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Screen tearing with HD 3870

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 5, 2010 5:58:00 PM

I know this issue has been discussed several times, but I have searched the web up and down, especially this site, and have not found a complete resolution to my issue. Let me first start with my specs:

Windows XP SP2 32-bit
Core 2 Quad q6600 2.4GHz
4GB Memory
Sapphire HD 3870
latest and greatest ATI drivers and CCC
500W PSU with 7 case fans
5 hard drives (althought issue was apparent with 2 drives connected also)

So, with this new setup I recently acquired, I started getting into the HD playback world, especially since I have a 46" Samsung HDTV. I started noticing this issue on my 19" monitor even before I physically connected it to my TV, so I know there's not an issue there....

I started out using VLC since it seemed to be the most popular and easy to use. When playing an mkv file (1080p or 720p), it had a lot of screen tearing (I didn't even know the proper term for it until it happened and I started researching it). I thought it was a difference in frame rate vs. refresh rate, so I went to connect it to my TV (120Hz capable) via DVI to HDMI and it's the same outcome. During any kind of fast movement, doesn't have to be extremely fast movement, there will be tearing as if something isn't syncing.

I read some forums and tried messing with V-Sync, didn't help. I installed ffdshow, but didn't really understand it so I just forgot about it. I installed other Media Players including MPC and it was tearing in all of them. I installed ReClock and set other media types force: 23.976fps, since that's what the mkv's are recorded in, and opened VLC and nothing changed. I opened MPC (and noticed ReClock opening in my system tray when opening MPC), and it works almost flawlessly. I only notice tearing with extremely fast movement and bright colors. I tried BS Player, and it looks like MPC, but I prefer it over MPC just for the better looking interface. BTW, CPU usage is 1 - 2% during video playback which I'm wondering about, but maybe that's just benefits of quad core...

So my question is, is there something I need to do in VLC to get it working like the others and is there something else I can do to try to remedy the tearing all together? I'd like for it to play flawlessly in any player. I have Logitech z-680 speakers connected to the PC via 6 channel direct, so all media players can send all 6 channels and I'll let the player decode it, but just wondering what else I can do and which media player could potentially make these HD quality videos look the best on my system. Thanks a lot!

More about : screen tearing 3870

January 7, 2010 3:06:04 PM

according to the manufacturer, your PC resolution is 1920 x 1080 which is good but it seems as if at the resolution your max refresh rate is 60 hz.

That I believe is the root of the problem....most people will suggest a refresh rate of 75hz to avoid screen tearing issues.

I could be wrong here but I would suspect the monitor......you say you also have a 19 inch monitor right....well, I would get that set up ensuring that whatever resolution you are running at, the refresh meets or exceeds the 75hz.

If the screen tearing occurs on the 19 inch with a minimum 75hz refresh rate, well, then I guess I am wrong but I would check that before you start trying to tweak your media players etc.
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January 7, 2010 4:32:02 PM

amdchuck said:
according to the manufacturer, your PC resolution is 1920 x 1080 which is good but it seems as if at the resolution your max refresh rate is 60 hz.

That I believe is the root of the problem....most people will suggest a refresh rate of 75hz to avoid screen tearing issues.

I could be wrong here but I would suspect the monitor......you say you also have a 19 inch monitor right....well, I would get that set up ensuring that whatever resolution you are running at, the refresh meets or exceeds the 75hz.

If the screen tearing occurs on the 19 inch with a minimum 75hz refresh rate, well, then I guess I am wrong but I would check that before you start trying to tweak your media players etc.


I have both a 19" LCD monitor and a 46" HDTV connected to my HD 3870. My desktop is extended onto my HDTV, but even when the TV is disabled and it's just my 19", the tearing is much better at 60Hz than it is at 75Hz. Also, I forced 120Hz on my TV, and some in between, and that made no difference (and some made it worse).

I did however play with it more last night, uninstalling the latest driver and CCC and installing a driver from 2008 which more than likely came with the card. The tearing is almost completely gone, barely noticeable in movies now. I'd recommend staying around driver version 6.8 for those who have a Radeon and screen tearing issues.

Also, I tried installing the newest CCC with an older driver, and that just brought the tearing back. I'm now running driver 6.8, the CCC that came with that version, Reclock, ffdshow, and the tearing is non-existent. I hear Vista and 7 solve this problem as it is an XP issue, so I'll live with the very minor tearing till then.
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January 7, 2010 6:33:02 PM

hmmm, yeah, I have XP and a Radeon HD3850....Athlon XP 3200+ and a GB of RAM........one 21 inch widescreen LG and one 25 inch Samsung HD display and I have no tearing issues.

Your systems is balls above mine so I thought maybe there was a simpler explanation for the tearing issue.

Good point about the drivers though, sometimes the benefits of newer drivers are not benefits at all.
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