Help: Display Trouble

By RedSwirl ยท 8 replies
May 12, 2007
  1. I have a DELL Inspiron 8600 Laptop with an ATI Radeo 9600 Pro Turbo video card with Windows XP Professional and I'm wondering if anyone here has had the same problem as me or can help with my problem.

    For the last few weeks for some reason I've had a bunch of weird horizontal lines appear all over my computer display. They always come and go no matter what programs or how many programs I have running and they only appear after I've logged in (they don't appear at the BIOS screen or anything pre-login).

    I've only just now gotten the time to fully investigate the problem

    This is what my desktop looks like most of the time:


    I have already called Dell about this and the person there who helped me had me uninstall all video drivers from the computer and then reinstall new ones for my video card from

    Even after that however the horizontal lines still appear.

    Do you think this may be a problem with the video card itself or the monitor? What are the chances that I might have to get one or both replaced?
  2. Blakhart

    Blakhart TS Rookie Posts: 353

    Is the system under warranty? It may be the vid card memory causing this, does the laptop get hot before this happens?
  3. Xylander

    Xylander TS Rookie

    Those horizontal lines are what I like to call a Radeonism. Although I am not 100% sure this is the case, I have had this same exact problem before with a different setup.

    In a desktop I owned in the past, I had the same symptoms. Horizontal lines across the display. I tried everything to fix it: Catalyst driver updates, swapping the different PCI cards around to free up IRQs, etc. I finally called ATI and they said it was a rare conflict with my CPU/Motherboard and the video card. The lines were caused by this rare conflict and the only fix would be to choose either a different Radeon product or chipset for my PC.

    I fixed it by installing an Nvidia card :)

    It sounds eerily similar to my experience. Try and contact the manufacturer for your video card and see if they have any known issues with your setup. A lot of times, Dell tech support is some guy in a 3rd-world country who probably doesn't even own his own PC...more less someone qualified to give someone else tech help. They don't call it Dell-Hell for nuthin'.
  4. Xylander

    Xylander TS Rookie

    Oh and unless that image is a screen shot taken with a digital camera or something, the fact that you can see the lines in the image says it is a software/rendering problem and not a problem with your display. If your display was bad, the saved file would be "clean" and wouldn't show the lines here.
  5. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

    As always when it comes to laptops, I am gonna recommend you blow the crap and dust out of the cooling vents.
  6. RedSwirl

    RedSwirl TS Rookie Topic Starter

    That image is just some picture I found. The file itself is clean because I've displayed it on other devices.

    I never actually thought about calling ATI though. I might have to do that sometime this week. But if it's a conflict between my video card and the rest of my chipset that wouldn't really make sense.

    I've had this computer for around three (almost four) years now with the same chip set and this problem has only occurred in the last couple weeks.

    As for repairs, I think I'm on my third hard drive on this system, I've had the cooling system replaced once and I've also had the motherboard itself repaired/replaced once.

    And no, the computer does not get hot at all before the lines start appearing.

    When I called Dell it sounded like an American, and I should know because I've had to call them before and have talked to people form India and know what they sound like when they're trying to sound American. Either this wasn't it or they're getting craftier.

    I should also mention that when I talked to Dell they had me go through a whole diagnostics test that tested both my video card and my screen (kinda like that DirectX test) and It passed everything in that test.
  7. RedSwirl

    RedSwirl TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Okay, not it's gotten to the point where certain text, menus, and web pages won't show up all the way, like whole words or menu selections on the start button are appearing blotted out.
  8. RedSwirl

    RedSwirl TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Months later and I still have not had time to get this problem resolved since I've had work and other stuff that has constantly required the use of this computer.

    Just now though I got a message saying that an "avdiag2" display driver did not work properly and the issue needed to be reported to Microsoft. Is that a driver issue or truly a sign that my videocard is dying?

    I still don't see how this can be heat related though. There doesn't seem to be any correlation between the heat of my computer and the appearance of the artifacts. There are times when the whole computer is cool and there are artifacts all over the screen as well as other times when the computer is relatively hot and will go hours without a single artifact showing up.

    If I must, I will probably have time to get the card replaced after next week.
  9. RedSwirl

    RedSwirl TS Rookie Topic Starter

    For some friggin' reason, whenever I call Dell or any kind of help, the problem magically goes away just long enough for them to be satisfied, then comes up again.

    The first time I called Dell like six weeks ago we went through the whole diagnostics test for both the screen and the graphics card. Both tests checked out perfectly with no problems. Then we went ahead and replaced all my video drivers. After that the problem went away but came back a few hours later after I'd been online a while.

    So just now I got off the phone with Dell again. I connected the comp to an external monitor and the same problem was there too. We went through the diagnostics text and it all checked out again. So the Technician updated the BIOS and as soon as I got back to the Windows XP login screen the problem came back. That seems to be where it shows up, usually right as I'm logging in. The lines don't appear at all when I'm at the BIOS, diagnostic, or anything that comes before the Windows XP startup menu.

    Do any of you still believe that this issue could still be software related? My Virus protection software (Norton) did expire back in January (i konw i know). Maybe something is continually corrupting my video drivers...

    Anyway, if I call the same technician again he says he can get my videocard replaced.
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