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Old 12-14-2019, 09:05 PM   #1
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Default How To Stop CRT Flicker

[PART 1 OF 2]

Ever gotten a CRT monitor and noticed an irritating flicker?

Here's how to get rid of it (or at least make it far less annoying).

Method 1: Increase Refresh Rate
1) Get to your display settings. This varies from OS to OS.
For Windows (95 to 2000, XP to 7 with Icons Mode, XP to 7 with Classic Start Menu
(NOT Classic Start))
1) Open the Start Menu
(For 95 to 2000 and XP to 7 with Classic Start Menu)
Click "All Programs", then "Accessories", then "Control Panel".
(XP to 7 with normal Start Menu)
Click "Control Panel" on the right bar of the start menu.
2) Open the Display options panel
(XP to 7 with Icons Mode)
Double-click on "Displays".
(XP to 7 with Categories Mode)
Click "Hardware and Sound", then "Displays".
3) Click "Change adapter properties".
4) Click the "Settings" tab. Make sure that the "Display unsupported settings" dialog box is UNCHECKED.
5) Click the dropdown box by "Refresh Rate". Select the highest refresh rate available.
5a) If the highest available refresh rate is already in use, click on "Display resolution". Change it to the nest lowest available resolution. Then try changing the refresh rate again.
6) Click "Apply". Your screen should go blank for only a few seconds and you may hear at least 1 click.
6a) If you get a message telling you that you are "out of range" or something similar, wait 15 seconds and Windows will revert back to it's original settings. Try the next resolution down.
7) Repeat the activity producing the unwanted flicker. If it's gone or reduced to a tolerable level, proceed to Step 8. If not, repeat steps 5 and 6 again.
8) Click "OK". Then close Control Panel. You are done.

(No Mac instruction available as I have no experience with them.)

Linux: Varies widely and depends on your desktop environment.
Xfce4:
1) Open the Whisker Menu. Type "displays" and press Enter.
2) Click the dropdown box by "Refresh Rate". Select the highest refresh rate available.
5a) If the highest available refresh rate is already in use, click on "Resolution". Change it to the nest lowest available resolution. Then try changing the refresh
rate again.
3) Click "Apply". Your screen should go blank for only a few seconds and you may hear at least 1 click.
6a) If you get a message telling you that you are "out of range" or something
similar, see Troubleshooting.
4) Repeat the activity producing the unwanted flicker. If it's gone or reduced to a tolerable level, proceed to Step 5. If not, repeat steps 2 and 3 again.
5) Click "OK". Then click Close. You are done.


Method 2: Decrease monitor brightness.
The procedure for doing this varies widely from monitor to monitor. Here are generic
instructions. For best results, consult the owner's manual. If you do not have the
owner's manual, Google the make and model of your monitor followed by "owner's manual". For example:
"mitsubishi diamond pro 2070sb owner's manual"
Read it and follow the instructions for adjusting the brightness.
Generic Instructions:
1) Press a menu button. Use the menu buttons to access the picture settings.
2) Using the menu buttons, access the brightness control.
3) Adjust the brightness down until the flicker becomes tolerable. If the flicker is
not tolerable at any brightness, see "Increase Refresh Rate" and/or "Increase Refresh Rate (Advanced Users)".
4) Once the brightness is set so flicker is tolerable, exit the menu.

Method 3: Increase Refresh Rate (Advanced Users)
I do NOT know how to use Custom Resolution Utility. Here is a guide on how to use
it: https://www.monitortests.com/forum/T...on-Utility-CRU

1) Find the scanrate limits of your monitor. They are expressed in Hz (for vertical scanrate limit) and kHz (for horizontal scanrate limit). Refer to your owner's manual OR Google the make and model of your monitor followed by "specs". For example: "mitsubishi diamond pro 710 specs"

2) Note the scanrate limits.


