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Monitor blinks one time every 4 minutes. I've timed it.

by FriendlyMartian / January 20, 2007 4:44 AM PST

Approximately every 4 minutes (I've timed it) I get a short blink or flicker in my primary display. It is very short and only blinks/flickers just once, but it happens every 4 minutes. It has blinked in my secondary display a few times, but almost everytime it blinks on the primary display. And it only blinks on one display, not both displays at the same time. I have disabled my virus software and that didn't help. I don't have any games, so it's not game related. It happens no matter what software I'm running. I can have only Windows open, and it happens. I can sit and watch the monitor and it blinks when I'm doing nothing on the computer. But it's 4 minutes between each blink. It doesn't make any difference if the system has just started, or if I've had it on for 4 hours. Strange? Anyone heard of anything like this?

ASUS P5W DH Deluxe
Intel Core 2 Extreme x6800
Dual Dell 24" LCD using DVI connection (2407 WFP wide screen)
ATI FireGL V7350
Windows XP 64bit
X-Fi Fatal1ty
Corsair XMS2-C6400 - 4MB

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I've never heard of it either
by retired / January 20, 2007 8:51 AM PST

You might want to open task manager, performance tab and see if there is a spike in CPU usage. The only other thing that comes to mind is a possible momentary spike or decrease in your house electrical supply, how old is the Surge protector? They to can go bad after a few years of use.

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Let's see...
by Willy / January 20, 2007 8:58 AM PST

If you can, swap monitor using the video card setting for mon#1 and mon#2 and see what happens(or cards). If the mon#1 continues to blink then very possible the video card is at fault. If the problem swaps over to the mon#2 on a reg. basis, then it maybe a mon. fault. You can also, remove one monitor and check results. The video card maybe experiencing too much stress and it finally blinks but recovers quickly. Since, every now and then both mons. experience a blink, it seems like the video card. You remove the side cover and place a household fan to blow-in to help cool it. If it seems to settle down, then you got a heat problem. Maybe not the video card but the system as well. Alot of heat stress is had on better systems. Now only that, but the video or gpu is very dependent on good stable power. You maybe taxing too much even though it seems timed, some componet is being stressed and a blink is the result. if that's the case, it can only get worst and become very apparent over time. If all else fails, remove the video card(any one) and then use only one monitor and see how it behaves. Last, ot cpould be that the scanning is just too much and it corrects itself, a possible new driver maybe the only hope. If you address this problem with the video(s) car maker for any clues or tips.

tada -----Willy Happy

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I guess it could be worse.
by FriendlyMartian / January 20, 2007 10:03 AM PST
In reply to: Let's see...

Good suggestion, I'll swap the monitors around see if the problem follows with the monitor. It's probably not heat related, since it starts happening from a cold system. I have four 120mm case fans, and the graphic card has its own enclosed cooling fan. CPU is water cooled and I think it could make ice cubes if asked to do so. This is a totally new system less than 6 months old. It has a 850 watt PSU, so it's probably getting enough power. I'll swap the monitors around, and check for new display drivers, and see what happens. If I had a spare graphics card I would give that a try, but that darn FireGL 7350 broke the bank, So far, all ATI has offered, was to send me links to their trouble shooting pages.

Thanks for your help

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Blinking monitor Different everything Software connection
by dwwheelock / January 23, 2007 11:26 PM PST

Hi there,

I've got a similar problem, but my computer is totally different from yours. Here are my specs.

Purchased new: December 2004
Dell Precision 670
Intel Xeon 3.0 GHz, Dual processor (Not dual core.)
XP Pro with 4GB RAM
NVidia Quadro FX 3400 256MB, Dual DVI
Dual Dell 2001FP flat panel monitors

Blinking Characteristics:
-My blinking is sporadic, though not entirely unpredictable.
-I?ve had this problem for more than a year.
-It happens only on one monitor. On my system it is always monitor 2 that blinks. I use this monitor with extended desktop.
-I agree a blink seems to last the same amount of time as a monitor re-sync, as though something in the system causes a disturbance or change in the graphics, triggering a re-sync. I just retested this by resetting the resolution on one monitor and the duration of the blink was identical to that of the problem blink.
-After a blink the monitor appears ever so slightly fuzzier, as though it has switched to a different mode. Fonts that were razor sharp become dithered. Turning the monitor off momentarily sharpens it back up.
-Sometimes it's just one or a few blinks, seconds or minutes apart. Sometimes it's a ferocious blink-storm with less than a second between blinks. I can go for days with no blinks, and other times it happens several times a day.

