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Old 23rd Dec 2013, 6:23 PM DefaultNew graphics card - fullscreen makes letters appear blurry/jagged #1
topp
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Hello everyone.

So, I've managed to get my dedicated graphics card working on my laptop (more about how I did it here). However, strange oddities have appeared in my Sims games (currently the only 3D/demanding games I have installed on this machine).

The best I can describe my situation is with pictures. [2017 DJ says: pb fucked it up. no pics anymore!] So, this is a picture of how my Sims game looks like with all graphics settings set to high; smooth edges on, shaders and bumpmapping on, and in windowed mode:

[removed pic]

And here's the same situation in fullscreen mode:

[removed pic]

(To see better, right-click and select View Image or Open Image.)

As you may or may not see, the letters in the fullscreen mode are jagged and somewhat blurred. It's really hard to read with letters looking like that. Though, everything else (gameplay, objects, textures, Sims, water...) looks the same in both windowed and fullscreen mode.

I've made sure that the game's using proper graphics card during both tests (w/FC), but it's always AMD, as expected. My laptop is not heating up, all the temperatures are within normal.

Why does this situation occur? I've just remembered that I haven't checked whether my card (AMD Radeon HD 7450M) is on the SGR list or not. But I'd need you to tell me whether adding the card to the SGR list is needed at all before I do it (kind of short on time).

I haven't tested it out with The Sims 3 yet. I'll do that soon and report back. For TS3 it's even worse - the letters appear blurry on fullscreen, while in windowed mode each letter has its own thickness and letters i and j are displayed as I and J (w/o .) ... horrible. Below is a screenshot of windowed mode:

[removed pic]

Bear in mind that I've played both TS2 and TS3 on Intel's graphics, and in every aspect Intel's graphics are far better than dedicated (exeptions are smooth edges and shaders, but I could've lived without those).

Thanks for any suggestions, guys!

DJ. who?
"What do you have to be nervous about? You're someone on the internet." -A.M.R.
Last edited by DJ. : 19th Jul 2017 at 6:52 PM. Reason: removed pb links
Old 23rd Dec 2013, 6:44 PM #2
Nysha
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Is 1366x768 your native resolution?

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Old 23rd Dec 2013, 6:56 PM #3
topp
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Yes. (I'm running on a laptop screen.)

I've also tried calibrating/switching ClearType, but nothing.

DJ. who?
"What do you have to be nervous about? You're someone on the internet." -A.M.R.
Old 25th Dec 2013, 9:34 AM #4
ajaxsirius
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can you post your dxdiag report please?
Old 25th Dec 2013, 10:17 AM #5
topp
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Here it is:


DJ. who?
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Old 25th Dec 2013, 10:56 AM #6
ellacharmed
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Dude! Driver Date/Size: 8/17/2011

What Catalyst version is this? Currently, latest is at 13.12, I believe.
HP does not offer new driver updates for this laptop model? What is the full model series number of this laptop? HP Pavilion g6-xxxxxx ? And I'll see if I can help search for it.
Or, you can try from AMD directly http://support.amd.com/en-us/downlo...ws%207%20-%2064 But the laptop's BIOS may be blocking it, still try and see...

Have you attempted a DirectX update, as well?
Old 25th Dec 2013, 8:57 PM #7
topp
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Dayum! It never occurred to me to update the drivers! In fact, I only installed my drivers when I got the laptop, and left them as is. Is it too bad that I did this?

I can't seem to find Catalyst version anywhere within the manager itself (the only line I found was "Catalyst Control Center Version -> 2011.0817.2216.38121", but the numbers clearly are not in any way connected logically to the newest version number). EDIT: I managed to run Add/Remove Programs Windows feature, and there it says 3.0.847. Boy.

