4 EXTERNAL MONITORS (via USB-TO-VGA-Adapters & USB3.0 HUB) WITH OCCASIONAL HEAVY FLICKERING WHILE LAPTOP DISPLAY REMAINS OK

MrJackStorm

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Nov 30, 2014
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4 EXTERNAL MONITORS (via USB-TO-VGA-Adapters & USB3.0 HUB) WITH OCCASIONAL HEAVY FLICKERING WHILE LAPTOP DISPLAY REMAINS OK

Hi everyone. My 4-external monitors usb-to-vga network setup could be helpful to some of you who have had problems figuring out how to setup multiple monitors and i’ll be more than happy to answer any questions i can; with the one exception of this flickering issue which i have not yet overcome. In that regard, any insights & help on what’s causing that and on how to eliminate that would be greatly appreciated. I’ve also uploaded a few short (10 sec) videos showing the flickering problem onto youtube (with descriptive details outlined in the body of my write-up below). I have written descriptions of each video both on youtube (under each video), as well as within the body of this write-up/post below. Meanwhile, the youtube links are as follows

VIDEO 1
http://youtu.be/bndqLFvoBOE

VIDEO 2 VER 1
http://youtu.be/n_By5Ev0_NQ

VIDEO 2 VER 2
http://youtu.be/iTKofioVqgw

VIDEO 2 VER 3
http://youtu.be/ch6V4H0_XMw

VIDEO 2 VER 4
http://youtu.be/5TgHMjS8G0A

VIDEO 3
http://youtu.be/v63SEbMIyF0

Again i currently have a system of 4 external lcd monitors extending my laptops work-area. All 4 are connected to the laptop via vga-to-usb adapters. I have all the external monitor vga cables connected to the vga-to-usb adapters, and all the adapters connected to a laptop powered 7-port usb 3.0 hub, which is then connected to one of the laptop’s usb port.

I’ve achieved this with 3 different laptops, but there’s one consistent problem still occurring regardless of which of these 3 laptops i use. All the external monitor screens flicker very visibly (while the laptop main display remains stable). Also the more pixels on screen, the more intense the flickering…so if i just have a bunch of simple and plain documents on all 4 external monitors, there’s no flickering but with each color or image introduced, the flickering gradually increases.

I will now list the relevant specs of the 3 laptops, as well as the troubleshooting steps i have already attempted.

***LAPTOP-1===>
-HP PAVILION G63
-15.6” DISPLAY SCREEN WITH 1366 X 768 RESOLUTION
-ONLY USB 2.0 PORTS
-64 BIT WINDOWS 7 HOME PREMIUM SP1
-4GB RAM
-2.27GHZ INTEL CORE M350 i3 CPU PROCESSOR
-DUAL-CORE PROCESSOR
-INTEL HD GRAPHICS ADAPTER
-DEDICATED VIDEO MEMORY=64MB
-SHARED SYSTEM MEMORY=1632MB
-TOTAL AVAILABLE GRAPHICS MEMORY=1696MB

***LAPTOP-2===>
-HP PAVILION G6
-15.6” DISPLAY SCREEN WITH 1366 X 768 RESOLUTION
-ONLY USB 2.0 PORTS
-64 BIT WINDOWS 7 HOME PREMIUM SP1
-4GB RAM
-1.9GHZ AMD A4-3305M APU PROCESSOR
-DUAL-CORE PROCESSOR
-AMD RADEON HD 6480G GRAPHICS ADAPTER
-DEDICATED VIDEO MEMORY= 512MB
-SHARED SYSTEM MEMORY=1525MB
-TOTAL AVAILABLE GRAPHICS MEMORY=2037MB

***LAPTOP-3===>
-HP PAVILION 17-e119wm
-17.3” DISPLAY SCREEN WITH 1600 X 900 RESOLUTION
-2 USB 3.0 PORTS
-64 BIT WINDOWS 8.1
-8GB RAM
-2.5GHZ AMD A-10-5750M APU PROCESSOR
-QUAD-CORE PROCESSOR
-AMD RADEON HD 8650G GRAPHICS ADAPTER
-DEDICATED VIDEO MEMORY=768MB
-SHARED YSTEM MEMNORY=3456MB
TOTAL AVAILABLE GRAPHICS MEMORY=4224MB


