Posts Tagged Nvidia

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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Ubuntu not booting with nVidia video on i3-i5-i7 Intel CPUs

Systems with i3/i5/i7 chipsets and nVidia video may experience Ubuntu not booting, and instead getting a blank screen with a flashing cursor or corrupt video display.

This seems to be an issue with some combination of kernel, video card, and nouveau driver, and appears to stem from the fact that the system technically has two sets of video hardware: that on the Intel CPU and the nVidia GPU.. While the Ubuntu developers work to get this corrected, there is a workaround to get you going.

When your system starts to boot up, hold the shift key to get to the GRUB menu, then press ‘e’ to edit the command line. Go to the kernel line (the line that starts with linux and has quiet splash in it) and press the ‘end’ key to scroll to the end of the line. Add nouveau.modeset=0 to the end of the line, then press F10 to boot.

After booting up, you can install the nVidia proprietary drivers and reboot and graphics will work great for you.

You can also permanently disable the nouveau module by running the following:

echo options nouveau modeset=0 | sudo tee -a /etc/modprobe.d/nouveau-kms.conf
sudo update-initramfs -u

You may experience a low-resolution splash or login screen. See my post nVidia proprietary drivers and low-resolution Plymouth splash screen for a solution to this.

See also: Troubleshooting Nouveau Drivers

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How hot is too hot? Don’t overheat your computer.

When your computer’s processor, chipset, or hard drive overheats, you can wind up with big problems. From system slowdowns to application crashes, video corruption, data loss, to permanent damage to your computer hardware. It’s important to keep your computer running cool.

Your computer has sensors in various places to monitor the internal temperature and regulate the fan speeds. These sensors are typically in places such as your CPU, graphics card, hard drive, and maybe one in open air (typically in desktops). Unlike your car, there’s no easy indicator of what the temperature is until things start to go wrong, and those fans can only do so much. Dust can clog heatsinks and air passages, which can slow down the flow of air and drive the chip temps up. If a fan fails completely, it will stop the airflow and the temperature will climb rapidly. For those reasons it helps to have a program to actually tell you what these temperature sensor readings are. If things are getting a little too hot, you might want to know so you can check things out.

For Windows, two good utilities are Speedfan (free) and Everest . For Ubuntu, two good programs can be found in Synaptic: sensors-applet and hddtemp.

Those programs will read the temp sensors and tell you the values. Unfortunately, these numbers won’t mean very much if you don’t know what the limits of your hardware are. For example, while typing this article on my laptop, my CPU temp is 35C (95F). While that might sound hot to some, the thermal design limit of my CPU is actually 105C (source: Intel). I know my processor is well within the design limits.

That said, here’s a list of a few common chipsets and their operating limits:

Various Intel Core 2 Duo (Desktops):

Models E6700 (2.66 GHz), E6600 (2.40 GHz), E6420 (2.13 GHz) and E6320 (1.86 GHz): 60.1 C (140 F).
Models E6400 (2.13 GHz), E6300 (1.86 GHz), E4400 (2 GHz) and E4300 (1.8 GHz): 61.4 C (143 F).
Models E6850 (3 GHz), E6750 (2.66 GHz), E6550 (2.33 GHz) and E6540 (2.33 GHz): 72 C (162 F).
Models E4500 (2.20 GHz) and E4400 (2 GHz): 73.3 C (164 F).
Source: Core 2 Duo Temperature Limit | eHow.com

Various laptops by manufacturer and chipset:

Dell Latitude D620 (using T7600 CPU): 100C
Dell Latitude D630 (using T7700 CPU): 100C
Toshiba Satellite A215-S7422
(using AMD Turion 64 X2): AMD Doesn’t say — See guidelines below

(I may add to this list as time goes on)

I’ve been seeing a lot of conversation about the nVidia Quaddro mobile chipset and it’s failure temp. While I haven’t been able to find anything official, I have been able to keep my chip under 80C and haven’t experienced a problem to date. See also: Disclaimer.

If you want to find the correct spec for a specific Intel product, you can use Intel’s ARK lookup.For AMD, try the AMD Product Specification lookup. For hard drives, check the manufacturers spec page for your specific drive.

However bear in mind when using these spec sheets that the given specs are for the components themselves under controlled conditions. Chipsets are likely to become unstable before reaching these temps, and heat run-off may damage nearby components on circuit boards. Additionally, occasional manufacturing defects can cause chip failures before these temperatures are reached. I would always suggest to try to stay at least 15-20C below the rated temperature.

