the GPU but some type of software issue.


    Specialize in Laptops, Mobile Devices

  • Well, thanks.

    I have found a temporary solution for the crashes.  I lowered the clock settings of my Nvidia GPU and I haven't had a crash since.

    This obviously is not a permanent solution because this causes my games to run slower, but for others who have this issue; it would seem that the card is only stable at lower clock speeds.

    I'll look into getting the motherboard and GPU replaced.

  • You shouldn't have to lower the clockspeed to be able to play games.  Shoot me a private message, just click on the link to my signature.  Include your name and service tag and I will look into having the system board / GPU replaced.


    Specialize in Laptops, Mobile Devices

  • Hi, I am having the same problem. When I run Modern Warfare 2, my laptop does not freeze or have audio sputters. When I play Call of Duty Black Ops and Modern Warfare 3 my computer locks up completely requiring a hard restart. My graphics card is up to date including all my other drivers and programs including Windows and I do not have any viruses on my computer.


  • I never had Modern Warfare 2.  I had the first one and the third though.

    When your computer freezes on MW3 and BO what happens?  Audio stutter?  Black screen?

  • The whole computer freezes and the audio stutters, the game screen also freezes. i cant do ctrl + alt + del or anything.

  • When I froze I could usually ctrl+alt+del but no matter.

    Tell me a little about your computer specs please.