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Screen flickers once, discrete GPU disabled until restart

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Last response: in Laptop Tech Support
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April 6, 2013 11:18:24 PM

I did a lot of searching around for anyone else with this issue and I couldn't find anything.. I consider myself a professional google searcher and an advanced computer technician so that tells me that it's not too common. Tom's Hardware was the first place I thought of to find help. I know there are a lot of smarter/more experienced techs than me here, so I call for aid! *hopes that kissing feet will bring more help* Haha ;) 

Randomly, it seems, my screen will go black for less than 1 second and return to normal. When I first noticed this, I didn't think much of it.. I knew optimus had it's bugs and I was content to leave it at that. It wasn't until this happened and, shortly thereafter, I went to play a game when I realized it was something more.. the game I've played hundreds of times suddenly defaulted to the HD4000 on my ivy bridge processor instead of my GT 650m! Strange, I thought.. so I exit the game and try to open the nvidia control panel to force that game to use the GT 650m. The panel wouldn't open and said no nvidia GPU was found! I check the device manager, and this is what I see:



This is what it looks like normally before "the flicker"



I messed around for a bit trying to get it to re-enable, but no luck.. so I go for broke and try the infamous 1-800 tech support advice--restart my computer. Alas, Einstein's Principle wins again! Everything is back to normal. So, I start paying more attention to when it happens and what I'm doing at the time. It has happened while browsing, while watching a movie, while listening to music, while scratching my balls.. but NEVER while playing a game using the GT 650m, even after hours of continuous use. I couldn't find a common factor, so I started eliminating possibilities.

Heat? Nope.. the first thing I installed on the laptop was a desktop widget for GPU temp and processor temp since that was a big concern of mine. My GPU idles at 39-42 degrees and my processor idles at 50. I've never seen the GPU go over 62 degrees even after hours of skyrim on a mix of high/ultra settings.. which is pretty amazing for a higher end GPU in a laptop in my opinion. HP designed this one really well. I don't pay much attention to the CPU temp because I don't do much CPU intensive stuff, but I've never seen anything alarming.

Drivers? Nope.. every single driver on my computer is updated to the latest stable version. Updates? All done, both windows and manufacturer. Background processes? I've disabled almost everything non-windows related and still had the issue, so I turned everything back on. It's just my anti-virus (vipre internet security), HP coolsense, nvidia control panel, beats audio, and core temp.

Here are the specs on my laptop:

Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit @ Service Pack 1
System Model: HP Pavilion dv6t-7000 CTO Notebook PC
BIOS: InsydeH2O version 03.71.51F.22
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-3210M CPU @ 2.50GHz (4 CPUs), ~2.5GHz
Memory: 6144MB RAM
Display1: Intel(R) HD Graphics 4000
Display2: NVIDIA GeForce GT 650m 2GB GDDR5 (Driver: 314.07 WHQL, latest)

SO, here is where I get on my knees and start groveling.. If anyone has any idea why this might be happening or you've seen it before, hook a brother up with some knowledge! I'll do whatever you want me to as long as I already wanted to do it! =)
April 7, 2013 12:14:49 AM

I know you have probably already tried this, but on the offchance that you haven't.. Latest driver does not always mean best driver. Try rolling the nvidia driver back a few steps.
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April 7, 2013 1:06:15 AM

DiaSin said:
I know you have probably already tried this, but on the offchance that you haven't.. Latest driver does not always mean best driver. Try rolling the nvidia driver back a few steps.


I forgot to mention that I've already tried that.. I only rolled back to the initial drivers installed on the computer though. I suppose I should try the actual previous drivers too! Thanks for the tip.

*update* No dice >_<
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April 7, 2013 9:56:06 AM

If that did not work I'm afraid I am out of ideas. This is a very unique issue..
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April 8, 2013 2:28:44 PM

I know, it's weird.. at first I was worried that it was a hardware issue, but it has never happened while in-game even when I left a game open for 12+ hours.

I'll keep fiddling! Haha. Thanks for your time =)
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Best solution

April 19, 2013 1:36:36 PM

I just wanted to update this thread--as it turns out, I was focusing on the drivers for my GT 650 and completely skipped the HD 4000 drivers. I assumed windows update would have kept me at the latest version for it, but that's what I get for assuming.. the drivers I was using for the integrated intel HD 4000 were a year old. I updated them and the problem has been solved!

I figured I would post this in case anyone else had the same problem. If a mod would be so kind as to mark this thread solved, I would appreciate it =)
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