If you can’t find specific temps for your chipset, good guidelines would be to try to stay below the following temps:

55C for desktop CPUs, 85C for laptop CPUs.
75C for desktop GPUs, 75C for laptop GPUs.
55C for desktop HDDs, 45C for laptop HDDs.

These are merely a reference point. While some chipsets may tolerate higher temps better than others, cooler is always better. See also: Disclaimer.

FAQ: Why are the rated chipset temps so much higher for laptops?

Laptops are by their very nature smaller and lighter than their desktop counterparts. In order to accommodate this, you will find laptops have smaller fans, heatsinks, and internal airways. Additionally, instead of fan-heatsink-chip assemblies, laptops often feature fan-heatpipe-chip assemblies, which locates the fan further from the chip. Mobile chipsets are thus designed to have higher operating temperatures because heat cannot always be dissipated quickly and occasionally the airways may become blocked. In addition, the higher operating temperatures allow the fans to cycle off to conserve battery power.

One last point worth mentioning is to make sure you’re using the latest OEM BIOS for your computer, especially for mobile machines. BIOSes often have a fan speed table in them which is what sets the fan speed based on the chipset temperature. You can typically find the BIOS update listed on the manufacturer’s website.

If you believe any of the information I have posted above is incorrect, or you would like to ask me to post data on a specific chipset, please leave a comment below. If you have any information to contribute, please do so in the comments. If you want to share this information, please do so as a link to this page for the sake of updates. Thank you.

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nVidia proprietary drivers and low-resolution Plymouth splash screen

Something I noticed immediately after installing the nvidia drivers in Ubuntu 10.04 was a low-resolution splash screen. This hasn’t bothered me too much in the past, but now that I’m using hard drive encryption it pushes the input box to the edge of the screen (and makes it ugly) as well as pushing the text above it off the screen. So I did some searching and happened about the following solution, which appears to have been tried by many users who report overwhelming success:

Original workaround posted April 26, 2010 by idyllictux (cleaned up for formatting)

* uvesafb required v86d package to be installed. hwinfo package is required for the next step as well.

sudo apt-get install v86d hwinfo

* Find out the supported resolution by using hwinfo:

sudo hwinfo --framebuffer

Sample output :

02: None 00.0: 11001 VESA Framebuffer
[Created at bios.464]
...
Hardware Class: framebuffer
Model: "(C) 1988-2005, ATI Technologies Inc. M92"
Vendor: "(C) 1988-2005, ATI Technologies Inc. "
Device: "M92"
SubVendor: "ATI ATOMBIOS"
...
Mode 0x0321: 640x480 (+2560), 24 bits
Mode 0x0322: 800x600 (+3200), 24 bits
Mode 0x0323: 1024x768 (+4096), 24 bits
Mode 0x03ee: 1366x768 (+1408), 8 bits
Mode 0x03ef: 1366x768 (+2752), 16 bits
Mode 0x03f0: 1366x768 (+5504), 24 bits
Config Status: cfg=new, avail=yes, need=no, active=unknown

* Edit /etc/default/grub to make sure we boot with uvesafb framebuffer. For the mode_option parameter change to your native screen resolution you see from running the above comment (if not just set to 1024x768-24 which is safest. Oh, Netbook user – please exercise some common-sense here) Non relevant lines are omitted for clarity.

<span style="font-family:Consolas, Monaco, 'Courier New', Courier, monospace;font-size:12px;line-height:18px;white-space:pre;">... </span><span style="font-family:Consolas, Monaco, 'Courier New', Courier, monospace;font-size:12px;line-height:18px;white-space:pre;">GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash nomodeset video=uvesafb:mode_option=1366x768-24,mtrr=3,scroll=ywrap" </span>...
GRUB_GFXMODE=1366x768
...

* Edit /etc/initramfs-tools/modules to include uvesafb by adding the following line.

uvesafb mode_option=1366x768-24 mtrr=3 scroll=ywrap

* Force the use of framebuffer:

echo FRAMEBUFFER=y | sudo tee /etc/initramfs-tools/conf.d/splash

(Note: What we’re doing here is creating the file /etc/initramfs-tools/conf.d/splash with the line FRAMEBUFFER=y. Feel free to use sudo then echo FRAMEBUFFER=y > /etc/initramfs-tools/conf.d/splash if you are more comfortable. tee is necessary when running as non-su. I wanted to know exactly what this command did in case I wanted to undo the changes.)

* Update and we are done :)

sudo update-grub2
sudo update-initramfs -u

My only change to this was to substitute the native resolution and color depth of my LCD panel as confirmed by hwinfo, specifically 1440×900-24. Everything else remained the same.

