Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

System specs:


  • Manufacturer Dell Inc.
  • Model XPS M1530
  • Total amount of system memory 4.00 GB RAM
  • System type 32-bit operating system
  • Number of processor cores 2
  • 64-bit capable Yes


  • Display adapter type NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT
  • Total available graphics memory 1791 MB
    • Dedicated graphics memory 256 MB
    • Dedicated system memory 0 MB
    • Shared system memory 1535 MB
  • Display adapter driver version
  • Primary monitor resolution 1440x900
  • DirectX version DirectX 10

I just installed the newest drivers that came out as of June 1. I am still getting this checkerboarding/shadowing effect and it doesn't really make any sense. This happens mostly on Firefox, but is occasionally seen on windows when the screen dims to install a program.

I think it's actually affecting everything else. I used to be able to play games such as StarCraft 2 and World of Warcraft on rather high settings, but now I have to drop everything low and it still doesn't respond well, if at all.

I'm not not sure where to go from here. I have tried updates and everything but still nada. My last thought might be that the system's heating up too much and affecting the video part of the motherboard. Any thoughts?

share|improve this question
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that the system heating up could be the problem. Especially as you used to be able to use it at higher detail levels and now it is quite sensitive to more demanding applications.

From cnet - Summarizing the Nvidia problems with laptop chips overheating:

"Certain notebook configurations with GPUs and MCPs manufactured with a certain die/packaging material set are failing in the field at higher than normal rates. To date, abnormal failure rates with systems other than certain notebook systems have not been seen."

There are a whole swathe of potential signs of problems and to me yours points to some kind of fault on the memory controller side of things in your GPU, basically data being missing.

You may find that your problems are minimised if you keep the laptop cooler and use come kind of cooling mat, but that would only be a short term fix.

The only real fix would be if you could get Dell to honour some kind of warranty repair. It appears that according to that article Dell offered some kind of extended warranty but you'd have to contact them to find out.

share|improve this answer
the random characters, the lines across the screen. this has to be it. calling Dell today. Thanks Mokubai – Deoetpatria Jun 13 '11 at 11:57

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.