I don't think HP offers anything to me. I bought this laptop, went to the HP site and downloaded the drivers they offered for my laptop model. I once opened a thread on the official HP forum asking for help with switchable graphics. For a year and a half, I've still got no answers. So yeah - HP doesn't bring any sort of email, nothing - to end users to update their drivers. And I don't think the current Catalyst version thing has any sort of automatic update option.

My full laptop model name is HP Pavilion G6-1304SM.

I'll download AMD's Driver Verification tool and see what it says. But if my laptop's BIOS is blocking it, I'm not that sure I'll be able to fix that (I mean, I do have full control over my laptop, but I'm afraid with this level of knowledge, I'll lead to more harm than good). But if strictly necessary, I'll do it.

As for the DirectX - that's the program I used to bring this report? Dxdiag? Well in that case, under "System Info" it says "DirectX version: DirectX 11", and just above the next page buttons, it says "DxDiag 6.01.7601.17514 64-bit; copyright 1998-2006".

... guess what I'll be doing for the next upcoming week. Cuz these ain't the only drivers I have.

ETA:

Okie-dokie, as soon as I ran the software you linked me to, I get this message.



I'm seriously laughing my ass off right now, the software is so old even the manager can't recognize how old the driver version is. I could be laughing for nothing, because I have no freaking idea what am I doing. Please help me.

DJ. who?
"What do you have to be nervous about? You're someone on the internet." -A.M.R.
Old 26th Dec 2013, 4:06 AM #8
ajaxsirius
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Try this: Go to Control Panel -> Display -> Adjust Resolution -> Advanced settings -> Monitor

under the "Monitor Settings" section, check that the "Screen refresh rate" is set to "60 Hertz". If it's not, set it to that and apply, then see if that helps.
Old 26th Dec 2013, 6:49 AM #9
eradicate
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Odds are you need the Catalyst Control Center installed and need to enable GPU scaling or something similar. Had a very similar issue with a desktop amd and it was the scaling. Problem is that the drivers themselves won't even help, you HAVE to have correct driver version with correct control center or the options don't work. Try this link...

http://support.amd.com/en-us/downlo...=Windows+7+-+64

I don't see any separate link for laptops so I guess it uses the same software for both. Once this is installed try adjusting the video settings in the CCC itself.
Old 26th Dec 2013, 11:46 AM #10
ellacharmed
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My Google-fu tells me what you have is "CATALYST 11.08 8.881-110728a-122939C-ATI 8.17.10.1091". And the version of "8.882" that you have, is because as expected HP do some edits to fit their laptop's hardware design and their version for AMD-Intel switchability.

I guess it all depends on how much effort you want to invest into correcting this annoyance, or live with it, especially if all our suggestions don't work. That's what we have to settle with as all these Laptop OEMs treat their hardware as a buy-n-throw sorta item. Because their aim is to move more products. If we really want to prolong the lifetime of laptops, we need to rely on the modding community.

What I'm getting at is that the most permanent solution is not supported by HP, and would void your warranty. So, if the warranty is over, then it is up to you how much you want to mess with files and such. Because, getting the most current drivers is still not guaranteed to work, if the drivers introduced new issues (for the new GPUs released +Win8.1, that trickle down to older hardware on Win7). And then you have to rollback and try older driver versions until you don't get crashes or the issue is solved.

First, if you haven't already done so, try ajaxsirius's suggestion of adjusting the Refresh rate.

Secondly, the HP-approved method, if above don't work:
- HP's FAQ on display issues http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/...product=5225745
- get the current BIOS offered (2013-02-28 , Version F.66) Some OEMs removed the "official AMD Mobility by AMD" block with new BIOS updates. Then try the official driver from AMD again. Be sure to check driver version, not just Catalyst version. As Catalyst software is not Driver software. Catalyst is to Origin as the drivers is to Sims, i,e. it is the delivery system, not the actual program we want.
- get the current GPU drivers offered (2011-10-24 , Version 8.882.2.0)
Your HP Pavillion's product page is http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/...product=5225745 Click on the Drivers link, and when you select the OS, (if not pre-selected), there should be lists of drivers separated by categories.

