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Chunks Hammerdong
Nov 1, 2009


Resolved. See my last post. Long story short: HDMI version problems.

Problem description:

The easiest way here I suppose is some images.

The first is a screenshot taken from my PC:


This is that same screenshot (that is, the image, not the original text/window it was taken from) as I actually see it on my screen from that PC:


In particular, the red text is very garbled, though the blue text isn't a lot better. It's easy to tell in comparison with the white text. It's also possible to see a tiny bit of red text on a white background displayed behind the black background window, which for some reason looks a lot better.

This effect, particularly with the red, is also noticeable in things like games. For example, I loaded up SWTOR and noticed that hostile enemies with red nameplates had the text displayed in this extremely awful way, but other colours for the nameplates looked just fine.

I think this problem is something I've had on this PC for a while, but has only become particularly noticeable because I got a new 4K screen, which replaced some 1080p screens. Red text on the 1080p screens from the PC in question was always a problem when looking directly at, say, code, but I didn't see it in games. I honestly just thought my eyes were a bit rubbish and didn't enjoy looking at red on black (I might be a little dumb). I think the effect is just loads more noticeable now because it is running at a very high resolution, scaled.

This effect does not happen when viewing the same screenshot from my Macbook Pro connected to the same monitor. I don't use the same HDMI cable (which came with the monitor) on the mac, but I also don't think the cable is to blame as I did originally use it and had no issues (I moved to a displayport cable as my mbp doesn't support 60hz over HDMI at 4Ků)

Attempted fixes:

I have attempted to update graphics drivers in case it was that, but am honestly at a bit of a loss. Googling for variations of blurry text, or really any other text problems, just talks about issues with ClearType, which I don't believe can be the issue here as it shows up when looking at the image of the text as well as the rendered text itself.

Recent changes:

As mentioned, I do have a new monitor, but also as mentioned it is completely fine displaying things from another computer, even using the same cable. There aren't any other changes, my PC is from 2013.

--

Operating system:

Windows 10 Pro 64bit

System specs:

It's been a very long time since I built the computer. I think most relevantly I have a GTX 760 as the graphics card (specifically, I think it is this). The CPU is some kind of 4-core i5, and there is 24gb of DDR3-1600 RAM.

Location:

UK

I have Googled and read the FAQ:

Yes

Chunks Hammerdong fucked around with this message at 17:01 on Jan 16, 2021

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Zogo
Jul 29, 2003



I've seen damaged graphics cards do this before.

But you could try running DDU:
https://www.wagnardsoft.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=3403

And then installing the latest GPU drivers again.


If DDU doesn't help I'd try using onboard video temporarily (if you have it). That would narrow things down more.

Chunks Hammerdong
Nov 1, 2009


Thanks for the response Zogo.

Running DDU and reinstalling the drivers didn't work.

However, switching to the integrated graphics does display the text properly (I didn't even realise I had the integrated ones, took a while to figure out how to turn it on). Unfortunately it doesn't run at anything close to a usable speed (I guess it's outputting to HDMI at, at best, 30hz, typing text into this box is laggy), so I can't switch over to this full-time for doing anything, but at least it confirms that it must be my GPU.

I suppose, then, it's off to SHSC to ask what the cheapest reasonable replacement for it is?

Chunks Hammerdong
Nov 1, 2009


Okay, slight update. I may have been premature in thinking that the GPU was no good.

I decided to see what would happen if I tried a different OS. I discovered that I had issues getting Linux (tried Fedora and Ubuntu) to output anything to the screen. After some googling it came up that some people couldn't get Ubuntu to output at 4K except at 30hz.

I tried this by setting my monitor's HDMI version to 1.4 instead of 2.0, which forces it into 30hz mode. This worked. I noticed that the text in Ubuntu was looking really good and that prompted me to reboot into windows in this 30hz mode and see how things looked there.

It looks good!

I then went ahead and checked the specs for my graphics card. Turns out it actually does only have HDMI 1.4. Linux was doing the correct thing by refusing to output at 60hz, but it seems that Windows just tries to do it anyway. The crappy rendering appears to just be an issue with it trying to pump too much data through the cable. I had never even considered this because my MBP automatically just output at 30hz when connected via HDMI, so I assumed that when Windows output at 60hz it was doing the right thing. As to my issues before this monitor with red text... well they weren't very good monitors.

That is annoying, of course. I now have to go ahead and operate in 30hz mode for a bit until I can get a DisplayPort cable (I have one for my MBP but it's a DP->mDP and therefore no good for my desktop). But it's sure less annoying than trying to get a new GPU at the moment.

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