I just got a new laptop (a thinkpad). It has a mobility radeon x1400 with the latest drivers.
In games (all fullscreen applications I've tried), I get an extremely grainy image. The "grain" is light gray and it covers the screen. When I try to play, it's like wading through fog cause only 80% or so of the pixels are non gray. No matter how I change my in-game graphics settings, it doesn't help. It occurs on all areas of full screen apps, not just the "gaming action." Also, it shows up in screenshots - it's not just a screen artifact. Is there some setting I can change in my drivers to fix this? This is a huge, urgent problem for me.
Here's a screenshot of the first level of Halo in case you want to see exactly what I mean: (it's most visible on the marine's arm armor, but it's all over the screen - also, all the graphics settings are turned all the way up, those aren't just bad textures) http://img479.imageshack.us/img479/3575/14gy.png
It's most clear on the black bar on the bottom of the Objectives, and all around the lower right in general.
Look at the assault rifle. Where there should be a sharp shaded area, there's just a collection of increasingly light dots, like a dot matrix printer. Also master chief's thumb is all speckly, and the view just to the upper right of the gun is covered in dots.
I'd wager it's a problem with your display or video card/driver, perhaps outputting a specific shade of black as grey.
It doesnt look so bad in a still image, but when I move around and those pixels just don't change at all, it's disorienting and very noticable.
Also, if it helps, Ive noticed specifically with Halo, it opens, goes to full screen, does the developer videos, then goes to the menu loading screen. Halfway through loading, the screen flashes a little and.. the image is grainy. The difference before/after is definately there.
Sounds like it might be the monitor to me. If it looks bad both in the game and on the screenshot for you, but looks fine for the rest of us on the screenshot then its probably not a rendering error. That kind of thing would be visible to all of us. One thing I just thought of is that it could be a really slow panel. You said:
"It doesnt look so bad in a still image, but when I move around and those pixels just don't change at all, it's disorienting and very noticable."
Anyhow, go try out another laptop in the store if possible.
my native resolution is 1400x1050 - an unusual resolution for an unusual screen ratio. halo does support this resolution by the way - though I only play at 1024x768 - however playing in my native resolution doesnt help the graininess.
edit: I can't upload a video sorry. Just trust me, it looks really dithered and gross.