Last but not least, if above also don't work...But, before I get to the modding community's solution, some background information you need to know, if you don't already:
- http://forum.notebookreview.com/hp-...ll-laptops.html
- http://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Notebo...th/td-p/3072351

So, if you missed it in the above links, the site where you can download the modded AMD Mobility driver is at http://leshcatlabs.net/ Be sure to read any and all instructions carefully.

Regarding DirectX: Sims 2 is a Dx9 game. Dx11 is supposedly backwards compatible, in the sense it would contain all files needed for a Dx9 game, but as always when has M$FT stuff been that 100% reliable when delivered via Windows Updates? So, if graphics glitches occur, best solution is to manually download and install the item that the game is looking for.

And DxDiag =/= DirectX.

Was it established if this is a Sim issue or a laptop GPU issue? Do you see this weird resolution issue only on Sims 2? Or also when watching HD movies, or anything that runs fullscreen?
Because if based purely on the 7450M specs, this is not a great GPU for Sims, yes even an older dinosaur like Sims 2, because it has 64bit bus width (vs recommended's 128mb). And going by the SysReq page, the desktop 54xx series is not looking so good (has lots of Yellows), which is what this model's architecture is based on.
http://www.notebookcheck.net/AMD-Ra...0M.57211.0.html
Last edited by ellacharmed : 26th Dec 2013 at 12:22 PM.
Old 26th Dec 2013, 1:59 PM #11
topp
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Thank you guys so much for all the replies! Alright, so first off, ajaxsirius. I tried going to where you told me, but the only option I have from the dropdown menu is 60Hz. And the "Hide the modes this monitor can't display" checkbox is greyed out... maybe because my monitor can only display 60Hz?



Eradicate - what Ella linked me to was "AMD Catalyst™ Notebook Display Driver", yet there was only to find a driver verification tool, while the site you linked me to is "AMD Catalyst™ Display Driver", and there is to find Catalyst Software Suite, with the GPU driver, OpenCL driver and the control center (which I guess all of them are the newest). I'm confused, not strictly related to this problem - why does on AMD Mobile it offer only the verification tool, while on the desktop it offers the entire update bundle? Also, the notebook-desktop sites both host 7450M drivers, or does the desktop site host 7450 drivers?

(To elaborate, does the desktop site you linked me to have links for 7450M GPU?)

And now - Ella. I will try putting as much effort as possible, I guess. But, my warranty will become void in around two years, so I would try not to install any unofficial drivers or modifications on my laptop. But I didn't really find clear what you were saying about modifying driver's files. Were you saying in order to get latest drivers working (because they might have compatibility issues because of newer Windows 8/.1), I'd need to modify the files, which may void my warranty? Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Also, I visited the HP FAQ site you linked me to and read the first FAQ - "Image on screen, fuzzy text etc." One of the suggestions was to let Windows update the graphics drivers - and somewhere (I believe on these forums) I read that one should never let Windows update the drivers. (But I'm guessing eradicate linked me to the drivers I should download.)

Next, how do I find the newest BIOS? Is the 2013-02-28 F.66 for my laptop only, or is it universal (applies to every computer)? Also, thank you for clarifying driver-catalyst difference.

As for the laptop site you linked me to (where all my laptop's drivers are) - that's the place from where I installed the drivers I currently have. I don't think HP updates that page anymore.

I've heard of leshcatlabs; my friend once recommended it to me when I asked him for the switchable graphics problem. But I simply couldn't find my way around the site, so I passed. But you said there are modded drivers - so I won't install that until it's proven that I can't fix it with official drivers.

M$FT is...? Sorry, when I Google it, I only get meters to feet conversions. But I'm guessing it's Microsoft, in which case yes - Windows updates are something I've been stressing about for quite a long time now. The most recent patch tuesday made me have to boot into safe mode and revert back the updates, since the Configuring Windows screen couldn't get pass 12 %. Anyway, you're suggesting that I should re-download Dx11? (Or Dx9? The "item that the game is looking for" part confused me, sorry.)

