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Monitor flickers in Ubuntu, but not in Windows


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#1 mattmc318

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 03:25 PM

Hello, I just recently made the switch to Ubuntu, and this is my first post to Bleeping Computer.

I've noticed an issue with my monitor, which appears to be some sort of software problem. When I'm running Ubuntu, the screen will go blank for a second or two, and return to its regular state. This doesn't happen when I'm running Vista, and hasn't occurred with earlier versions of Ubuntu, either. Does this seem familiar to anyone? By the way, I'm not very familiar with terminal commands yet, so bear with me.

Possibly relevant Information:

Monitor: Sceptre X24WG-1080P (connected by DVI)
OS: Ubuntu 11.10, 32-bit
Memory: 2.5 GiB
Processor: AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 Dual CCore Processor 3800+ x 2

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#2 stiltskin

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 06:30 AM

Go into Preferences -> Displays (or may be Monitors; I use LXDE on a netbook, so the menu layout isn't the same) and change the refresh rate to see if that helps.

What sort of video card? The open ATI and NVidia drivers still have problems for some users (raises hand for ATI) in some versions, if you happen to have one of those.

#3 mattmc318

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 12:24 PM

I opened Displays, but didn't see any sort of refresh rate option. I found a way to do it on this site after a quick Google search, but I'm not sure if it worked correctly. Here's what I put into terminal and what it it gave me:

mattmc318@Matt-Inspiron-531s:~$ xrandr
Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 1920 x 1200, maximum 8192 x 8192
DVI-0 connected 1920x1200+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 518mm x 324mm
   1920x1200      60.0*+
   1920x1080      59.9  
   1600x1200      60.0  
   1680x1050      60.0  
   1280x1024      60.0  
   1440x900       59.9  
   1280x960       60.0  
   1360x768       60.0  
   1152x864       75.0     60.0  
   1280x720       60.0  
   1024x768       75.1     70.1     60.0  
   832x624        74.6  
   800x600        72.2     75.0     60.3     56.2  
   640x480        72.8     75.0     66.7     60.0  
   720x400        70.1  
S-video disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
DVI-1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
mattmc318@Matt-Inspiron-531s:~$ xrandr --output DVI-0 --mode 1920x1200 --rate 60
mattmc318@Matt-Inspiron-531s:~$ xrandr --output DVI-0 --mode 1920x1200 --rate 75

After those last two lines, I didn't notice any sort of change; my screen kept flickering as usual, and terminal didn't give me any sort of output. I don't know if this is because there was some sort of error, or because changing the refresh rate had no effect on my monitor. Like I mentioned earlier, I'm not too familiar with terminal commands.

As for my video card, I know it's an ATI Radeon X1300 series. I bought it nearly five years ago, so I wouldn't be surprised if Linux doesn't fully support it. I guess I could upgrade to a more compatible GPU, but I'd much rather find another solution if I can.

#4 mattmc318

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 12:40 PM

Maybe I should explain the "flickering" in further detail. What I mean is that the screen goes blank for a second, just like it would if I push the monitor's "source" button (the one to switch between DVI and VGA). This issue occurs sporadically, happening more frequently some time than others. The flickers may occur anywhere between 10+ minutes to half a second apart, so I never can tell when it will go blank again. I've never seen it do this in BIOS or any OS other than Ubuntu 11.10. I'm looking for help anywhere I can think of, and patiently waiting for another informed response. Not that this is a major issue, but it is frustrating to have my screen go blank without warning.

#5 stiltskin

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 05:20 PM

The next thing I'd try is a lower resolution. Maybe all the way down to 1440x900, just to see what happens.

I had a similar problem about 7 years ago I never did find the right answer for. It may have even been on Ubuntu. My solution was, if memory serves, to switch to another distro. There were probably better answers, but I tend to switch often enough that it didn't make a lot of difference to me. (You can do with with linux so long as you maintain a separate /home directory.)

#6 johnor26

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 10:25 AM

Hi, I appear to be having the same problem as you..

I originally had a HP monitor attached which was working perfectly for months until it blew and I attached a Dell monitor.

I have been experiencing this intermittent flickering ever since.

Some things I've noticed:
1 - It tends to stop if I minimize or un-pin the active application.
2 - If I log out of desktop and log back in, it calms down.
3 - If you shift desktop away from active application or to a blank desktop area it stops - e.g. ctrl+alt+right arrow ,
3 - It tends to start happening after the monitor sleeps / lock screen
4 - (and this is wierd) It also happens in a console with X stopped (lightdsm service stopped), especially in man pages.

I am using an NVidia GTX-430 with proprietary NVidia driver (.433) I need to use this driver for CUDA development rather than the Ubuntu one.

Did you have any luck changing refresh rate, or find anything else out?

J.

Edited by johnor26, 14 April 2012 - 10:28 AM.


#7 mattmc318

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 04:01 PM

Changing the refresh rate didn't help, but changing the resolution did. However, I'd rather put up with the screen going blank than a low resolution. I think I might switch to another distro, possibly Mint or Arch.

Edited by mattmc318, 14 April 2012 - 04:15 PM.





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