Interesting thing happened when playing last night - at one point, just outside of Whiterun, I ran into an old Orc who wanted to "die a good death" and after I started to grant his which, the screen froze for 1/2 second, the sound started to stutter and it seemed like the start of a black screen/reboot crash, but then it recovered and no issue for the next four hours.
So what happened? I think the game started to change all kinds of variables based on that decision to engage the Orc and that caused the stutter as things were loaded and changed.
I think if *THAT* situation happens AND there is a auto-save at the same time, things go downhill really fast and the whole system crashes. Since I disabled auto-saving, then it didn't crash. Sound reasonable?
I shouldn't say nothing else happened the rest of the session - after a period of time, I noticed a slight "heaviness" to the whole game. Seemed a little jerky vs the normal super smooth. It's barely noticeable. But I saved the game, exited to desktop and restarted Skyrim and loaded the game and it was back to smoothness (this only took about 20 seconds for me). I think this is just the engine having too much garbage (memory leak anyone?) in memory and reloading the program cleared it out. Next time this happens, I will try just saving to a new save file and then loading it to see if the heaviness is lifted.
Anyway, that's my latest update. And here's a puppy: