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Screen brightness flicker in Photoshop/Blender on a dual graphics laptop

rochaana
Beginner
1,541 Views

I've had a persistent problem now on two different laptops with dual graphics where the screen's brightness will flicker on certain applications, and it's as if the system is switching between the two graphics cards constantly when using those programs. This doesn't seem to happen while playing games, but it happens all the time when using Photoshop and Blender in particular.

Essentially what happens is: when the program is "idle" nothing happens, but when you do things like moving the canvas (on Photoshop) or moving around the camera/passing the mouse over UI elements (on Blender) the screen will flicker several times before the program is "idle" again. This doesn't happen when you use the program on a second monitor, and the flickering also does not happen on the second monitor if you use it on Duplicated mode, only on the main laptop screen. On Blender, it also goes away if you use the program on full screen mode, or (curiously enough) when you use it in windowed mode and you expand the Blender window so a little bit of the bottom is hidden behind the Windows taskbar. On Photoshop, the flickering only happens when you have a project open, and it does not go away when you go full screen.

My current laptop is an Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-53 bought just last month (and this problem has existed since then). It's running Windows 10 20H2, but I've tried updating it to 21H1 to see if the problem would go away but no such luck, so I've downgraded back to 20H2 again.

Specs:
Intel UHD Graphics (with driver 27.20.100.8280 - this is the latest one available according to Windows Update, though I've already tried newer ones from the Intel website)
Nvidia RTX 2060
Intel Core i7-10750H
Windows 10 Home 20H2

My old laptop was a Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming 7567 with an Nvidia GTX 1050Ti (also with Intel integrated graphics). I used to be able to fix this problem by installing an old version of the Intel driver (specifically the 26.20.100.8142 available on the Dell website), though Windows would repeatedly install a newer 27.x version so I'd have to constantly reinstall the old driver. However, ever since a recent Windows update (a month or two ago) I became unable to install any 26.x versions (it gives me a 'system not compatible' error), and in this new laptop I can't install any 26.x for the same reason).

In this new laptop, I've tried multiple versions of the Intel driver including the latest ones available both here on the Intel website and the ones from Acer and also through Windows Update (as well as updating the Nvidia drivers) but none of them have fixed it for me. I've also already gone to the Nvidia control panel and set those programs to use the dedicated GPU, and I've also done the same thing via Windows itself, but nothing helped. I've enabled and disabled Windows' GPU hardware acceleration and also nothing. This happens both using the battery and plugged in, and I've set my battery/energy plan to high performance.

I've seen several people complaining about this exact same issue before, but I haven't found a true solution so far so I was hoping someone here would be able to help. (I've also had issues with the Desktop Window Manager having some memory leaks a few times, though I can't tell exactly which driver version I was using then given that I've tried a few different ones). Thank you!

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13 Replies
AndrewG_Intel
Moderator
1,487 Views

Hello @rochaana

Thank you for posting on the Intel® communities.

 

We understand that the systems experiencing this behavior have an integrated Intel® Graphics Processing Unit (iGPU) and a discrete video card NVIDIA* (dGPU) and this is known as a Dual-Graphics configuration. This configuration has two main components: (1) Hardware component and (2) Operating System (OS) component. The first one is related to the design and integration by the computer/laptop manufacturer (OEM), and the second one is regarding how resources are handled and assigned to the different tasks. The fact that this doesn't occur on an external display but only on the built-in display might be pointing out that this is an issue specific to the dual-graphics integration.

 

First, let's check if the Panel Self Refresh setting is available in the Intel® Graphics Command Center for your computer. If it is, let's try to disable it:

  1. From the Windows Start Menu, search for the Intel Graphics Command Center. Double click the Intel® Graphics Command Center icon to open the application.
  2. Click System in the left navigational menu.
  3. In the Power tab, locate Panel Self Refresh and click the disable button.

If the setting is not available or if the issue persists, proceed to the next steps.

 

We understand that you have tested with different drivers. However, we would like to recommend to following steps in order to try a clean installation of the drivers:

 

1- Ensure your Microsoft* operating system is up to date

  • Open Windows Update settings (Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update).
  • Click Check for updates.
  • Once the update appears, select Download and install now.
  • Restart your device to complete the update installation process.

