I have a thin black line running horizontally across the top of my screen. It has been persistent for weeks now. If it were a few mm higher it would not even be noticeable. I have exhausted every option I can think of so far. Here is how it came to be:

I decided to dust out my pc with compressed air, I then played some overwatch and decided to OC my video card and CPU because my GPU temperatures were lowered from the cleaning. I overclocked my 290 to 1100/1260 with MSI afterburner and my i5 3570k to 4.0 GHZ through the asrock z77 extreme 4 BIOS using these settings I found online:

Offset mode

All Core=40

Additional Turbo Voltage: +0.004v

Offset Voltage: +0.005v

Enhanced Halt State (C1E): Enabled

CPU C3 State Support: Disabled

CPU C6 State Support: Disabled

Package C State Support: Disabled

Both seem to be mild OCs and after stress testing the temperatures never went about 80c for either CPU or GPU. I downloaded Titanfall 2 to try, played it for about 20 minutes, then went back to overwatch and noticed the black horizontal line on my first game. The line is persistent on the desktop, browser and even the BIOS.

To attempt to fix this issue I immediately reverted my CPU and GPU to stock settings. Nothing. Uninstalled titanfall 2, upgraded my graphics drivers, reseated my video card, changed resolutions, used the secondary DVI slot on my video card, killed all power to PC and monitor and hitting the power buttons to discharge them, still nothing.

I have reinstalled Windows 10 on a spare drive, updated my BIOS to the latest version, tried various different drivers for my video card, removed the video card and ran through onboard video only and even tried a different monitor with a different DVI cable and the problem is STILL there. I have no idea what else to try.

It is NOT the video card.

It is NOT the monitor.

It is NOT Windows.

It is NOT the RAM.

If it is hardware related I believe it must be either the motherboard, CPU or PSU because those are the only things I have not tried a replacement of.

The line is very thin on the left side, and becomes a few mm thicker near the right side of the screen.

I'm looking for suggestions on what else I could try to potentially fix this issue. I am currently unable to obtain a new motherboard/CPU/PSU, especially without knowing which might be causing the issue. They could all be fine and it could be something else entirely, I just do not know what else to try.

Any help in resolving this issue would be greatly appreciated!

  • It is persistent in Windows, games, the BIOS, everywhere. I'm not sure what you mean by sizzled a pixel, but I do know that it is not the monitor and it is not the video card which processes the image. I know this because I have a brand new monitor and the problem persists, as well as not even having the video card in the computer (ie using onboard video) and it's still there. Either way, I really, really hope it does not get worse. If the line was even an inch lower the computer would be unusable to me – BlackLineBlues Dec 18 '16 at 1:58
  • The issue first presented itself a few weeks ago on my other monitor (Yamakasi Catleap 1440p). I was confident it was either the monitor itself or my video card. I bought this new monitor and while duplicating the displays the line is on both. So that is why I know it is not the monitor. So two monitors, identical problem. – BlackLineBlues Dec 18 '16 at 2:09
  • Yes I have tried both 60hz and 144hz on my new monitor. It came with a brand new dual-link DVI cable, and I have also tested two HDMI cables but the issue is exactly the same. It is something to do with the computer itself, not the monitors or cables. – BlackLineBlues Dec 18 '16 at 2:27
  • You should add all of that info to your write up / Edit. I'll delete all my comments so any new readers don't get confused. – ejbytes Dec 18 '16 at 2:29
  • Well I for one never, ever, recommend overclocking. But that's not your case. You've already done it. Not the refresh rate, not the cables, not the monitor. So you have the answers. If you want a DIY, you can read up on electronic diagnostics, buy the required electronic equipment and one day figure it out, or take it to a shop where they have all the electronics testing equipment available to test your hardware. I don't know if Geek Squad at Best Buy can deal with that stuff, so you might want to search a reputable place that does in depth testing. – ejbytes Dec 18 '16 at 4:18

Usually when a row of pixels becomes dead it means that the controller for that row is broken. It's not fixable unless you want to do some micro soldering, and try to track down the culprit cable.

  • I understand the concept of dead pixels, however I know that this is not the cause of the issue because the issue is identical on both my old and new monitor. It is 100% something to do with my computer itself. But it isn't windows because A) the line appears in the BIOS and B) I reinstalled windows on a spare drive. – BlackLineBlues Dec 18 '16 at 2:11
  • I don't know of a way to pass a broken pixel line horizontally across a screen via video card, or cable. However a quick test would be to use a different cable/video card. I missed that you had tested on a second monitor sorry. – cengbrecht Dec 18 '16 at 2:13
  • @BlackLineBlues I added a comment above: Have you tried changing your monitor's refresh rates? 60hz to 120hz or visa versa? Also cengbrecht adds a good comment. Sometimes a bad cable can cause issues/interference that can cause things on any monitor. I had that happen with many HDMI cables. – ejbytes Dec 18 '16 at 2:18
  • Man I hate HDMI, mine always does weird things. :P I prefer DVI or DP cables. – cengbrecht Dec 18 '16 at 2:19
  • I was at a point where I was buying 5 at a time where 3 of 5 HDMI would be bad. – ejbytes Dec 18 '16 at 2:19

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