Solved 30-inch monitor display flashing & artifacts

Samsung Syncmaster 305t black 30" widesc...
July 15, 2011 at 08:54:39
Specs: Windows 7 64bit professional, 2.83GHz (quad) / 4 GB
Hi Everyone!

I built my first computer about 3 years ago, everything worked great, no issues with anything, then within the past couple months I have been getting artifacts and blanking out on my 30" primary monitor (I have 2 other 19", one on each side, running off my second video card).

Below are some of my computer specs/hardware:

-Primary Monitor: Samsung 305t 30" monitor (used at max res on DVI-D)
-2 secondary 19" monitors (estimate at least 5 years old each)
-Graphics cards: HIS H489FP1G Radeon HD 4890 Turbo+ 1GB 256-bit
XFX HD-489X-ZSFC Radeon HD 4890 1GB 256-bit
The HIS is typically the one running the 30"
-Motherboard: ASUS Rampage Formula
-CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield (2.83 GHz)
-Win 7 64 bit professional
-Power Supply: Cooler Master RS-A00-EMBA 1000W
Observations:

I cannot find a pattern to make the problems appear. Many times it is horizontal blue lines across part of the screen (typically the black parts in my background). I have seen different configurations of this, sometimes lots of vertical lines when shutting down (right before it moves to the shutdown "splashscreen"). Sometimes it is other colors, red, green. Other times the picture drops out completely for a second or two then comes back. This sometimes goes away after a short while on its own, and sometimes I restart it and they are gone. This has happened when I turn on my system for the first time after being completely off for the night (I shut my monitors completely off with the switched wall outlet, the power supply typically has power to it). this has also happened after several hours of trouble free use. And it has also not had issues for days or weeks at a time.

The problem will persist when switching videocards, but only with the big monitor. The two other monitors have never had any problems with display.

I am not overclocking the cards, they are at default and catalyst shows them running without issue and around 60C

I have an older laptop that I hook up to the monitor and though it is not running at full 2560x1600 resolution, there are no lines that appear (only limited testing).

Any suggestions to narrow down the culprit?

And of course drivers have been uninstalled and then updated.

Any help would be appreciated! The monitor is under warranty for about a month or so, but I do not want to go through the nightmare that so many others have had to based on their reviews. That being said, if the monitor is at fault, I want to send it back before warranty is up!

Additional Notes:

About a month ago I purchased a new DVI-D cable, and it *seemed* to help the problem, but they came back intermittently a week or so after. This is typically not a daily issue, though the past two days have seemed to be worse than previously.

Additionally, I have posted a several minute video for those who care, I switch video cards after the flashing persists for a while, and then there is a few blue horizontal lines across the screen near the end of the clip. Later, after the camera was off, the screen flashed a few times again (on the second card). This leads me to believe it is not the video cards. What are your thoughts?
Side note: I usually have the cables screwed in, and I realize many people do not advise hot-swapping monitor, this problem was happening before doing either of these.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEeG...

I think it might be due to one of the following issues:

-Monitor is going bad (though not sure why it would not produce the same artifacts on the other computer, possibly because it was at much lower resolution?)

-drivers are causing some issues (why would the other two screens not show the same problems?

-Motherboard has some issues perhaps?? (I haven't seen any problems in the screen while booting, but perhaps something fishy is going on with the circuitry that is causing some issues? doesn't seem likely but throwing it out there)

-Problems from my power supply, capacitors perhaps? came with my case, and about 3 years old. Voltages seemed within range, no other issues (such as self shutdown) noticed

Thanks in advance and let me know if I can clarify anything.


See More: 30-inch monitor display flashing & artifacts

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#1
July 15, 2011 at 13:05:07
✔ Best Answer
"Samsung 305t 30" monitor"

Samsung 305t
Max resolution ( it's "Optimal" or "Native" resolution, at which the display looks best set to)
2560 x 1600 pixels at 60 Hz

As in , ONLY at 60 Hz.

What vertical refresh rate do you have it set to ?
If you have that set higher than 60 Hz, if you get a display, you will probably get video symptoms and doing that can DAMAGE the monitor !!!

If you have loaded the specific drivers for the 305t, when you RIGHT click on a blank part of your main desktop screen, and choose Personalize - Display Settings, for the display icon for the 305t, it should show Samsung 305t or similar on (the name of the display adapter.)

