Question Red Dots On Screen When Playing Video Files

goldensun87

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So, my laptop's power jack had stopped working back in February 2018. I took it to a shop, and they said since the power jack is soldered to the motherboard, the motherboard would have to be replaced. This is a custom gaming laptop which I originally purchased back in 2012, from Digital Storm. However, the laptop's actual model name is the Clevo P151EM1.

Unfortunately, I did not have enough money to buy the replacement motherboard back then, especially since the only seller I knew of and was watching, was selling it for a high price. A price which doubled sometime in 2020. Finally, in April 2021, when I had the money I needed, I decided to look for other sellers, and stumbled on a seller that had exactly what I needed, at a much lower price.

I received the motherboard back in May, and after finishing up my other pending work, as well as making preparations for in case my old OS install may not work with the new mobo, I got to disassembling the laptop, in order to install the new mobo. After the reassembly was complete, and I powered on the laptop, I was surprised to find my OS being able to boot with the new mobo. I'm guessing it worked because the mobo is the exact same model, instead of a different model.

Anyway, I update a few key programs, and then I get around to playing one of my video files with VLC Player. I see red dots all over any and all videos that I play. My web browsers were also experiencing graphical glitches which had never happened before. I did some prior research before coming here, and disabling the hardware acceleration on both of my browsers, fixed the problem for the browsers. So, the red dots on videos most likely point to a problem with the GPU.

Now, here is what might be causing the problem, but I am not sure, which is why I am here. After removing the heatsinks from the GPU, the GPU is bolted down with two screws that require a "hexagonal screwdriver". These aren't the usual screws on which the bits just fit on top of the screw head. From what I can tell, these screws require something more like a mini ratchet. I did not have the specific tool necessary, so I improvised with longnose pliers. The problem is, while pliers can easily get these screws loose, they cannot easily tighten them to max.

So, it seems like these screws remaining loose, might be causing the GPU problems. It seems apparent that I have to buy this specific tool, so that I can properly tighten these screws and properly bolt down the GPU. But, can you guys say with certainty, that once I do this, the GPU's problems will be solved?

Finally, if it might be relevant, the GPU is the Geforce GTX 670M.

Edit: Although I have not tried running any games, I did try running a 2160p video, and 2160p videos are not running as smoothly as they should. The CPU is a 4-core with 8 threads, but apparently that is not enough to smoothly play 2160p video, without GPU support. So apparently, the improperly seated GPU is causing this problem as well. But hopefully, reseating and properly screwing down the GPU will solve these problems?
 
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Ralston18

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This:

"But hopefully, reseating and properly screwing down the GPU will solve these problems? "

At the beginning may have been so.

But now, after long pliers, etc. it would be difficult to determine.

More and more things are being made either not to be repaired or difficult to repair. One way of doing the latter is to require special tools....

Substitute "tools" might succeed but at the cost of damage to fasteners, the device being repaired, making the process end up as being "one way" (loosen but cannot tighten) or all of the above.

All you can do is to get the correct/specific tool and hope for the best.

And, just for the record and future reference, what you have done is also likely to have invalidated any remaining warranties on the GPU.
 

goldensun87

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Oh, I'm pretty sure the fasteners are all right. Fasteners can only get damaged if you end up overtightening, right? Without the right tool, I am not even able to tighten to max as I should. Before I came here, I found a person on a site who experienced the same problem, just from one of the screws on his DVI cable being loose. It was a screw on the GPU side of the cable, not the monitor side.

But yeah, like you said, I won't know for sure until I get the right tool and finish the job properly.
 

Ralston18

Titan
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Fasteners can be damaged by using the wrong tool.

For example, using the pliers to unscrew the fasteners may have rounded off the fastener heads a bit and the special tool, even if correct, may not engage enough to allow proper tightening. Especially if the fastener is mostly soft metal.

Not uncommon that what are supposed to be matching (sized) fastener heads and bits really do not fit properly together to allow smooth and easy use.

Fastener slot heads wear loose. Bits round off and slip out of the slots....

And if originally driven home too tightly, attempts to loosen a fastener can (and does) snap of the fastener heads.....

