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Screen flickering and horizontal lines when coming out of standby on Windows 8

I upgraded my Dell Latitude E6510 with an Nvidia NVS 3100M  to Windows 8 a short time ago, and noticed something fairly quickly: Whenever my display came back on after being powered off from power saving mode, or the laptop came out of sleep mode, the screen had a very noticeable flickering and some distinct horizontal lines. The best way to explain it was to say that there was something very wrong with the display refresh rate.

The effect would gradually diminish with time, but wouldn’t completely go away. I updated the graphics drivers from the built-in Windows 8 drivers to the latest ODE graphics driver for Windows 8 64-bit (310.90) — that didn’t fix it. I also noticed that putting the display in 40hz mode and then back in 60hz mode didn’t fix it either. I even would have the problem if I shut down completely and powered the laptop back on a few moments later.

I later found this blog post from someone having the exact same issue. He even indicated that he’s had hardware replaced on his notebook, and that didn’t fix the issue. He did, however, find a fix: Dell’s A08 drivers for the NVS 3100M graphics chipset. He posted links to a Dell search for A08 drivers and two drivers that specifically worked:

nVidia Quadro FX 880M – Win7/Vista 32-bit Graphics Driver

nVidia NVS 3100M – Win7/Vista 64-bit Graphics Driver (this is the one I used)

So I uninstalled my existing Nvidia drivers and installed the 64-bit driver linked to above. You know what? It worked. The flickering went away immediately, and it continues to work correctly resuming from standby.

I also recall speaking to someone who had a similar issue, albeit on Windows 7. I’m guessing it was probably related to the drivers as well.

UPDATE: After doing some more testing, I found this: I took a clean install of Windows 8 where the screen flickering was there, reformatted and reinstalled Windows 7 64-bit. After booting into Windows 7, the screen flickering was still there! It would seem that the driver is manipulating the graphics controller to produce this flicker. Installing Dell’s recommended NVS3100M driver for Windows 7 did fix the flickering issue.

Further reading:

Anyone else having the same issue? Have the drivers above worked for you? Please feel free to share your experience in the comments below. 

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  1. #1 by Dean on April 8, 2013 - 5:49 am

    I just bought an E6410, and installed Windows 8 on it to find this problem :(
    I uninstalled the NVIDIA drivers and started using the WDDM v1.2 drivers, and have no issues now.

    Is there any other workaround’s possible for this issue? Having old graphics drivers sucks!

    • #2 by Mike on April 18, 2013 - 8:18 pm

      None that I know of so far, however I’m updating the article to include some new information.

      • #3 by Dean on April 29, 2013 - 2:23 am

        I also noticed that it flickers on Windows 7 too, as you mentioned in the update. I contacted Dell and they said they have passed the issue onto their software and hardware team..

        I’m guessing Dell has started recommending the A08 driver as I have told them that is the one that works.

        Let’s hope they pull their sh*t together and get us a real working updated driver eh!

        • #4 by Mike on April 29, 2013 - 8:13 am

          Is the A08 driver stable? When I was using it on Win8, it crashed. A lot.

          • #5 by Dean on April 30, 2013 - 12:20 am

            Yeah the A08 driver is pretty stable, even on Win8 – I’ve only seen it crash a few times – maybe once a fortnight?

            My E6400 with the latest release NVidia driver seems to crash more than this A08 driver hahaha

  2. #6 by Dean on August 13, 2013 - 7:35 pm

    Mike! I have some good news! The flicker has mysteriously stopped on my E6410, BIOS version A14 & A15 with Windows 8.1 Build 9471 and NVidia drivers 326.19! Rejoice!