***MY STEP-BY-STEP TROUBLESHOOTING ATTEMPTS===>
(1) all cable connections re-checked & re-secured (on laptop-1, 2, 3)

(2) exclusively used usb 3.0 port (on laptop-3)

(3) graphics adapter upgraded (on laptop-1, 2, 3)

(4) tried to increase refresh-rates but only 60hz option was available (on laptop-1, 2, 3)

(5) did increase paging-file size to supplement ram capacity (on laptop-1, 2)

(6) tried to increase total available graphics memory in bios, but option not available (on laptop-1, 2, 3)

(7) did put a 3-to-2 prong grounding-adaptor between all 4 external monitors’ power-plugs and their power-supplies to remove grounding and eliminate potential of grounding loop between laptop & monitors (on laptop-1, 2, 3)

(8) laptop-3 was purchased as a last resort fix to improve the dual-core on laptops 1&2 to quad-core on laptop-3, and to improve on laptops-1&2 4gb ram to 8gb in laptop-3, and to improve on laptops 1&2 lower total aailable graphics memories by more than doubling it laptop-3; and yet after all that, the flickering remains; but most surprisingly even a little worse in laptop-3. Out of all 3 laptop, laptop-1 has the smallest and least amount of flickering (compared to laptops 1 & 3).


***IF ABLE TO ALSO UPLOAD THE 10 SEC TROUBLESHOOTING DEMONSTRATION VIDEOS, THEY’LL SHOW===>
1) Video-1 is exclusively for laptop-1 (above), and shows how the 4 external monitors flicker excessively while the main laptop screen remains perfectly fine.

2) Video-2-ver-1 is exclusively for laptop-2 (above), and shows how the 4 external monitors continue to flicker excessively after i partially-open a windows file explorer window in each of them.

3) Video-2-ver-2 is exclusively for laptop-2 (above), and shows how the 4 external monitors immediately stop flickering once i expand & fully-open a windows file explorer window in each of them.

4) Video-2-ver-3 is exclusively for laptop-2 (above), and shows how the 4 external monitors immediately start flickering again once i open up more graphics (picture thumbnails) within each of the windows file explorer windows in each of them.

5) Video-2-ver-4 is exclusively for laptop-2 (above), and shows how all 4 external monitors stop flickering when only one of them has graphics (picture thumbnails), but then all 4 of them immediately start flickering again once i open up more graphics (picture thumbnails) within a second one of the external monitors; implying that this flickering occurs because it has a low capacity for displaying graphics and pixels; and fewer pixel/graphics on the external monitors causes reduced or no flickering, while showing more pixels/graphics causes or increases flickering in all of the external monitors (while the laptop display remains normal).

6) Video-3 is exclusively for laptop-3 (above), and shows that inspite of the much advanced specs of laptop-3, the 4 external monitors still continue to flicker excessively while the main laptop screen remains perfectly fine.

 

ccampy

Honorable
Jan 4, 2014
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Have you tried connecting the laptops power supply when doing this?


Tried disconnecting some of the monitors try with just one at a time if it work a adda more till It starts



Tey setting a lower res then naive see if you still get the issue
 

MrJackStorm

Estimable
Nov 30, 2014
12
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4,560
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Thanks for the advice. I've edited & reposted the entire original message in non-capped Sentence-thread for easier readability; and also added youtube video links.
 

MrJackStorm

Estimable
Nov 30, 2014
12
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4,560
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------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thanks for your feedback.

(1) I have now added youtube video-links to the original post showing the flickering on all 3 monitors clearly so its easier to understand.

(2) Yes i have attempted to connect the external monitors one at a time. If the windows wallpaper/background is very plain/simple, there's no flickering after connecting all 4, one at a time. After i open a colorful image on one monitor, no flickering...once i open a colorful display on a 2nd monitor, a little flickering starts, ...and once i open a colorful display on a 3rd monitor, the flickering gets much more noticeable and more intense. This is why, in my original message, i speculated that this has something to do with pixel-display-capacity or graphics-memory-capacity; but i'm now stumped/confused because Laptop-3 has more than double the graphics-memory of Laptops 1 & 2, and yet its still flickering.