I think I get it now, DxDiag is a report on the entire system as far as I can tell, while DirectX is what game uses to run. Don't try to correct me, that's just the way I understand stuff, and I don't think I could understand them any way different.

As for whether this is a GPU or Sim issue - well, I haven't tried watching DVD or something, but I will try right now and tell you whether it's working or not.

I knew that 7450M isn't that of a great GPU but still - with INTEL'S CRAPPY GPU I didn't have ANY problems I have with this card. The only exception is that I played Sims without smooth edges. The game ran fine, but I deleted it after a month of smooth play in fear it would ruin my motherboard. (I actually ran the game with Intel's card right now - and nothing's changed. The game's completely fine in fullscreen, runs smoothly on all high settings, without anti aliasing.)

DJ. who?
"What do you have to be nervous about? You're someone on the internet." -A.M.R.
Old 26th Dec 2013, 2:34 PM #12
Nysha
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I've also been battling with the fact that my laptop manufacturer (Sony) has put a block on the latest AMD updates. Essentially, you can force the laptop to install the latest Catalyst and drivers, following the instructions that ella linked to - but if you do so and some problem results, such as your dedicated card totally ceasing to work, HP won't repair the laptop because you'll have voided the warranty by forcing the newer drivers to install. Of course, with switchable graphics, that would probably be something you could easily fix yourself - but it still has consequences for your warranty.

This whole thread is frustratingly backwards. I have had the same problem in TS3 on my desktop, but only when running in windowed mode - I was running windowed at my native resolution, and even with my taskbar hidden, the few pixels that were taken up by the window frame caused TS3 to scale down the whole thing just enough to make the text all jagged and illegible; in the end I just started using windowed mode with the next lowest resolution setting. This looks like exactly the same thing, except that it's happening in fullscreen mode and not in windowed mode... which just doesn't make sense. :/

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Old 26th Dec 2013, 2:53 PM #13
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Does changing your resolution to 1360x766 help? How about changing "smooth edges" to less?
Old 26th Dec 2013, 3:36 PM #14
topp
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Nysha - ikr But in my TS3, everything's wrong, both windowed and fullscreen mode. And it hasn't been like that when I was running Intel's card.

Ajaxsirius - nothing changes. I've tried making all settings to off/low, antialiasing to off, changing the resolution to less (I've tried every one of the available resolutions), toggling square pixels (even though I don't know what that means/does)... nothing. The letters are still perfectly normal in windowed mode, and ruined/hard to read in fullscreen mode.

Another thing; eradicate - I've tried running the installer you linked me to, and I got this:



It says it will install Catalyst. However, ella said it's my drivers that need updating. Should I proceed with the installation anyway?

DJ. who?
"What do you have to be nervous about? You're someone on the internet." -A.M.R.
Old 26th Dec 2013, 4:16 PM #15
ellacharmed
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DJ, did you read that notebookreview.com thread I linked to? That was my attempt to let you know the method that OP of that thread and what eradicate proposed (by linking to AMD's Catalyst for Desktop) is also not an acceptable solution for a laptop with switchable graphics, just like the poster in post#2 explained and in their subsequent discussion. Using a Desktop version in a laptop essentially removes the AMD-Intel switchability.

When you changed resolutions in Sims 2, did you Quit and restart? Is that something that both Sims games needed? I know Sims 3 popped-up with a warning about needing to restart when I tweaked Graphical options.

You don't need to modify any files. The modders from that leshcatlabs.net site already did it for us.
You can try starting from the current version (http://leshcatlabs.net/2013/12/20/l...-12-whql-unifl/ ), and hopefully that'd work. Read the associated forum threads for any issues reported by users or to see if there are major breakdowns and complaints. If that version does not work, uninstall and get the next older one to try... but if you don't want to void the warranty, it is perfectly understandable. Just have to live with the annoyance for the next while and play in windowed.

