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I have a 2 year old laptop. The model is Sony Vaio SVE1511W1EB.
I never encountered any serious problems with it until now. However, last week I plugged a beamer into the laptop and did a Powerpoint presentation. After the presentation, my graphics card started acting weird. Mainly while using Skype, Firefox or at the start of a Youtube video, thin grey and glitchy lines started flashing randomly over the screen (horizontal).

They flash more and more until the screen freezes for a few seconds. Then the screen blacks out for about one second. After that, my graphics driver notifies me of a graphic driver crash. I can usually work for another half minute after that before it happens again.
After a few crashes it stops for a few hours. And then it happens again, completely out of the blue, while typing some text or scrolling through a page.

As if the problem wasn't bizarre enough yet these are some things I noticed:

  1. When I removed the graphics driver, the problem stopped, but flash player crashed at the very moment I opened a new website in Firefox.
  2. The problem doesn't occur in full screen games (even at the highest graphical fidelity)
  3. If I put my screen in the expansion mode (for use with 2 screens) the problem doesn't show at all.
  4. If I duplicate my screen to the other screen, the other screen (lower resolution) gets the same lines.
  5. If I change my display settings to show colors in 16 bit, the problem occurs less frequently
  6. If I change my display settings to show colors in 256 colors, the problem stops occurring.

I can temporarly fix the problem by constantly telling the laptop to work in expanded desktop mode (even when there's no screen attached), but I want a more definitive solution to the problem.

Here are some more details about my computer:
Graphics drivers:

AMD Radeon HD 7550M/7650M Graphics [Display adapter]
PnP-beeldscherm [Monitor] (15,3"vis, januari 2010)

Additional Software:

  • Catalyst Control Center Version 3.5.0.0 ATI Technologies
  • Catalyst Control Centre Version 2.0.0.0 ATI Technologies

I hope someone will be able and willing to help me.
Thanks in advance.

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Uninstall the driver and software completely and see if a Windows Update can re-download the driver. Was the driver you were using the latest? –  Big Chris Jun 26 at 21:51
    
It's a Sony Vaio specific driver. I already tried to uninstall it and reinstall the stock driver. –  Mathias Boeckx Jun 26 at 21:54
    
What OS are you using? –  Big Chris Jun 26 at 22:04
    
I am currently using Windows 7 x64. On the video driver page on the official AMD website states that it's not compatible with Sony Vaio notebooks. On the sony support site for this laptop, it only gives the stock driver. support.amd.com/en-us/download/… –  Mathias Boeckx Jun 26 at 22:09
1  
Yeah, the idea that my graphics adapter might be failing sounds very likely. Until you take into account that the problem just suddenly stops when you change your display mode to 'expand' or when you play heavy games relying on a good graphics card. –  Mathias Boeckx Jun 26 at 22:50

1 Answer 1

up vote 0 down vote accepted

Change your Power Plan settings

The power plan is limiting the resources for the graphics card to function properly. Change all the settings to the Maximum Performance.

How I fixed the problem:

  • Install the latest drivers from the official AMD website (Catalyst 14.0+).

  • Change you Power Plan to High Performance (in battery and plugged-in).

  • Go to Control Panel>Power Options>Change advanced power settings> ATI Graphics Power Settings> ATI Powerplay settings> On battery, Plugged in: Maximum Performance.

  • Go to Control Panel>Power Options>Change advanced power settings> PCI Express> Link State Power Management> On battery, Plugged in: Off.

  • Disable Aero (Choose the Windows 7 Basic theme)

  • Restart your PC.

Important: This will also fix a constant change in the brightness level when you switch between dark and bright apps.

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