---WARNING: THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS ARE FOR LINUX ONLY. USE THE CRU GUIDE FROM HERE ON.---

3) Open up a Terminal. Type 'cvt <Default max resolution width> <Default max resolution height> <Desired refresh rate>'. For example: '
Code:
cvt 1600 1200 75
'.
You will get something back like this:
Code:
# 1600x1200 74.98 Hz (CVT 1.92M3) hsync: 94.09 kHz; pclk: 204.75 MHz
Modeline "1600x1200_75.00"  204.75  1600 1720 1888 2176  1200 1203 1207 1255 -hsync +vsync
Look at the hsync field. If it is ABOVE the monitor's maximum horizontal scanrate, try the cvt command again, except using a lower refresh rate. Keep decreasing the refresh rate until hsync is at least 1kHz below your monitor's maximum horizontal scanrate. Select the part AFTER 'modeline', i.e:
Code:
"1600x1200_75.00"  204.75  1600 1720 1888 2176  1200 1203 1207 1255 -hsync +vsync
Press Ctrl+Shift+C to copy this modeline.

4) Type xrandr and press Enter. Find the monitor you want to apply the custom resolution to and note the port it's connected to.
5) Type the following:
Code:
xrandr --newmode
Here, press Ctrl+Shift+V to paste the modeline in. If you do not see a prompt already, press Enter.
6) Type the following:
Code:
xrandr --addmode <Port the monitor is connected to> <Name of modeline>
Replace <Port the monitor is connected to> with the port you noted. Replace <Name of modeline> with the part of the modeline that is in quotes, such as "1600x1200_75.00", except no quotes. For example:
Code:
xrandr --addmode VGA-0 1600x1200_75.00
and press Enter.

7) Open your display settings. Select the display in question. Select "Refresh Rate". Then choose the new, higher refresh rate. Click 'Apply'. Your monitor should go blank for a few seconds. Once the picture returns, close the display settings and Terminal. you are done.
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Old 12-15-2019, 11:04 PM   #2
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Default Re: How To Stop CRT Flicker

Things are so much easier in Linux nowadays with EDID and VESA standardization... before these standards, getting those modeline numbers took a bit of work, and even worse if you didn't have the data for your monitor to compute the modelines...

... and there was also the risk of making the magic smoke leak out of your monitor if you got the modeline numbers a bit wrong...

Last edited by eccerr0r; 12-15-2019 at 11:06 PM..
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Old 12-16-2019, 06:37 AM   #3
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Default Re: How To Stop CRT Flicker

Quote:
Originally Posted by eccerr0r View Post
Things are so much easier in Linux nowadays with EDID and VESA standardization... before these standards, getting those modeline numbers took a bit of work, and even worse if you didn't have the data for your monitor to compute the modelines...

... and there was also the risk of making the magic smoke leak out of your monitor if you got the modeline numbers a bit wrong...
Especially if it was one of the el-cheapo ones that just *accepted* whatever it was given without checking to see if it was a valid signal that was in range, an out of range signal, or even a toaster. I've read quite a bit of stories about the horizontal section blowing up in monitors when too high of a horizontal refresh rate was fed into it.

Higher refresh rate = higher frequency on flyback = higher B+ and related voltage rails = closer to finding the weak link

Last edited by TechGeek; 12-16-2019 at 06:57 AM.. Reason: L7C34 +even
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Old 12-18-2019, 06:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: How To Stop CRT Flicker

...
Or you can use software like RivaTuner, PowerStrip, or MSI Afterburner (I think!) to set a custom resolution with a custom refresh rate, as some monitors (particularly BNC-connected ones) will always default to 60 Hz (especially in Windows XP and older.) If using a relatively new GPU (anything made after the mid-2000), both nVidia and ATI include options in their software to override the default resolutions and refresh rates. But like you said, check what your monitor is capable of so to make things easier (and possibly save a cheap/old monitor from going bad if it doesn't have any proper protections.) That said, even most cheap CRT monitors tend to have protection again over-scanning. But constantly getting an "out of range" error can get annoying after a while.

On the topic of refresh rates... I always try to run my CRTs @ 85 Hz. I'll drop the resolution if I have to, just to keep the refresh rate at 85 Hz. Sure I can tolerate 75 Hz and even 72, but the flicker is noticeable and does cause a little more strain on my eyes. At 85 Hz, I can be using my monitors all day and not have any issues at all.