(3) If its a pixel-display-capacity issue, that would support your final suggestion of trying lower-resolutions on the affected external-monitors (which i hadn't specifically focused on until now). I have done so, as you suggested, and noticed that the flickering gradually reduced across all 4 external monitors (with images open on each one), as i gradually reduced each monitor's resolution within windows control panel. I eventually reduced the resolution of ALL 4 monitors and also the laptop to the lowest possible res for all 5 of them; which was 1024 x 768, and this achieved the most stable display of all 5, connected-together, thus far. Definitely a major-step-forward, but if i have many pictures open and try to zoom in really close on one, the flickering starts again.

(4) What was your specific reason for suggesting this resolution variation attempt?

(5) Any idea why this pixel-display-capacity issue exists at all? I felt that laptop-3's 4GB total available graphics memory would compensate and eliminate this completely, but this partial solution of decreasing all resolutions implies that regardless of how much graphics memory a laptop has, there will always be some other limiting-factor associated with the resolutions of the connected external-monitors. Any idea if this assumption is correct, and if so what exactly is this resolution-based limiting-factor and is there no way around it? ..Is this partial fix, which requires that i dont open too many pix or zoom-in too tight on any pix, the only solution?

(6) I tried to duplicate the success achieved with Laptop-3 on Laptop-2, and it didn't work. With Laptop-2, although i reduced all the resolutions of all 5 displays (laptop plus the 4 external monitors) to the lowest possible standard of 800 x 600, the flickering never stopped but continued intensely. The biggest relevant differences between Laptop-2 & Laptop-3 are as follows===>

Laptop-2:
4GB RAM, 1366 X 768 Laptop Resolution, 2037 MB total graphics memory, Dual-Core, USB 2.0

Laptop-3:
8GB ram, 1600 x 900 Laptop Resolution, 4224MB total graphics memory, Quad-core, USB 3.0

After i reduced the display-res to the lowest possible numbers for all monitors when connected first to Laptop-2 & then later to Laptop-3 (with different results), which of these spec-differences (btwn Laptop-2 & 3) do you suppose has caused all flickering to stop in Laptop-3 but not in Laptop-2 ?
 

13thmonkey

Distinguished
Moderator
Jan 10, 2006
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Thanks for that, it is appreciated.
 

MrJackStorm

Estimable
Nov 30, 2014
12
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4,560
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IF YOU DON'T MIND ME ALSO ASKING==>

If you had no other options, which of these would you select for Graphic-Design work with Video-Editing & Production; connected to a 5-External Monitors setup (via 3.0 USB-TO-VGA adapters and USB 3.0 HUB).....

...And comparatively/specifically Why?

Please any and all insights are appreciated.

NOTEBOOK #1
MAKE= HP
MODEL= Anodized Silver Pavilion 17-e119wm
OS= Windows 8.1
CPU= 2.5GHz AMD Elite A10-5750M Quad-core
RAM= 8GB
SCREEN= 17.3"
GPU= AMD Radeon HD 8650G

NOTEBOOK #2
MAKE= HP
MODEL= Pavilion 17-F023CL
OS= Windows 8.1
CPU= 2.10GHz AMD Quad-core A10-5745M
RAM= 8GB
SCREEN= 17.3"
GPU= AMD Radeon HD 8650G

NOTEBOOK #3
MAKE= HP
MODEL= 15-f111dx
OS= Windows 8.1
CPU= 2.0GHz AMD A8-Series
RAM= 8GB
SCREEN= 15.6"
GPU= AMD Radeon HD 8210

NOTEBOOK #4
MAKE= Asus
MODEL= TP500LA-EB31T
OS= Windows 8.1
CPU= 1.9GHz core i3-4030U
RAM= 6GB
SCREEN= 15.6"
GPU= Intel HD 4400

NOTEBOOK #5
MAKE= HP
MODEL= Natural Silver Envy Touchsmart M6-N010DX
OS= Windows 8.1
CPU= 2.5GHz AMD A10-5750M
RAM= 6GB
SCREEN= 15.6"
GPU= AMD Radeon HD 8650G

NOTEBOOK #6
MAKE= DELL
MODEL= Inspiron i3541-5001BLX
OS= Windows 8.1
CPU= 2.4GHz AMD A6-6310 Quad-core
RAM= 8GB
SCREEN= 15.6"
GPU= AMD Radeon R4


NOTEBOOK #7
MAKE= LENOVO
MODEL= FLEX v2 15D 2-IN-1
OS= Windows 8.1
CPU= 2.4GHz AMD A6-Series
RAM= 4GB
SCREEN= 15.6"
GPU= AMD Radeon R4
 
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