 

2- Perform a Clean Installation of Intel® Graphics Drivers in Windows* using the latest customized driver provided by ACER*: Intel® VGA Driver version 27.20.100.8280.

During the process, please make sure all steps are followed, including disconnecting from the Internet and making sure you get to the Microsoft Basic Display Adapter before trying to install the graphics driver.

 

3- Perform a clean installation of the NVIDIA* dGPU driver. As per Acer* website, the latest NVIDIA* GeForce RTX 2060 driver version is VGA Driver 27.21.14.5167*. We highly recommend contacting Acer* Support or checking your computer's documentation to confirm this is the recommended driver for your computer, as well as for proper information and clean installation instructions.

 

If the behavior persists, for testing purposes you may repeat step 2 and perform a clean installation using the latest Intel® generic graphics driver Version: 30.0.100.9684.

 

If the problem is still not solved, you may provide us with additional information to test this with our graphics. However, in order to set the right expectations, in case we test this, we would use only Intel® graphics since we are not able to debug third-party components/video cards and we don't handle their technical documentation/design details. For this, please provide the following information:

 

1- Exact version or build number of the apps experiencing this issue (Photoshop*/Blender*):

2-Report for Intel® Graphics Drivers following the steps on the link

3- Please fill up the Template for submitting a Graphics bug available in the link.

4- Run the Intel® System Support Utility (Intel® SSU) to gather more details about the system.

  • Download the Intel® SSU and save the application on your computer
  • Open the application, check the "Everything" checkbox, and click "Scan" to see the system and device information. The Intel® SSU defaults to the "Summary View" on the output screen following the scan. Click the menu where it says "Summary" to change to "Detailed View".
  • To save your scan, click Next and click Save.
  • Once you have saved the file (.txt file), please attach it to your reply.

To upload and attach a file, use the "Drag and drop here or browse files to attach" option below the response textbox.

 

Notes:

1 - Regarding the error message "system not compatible" when installing drivers, this may be an expected behavior depending on some scenarios, for instance, when trying to switch from a DCH driver to a non-DHC driver or vice versa, as well for other possibilities as described in these links:

 

2 - Regarding the Memory Leak with dwm.exe (Desktop Window Manager) and latest Intel® Graphics drivers, we would like to inform you that this issue has been reported under bug id #22012524606 and the recommendation is to report the issue to Microsoft Support so they can debug the issue on an operating system level.

You can also join the following Intel's Community thread and participate in the conversation with other affected users.

 

Best regards,

Andrew G.

Intel Customer Support Technician

 

AndrewG_Intel
Moderator
1,451 Views

Hello rochaana

We are checking this thread and we would like to know if you need further assistance. Were you able to review our previous post? Please do not hesitate to contact us back if you have additional inquiries.


Best regards,

Andrew G.

Intel Customer Support Technician


rochaana
Beginner
1,439 Views

Hello and thank you for replying! I haven't had the time to try out those possible solutions yet, but once I do I'll post here the results.

Thank you!

rochaana
Beginner
1,392 Views

I followed your instructions, but unfortunately I was not able to fix the issue. Here's what I checked/did:

  1. There is no Panel Self Refresh option in the Intel Graphics Command Center
  2. There are no available Window Updates aside from updating to 21H1 (which also did not help when I tried it)
  3. I did a clean installation of the Intel drivers, both the Intel® VGA Driver version 27.20.100.8280 provided by Acer, and afterwards (after reinstalling the NVIDIA ones) I tried the same thing with the 30.0.100.9684 version provided by Intel.
  4. I did a clean install of the NVIDIA drivers using the one provided by Acer.
  5. And ultimately I went back to the 27.20.100.8280 driver provided by Acer with another clean install, and this is the one I'm using now.

The flickering issue continues after completing all the steps (and also between steps, I checked after completing each one to see if it would solve the problem). I haven't had any memory leakage issues in a while though, so I'm not considering that as a part of my current problem.

I'm attaching below the requested files in hopes it'll help solve this issue. Thank you for your time!

