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Alienware screen pixelated (snowy?) - need help


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#1 grish1

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Posted 26 June 2018 - 11:15 PM

Yesterday my laptop of five years surprised me.

The screen had become less focused and I thought it was just because of an outdated graphics driver.

My best description of the issue is random cyan/pinky/yellow coloured pixels appear all over the screen. Like snow. I can still use it, but it's not ideal.

Another important point is that this issue happens right at the boot screen (when it's all black and white writing)

I use this laptop for work so it's really important I get it back to normal as soon as I can.

 

Never had this issues before.

 

Specs:

Alienware R4 17

Geforce M770 graphics card

 

On going issues/changes to the system -

Random restarts about once ever three hours, unless I'm playing a good quality computer game

Recently replaced the old battery

 

What I have done so far:

 

Ran the Intel Diagnostics - nothing

Updated Graphics Drivers - no change

Windows update - nothing

Scaled graphics right down - nope

Plugged into an external monitor - fine on external but still pixelated on the laptop

 

 

Plan for tonight:

 

  • Try turning the laptop on and maybe magically it had realised how annoying this issue is and fixed itself.
  • Try to re-enable the intel on board graphics card (it is currently disabled and grayed out in the BIOS... not sure how to "Switch it on". Does not come up when I scan for new hardware)
  • Disassemble the laptop and check the screen connection and wipe off any excess thermal paste (last part worked for someone else on the internet).

 

Could anyone suggest anything else I should try?

Or if they had a similar issue?

 

Cheers,

Grish



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#2 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 27 June 2018 - 06:20 PM

I like your Action Plan (1) !

 

Since it looks normal on an external monitor then you are almost certainly correct, it is either the cable or the screen. The cable could have develooped a poor or dirty connection at either end and it is also possible that it has got damaged where it goes round the hinge, in which case the only cure is a replacement. You can find the manuals for your laptop here -

 

https://www.dell.com/support/home/uk/en/ukbsdt1/product-support/product/alienware-17-laptop/manuals

 

According to the specs it does not have an Geforce M770 video card, see here under video -

 

https://www.dell.com/support/manuals/uk/en/ukbsdt1/alienware-17-laptop/alienware-17-r4-setupandspecifications/video?guid=guid-29042e85-6e84-4684-8841-31c3ea1a2abe&lang=en-us

 

Care is required when looking at either end of the cable.

 

Chris Cosgrove



#3 grish1

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Posted 29 June 2018 - 03:53 AM

Thank you Chirs,

 

That's reassuring. The manuals are also really useful!

 

I must have gotten the model mixed up. I have Alienware 17 with a GTX 770M. Do you think it's worth upgrading the card if I manage to fix the laptop screen connection?

I'm going to take a look at it on the weekend now as I have a friend coming over to help out.

 

Cheers,

Grish



#4 grish1

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Posted 30 June 2018 - 02:06 AM

Hi,

 

Took it apart and still haven't solved the problem. The cords connecting to the screen were easy to get to but I couldn't unplug and then plug them in again.

 

Although I did find that one of the cords wasn't fully connected to the motherboard. It was the one running from the screen to the motherboard (I don't think it was main display cable). Had MB on it if that helps.

The one in the top middle of this image: http://forum.notebookreview.com/attachments/wp_20130717_001-jpg.99213/

 

I'm not sure what the next steps are at this stage. It seems it could be purchasing a new LCD connector cord or a new screen?

 

Would rather do a bit more investigating before throwing money at this. Any further suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

 

Cheers,

Grish



#5 Platypus

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Posted 30 June 2018 - 03:05 AM

I couldn't unplug and then plug them in again.


You're left without knowing whether the connections are causing the problem. Poor/tarnished contacts is one of the basic things to eliminate in order to avoid an unnecessary parts purchase. See for example the discussion here:

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/677493/laptop-has-horizontal-bar-across-bottom-15-wide/

Top 5 things that never get done:

1.


#6 grish1

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 03:25 AM

Hi all,

 

Unplugged the cable connecting to the screen and nothing. The connector itself felt too easy to connect/disconnect. There was quite a bit of sticky tape around it which made unplugging it a bit challenging.

Is there anything else I could do? Any other cables/wires I could check?

 

The other thing I did was move the ram around (back to front and front to back). This fixed a five year old issue of the laptop restarting randomly every couple of hours - 3 days and still no restarts!

 

Back to the screen. If there is nothing else to check, where is the best place to purchase the cable from? Is this a type of cable specific to only my laptop or quite generic?

 

Cheers,

Grish



#7 Platypus

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 12:58 PM

The same applies to the connector at the other end, on the mainboard (or video board if it is one of the few with a discrete video card). A poor contact at either end can give the same symptom. The cable itself is specific to the laptop, brand and model.


Top 5 things that never get done:

1.


#8 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 05:47 PM

There are a number of suppliers of video cables in the UK as well as on eBay. Google 'Make + Model + Video cable suppliers'. That's how I got hold of one recently. You may find new ones on eBay but many are likely to be used. It's not an application I would use a second hand one for.

 

Chris Cosgrove



#9 grish1

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 06:07 PM

Thank you both for the help.

 

I've already checked the connection with the motherboard and that was a snug fit.

I'm going to have a look on the web and perhaps try disconnecting and connecting the cable again at the screen connector as I need to get its model number anyway.

 

Or would the cable model number be more likely on the motherboard side?

 

Cheers,

Grish



#10 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 05 July 2018 - 05:32 PM

No, it's the computer model number you need. As an example, from an ASUS notebook I have in  my charge, Model = ASUS 1225B.

 

So - Google for 'ASUS 1225B video cable suppliers' or just 'ASUS 1225B video cable'. Obviously, replace 'ASUS 1225B' with whatever is correct for your laptop.

 

I have no connection with this company except having had one successful transaction with them but you could always drop UK Laptop Parts an email.

 

Chris Cosgrove



#11 grish1

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Posted 08 July 2018 - 07:22 AM

Thanks Chris,

 

Ordered it from Ali, should be here within a couple of weeks.

 

Will update once it arrives.



#12 grish1

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 08:45 PM

Hi all,

 

I have received the cable a couple of weeks ago and replaced it.

While taking apart my laptop I also unplugged and plugged back in all the cords on the motherboard.

No luck - the screen remained the same.

 

However, what I did notice was that the power/HDD/Wifi LEDs at the top right of the keyboard came back to their normal colours (blue).

They were previously also weird mix of white/yellow/cyan/pink.

 

I think the next step are to either buy a replacement motherboard or a screen. Which one would you recommend? They are around the same price.

Not sure why but I'm tilting towards the motherboard.

 

Cheers,

Grish



#13 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 05:06 PM

In your first post you wrote -

 

"Plugged into an external monitor - fine on external but still pixelated on the laptop"

 

To my mind this suggests that the screen is the more likely problem area, rather than the mobo. Try the external monitor test again before you come to a definite conclusion. If the image on the external looks fine then it is very probably the screen; if it shows the same symptoms then the mobo is the more likely candidate.

 

Chris Cosgrove



#14 grish1

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Posted 15 August 2018 - 05:42 AM

Hi,

 

I'm just trying to find which screen model is compatible. The part number is K6PJ1 and there are tonnes of alternative names and brands. For example: LP173WF1 (TL)(B3).

The brands the come up when I do a search are: LG, DELL, MATTE, and a couple others that I've never heard of.

 

When I go into device manager the screen's ID is: LGD02DA.

 

Any guidance you could give on which one I should choose?

 

Cheers,

Grish






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