-On my system it is always triggered, though sporadically, by various software applications:
--ArcGIS (Mapping software) Here I have a specific map that always triggers a blink.
--Microsoft Outlook Occasionally causes blinks, possibly related to specific e-mails with specific graphic objects.
--Cox Webmail Occasionally causes blinks, possibly related to web-pages or e-mails with specific graphic objects.
--Occasional web pages. Occasionally causes blinks, possibly related to web page content with specific graphic objects.
-It is not related to monitor hardware failure. I've swapped my monitors and swapped my blinking monitor with a coworker's identical monitor, and the problem still occurs. The problem is in the PC.
-It does not appear to be caused by heat/electrical problem or length of time that the PC has been running.
-By the way, without going into too much detail here, other weird things sometimes happen with dual monitors, indicating that some software doesn?t really know how to ?deal with? dual monitor systems, or exactly what to do when it?s window is in the second monitor on the extended desktop. For example, sometimes pop-ups for apps whose windows are in monitor 2 show up in monitor 1.
-It?s possible that a piece of the monitor 2 circuitry on the graphics card has a problem, and that, combined with demanding software, could be a trigger. However, my intuition is that this isn?t the problem, since software by itself is able to cause so many other problems with dual monitor systems.

-The treatment is always to use the mouse to grab the window with the offending software and move it to the non-blinking monitor. This stops the blinking immediately with 100% success.
-I?ve tried updating my graphics drivers more than once, but with no change, improvement or worsening of the problem.
-My computer is under warranty with Dell, so I suppose I could have them replace the card, but I hate to have them replace the card if the problem has another cause. (On the other hand, even if it?s not directly their fault, they?re making money off of selling these systems, and if there are major generic problems like this then they should play a role in working with the industry to get through this, and if that means replacing the graphics cards in an effort to determine where the problem lies, then that seems fitting.)

It would appear that some graphic objects of the software that I?ve mentioned do something to trigger this problem. I would bet that they use components of commonly used graphics libraries or subsystems, like DirectX, OpenGL, etc, and that it is here that the problem lies. Someone who knows more than I do should address this issue.


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Some more clues
by Willy / January 24, 2007 12:30 AM PST

I tried a little research and a problem may lie with little video ram and/or scanning modes.

Under the scanning setting make sure the mon1 is 60Hz and the mon2 is 75hz,(reverse if possible) make sure both are saved and check results. If the problem lessens or the blinking is reduced, you have a scanning issue.

If a small amount of video ram is present, understand when higher setting are used the "shared" video ram is used between two monitors. Video ram is faster than system and the tell-tale sign is a blink or worsing of display(s). The system can't keep up plus its dealing with two monitors. Increase video ram(if laptop) or replace with a new card having more ram.

Last, I mentioned power in the other post, which can be the PSU, but also the AC outlet. Unlike other problems, if video goes awry, you can see if if only for moment or more permanently when it fails, etc. Thus, the system and video card maybe doing everything right, but a slight AC glitch can cause a problem. Try using separate AC outlets of a *different* AC circuit and see if things improve.

tada -----Willy Happy

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Reply to Some more clues
by dwwheelock / January 24, 2007 3:33 AM PST
In reply to: Some more clues

Thanks Willy,

I'll cut to the chase. My normal screen resolution is 1600x1200. I've just discovered that changing to 1280x1024 stops the blinking. However, I'm not prepared to reduce the screen resolution just to fix the problem, since I can just move the offending software to the non-blinking monitor.

Regarding your testing suggestions:

-Scanning modes. I'm not able to test this. When I open Display Settings, the only valid option that it offers me is 60hz. Even when I reset to a lower resolution it only offers me 60hz.

-Video RAM. As listed in my previous post I have a high-performance graphics adapter with 256MB of video RAM. So insufficient RAM is not the problem. But thanks anyway.

-Power. I have an APC 800VA UPS so power is conditioned and protected. Power is not a problem.

Any more ideas?

Thanks again,

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I may be wrong but
by Ray Harinec / January 24, 2007 12:29 AM PST

I feel certain that about three or four months ago I read that Dell was having problems with somre of their monitorts, and dragged their feet admitting to it to customers.

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Dell Monitor problems?
by dwwheelock / January 24, 2007 3:38 AM PST
In reply to: I may be wrong but

Thanks Ray.

Might be, but it would have to be all of the monitors that I've tested, which are same model, and it would still have to involve some sort of problem/interaction with the graphic card since it only happens on the secondary monitor output.


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