If you do NOT see that, then your monitor is probably using Plug n Play monitor drivers, and you can set settings that your monitor does NOT support.

When Windows is using the specific drivers for the monitor model, by default, Windows will only show you settings that the monitor model supports, however, it's possible to over-ride that and in that case it's possible to choose settings your monitor was not designed to use,.

Whatever computer you connect the monitor to, you must have NOT set the monitor to settings in Windows that it wasn't designed to be set to. Doing that can produce video symptoms that it wouldn't otherwise produce, or even DAMAGE the monitor's circuits or display.
.....

"-Monitor is going bad (though not sure why it would not produce the same artifacts on the other computer, possibly because it was at much lower resolution?)"

If the problem monitor does not produce the symptoms when it's connected to a different computer on which you can set the settings to 2560 x 1600 at 60 Hz , there's nothing wrong with the monitor
E.g.You could connect it to a desktop computer that has a video adapter than CAN support that resolution, or (a lot more work) remove one of the two video cards and install it on another desktop computer that has a power supply capacity that can support it , install the drivers for the card, and try the Windows settings set to 2560 x 1600 at 60 Hz

If you DO get the symptoms when it's connected to another computer set to 2560 x 1600 at 60 Hz,
NOTE that sometimes the board(s) on a monitor can have one or more failing electrolytic capacitors, and if it/they are replaced before they have failed completely, the monitor will work fine,

What to look for, mboard symptoms, example pictures:
http://www.badcaps.net/pages.php?vid=5
Home page that site
- what the problem is caused by
- he says there are STILL bad capacitors on more recent mboards.
http://www.badcaps.net/

Pictures of blown capacitors, other components, power supplies, fried Athlon cpus, etc.:
http://www.halfdone.com/Personal/Jo...


E.g. I fixed an LG LCD monitor by replacing two capacitors. NOTE that you should at least replace all capacitors of the same mfd capacity as the one(s) that failed that was made by the same brand, because they are just as likely to fail. Ideally, you should replace all capacitors made by the same brand as the one(s) that failed that has a 330mfd or higher capacity.


"-drivers are causing some issues (why would the other two screens not show the same problems?"

Since the two video cards have the same Radeon video chipset, the other two monitors have no problems, there's probably nothing wrong with the video drivers.

"-Motherboard has some issues perhaps?? (I haven't seen any problems in the screen while booting, but perhaps something fishy is going on with the circuitry that is causing some issues? doesn't seem likely but throwing it out there)"

The mboard can have damaged circuits, or one or more mboard slots that a video card is plugged into can have damaged circuits, or one video card can be damaged but not the other, but since you say the symptoms appear on the problem monitor no matter which of the two cards you connect to, it's probable that none of those things are damaged.

A video adapter can be damaged such that it works fine in plain VGA mode, e.g. while booting the computer before Windows loads, or in Windows Safe mode or in Enable low resolution mode , or in Windows when the specific drivers have been NOT loaded in Windows for it, but NOT work fine when the specific drivers HAVE been loaded for it in Windows,
- or, rarely, it may be damaged such that you get no plain VGA video from it but it does work AFTER Windows has loaded when the specific drivers HAVE been loaded for it in Windows.

...but you say there are no symptoms on the problem monitor BEFORE Windows loads and that it has video before Windows loads and the other two monitors work fine connected to either video card, so that's not the problem.

"-Problems from my power supply, capacitors perhaps? came with my case, and about 3 years old. Voltages seemed within range, no other issues (such as self shutdown) noticed"

Problems with power supplies are common.

Check your PS.
http://www.computing.net/hardware/w...

You mentioned the voltages seem to be okay, they must be within 10% of nominal, but is/are the fan(s) for it working properly ?

I don't recommend Cooler Master PSs...

A friend of mine had a problem with a 600 watt Cooler Master PS.
When I was working on his system getting rid of some software / malware problems, I noticed the top of the desktop case was getting really hot, and I found the PSs single fan was not spinning. It was less than two years old., and the 3 family members that use the computer it was on normally only use the computer in the evenings when school and university is in session.
I replaced the fan but the PS failed to boot the computer a short time later because the PS had been damaged from overheating for who knows how long. The same PSs fan was working fine when I worked on the computer a few months previous to that.
When I looked up it's model, I found it had only a 1 year warranty (not found on the Cooler Master web site - only found in ads for the model), and that others had reported the fan had failed.

