Question How to solve BSOD on running any game with Razer Blade 2016 GTX 970M "DXGKRNL" and "WATCHDOG.SYS"

Nov 27, 2020
Hello, my girlfriend's Razer Blade has started acting up.

It was working fine and playing Phasmophobia when it froze, and crashed to desktop. Upon starting the game up again, it ran at 1 FPS. So she closed the game and turned it off for the night.

The next day, she started up a game again, and it was running completely normally but then suddenly froze again, and then this time BSOD-ed.

We have tried driver reinstallations (from a clean DDU uninstall), and rolling back GPU drivers. Both methods have not worked, it still consistently BSODs when playing a game, but only when about 5 minutes consistently into any game.

When on desktop, or browsing, it does not crash.

The error message is "VIDEO DXGKRNL Fatal Error", or something to that effect. Upon checking the DUMP files, it was triggered by "watchdog.sys".

We've run out of solutions. Really hoping it's not a hardware error. Has anyone else encountered this? What can we do?

Thank you very much!

EDIT: removed Throttlestop mention, she says it isn't important as it apparently stops detecting GPU temps normally when the discrete GPU is not being used

EDIT 2: Temps are fine, both for CPU and GPU. We've crossed out overheating as a variable, as she constantly monitors via throttlestop and has never oveheated

Update 1: After a Windows update today (11/27), as well as a graphics driver update into the latest drivers (she was running older drivers to check), Phasmophobia ran for significantly longer before BSOD-ing. She then tried GTA V, and played for about an hour before it BSOD-ed. This is longer than she was able to play anything before the updates. This change in behaviour has us further stumped.

Update 2: Played 40 min. of Siege before BSOD, whereas before updates, it would BSOD within 10 minutes of starting the game. Definite improvement compared to pre-update. What is going on?


May 22, 2020
she says it isn't important as it apparently stops detecting GPU temps normally when the discrete GPU is not being used
This is by design. When an Nvidia GPU is idle, it is a bad idea to wake it up to find out what temperature it is at. This defeats the purpose of Optimus. It increases power consumption and heat. Breaking Optimus is something that laptop monitoring software should avoid doing.

Temps are fine
Many Razer Blade laptops run the CPU at over 90°C and are on the edge of thermal throttling. This might be OK when a CPU is new. It might cause BSODs when a CPU is a few years old.

Turn the Log File option on in ThrottleStop. Find out what temperatures the CPU and GPU are running at while playing. The log file will also show if there is any thermal throttling or power limit throttling. Try to play a game for 15 to 30 minutes. The log file will be in the ThrottleStop / Logs folder. Attach one to your next post.

Was she using ThrottleStop to undervolt her computer? What CPU? How much of an undervolt? When you exit ThrottleStop the undervolt is not removed unless you specifically tell ThrottleStop to reset the undervolt. Some people use ThrottleStop and copy settings they found on a YouTube video. One needs to understand how to test these settings on their computer or they should not be using ThrottleStop at all.