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New Desktop - screen is flickering...is the desktop broken?

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June 14, 2012 9:56:12 PM

Hi Guys,

I have a simple but annoying problem. I bought a pre-built desktop PC (I used to build my own, but it's too much hassle for me these days :D  ) and installed Windows on it. Everything is fine EXCEPT for one problem. The monitor keeps flickering off just for a second - like when you change the resolution in Windows.

The monitor comes straight back on and is intermittent - sometimes once an hour, other times once every thirty seconds. I've tested with a second known good monitor and a second known good VGA cable - these have the same problem so the issue must be inside the desktop. The problem occurred right from the moment the desktop was switched on (before I had installed Windows) and starts even while the BIOS is loading, so I doubt it's a windows problem. I'm hoping it's a BIOS configuation problem, but I can't see any settings that would help - I have an Asus F1A 55-M LE motherboard (the desktop itself is a Zoostorm brand). My only other thought is to flash the BIOS with a later version to see if this fixes it?

Otherwise, the obvious solution is there is something physically broken or loose somewhere inside the desktop - the VGA connector on the motherboard is slightly wobbly, which may be the problem.

So I'm hoping one of the bright sparks on here can help me figure out a solution; otherwise I'll be sending the damn thing back to the manufacturer.

Sigh.

June 14, 2012 10:36:19 PM

jimster99 said:
Hi Guys,

I have a simple but annoying problem. I bought a pre-built desktop PC (I used to build my own, but it's too much hassle for me these days :D  ) and installed Windows on it. Everything is fine EXCEPT for one problem. The monitor keeps flickering off just for a second - like when you change the resolution in Windows.

The monitor comes straight back on and is intermittent - sometimes once an hour, other times once every thirty seconds. I've tested with a second known good monitor and a second known good VGA cable - these have the same problem so the issue must be inside the desktop. The problem occurred right from the moment the desktop was switched on (before I had installed Windows) and starts even while the BIOS is loading, so I doubt it's a windows problem. I'm hoping it's a BIOS configuation problem, but I can't see any settings that would help - I have an Asus F1A 55-M LE motherboard (the desktop itself is a Zoostorm brand). My only other thought is to flash the BIOS with a later version to see if this fixes it?

Otherwise, the obvious solution is there is something physically broken or loose somewhere inside the desktop - the VGA connector on the motherboard is slightly wobbly, which may be the problem.

So I'm hoping one of the bright sparks on here can help me figure out a solution; otherwise I'll be sending the damn thing back to the manufacturer.

Sigh.

Have you tried re-seating video card in video slot? May have jogged loose in shipping.
a b C Monitor
June 14, 2012 10:53:14 PM

Also, post your refresh rate for that VGA attached monitor. If the refresh rate is near of the limit of what the monitor can handle then you may be occasionally losing sync. As a test set the screen to 60 hertz (google change refresh rate) and 800x600. Everything synchs with 60 hertz.
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June 14, 2012 11:39:17 PM

Thanks for the replies. If I select a resolution other than 1280x1024, the monitor goes blank. I can only think this is caused either by an odd side effect of a broken component or loose connection, or a bad driver (which I will update now)!

I am already running a 60hz resolution (but it's a good suggestion) and the video card is an integrated AMD A6 3500 so there is no separate video card to seat.

Here is the PC I bought: http://www.ebuyer.com/362648-zoostorm-desktop-pc-7873-1...
a b C Monitor
June 15, 2012 1:58:38 AM

See how old the BIOS is in the MB. Could be a bios problem fixed in a newer version. If the builder doesn't post BIOS downloads then open case, discover MB make/model and download from their site or ask builder what MB was used. (I don't know Zoostorm)

Get into BIOS. Let is sit. Do you get any of the 'flicker' or 'goes blank' ? If not then suspect a windows driver error. Try running same resolution/refresh as BIOS. Try pulling the most recent driver from AMD, then try a few older ones.

If the video is a problem in BIOS then post. Debugging will be pulling parts and then swapping PSU, MB and CPU in that order, which is a pain. A BIOS video problem rules out windows software, drivers, malware, etc.

June 18, 2012 12:20:11 AM

Thanks for the response. I'm not sure what (if anything) has changed, but I retested and a second "known good" monitor doesn't (appear) to have the same flickering problem, so I am thinking there's a unique problem with my monitor + desktop.

Oddly, the "problem" monitor works fine with other desktops, and the "problem" desktop now seems to work fine with a different monitor...so perhaps it is something I will just never get to the bottom of - perhaps when Windows does its "correct resolution autodetect" thing this is causing a problem?

Or perhaps there is some subtle problem with the desktop that other monitors can somehow overcome?
a b C Monitor
June 18, 2012 12:07:39 PM

Windows detects monitors and changes settings. Monitors report via EID (or something like that) Could be win is changing settings on you when you plug in a new monitor. Or it could be excatly what you say, a weird interaction of some kind.

Did you swap the CABLE with the monitor? I've seen bad cables (1) lost a single color for a while (2) lose sync for just a second as you describe. If it's the cable you can swap one to the other or you can try wiggling the cable.

Does you monitor have multiple inputs? Are you using VGA (typically blue conenctor) and can change to DVI or HDMI? Or are you using DVI/HDMI and can change to VGA ?
June 18, 2012 1:19:57 PM

I've tested with two different cables which both work fine on other monitors and computers, so I think I can rule this out. The monitor does have multiple inputs but the desktop only has DVI and VGA out - and I don't have a DVI cable handy unfortunately, so am limited to testing with VGA. I have spotted that the VGA socket on the back of the motherboard is ever so slightly wobbly (it moves a few millimetres back and forth when rocked) whereas all the other connections are rock solid (for instance, the USB sockets don't move at all when I rock them). Maybe I'm being paranoid, but could a knock to the VGA socket during delivery have caused it to come ever so slightly loose and cause these symptoms? Although why this would cause the occasional "blue screen of death" is beyond me.
!