Experiencing problems (including odd video artifacts) on a fresh Win7 re-install

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Installation' started by CGW, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. CGW

    CGW New Member

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    I'm encountering odd problems while trying to rebuild my Windows 7 desktop PC.


    Background: I purchased my desktop PC (a Dell Studio XPS 435 MT, with Radeon HD4670 and dual monitors) about three years ago. It came with Windows Vista. Soon after I received this PC, I formatted the system partition and then installed Windows 7 Ultimate. Windows 7 worked well; over time, however, as I installed and uninstalled many applications, it began to exhibit odd behavior. About a year ago, thin horizontal black lines occasionally began appearing randomly across both monitors -- apparently leftover artifacts from application windows. In addition, certain actions (e.g., the display of User Account Dialogs, locking of the desktop, unlocking the desktop) no longer occurred simultaneously on the two monitors; rather, the primary monitor would update, a couple of seconds would transpire, and then second monitor would update. I updated the video drivers (from Windows Update, but not from AMD's site), without improvement. I had installed various codecs. I figured that the video drivers, codecs, and conflicting applications were contributing to the problem.


    I began rebuilding this PC over the weekend. I formatted the system partition, installed Windows 7, and applied perhaps 200 items (required and optional) from Windows Update, en masse. Perhaps this was unwise; some of the updates seemed to conflict with one another, causing odd error messages and occasional lockups. I re-installed Windows 7 again -- this time, only installing critical updates. Even before proceeding to install optional updates, including updated video and monitor drivers, the thin horizontal black lines are appearing again! In addition, the problem where certain actions are not simultaneously appearing on the two monitors is present again.


    I'm reluctant to install all of my applications and to restore from backups until I know that the hardware is OK.


    Any ideas as to what the root cause might be? Could something with the video card -- perhaps RAM - be at fault?
     
  2. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    I suppose the obvious question would be does it have problems with just one monitor?

    Have you tried another video card?

    You seem to be leaning toward a problem with some update, or some software. You can control the Video driver updates and the other updates should not be involved...
     
  3. CGW

    CGW New Member

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    I will use just one monitor and then observe the results. The screen artifacts appear randomly and intermittently, however, so it might be difficult to know whether that resolves the problem. In any case, wouldn't this still indicate a hardware problem?

    I'm seeing the screen artifact problem even prior to installing any video and monitor updates -- so I'm not necessarily leaning towards this being a problem with some update, or software. (That said, I was disappointed to see that simultaneously installing all pending updates on Windows Update resulted in conflicts; I would think this would be a typical action and, therefore, not prone to conflicts.)

    I don't have any other video cards; I can buy another, but where do I begin? What's considered a decent, middle-of-the-road, video card manufacturer and model these days?
     
  4. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    If you were to try a new video card, what type would have to be up to your needs, but we aren't there yet.

    Are you using DVI outputs for both monitors? Have you tried switching them and checked the connections?

    Does it do the same thing with different resolutions? I would suggest safe mode, but it probably won't run both monitors.

    Have you checked your bios for any video type options that might have some effect. Have you checked for any bios updates and whether they might address video problems?

    Are you loading your own codecs immediately, or only after the problems present? Could some software be loading codecs or affecting your system in some way?
     
  5. CGW

    CGW New Member

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    Thanks for your comments.

    The system came from Dell with an AMD Radeon 4670. if I were to replace it, I would probably go with something like (after a quick search on Amazon.com) an EVGA GeForce -- perhaps the GTX 550.

    I'm using DVI outputs for both monitors. I plan to re-seat the card and the connectors tonight to see if it helps. I will also make sure the fan is working. I'm guessing that any of these things could be causing the weird video issues I'm experiencing; either that, or perhaps the video card has simply become defective.

    I haven't tried other resolutions to see if it makes a difference -- but will do so.

    The PC's BIOS is up-to-date. In the the three years I've had this system, I haven't changed anything in the BIOS; however, I'll double-check the settings. I don't believe there are firmware updates for the video card; however, I'm not sure. It's interesting that this problem began only about a year ago.

    I'm not yet to the point of installing any codecs--nor any video and monitor drivers. I'd like to make sure the system is stable before I install anything else.
     
  6. CGW

    CGW New Member

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    I tried using just one monitor. I also made sure that there are no graphics-related settings in the PC BIOS. Lastly, I removed the monitor cables from the card, removed the card, cleaned the dust from the card, it's fan, the monitor cable connectors, and the PC motherboard. The screen artifacts still appeared randomly and intermittently.

