jstacks42
1 Copper

Alienware Aurora R4 Crashing Constantly

I have been having a major problem with my Alienware PC, which is only a year old.  Whenever I play a game, or do anything else that is GPU intensive, it causes the screen to go black and the PC becomes unresponsive.  When this first began, I was playing Rift, and about an hour in, it went black and I had to use the power button to restart the machine.  Now, even Facebook games cause the crash.  Updating the Nvidia drivers, doing a diagnostic from the Dell site and even rating the system with Windows causes the crash.  I have tried moving the card into the other PCI slot.  I was originally using Windows 8 and have since formatted my HDD and completely reinstalled Windows 7, thinking it was a software issue.  I bought another video card, I have a EVGA Geforce 660 and tried out a Radeon 7770, thinking maybe its an Nvidia issue, but that card even caused errors.

I took my PC to a repair shop that supposedly knows about Alienware system, and they effectively charged me to do nothing because they couldnt figure it out.  They said its a common Alienware issue and that I should never update the systems drivers or the video card driver.  Since then I have talked to Alienware support on the phone, done the pre-boot tests, which found nothing.  Pretty much everyone is stumped and I am left with a very expensive web browser and a very sad pc gamer.

Any help would be greatly appreciated

System Specs

Alienware Aurora R4

Intel Core i7 - 3930 6 core @ 3.2 GHz

8 GB Quad Channel DDR3 at 1600MHz RAM

2 GB EVGA Nvidia GeForce 660

Windows 7 64 Bit

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5 Replies
Moderator
Moderator

Re: Alienware Aurora R4 Crashing Constantly

Have you tried checking the temperatures?

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jstacks42
1 Copper

Re: Alienware Aurora R4 Crashing Constantly

Yes, nothing out of the ordinary.  Especially if it crashes instantly when starting a game.

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mav711
3 Silver

Re: Alienware Aurora R4 Crashing Constantly

what graphics card did your Aurora come with initially?  I know it's not an EVGA GTX660.  Do you still have that original card around to try it out with and see if the black screens still occur?

Try a full clean install of the Nvidia drivers rather than just an upgrade... remove the drivers completely.. reboot and then reinstall.

Also you could try switching the BIOS from PCI Gen3 to Gen2 and see if that helps.  Some cards don't play nice in Gen3.  Find the toggle in the BIOS and select either Disable or Gen2.  Can't remember the exact option right now.  Performance between Gen2 and Gen3 is almost identical so don't worry about a performance hit.

What bios version are you running?

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jstacks42
1 Copper

Re: Alienware Aurora R4 Crashing Constantly

It came with a 550ti. I tried changing the Bios setting and disabling Gen 3.   I am using Bios version A07.   I had a shirty surge protector and power issue caused me to lose the video card and hard drive during a storm. I replaced both and it worked perfectly for 6 months.  I have tried reinstalling the drivers from the OEM disc but trying any newer version causes the crash, even doing a clean install.

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Tesla1856
6 Gallium

Re: Alienware Aurora R4 Crashing Constantly

It came with a 550ti. I tried changing the Bios setting and disabling Gen 3.   I am using Bios version A07.   I had a shirty surge protector and power issue caused me to lose the video card and hard drive during a storm. I replaced both and it worked perfectly for 6 months.  I have tried reinstalling the drivers from the OEM disc but trying any newer version causes the crash, even doing a clean install.

 
As you discovered, running without a good UPS (like APC or CyberPower) can cause re-reversible damage.
 
If the machine took a hit ... bad enough to blow the video card ... that means either the power-supply or motherboard (or some part on it) is likely partially damaged as well.


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