Also, for games that can keep up their FPS above the refresh rate of the monitor, I find that 60 Hz looks quite smooth, but still not 100% seamless, regardless if I have v-sync on or off. At 75 Hz, things look better. And at 85 Hz with full v-sync... on a CRT... games are smooth like molten butter. I'd say probably equivalent to an LCD @ 120 Hz. And even without v-sync, things still look good on a CRT without tearing, unlike on LCDs. Hence why I still game on my CRTs. As bonus, I also don't need to use anti-aliasing, since CRTs naturally have non-square pixels and thus smooth "pixel" edges.

Last edited by momaka; 12-18-2019 at 06:39 PM..
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Old 06-16-2020, 07:23 AM   #5
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Default Re: How To Stop CRT Flicker

It's 2020. How many people still use CRTs?

I still have two CRT monitors, one is hooked up to my RAID backup machine though the machine is kind of broken right now. Nevertheless the occasional time I need to look at the machine, it's its monitor...
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Old 06-16-2020, 09:11 AM   #6
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Default Re: How To Stop CRT Flicker

*Raises hand proudly*
Yes, I still use CRTs.
Almost exclusively, actually.
My LCDs are only for testing or if I need to put up a temporary PC setup somewhere.

Here is an old picture I put on badcaps showing my setup some 5 years ago or so.
https://www.badcaps.net/forum/attach...0&d=1499215509

I've changed/swapped out some of the CRTs on my desk for others, as did a few PCs. (Also de-cluttered in some areas, but made more clutter in others, especially lately after my last job, where I kept bringing in stuff from the dumpster/trash.) But it's still an accurate representation of my setup more or less.
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Old 06-17-2020, 07:45 AM   #7
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Default Re: How To Stop CRT Flicker

Quote:
Originally Posted by momaka View Post
*Raises hand proudly*
Yes, I still use CRTs.
Almost exclusively, actually.
My LCDs are only for testing or if I need to put up a temporary PC setup somewhere.

Here is an old picture I put on badcaps showing my setup some 5 years ago or so.
https://www.badcaps.net/forum/attach...0&d=1499215509

I've changed/swapped out some of the CRTs on my desk for others, as did a few PCs. (Also de-cluttered in some areas, but made more clutter in others, especially lately after my last job, where I kept bringing in stuff from the dumpster/trash.) But it's still an accurate representation of my setup more or less.
do you game?
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Old 06-17-2020, 10:10 AM   #8
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Default Re: How To Stop CRT Flicker

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uranium-235 View Post
do you game?
I do.

Mostly Fortnite nowadays, but occasionally CS Source / CS GO and Dirt Rally as well.
CSS and CSGO look great on these monitors: 1280x960 @ 85 Hz is probably about as smooth as 120/144 Hz on an LCD, since CRTs don't show tearing and have virtually zero image response time. As for Fortnite, I'm currently playing it on a i5-2500 with an HD6850 video card, because now that it's summer and getting hotter, I've mothballed my power-hungry hardware. Thus, I don't get really good framerates (and especially frametimes) in Fortnite. Actually, I'm running the game capped @ 60 Hz to get more stable FPS (and lower GPU/CPU power consumption). 3D resolution is set 66% scale on 1152x864... so that's a lot lower than 720p , though still higher than 480p. You might think such low resolutions look like crap... and on an LCD, indeed they do. But on those CRTs above, the game actually looks quite smooth and not pixely at all. If all I had was LCD monitors, I probably wouldn't play Fortnite at all - not at a low resolution like that. I tried it, though, and almost got a headache.

Last edited by momaka; 06-17-2020 at 10:15 AM..
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Old 06-17-2020, 03:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: How To Stop CRT Flicker

I still have a 19" shadowmask and a 20" trinitron. However no, I just use the LCDs, no warmup time and don't get as warm...

The 20" trinitron can do 2048x1536 @60 (and the 19" shadowmask can even do [email protected]) so technically it has higher resolution than my LCDs, alas it's not enough of a benefit for me to prefer it over LCDs. I just run my LCDs at native 1280x1024.
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Old 06-25-2020, 05:15 PM   #10
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Default Re: How To Stop CRT Flicker

Quote:
Originally Posted by eccerr0r View Post
The 20" trinitron can do 2048x1536 @60 (and the 19" shadowmask can even do [email protected]) so technically it has higher resolution than my LCDs, alas it's not enough of a benefit for me to prefer it over LCDs.
*sigh* Here we go again, falling into discussion about resolutions, as if it's the late 2000's and "HD" video all over again.

