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Flickering and blank screens at high resolution with Intel HD

by Markus Malkusch


Posted on Wednesday Sep 24, 2014 at 07:40PM in Technology


My Lenovo T410s' graphic chip (Intel HD) produces under some circumstances annoying flickering and blank screens. Those circumstances apears to be a high resolution (in my case 2560x1440 pixel at my Dell U2711 via DisplayPort).

The kernel log might show something like this:

WARNING: CPU: 0 PID: 1815 at drivers/gpu/drm/i915/intel_display.c:953 ironlake_crtc_disable+0x86/0x816()
pipe_off wait timed out
…
Call Trace:
dump_stack+0x49/0x6a
warn_slowpath_common+0x78/0x90
ironlake_crtc_disable+0x86/0x816
warn_slowpath_fmt+0x45/0x4a
ironlake_crtc_disable+0x86/0x816
__intel_set_mode+0xbfe/0x11d4
intel_set_mode+0xd/0x27
intel_crtc_set_config+0x70e/0xa13
drm_mode_set_config_internal+0x48/0xad
restore_fbdev_mode+0x8f/0xa8
drm_fb_helper_restore_fbdev_mode_unlocked+0x1d/0x34
get_vtime_delta+0xd/0x59
drm_fb_helper_set_par+0x3a/0x58
fb_set_var+0x246/0x32c
finish_task_switch+0x44/0xd2
__schedule+0x5cb/0x755
fbcon_blank+0x71/0x230
do_unblank_screen+0xe1/0x15b
complete_change_console+0x4b/0xb6
vt_ioctl+0x915/0xf83
tty_ioctl+0x8f1/0x960
vtime_user_enter+0x23/0x3e
syscall_trace_leave+0x185/0x190
do_vfs_ioctl+0x3f3/0x43c
__fget+0x64/0x6c
SyS_ioctl+0x33/0x59
tracesys+0xe1/0xe6
--[ end trace 0a29c17dff6acf50 ]---
[drm:ibx_irq_handler] *ERROR* PCH transcoder B FIFO underrun

I found someone with the newer graphic chip HD 4000 whose problems sound very familiar to mine. Fortunately Intel is giving hints to identify the problem, a workaround and a solution:

This issue is a BIOS issue specifically with the Memory Reference Code (MRC) version 1.4.0.0 or older. Please contact your system or motherboard manufacturer for a system BIOS update for your system or motherboard that includes MRC 1.5.0.0 or newer. If you have a system with 2 or more memory modules and are comfortable with removing all but one of them so that your memory is in single channel mode, try and remove all but one of them and the issue will go away. This can be used as a workaround until you are able to update your system BIOS from your system or motherboard manufacturer that includes MRC 1.5.0.0 or newer.

Running the system with one RAM module is a nice start to identify the problem. After that let's replace the old T410s BIOS 1.47 with the latest version 1.50 and see how the system performs with two RAM modules.

Bingo! The system runs now for more than one day without flickering or blank screen. But unfortunately it's not fixed completely: Waking up from hibernation brings you back into flickering land!



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