    Do video cards such as the Radeon HD4670 have firmware that needs to be updated?
     
  7. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    I am not familiar with the AMD video cards, but I don't see a firmware update available for download. You may be able to find something. The latest Catalyst drivers are from late July 2012, but I assume you already have those. There were also some HydraVison drivers mentioned, if you use those.

    If you have reinstalled your OS, have the latest drivers, and made sure all the mechanical connections are good, not sure what is left. Trying another video card might help to see if it could be just the card, even an inexpensive one to test.
     
  8. CGW

    CGW New Member

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    At one point earlier this week, during numerous formats/installs (to look for a culprit), I did install the latest Catalyst and HydraVision drivers. The screen artifacts still appeared randomly and intermittently.

    Yesterday, I purchased an
    EVGA GeForce GT 610 2048MB GDDR3 graphics card. I formatted and re-installed Windows 7. Unlike the Radeon, I noticed that the screen resolution remained at the lowest level and that only the primary monitor received a signal. It wasn't until I installed the EVGA drivers that the resolution was properly set and the second monitor was detected. Most importantly, however, I no longer see screen artifacts!

    I do notice, however, that my Windows 7 Performance Index Score for Graphics is lower than what it was with the Radeon: 4.7 vs. 5.something -- although, so far, I haven't noticed any graphics performance issues. Perhaps I should have opted for a higher-performance card--maybe the EVGA GeForce GTX 550 I described earlier? 610 is higher than 550; but GTX seems to have higher specs than the GT. Conflicting variables!
     
  9. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    Did you rerun the Performance Index assessment? You should be getting around a 7 for your graphics score, but I don't run two monitors. But I do get a 7.3 for a GTX 260. The Nvidia cards go by 400 500 600 which are really model years or releases for a particular chipset.
     
  10. CGW

    CGW New Member

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    Yes, I ran the assessment twice. Rebooted in between.

    I will disconnect the second monitor and then re-run the assessment to see the effect.

    So the GT610 is newer than the GTX550? I believe the former has DDR3 whereas the latter has DDR5
     
  11. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    I don't know the particulars of each card version, since they can many things to lower the cost. I normally stay with GTX cards, and am looking at getting a new 680 next year before Crysis comes out.

    You can compare the different card versions on the EVGA site, or maybe even Newegg. But basically, the higher the number (610 vs 690) is relative to the cost, and the GTX version has more options than a GT version.
     
  12. CGW

    CGW New Member

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    Thanks. I checked EVGA's site. Wow, they make too many models!

    Beyond model numbers, clock speed, and memory clock speed, how can I know whether I need 1MB or 2MB of memory? Does it matter that I'm looking to drive *two* monitors?
     
  13. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    What you need, depends of course on what you will be doing as far as Video requirement. Are you a gamer and play things like Crysis or some other graphic intense game or even 3D?

    If you are just running basic programs and need to run two monitors, I don't think you need an expensive card, but I am not the one to guide you in this area. I just know what is working for me, but because I game, I got the best card I could afford....
     
  14. CGW

    CGW New Member

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    A little gaming, but mostly business and home applications. Nothing too graphic intensive; unless occasional SIMS or Flight Simulator use counts. :)

    In what situations does 2MB become more noticeable than 1MB?
     
  15. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    I would have to suggest you go to a forum where the folks are more knowledgeable about Video card specifications. The EVGA site has a fairly large forum, and there are probably others.

    Some Flight Simulators can be "Graphics Intensive".. :)
     
  16. CGW

    CGW New Member

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    I'm referring to Microsoft Flight Simulator X. I searched numerous sites and forums but didn't find anything recent; most of the threads are from 2009 and earlier. :(

    I disconnected the second monitor, rebooted, and then re-run the assessment. The Graphics result is still 4.7 -- so the good news is that driving the second monitor doesn't have a negative effect on the GeForce GT 610's performance ... but the bad news is that the performance of this video card, in general, apparently isn't too impressive.
     
  17. johhnymarshal

    johhnymarshal New Member

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    The problem could be like that your system is vista compatible. After installing Win 7 it is creating odd issues might be due to the hardware of the system. Win 7 has more compatibility drivers and system files which are more highly configured less, causing hardware less compatible with Win 7.
     

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