The high resolution of CRTs (even compared to early LCDs) was never their stronghold. It's the deep black colors (in a dark room, of course) and higher refresh rate without input lag and pixel lag that made them better for video editing and gaming (i.e. any kind of moving image.) Some will even claim CRTs were better for photo editing, but I'm a bit split on that one, because all CRTs tend to have a bit of tinting after they age for a while (which may or may not be easily corrected), and this is most visible on a grayscale palletes.

When it comes to doing office work / viewing of static images, I too would take an LCD. They take less space, always visible in dark or light rooms, and run cooler / use less energy.

Last edited by momaka; 06-25-2020 at 05:16 PM..
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Old 07-26-2020, 10:26 AM   #11
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Default Re: How To Stop CRT Flicker

Quote:
Originally Posted by eccerr0r View Post
I still have a 19" shadowmask and a 20" trinitron. However no, I just use the LCDs, no warmup time and don't get as warm...

The 20" trinitron can do 2048x1536 @60 (and the 19" shadowmask can even do [email protected]) so technically it has higher resolution than my LCDs, alas it's not enough of a benefit for me to prefer it over LCDs. I just run my LCDs at native 1280x1024.
crt doesn't even have the proper, discrete pixels, inspect it under magnifying glass. so text sharpness will always be lower than lcd.
but colors and hiding (for example) video/image compression artefacts....lcd will never be able to match it.
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Old 11-04-2020, 01:23 PM   #12
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Default Re: How To Stop CRT Flicker

I still have a Phillips 107P4 that can do 1920x1200, though lately I've been hearing something rattling inside it, although it's never been opened.

I might check if it still works, as I'm probably going to be looking for a place of my own in the next few years, and would love to have a double PC table - one for my i5-3470 "BMW" machine (hey, I didn't tune it up for nothing! Just the GPU and PSU need replacing as they're pretty old - PSU is a 500W FSP Bluestorm II from frickin' 2007 (I think) and the GPU is a GTX650 non-Ti 1GB.) and the other for a Pentium 3 650MHz+ Voodoo3 machine.
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Old 11-06-2020, 05:25 PM   #13
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Default Re: How To Stop CRT Flicker

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan81 View Post
I still have a Phillips 107P4 that can do 1920x1200, though lately I've been hearing something rattling inside it, although it's never been opened.
Is that one related or similar to the 107S? If so, I'd be surprised if it still works. From what I've seen on the net, the 107S was very problematic. Not sure how the 107P4 compares, though.

Also, going by the model number... that 107P4 is a 17" CRT. (??) Whatever the case, even if it's a 21", 1920x1200 is 16:10 widescreen and will look like total shit... not to mention you won't be able to get a good refresh rate. (Heck, I'd be surprised to see the monitor even display anything at that resolution and not throw an "out-of-sync" error.)

That said, I still don't understand why people go for the highest resolution on a CRT. You get much smoother and crisp picture on lower resolution (but not too low, obviously) and a high refresh rate. For a 17", 1280x960 is max you should ever push. I have not seen a cheap 17" look good on anything beyond that.

Quote:
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... as I'm probably going to be looking for a place of my own in the next few years, and would love to have a double PC table
Nice!

Yeah, man! Get a large enough place... or at least a place with a big enough "computer room" to put all your cool rigs on one desk to show them off. I actually did something kind of like that at my second place while in college. Instead of using the living room as a living room, I made myself a large desk from common building materials so that it could hold 3 CRTs and still have space in front of the monitors to use as a desk. It wasn't very pretty, but function-wise it rocked! I think I might have even posted a picture of it here somewhere a long time ago.

Last edited by momaka; 11-06-2020 at 05:33 PM..
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Old 11-07-2020, 09:48 AM   #14
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Default Re: How To Stop CRT Flicker

Quote:
Originally Posted by momaka View Post
Is that one related or similar to the 107S? If so, I'd be surprised if it still works. From what I've seen on the net, the 107S was very problematic. Not sure how the 107P4 compares, though.

