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Many users while playing a game on there computer seem to notice that it slows down at random times throughout game-play, This common on most computer as users seem to forget about other applications running on there computer.
If your CPU is not fast enough and you are running many applications while your game is running you will notice the game isn't responding as fast as it should, The best way to solve this is disable all programs which you are not using including MSN messenger and any browser or File sharing/Torrent Application.
Also make sure your anti-virus is configured not to scan automatically otherwise it may start scanning while you are in game and cause dramatic lag, Most anti-virus's will provide an gamers profile which you can activate to prevent certain anti-virus features while you are playing your game.
It could be a marginal power supply, gaming puts more requirement, processing power, therefore more power is required by the CPU and the graphics card. And of you are overclocking then it needs even more power and generates more heat. Do you have a video card installed or just using the integrated video?
Another possibility is temperature threshold setting in the BIOS or some control panel tool run within Windows. If the threshold is set too low, the computer will turn off to protect the CPU. It may have something to do with the fan settings. Quiet setting for fans may prevent them from going full speed to cool things down.
Try to run a system monitor tool to see how its handling the extra gaming load.
Have you opened the computer up and checked the fans for dust. As you say, those are clasic overheating symptoms
Use a small brush and a vaccum cleaner, or a can of compressed air(air duster) to clean your pc's fans.
Usually when you download and install a game from the internet onto your computer, they can come with unwanted viruses, malware, or other intruders. These can very much shut your computer off. Try scanning your computer with threatfire and norton. you can get a free trial free for both. Once these problems are found and fixed, you shouldn't have the problem.