I used a modded one for my old Toshiba laptop back in 2006-2008 (laptop was purchased in 2004). IIRC, I had this same issue even back then. Albeit from a different AMD mod-site back then, and it does work with no adverse effects. Well, nothing that I knew to correct myself, anyway. I had to tweak it to add my GPU submodel myself. The modded version is essentially to remove the block, by adding any laptop GPU model by any vendor, not just those on the approved list (very much like editing the sgr files for Sims: add newer model numbers in the file, because otherwise the game/system has no idea of its existence).

Your current BIOS version is F.63, the HP page for your laptop has it at F.66.
Quote:
BIOS: InsydeH2O Version 03.61.01F.63
Old 27th Dec 2013, 12:34 AM #16
topp
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Alright - so it's half past 1 in the morning right now... I'll probably be more awake first thing in the morning.

After you ephasised it; yes, I've read it. But I didn't really understand it... so basically, if I want to have my warranty still valid, I'm stuck with my GPU drivers on current version? Because laptop vendors modify the drivers, therefore leaving us stuck with their stock drivers?

And also, if installing the newest AMD driver is going to disable GPU switching - I'm definitely out. The AMD GPU makes my laptop die within 1 hour of unplugging it with full battery and doing almost nothing (while Intel's has my laptop running for around 4 hours, even with extensive Internet browsing). It also makes it heat a little bit more... though it could be just my imagination.

So, did I understand you correctly? By installing the newest drivers, my warranty will have become void and there's also a chance of not being able to switch between GPUs?

DJ. who?
"What do you have to be nervous about? You're someone on the internet." -A.M.R.
Old 27th Dec 2013, 8:37 AM #17
eradicate
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ.
Alright - so it's half past 1 in the morning right now... I'll probably be more awake first thing in the morning.

After you ephasised it; yes, I've read it. But I didn't really understand it... so basically, if I want to have my warranty still valid, I'm stuck with my GPU drivers on current version? Because laptop vendors modify the drivers, therefore leaving us stuck with their stock drivers?

And also, if installing the newest AMD driver is going to disable GPU switching - I'm definitely out. The AMD GPU makes my laptop die within 1 hour of unplugging it with full battery and doing almost nothing (while Intel's has my laptop running for around 4 hours, even with extensive Internet browsing). It also makes it heat a little bit more... though it could be just my imagination.

So, did I understand you correctly? By installing the newest drivers, my warranty will have become void and there's also a chance of not being able to switch between GPUs?



Eesh, I think we have a case of too many cooks here. That picture you posted me looked correct so if it allows the install then do it.

As for installing drivers voiding a warranty, simple answer is no. Drivers are software installations, warranties are strictly hardware. Well even that is oversimplification but it'll do for this discussion. If it allows install of the CCC do it. The main confusion is that the driver can be installed without CCC separately but the CCC cannot be installed without drivers. The CCC packages drivers while the drivers themselves can be installed via windows update or device manager etc. However, just installing the driver leaves you with issues similar to what you are experiencing now as AMD packages some of the HD settings in CCC only. *Exhale*

Short answer, install the CCC if it will let you, worst case you could always do a system restore and it'll be like it never happened. Once it's on there the adjustments you need will be in the CCC application.
Old 27th Dec 2013, 11:11 AM #18
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I think we have a case of too much obfuscation, actually .

You have three options:
  1. Do nothing, give up.
  2. Install the desktop version of Catalyst that eradicate linked to. This will disable your switchable graphics.
  3. Install an updated laptop version of Catalyst following ella's instructions. This will not disable your switchable graphics but will impact your warranty.

ETA: I apologise for accidentally hiding your reply for being unhelpful. Fat fingers .