Also, going by the model number... that 107P4 is a 17" CRT. (??) Whatever the case, even if it's a 21", 1920x1200 is 16:10 widescreen and will look like total shit... not to mention you won't be able to get a good refresh rate. (Heck, I'd be surprised to see the monitor even display anything at that resolution and not throw an "out-of-sync" error.)

That said, I still don't understand why people go for the highest resolution on a CRT. You get much smoother and crisp picture on lower resolution (but not too low, obviously) and a high refresh rate. For a 17", 1280x960 is max you should ever push. I have not seen a cheap 17" look good on anything beyond that.

Ironically that 1920x1200 is its native resolution, according to Windows (and I think Linux too, but not sure). The P models were usually good, and this seems to be no exception. I was looking at a Medion branded 19" CRT at one point but figured that thing might break the table lol. BTW I just looked up the 107S, and mine isn't curved, instead it's a Trinitron-styled flat tube. (called Diamondtron I think?)

As for viewable and crisp resolution, the easiest to view would be 1280x1024 last time I checked it and viewable (although not very crisp) is 1440x1050. Very few resolutions are out of range.

Same couldn't be said about the AOC 15" it lived along until I got it. My dad used that thing with a Phenom X4 for a few years until it finally gave the ghost. I also squeezed a few NFS Hot Pursuit 2013 sessions on it and surprisingly the slightly blurred image (which wouldn't go away no matter how much I'd fiddle with the sharpness settings or anything for that matter) actually made for a amazing gaming experience on that machine. IIRC the GPU was a HD6850 if my memory serves me right (a Sapphire I can tell for sure since I found and took home one of the case stickers ) and the PSU was a 500W Sirtec/Sirfa built High Power unit. Case was some semi- cheapo Intertech case, mobo was a ASRock 870 Extreme3 R2.0 w/ 4GB of DDR3, and the HDD was some Samsung 320GB HDD stupidly divided in 3 (yes, THREE) partitions.


EDIT: My bad, the native resolution isn't 1920x1200, it's actually 1920x1440.

Last edited by Dan81; 11-07-2020 at 09:55 AM..
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Old 11-07-2020, 08:37 PM   #15
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Default Re: How To Stop CRT Flicker

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan81 View Post
EDIT: My bad, the native resolution isn't 1920x1200, it's actually 1920x1440.
Lol.

Just because the tube can accept xx by yy as the highest resolution doesn't mean that this resolution will look the sharpest or should be considered as "native".

In fact, you do know that CRTs don't actually have a "native" resolution, right?

This is because CRT screens don't have discrete individual pixels, unlike LCDs. You get either dot triads (shadow mask) or vertical aperture grill lines (Trinitron & Diamontron) on the screen. The CRT tube electronics then try to "map" something that resembles a square pixel with three round (more-or-less) beams of electrons on a screen of phosphors. So nothing fits exactly 1:1 and it can never be. That's why CRTs can never look as sharp as LCDs or have a native resolution. Instead, at best, you may have an "optimal" resolution, where the size of the pixels of that resolution probably get very close in size to the dot pitch of the phosphors on the screen, and somehow that produces an image that looks very crisp. Any resolution higher than that can still be displayed, but the image will actually start looking "softer" (i.e. more blurry.) And anything under the optimal resolution, and you're not utilizing the dot-pitch to it's highest potential resolution, but these lower resolutions will then generally only look sharper. This is why CRTs don't have the scaling issues that LCDs do at lower resolutions. And it also allows you to get SCANLINES.

That aside, I have seen a good number of different 17" CRTs in various IT jobs/internships, and I have NEVER seen one that actually looked crisp at anything beyond 1280x960. I'm skeptical even 1440x1050 can look sharp, given that 17" screens were pretty much the "low-end" of CRTs in the late 90's and early 2000's, and thus rarely had the best dot/pixel-pitch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan81 View Post
Ironically that 1920x1200 is its native resolution, according to Windows (and I think Linux too, but not sure).
Never leave Windows to pick your resolution and refresh rate on a CRT. Especially if you're on Windows 7 and newer, since they were designed with LCD technology in mind and will try to push the highest resolution possible. For most "regular" 17"ers, that would be 1280x1024 - which is the incorrect ratio for square CRTs!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan81 View Post
As for viewable and crisp resolution, the easiest to view would be 1280x1024...
That's a 5:4 resolution. You'll get distorted image. All PC CRTs are 4:3... unless we're talking about the Sony GDM-FW900 and GDM-W900 here, both being -the only- 16:10 PC CRT monitors ever made.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan81 View Post
Same couldn't be said about the AOC 15" it lived along until I got it. My dad used that thing with a Phenom X4 for a few years until it finally gave the ghost. I also squeezed a few NFS Hot Pursuit 2013 sessions on it and surprisingly the slightly blurred image (which wouldn't go away no matter how much I'd fiddle with the sharpness settings or anything for that matter) actually made for a amazing gaming experience on that machine.
Indeed it probably did.