I also found when I searched that some other Cooler Master models have only a 1 year warranty, some are known to have premature fan failures, some are known to develop failing electrolytic capacitors.

Try searching the web with your specific model to see if you can find mentions of problems with it.

Try a known good used PS with it, if you can, one from another computer you have, or from a friend's computer, that has enough capacity (see next).
.....

ATI Radeon™ HD 4890 Graphics System Requirements
http://www.amd.com/us/products/desk...

500 Watt or greater power supply with two 75W 6-pin PCI Express® power connectors recommended (600 Watt and four 6-pin connectors for ATI CrossFireX™ technology in dual mode)

Your PS capacity of 1000 watts is a lot more than the recommended minimum 600 watts for two 4890 video chipsets.

Each card must be connected to two individual PCI-E 6 pin (male) power connectors. The PS must have 4 of those coming from it's wiring.

NOTE that....

If it does not have enough built in PCI-E 6 pin power connectors.....

- DO NOT use a Y wiring adapter - one PCI-E 6 pin (female) to two PCI-E 6 pin (male) - it probably can't supply enough current at +12v to the card. (You may only have problems because of that when the video chipset has more of a load on it, such as while you're playing a high end game.)

- you CAN use individual molex 4 pin (female) to PCI-E 6 pin (male) Y wiring adapters, connected to two spare 4 pin molex (male) power plugs.
e.g.
http://www.xpcgear.com/6pinpciexpre...



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#2
July 15, 2011 at 15:13:17
Thanks for the awesome reply!

Yes, definitely always been set at 60Hz, there are no other options to set it at anyway.

I have no easy way to test the monitor at full resolution on another computer or video card.

Voltages are within 10% both by using CPUID Hardware monitor and a DMM on a free lead. 12v is at 11.43 on the CPUID.

I did not pull my monitor apart to physically inspect the caps but when I was turning it, the monitor shut off... throught that was wierd and realized the power plug (which hangs upside down) had loosened just enough to disconnect. Plugged it all the way in. All day today, the screen has been a champ, no problems, very frustrating, I wish it would be definitely working or not, but not such a random occurrence.

I wonder if the plug being loose would have anything to do with the problems. The screen flashing could conceivably be caused by this, though I did not hear arcing when it was flashing before, and do not recall moving anything to make it stop flashing. I do not have an answer as to why a loose power cable could be the cause of the blue artifacts on the screen though.

I also thought it weird that the large screen, especially in the light parts, flicker when recorded (like my you tube post). The other screens do not even though they are at the same frequency (60 Hz).

Could that be a symptom of monitor going bad, or backlight getting old?


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#3
July 15, 2011 at 20:15:48
"Yes, definitely always been set at 60Hz, there are no other options to set it at anyway."

If you have loaded the specific drivers for the 305t, when you RIGHT click on a blank part of your main desktop screen, and choose Personalize - Display Settings, for the display icon for the 305t, it should show Samsung 305t or similar on (the name of the display adapter.)

If that's what you see, then there is only one Hz setting it can be set to by default, whether you know where to check or set it or not

If you do NOT see that, then your monitor is probably using Plug n Play monitor drivers.

Where you set the vertical refresh rate - the Monitor's Hz - is different in Vista and Windows 7 than it was in XP and previous - I don't recall at the moment where I found that in Vista - it's probably in the same place in Windows 7.
(In XP and previous that's checked or set by clicking on Advanced button on the Settings page of the Display Properties and choosing the Monitor tab. )
........

"Voltages are within 10% both by using CPUID Hardware monitor and a DMM on a free lead. 12v is at 11.43 on the CPUID."

Most bios versions show the current voltages, fan rpms, and temps in the bios somewhere. They've usually been tweaked in the bios version's code to make them as accurate as possible.
Third party utilities such as CPUID make assumptions and are often not as accurate - go by the reading in the bios if there is a difference.

The accuracy of a DMM varies, the more the retail price of it, the more likely the reading is actually accurate - if it's a cheaper DMM, go by the reading in the bios if there is a difference.
....

When you do have one or more failing electrolytic capacitor on the monitor's board(s), you can have all sorts of symptoms.

The LG LCD monitor I repaired had these symptoms ..

- for a long time - months - it behaved as if there was a problem with the power switch or it's circuits. Sometimes there was no video when you booted, or the display did not appear after the computer had activated it's blank (no display) screen screen saver and you did something that should have restored the display. Switching the power button off/on always restored the video display for a while.
- then the video would briefly come on, then no display - switching the power button off/on always restored the video display.
- then shortly after that, no video no matter what the owner or I did.