The prepackaged fasteners that now come with many products are often made of the cheapest possible materials and/or are poorly manufactured. Lower iron content often means that the fastener may just barely stick to the end of a magnetic tool or bit.

Most DIY types can probably write a book or two about such problems.....

Look everything over very carefully before finishing up the GPU project.
 

goldensun87

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These 2 hexagonal "ratchet" screws, or whatever they are officially called, the hexagonal portion felt pretty sturdy, so I am fairly confident that the hex portion did not get warped out of shape in any way.

You are most likely right about newer products having more fragile parts. The thing is, as far as "new" fully assembled electronics goes, I have not bought anything new in a while. The most recent laptop I bought was from 2012, which is the laptop we are discussing. The last time I bought a mainstream pre-built desktop, was back in 2011. The most recent tablet I bought is from 2014, and I have still not bought a smartphone yet.

Laptops, smartphones, and tablets are a nightmare to work on, compared to desktops, albeit in different ways. Majority of laptop parts are durable enough as long as we are reasonably careful, but laptops are bolted down with at least 2 dozen screws, and organizing said screws and making sure none get lost, is the stressful part. Smartphones and tablets may not have too many screws inside, but the thin flex cables, as well as other parts inside the phone/tablet, need to be handled with extreme care. Especially since many of the components inside a phone/tablet, will not have replacement parts available.

And, to answer your statement about the warranty, whatever warranty this laptop had, is long gone anyway. Plus, I do not like to deal with the warranty of a product bought from an online store, because then I have to pay out of pocket to ship the product back to the seller/manufacturer. In my opinion, a warranty is most useful for products bought from a local physical store. I can take the product to said store, and get a problem solved. That happened to me back in 2009. The first laptop I bought was back in 2008, from Best Buy. The warranty was 1 year, and before the warranty expired, the physical wireless switch had broken. Back then I had no experience with working on computers, so I was lucky that the problem occurred within the warranty time, and I was able to get the part fixed with no charge.
 

goldensun87

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Greetings, TH Forum. Sorry for ignoring this thread for so long (almost 2 weeks). Here is everything that has happened with this issue since then.

1. I bought a toolset with the bit that I needed for the two nuts which I could not properly work on before.

2. For good measure, I reseated the GPU, and finally was able to bolt down all nuts/screws properly.

3. VLC Player was still showing red dots, and Media Player Classic Home Cinema (K-Lite Codec Pack), was still not able to run proper framerate. Since I did not mention either of this before, MPC-HC is my primary video player choice, and VLC is my secondary.

4. I decided to completely uninstall/reinstall both of these programs, and made sure all app data and lingering program folders were deleted.

5. After all reinstalls were complete, MPC-HC is finally running as it should. MPC-HC still has problems running with the laptop's integrated Intel HD Graphics, but this probably has something to do with MPC-HC's settings. So, I just use Nvidia Control Panel to make sure that MPC-HC uses the GPU.

6. VLC Player, without tweaking any advanced settings, still gives red dots during playback. Since MPC-HC seems to run properly now, and since VLC is not my primary player, I'll just chalk it up to a VLC isolated issue.

7. I also re-enabled hardware acceleration temporarily, on my Chrome Browser and Firefox Browser, to test the GPU. No more graphical glitching in either of them.

8. Since I have "Nvidia Processor" chosen in the Global Settings of Nvidia Control Panel, my Comodo Firewall was experiencing. But, since Comodo does not seem to have the option to enable/disable hardware acceleration, I manually added Comodo to the Nvidia Control Panel, and specified the integrated graphics for that program. No more issues for now.

So, now, the only thing left, is for me to receive the keyboard I ordered, which should fit the current motherboard, and my 2012 Clevo gaming laptop should, hopefully, be restored to its former glory. Yes, I know a machine with an old laptop cannot play newer games, but, this machine is now the only laptop I have, with an internal Bluray burner.

Once I have enough money, I might buy a newer laptop from Digital Storm, and I am aiming to buy one before Windows 10 is phased out, because I am NOT liking the direction that Windows 11 is headed.

You guys will probably want to mark this issue as "solved", so, I hope this thread will be helpful to others in the future.
 

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