Though if you're trying to make a CRT look sharper and you've already fiddled with everything you can in the menu to no avail, then the next step is to play with the Focus knob on the flyback... though that may or may not get you better results either, depending on what's making the CRT not have optimal focus.

That said, the "soft" sharpness of CRT monitors does make them look better in games - no need for Anti-Aliasing either (or very minimal at most.) Phosphor glow "trails" also give the picture a natural motion blur, similar to what your eyes see anyways. And that also takes care of screen tearing, so you don't need V-sync on.

On that last one, try putting a CRT and an LCD next to each other, and then have them display from the same PC. Now play a video on YT and see if you see any difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan81 View Post
and the PSU was a 500W Sirtec/Sirfa built High Power unit.
And it survived powering an Athlon X4 and HD6850??
That's surprising. Maybe they fixed the design on that one. All older Sirtec units I've dealt with tend to oscillate a bit (or a bit more than a bit ) with a heavy 12V load.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan81 View Post
and the HDD was some Samsung 320GB HDD stupidly divided in 3 (yes, THREE) partitions.
That's nothing. I have a 2.5" 320 GB Toshiba HDD divided into 5 (FIVE) partitions! Reason: two of the partitions contain all bad sectors. So to isolate them, I had to partition the HDD like that. But hey, it works!

Last edited by momaka; 11-07-2020 at 08:46 PM..
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Old 11-08-2020, 06:37 AM   #16
Dan81
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Default Re: How To Stop CRT Flicker

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Originally Posted by momaka View Post

And it survived powering an Athlon X4 and HD6850??
That's surprising. Maybe they fixed the design on that one. All older Sirtec units I've dealt with tend to oscillate a bit (or a bit more than a bit ) with a heavy 12V load.
I think it was a HPC-500-A12S? I remember I had to bench-test a P4 machine once while I was at his place and I definitely remember seeing a thee-digit display on the back of the PSU. The load wasn't that really heavy either - about 3 case fans (2x 140mm on the sidepanel, low RPM, and a 92mm on the back), the HD6850 and of course the CPU. (small correction in my original post as I now remembered - it wasn't a Athlon X4 - it was a Phenom X4 960T.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by momaka View Post
That's nothing. I have a 2.5" 320 GB Toshiba HDD divided into 5 (FIVE) partitions! Reason: two of the partitions contain all bad sectors. So to isolate them, I had to partition the HDD like that. But hey, it works!
I'd understand that partitioning to isolate bad sectors. But the issue here was the HDD was in good shape (HD Sentinel reported 99% health) and also all three partitions were actually nearly filled up.
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Old 11-13-2020, 04:48 AM   #17
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Default Re: How To Stop CRT Flicker

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Originally Posted by momaka View Post

That's nothing. I have a 2.5" 320 GB Toshiba HDD divided into 5 (FIVE) partitions! Reason: two of the partitions contain all bad sectors. So to isolate them, I had to partition the HDD like that. But hey, it works!
Toshiba HDD 2.5 inch Sata

taken from a dead Lenovo Laptop

Bad blocks would reappear with HDD Regenerator and were hundreds of them

Isolated the area with the bad blocks and created partitions before and after this area (see attachment)

disk works for more than 5 years with that setup without any issues.

Smart disk data related to bad blocks haven't changed since then
(see second attachment)
Attached Images
File Type: png Toshiba HDD.png (108.2 KB, 10 views)
File Type: png HD tune screenshot.png (115.8 KB, 8 views)
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