The display worked fine on other monitors.

The owner and I had nothing to lose so I took apart the monitor.
Most LCD monitors have just a few screws that hold the front onto the back, and the front mask of the display is held on with many hidden plastic tabs and matching notches at the joint - you must carefully insert something very thin and wider, such as a small flat metal tool for spreading caulk etc. , in order to unlatch all those tabs without mangling the two pieces at the joint. (Similar applies to CRT monitors.)
It turned out it had two boards, one the power cord socket connected to, and another one.
Once all the tabs were unlatched I had to carefully unplug two or three tiny connectors for cables to the display assembly, before the front and back could be fully separated, one on the display assembly, then the other(s) on the second board.

The second board had an obviously opened up top and evidence of leakage on the top of one capacitor, and another one of the same brand and mfd capacity (different size, voltage rating) that looked okay.

I removed that board and replaced both of those capacitors and the monitor works fine.
I used two high quality (low ESR) Panasonic capacitors of the larger of the two sizes - there was no problem with installing a larger one where the smaller one had been - and it wasn't critical whether I made larger solder blobs (which I did) where they were located.

If you don't want to tackle that, a 30" monitor would be expensive to replace, and it would be worth it to pay a fee and have a technician take a look at it and repair it if that's what's wrong with it.
....

"...the power plug (which hangs upside down) had loosened just enough to disconnect. Plugged it all the way in. All day today, the screen has been a champ..."
"I wonder if the plug being loose would have anything to do with the problems."
"I did not hear arcing when it was flashing before.."

Yes that could cause at least some of your problems. An LCD monitor requires very little power, so you may not near arcing if it occurred.

"I do not have an answer as to why a loose power cable could be the cause of the blue artifacts on the screen though. "

It wouldn't be, but one or more bad capacitors could be.

"I also thought it weird that the large screen, especially in the light parts, flicker when recorded (like my you tube post). The other screens do not even though they are at the same frequency (60 Hz)."

When the other screens are much smaller, or if the brightness was higher on the 30", you would notice it more on the 30", and that would vary greatly depending on the make and model as well.

That also depends on what settings you used when you made the recording. As I recall the human eye can't see flickering when the frame rate exceeds 25fps or so, so you shouldn't see flickering a 60 vertical frames per second.

However, the higher the vertical refresh rate, the better video motion looks - that's why there are LCD monitors with 120 Hz and 240 Hz vertical refresh rates.

"Could that be a symptom of monitor going bad, or backlight getting old?"

Which ? The flicker ? Maybe, and not likely, unless you have symptoms you haven't mentioned. You usually do not have that problem with a Samsung monitor until it has been used a lot for over 5 years. I have a 19" monitor that was used heavily by a disabled friend for over 5 years and it's backlight and it's brightness is still okay. It was on 24/7 for about 3 years, then I changed power settings so the monitor display turned off when she wasn't using it, it was still on 24/7, she used it most of each day, including for a TV card when she was in bed.

All backlights for conventional LCD displays are CCFLs - Cold Cathode Florescent Lamps - they burnt out eventually just like any other florescent lamp.
Symptoms
-
- the display becomes dimmer over time - eventually you can't increase it's brightness anymore, and it's dimmer than you want it to be all the time
- you eventually notice a constant overall tint to the display, e.g. pink, that you can't get rid of by fiddling with settings.
- the end stages
- the display comes on when you first boot, then it becomes very dim - if you turn up the brightness to the max you may be able to see very faint inages, but only some of them
- eventually you have no display at all.

Note that I didn't mention artifacts or flickering or lines.

Lines that are always there are probably a symptom of a defective or damaged LCD assembly .
Artifacts and lines that come and go could be symptoms of a problem with electrolytic capacitors or other circuit problems, probably on one or more boards external to the display assembly.


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#4
July 22, 2011 at 09:19:45
After troubleshooting as much as I could, decided to send the monitor back. Fingers crossed as support from Samsung for the 305t is notoriously bad. Still in warranty and figured it would be best to send it in to get checked out.

Thanks for your help Tubes!


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#5
July 22, 2011 at 09:48:30
If you live in a reasonly large place, there are often local places that are authourized to repair Samsung products. In that case, you don't need to ship it to another location - no shipping cost.

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