I was very skiddish about trying this as I have an encrypted hard drive, and if plymouth went south on me I wouldn’t be able to unlock my drive and fix it (easily). I was very happy to see that everything worked. Kudos to all involved. UPDATE: If you have an LVM/LUKS encrypted hard drive, you’ll be prompted for your hard drive password at a text-only prompt, so there’s no worry of a non-bootable system (at least for this reason) if you mess up the above.

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Ubuntu Karmic post-install Guide

Ubuntu Post-Installation Guide v9.10

Note: Unless otherwise specified, packages are installed/uninstalled using
System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager.
Repositories are updated in
(System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager > Settings > Repositories)
or
(System > Administration > Software Sources)

> Third Party Software (for Jaunty) or
> Other Software (karmic).

Java, Flash Player

By default, openjdk-6-jre is the Java VM used on Ubuntu. This is because OpenJRE is actively developed, while Sun’s Java VM is not. Also, by default, Flash is not installed. To install Sun’s Java VM (which can be successfully installed alongside OpenJRE) as well as Flash Player, install: ubuntu-restricted-extras

Medibuntu (DVD, MP3 and WMA support, etc)

Additional codec support (MP3, WMA, etc) is provided by the non-free-codec in the Medibuntu repository. (See for information) Running the following lines in a terminal will install the correct Medibuntu repository as well as the required keyring to authenticate packages:

sudo wget  -cs).list
--output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list &amp;&amp;
sudo apt-get -q update &amp;&amp;
sudo apt-get --yes -q --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring &amp;&amp;
sudo apt-get -q update

(Reference https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Medibuntu)

Following that, install the following packages:
libdvdcss2 (Allows to read encrypted DVDs)
non-free-codecs (Additional codecs)

Compiz

On supported video chipsets and with the correct video drivers, Compiz can enable a variety of visual effects. If Compiz is supported on your system, it can be enabled via System > Preferences > Appearances > Visual Effects and settings the level to Normal or higher. If compiz is enabled, it is recommended to install compizconfig-settings-manager

Other Useful Programs

The following packages are useful, and installation is encouraged:

APPLICATIONS MENU
–sound and video:
amarok
(music management application which also supports a wide range of MP3 players)

–internet:
While empathy is the new default IM client, pidgin is recommended for facebook users. Empathy, at the present time, does not have the same level of facebook
support that pidgin has). install:
pidgin and pidgin-facebookchat

–system tools:
gnome-format (a tool to easily format removable memory cards)

–other
fglrx-amdcccle – Catalyst Control Center for ATI graphics cards
nvidia-settings – Tool for configuring the NVIDIA graphics driver
nautilus-wallpaper – Adds ‘Set as wallpaper’ to right-click menu
nautilus-image-converter – Adds ‘Rotate’ and ‘Scale’ image commands
to right-click menu

VirtualBox

A free Virtual Machine system.

virtualbox-ose is available directly from Synaptic, but does not support USB device pass-through (allows the VM to communicate with USB devices). Sun’s VirtualBox 3.0 does support USB device pass-through easily.

See http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Linux_Downloads for instructions on how to add the VirtualBox repository to your system. After adding that repository, you can install the virtualbox-3.0 package.

Be sure to give yourself access to VirtualBox using System > Administration > Users and Groups
and give yourself User Privileges to ‘Use VirtualBox’

Intel microcode update

Systems with Intel CPUs should install the intel-microcode package. This provides an updated microcode to the processor at boot-time which can address processor errors and lock-ups.

Broadcom wireless issues

Systems with broadcom wireless cards which are detected but do not show any wireless networks should install the b43-fwcutter package. This provides an updated firmware for the card which fixes numerous issues. This would have to be installed using a wired network.

Dropbox on Ubuntu

Add the repository line for your Ubuntu distribution and install the nautilus-dropbox package (Reference: http://www.getdropbox.com/downloading)

Other Software

It is strongly recommended to use software that is distributed in the repositories. If you need to install a program from another source, the .DEB format is the best choice. This installs the program and adds a listing in Synaptic for easily unisntalling the program when you want to.

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nvidia proprietary driver not completely configured on Ubuntu Karmic

When installing Ubuntu Karmic on a PC with a nvidia chipset, you may experience an issue when doing the following:

Going to System > Administration > Hardware Drivers

and enabling the nVidia v185 driver.

After being prompted to restart the PC, the X server will not start and you will get a menu with a message that the graphics could not be initalized.

Simply select the last option to drop to a command prompt and run:

sudo nvidia-xconfig

(you may receive a error about sections missing from the Xorg.conf file — you may safely ignore them)

then reboot

Questions, comments, and feedback are welcome, as always!

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