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Old 27th Dec 2013, 11:12 AM #19
topp
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Does that mean that if I install CCC (the package you linked me to) will install the latest drivers AND the accompanying CCC?

I'm really sorry, I know you're probably throwing your keyboard at the screen (and virtually at my face), but I'm just lost in all this...


Nysha - thank you, allelujah. It's just these CCC-drivers things that I got lost in and .... bwaaah.

So, if I install the desktop version of Catalyst, I'll disable switchable graphics. But is there any way to reverse that? (ie System Restore?)

DJ. who?
"What do you have to be nervous about? You're someone on the internet." -A.M.R.
Old 27th Dec 2013, 11:23 AM #20
Nysha
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Yes, but reversing that would mean uninstalling Catalyst and the accompanying drivers, so you'd be back to having jagged text again.

The drivers are the software which actually tells Windows how to run your graphics card. Catalyst or CCC (Catalyst Control Centre) is the software which you use to change settings for the drivers; hopefully some of the settings will be useful in fixing your text issue. Unfortunately, even relatively recent old versions of Catalyst have all of about three options, none of which are useful - hence the need to update it somehow.

What I lack in decorum, I make up for with an absence of tact.
Old 27th Dec 2013, 11:52 AM #21
topp
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Ok... I'll first try with eradicate's drivers. If they work, and jagged text is gone, I'll still have to think about keeping those or not. ynk if I get pissed off because I can't run my laptop on battery for longer than an hour.

And what's worst case scenario with installing leshcatlabs (not talking about warranty, but eventual damage that may occur)?

DJ. who?
"What do you have to be nervous about? You're someone on the internet." -A.M.R.
Old 29th Dec 2013, 3:56 PM #22
ellacharmed
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HP may not care, or their Tier #1 Tech Support may not accept a call from you and deemed it as a "warranty voided" case and close the ticket and bump up their closure metrics for the month. I don't know how the Tech person would respond, and the thing is, the warning is given for full disclosure. Also, what's to say you need to mention it, at all. Not say lie, because these things can be verified after all, just don't volunteer information if not asked; but then again if you really do need to send the hardware in for repairs, what's to prevent you from uninstalling the modded driver and reinstall the HP-approved one?

However, we may be all suffering from "can't see the forest for the trees" syndrome. I may have kicked it off with my Drivers comment, sorry. As it is a knee-jerk response - graphical glitches, check graphical drivers. So, see if drivers is indeed the cause, by trying the suggestion here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/patricka/ar...ipped-text.aspx If that works, it is not drivers, after all.
Unless of course, you have installed and updated it...
Old 29th Dec 2013, 5:27 PM #23
topp
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No, I haven't updated it yet, I didn't find any time. However, I'm interested in the DPI problem article.

I didn't quite understand it - do I need to download a program in order to set DPI-awareness for TS? Or do I simply switch windows from TS to control panel and scale the DPI in order to set it to best option?

Honestly, I think this option is way easier and quicker (as far as I understood) than installing drivers.

DJ. who?
"What do you have to be nervous about? You're someone on the internet." -A.M.R.
Old 30th Dec 2013, 3:49 PM #24
ellacharmed
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Opps! Sorry!
Left out the most important part, didn't I? The instructions! I saw one of the images and it popped right away...

So, you right-click on the executable that you use to start the game > Compatibility tab > and there should be an option to check-off for display scaling.
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Old 31st Dec 2013, 9:56 AM #25
topp
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Alright, so I've done that to the SimsCS executable... and it pretty much did nothing. I tried running the executable in WinXP SP2 and SP3 compatibility modes, but no avail (the only thing different was that I got a UAC ('do you want to allow simscs to modify ... ')).

Wow, I guess there's nothing else for me to do than just install the drivers, huh. (I changed my mind and decided to go with the leshcatlabs. It's better that I have both cards, because I do work a lot with my laptop unplugged.)

DJ. who?
"What do you have to be nervous about? You're someone on the internet." -A.M.R.
 


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