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Strange Graphic Problem


OSNN Senior Addict
When ever I play a DVD on my computer or a downloaded file I get strange lines just over the picture area. Even when its paused it happens. However if the video is on the internet it doesn't happen. For instance it wont happen when i play an IGN video right off there site but if I download it, it happens. I have tried using windows media player 11, classic, and VLC player. I thought it might have been codecs as well, so I used the Klite media pack that I used to always use and it still happened. I have attached a screen cap of a DVD being played so you can see the lines. At the moment I am thinking its drivers that might have gone bad. It is a fresh install of windows XP as well.



OSNN Veteran Addict
Political User
Well I'm not sure what's causing the problem but I guess that the reason videos on the web aren't affected is that they are generally flash/macromedia based things instead of 'real' video formats like wmv, avi, mpeg etc.

If you've tried different players, I think we can safely assume that the player isn't the problem. Again, if you've tried different codecs, and it's happening in different formats, it's probably not a codec thing.

The corruption on your image of Marvin above look like video card artefacts - are you overclocking the RAM on your graphics card? That could be one potential cause. Other than that, as you said, I suppose it could be graphics drivers related. Either way, I would put it down to something to do with your graphics card.


OSNN Senior Addict
I don't think I'm overclocking the graphics card however it could be set that way automatically ill have to check and see. I'm hoping the video card isn't shot... its for a laptop and I'm having a hard time finding a replacement since the warranty is up.


OSNN Senior Addict
Well I found a way to get rid of the lines however the picture slows down a lot and isnt really watchable. If I turn the Hardware acceleration down so that DirectDraw and Direct3D accelerations, as well as all cursor and advanced drawing accelerations are disabled the lines go away. So could it maybe be a DirectX issue, or is the card most likely shot?


OSNN Veteran Addict
Political User
It's tough to know without trying the card in another computer, though I think it's slightly more likely to be the card rather than direct x. You can always try reinstalling DX9, see if that helps. What laptop do you have?


OSNN Senior Addict
the format doesn't seem to matter ive tried mpegs avis dvd rips real dvds happens on all of them. Its an alienware Aura M7700 the graphics card is the Nvidia 6800go

Shamus MacNoob

Political User
Could be that the card is hot or has been pushed too far, when a card gets pushed past a point it is weak after , your card could be shot .
What noob said. Artifacts are usually from the gpu getting too hot. Since the laptop is aging you need to get the dust out of it. Especialy an alienware. they generally overclcok them. Canned Air time.

Especially check the video card cooling if you can get at it.

The fact that it cleared up when you reduced theheat load by cutting back on advanced features points at heat also.

You could also look at reducimg the gpu clock speed. See if ATItool will work. Laptops tend to have less room to fiddle with than desktops.

Sadly video cards do not take well to overclocking so if alienware did overclock it that could be the problem. They start degrading and continue down hill until they die.

The 6800 go may not be replaceable. they are typically built into the MB.
Last edited:

American Zombie

Staff member
Political User
GPU/CPU it is all the same if you do too much.

Scientific explanation of what happens:
Electrons in one transistor are not supposed to be able to reach other transistors in normal circumstances, but according to the principle of quantum tunnelling, an electron can actually escape from an infinitely deep energy well; it just does not happen that often. A transistor is made up of positively and negatively doped silicon around un-doped silicon. Every now and again, through chance alone, an electron can tunnel away from the conductive silicon keeping it in place. Usually it will only burrow in a couple of atoms and then return, though sometimes it can travel into another adjacent transistor. This does not normally cause a problem, because you need a lot of stray electrons to cause an error in how the gate is read. The problems start to occur when an electron attaches itself to one of the silicon atoms in the un-doped section of the silicon, or knocks another electron out of its orbit. This is known as silicon degradation, and over time, usually measured in years, a path is formed by the damage caused by these tunnelling electrons between two gates. Electrons can then flow across the junction freely, causing it to malfunction, and the value be misread by the computer, resulting in an error.

The more energy an electron has, the more likely it is to tunnel, which is why if your CPU is running hot, or has a considerably higher voltage going through it, electrons can tunnel through far more easily. All CPU’s are built so that there is an inbuilt resistance to quantum tunnelling for an extended period of time, but when you overclock your CPU, that period is reduced.

If you overclock or over-volt the chip too much, you can actually physically destroy the silicon lattice of gates within a processor.
No I did not write it - Source


OSNN Senior Addict
I just cleaned it recently and reseated the heatsink with some new arctic silver. Sadly there is no way of checking the temp of the GPU they never put anything in for that. Ill try to lower the clock speed of it.


OSNN Senior Addict
Well I tried ATItool and it was slightly overclocked but it had no artifacts so i dropped the clock speed down and keep testing it to see if i could get rid of the lines but they stayed no matter how low i took it. I'm guessing the card is just damaged. I'm planning on building a new desktop next month so no real worries ill find some use for this thing.

Shamus MacNoob

Political User
I took my laptop apart because I was having the exact same troubles and my videocard was an add on model, so I was able to purchase a 128mb nvidia quatro and replace the defective part , works like a charm now

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