I use this dell machine at work for extended periods and usually have it connected to a 23" external monitor. Every now and then, a wavy flickering pattern appears on the screen and moves rapidly. It makes me dizzy as if I was on a boat at sea X(

It has the Intel Graphics on board and I have the opensource driver installed by default. I don't think any propitiatory driver is available for this chip.

Linux mymachine 3.0.0-16-generic #28-Ubuntu SMP Fri Jan 27 17:44:39 UTC 2012 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

This happens, or at least largely visible, on the external monitor. The image on laptop screen appears fine. I am sure the screen is in good working condition, I have double checked by trading my external monitor with a work mate and I can still see the issue on my screen. I only have Ubuntu 11.04 on my laptop so I cant confirm that this is not a hardware issue with my motherboard. If there is anything that could help me identify the source of issue (besides loading other OS on it) I would happily give it a shot.

The graphic card is an onboard intel chip:

00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Core Processor Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 02)

This is the monitor settings which does not provide any settings for refresh rate

Let me know if I can add any more information to the question to help debug this issue.

  • Is the flickering appearing in the external monitor? If so, have you tried connecting it to another operating sistem or laptop? You must first be sure if the problem is hardware or software related. – LnxSlck Mar 5 '12 at 23:19
  • Thanks for your comment. Yes it is an external screen but I am sure it is fine. I have double checked by trading my external monitor with one of my co-workers and the issue still happens. – Aras Mar 6 '12 at 0:29
  • You should try upgrade the driver for that video card. What video card is it? – LnxSlck Mar 6 '12 at 22:48
  • as I said in the question its an Intel Chip. I have the latest kernel and the opensource driver installed. I dont know if a new version of driver is available and how to upgrade if there is one. Do you know how to check version of my driver and how to see a newer version is available? – Aras Mar 7 '12 at 6:04
  • @Aras - what resolution are you using? What resolution is your monitor capable of? What refresh rate are you using? (see your Monitors window in system settings) - have you tried the x-swat ppa to get slightly newer intel drivers? – fossfreedom Mar 8 '12 at 15:33

Typically this is what the vsyc or Vertical synchronization option is for in the graphics control/settings. It sounds like you monitors refresh rate is going out of sync with your video card. If this does not work, try raising and lowering the refresh rate of your video card in the settings menu as well.

  • I think you may be on the right track. However, there are no refresh rate available in my monitor settings. Is there another way (like editing xorg.conf) to set these settings? If so can you provide an example. – Aras Mar 8 '12 at 18:51
  • Unfortunately if Intel does not provide an API/GUI for changing these settings in Ubuntu than some file editing will be necessary. There are many forums and tutorials on this. Here is one on the Ubuntu Forums --> Xorg configuration Example – surgemcgee Mar 14 '12 at 15:42

These may sound like stupid questions, but I haven't noticed it mentioned in your question: is the monitor CRT or LCD? Was the coworkers monitor that was used in the test of the same brand/model?

Your description of the effects reminds me of the degauss feature on CRT monitors. If using a CRT, check the built-in monitor menu for an "auto-degauss" option, and disable. If using a CRT and find no auto-degauss option, then you may have a short in the power cord that, while unnoticeable, is triggering the power-on degauss function of these monitors. (I'm sure you're not using a CRT, but thought this may be helpful to someone, if people still even use CRTs.)

Sounds like it could be a couple different things. I'd try these fixes in this order to minimize time/money spent. First, lower your monitor resolution for however long it will take to notice if the problem is gone or not, as it may be due to overheating (potentially only happening on external monitor because of the difference in monitor sizes.) Next find out the exact model of video card (is it NVIDIA® NVS 3100M 512MB DDR3?), then completely remove the driver, and install an updated one from the manufacturer. If that doesn't fix it, contact Dell as it seems to be a problem with the laptop, as a little Googling turns up the same problems with that model. If everything else fails, and it's not due to overheating (most likely is) or not still under warranty, then try replacing the power cord for the monitor, as well as assuring all cords are properly attached and without wear. (another rare case is it could be some type of wireless interference, but I doubt it)

Let me know how it works out.

  • its an lcd. Please read the question again. i have mentioned multiple times that its an intel chip. As far as i know they do not provide drivers for Linux. Thanks for your response anyways. – Aras Mar 15 '12 at 14:19

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