AndrewG_Intel
Moderator
1,400 Views

Hello rochaana

Thank you for your response. Ok, no problem; we understand you may need additional time to try the steps and we will be waiting for your post with the details of the tests. For any other inquiries, please don't hesitate to contact us back.


Best regards,

Andrew G.

Intel Customer Support Technician


rochaana
Beginner
1,387 Views

[EDIT: Apparently my other reply posted the other day (I thought it didn't go through because it wasn't showing up) so ignore this, haha)

I followed your instructions, but unfortunately I was not able to fix the issue. Here's what I checked/did:

  1. There is no Panel Self Refresh option in the Intel Graphics Command Center
  2. There are no available Window Updates aside from updating to 21H1 (which also did not help when I tried it)
  3. I did a clean installation of the Intel drivers, both the Intel® VGA Driver version 27.20.100.8280 provided by Acer, and afterwards (after reinstalling the NVIDIA ones) I tried the same thing with the 30.0.100.9684 version provided by Intel.
  4. I did a clean install of the NVIDIA drivers using the one provided by Acer.
  5. And ultimately I went back to the 27.20.100.8280 driver provided by Acer with another clean install, and this is the one I'm using now.

The flickering issue continues after completing all the steps (and also between steps, I checked after completing each one to see if it would solve the problem). I haven't had any memory leakage issues in a while though, so I'm not considering that as a part of my current problem.

I'm attaching below the requested files in hopes it'll help solve this issue. Thank you for your time!

AndrewG_Intel
Moderator
1,373 Views

Hello rochaana

Thank you for your response with all these details and for the reports. Please allow us to review this further.

We will be posting back in the thread as soon as more details are available or in case further information is required from your environment.


Best regards,

Andrew G.

Intel Customer Support Technician


AndrewG_Intel
Moderator
1,326 Views

Hello rochaana

Thank you for your patience in this matter.

 

We were trying to replicate the behavior with Blender*, unfortunately, it seems the steps are not clear enough in order for us to properly test this. Could you please provide us with a video that we can use as a guide for the test with Blender* so we are sure that no steps are missing?

 

Also, we would like to inform you that we did test it with Adobe* Photoshop and the issue was not present. We recorded a video so you can verify if the steps were properly followed.

If the steps for the test with Adobe* Photoshop were not followed properly, please kindly provide us with a guide video for that app too so we can test this again.

Adobe* was tested with the drivers 30.0.100.9684 and 27.20.100.9466, and Windows* 10 Build 19043 in a PC with Intel® UHD Graphics for 10 Gen Intel® Processors.

 

Thank you in advance for all your efforts,

Best regards,

Andrew G.

Intel Customer Support Technician

 

rochaana
Beginner
1,311 Views

I'm not sure how to make the steps clearer when the issue in Blender can be seen by simply passing the mouse over UI elements, or moving around the 3D camera in the viewport! Apologies that I can't record a video right now, but it's really that simple, and the test in Photoshop seems to have been done correctly.

I'm not sure what other information I can give to help replicate the issue, other than the fact that this seems to be specifically a Dual-Graphics configuration problem in laptops (more specifically ones with Intel+NVIDIA graphics, given that I've had this happen with two separate machines from two separate manufacturers). I understand that you might be unable to test third party components, but given that this issue goes away when I disable the Intel graphics card (though then the system does not operate as it should) it appears to be the culprit in this case.

Like I said before, in my old laptop I was able to "fix" this issue by reverting back to an old driver (specifically a 26.20.100.8142 version), but after Windows automatically updated to 20H2 I became unable to do so, due to said driver being incompatible with this newer Windows version. I'm not sure how feasible this is, but it would be nice to have an older version of the Intel drivers (of around the 26.XX numeration) be compatible with these newer versions of Windows given that the problem occurred exactly after updating to a 27.XX driver.

I'm attaching an SSU report from the Dell laptop that I was able to get (where the problem still persists even after reformatting the computer) in hopes that it'll help in some way.

AndrewG_Intel
Moderator
1,289 Views

Hello rochaana

Thank you very much for your response and for the clarification.

 

Based on this information, then we can confirm that we properly tested the behavior with Blender and we would like to inform you that we didn't experience the issue that you reported, and both Blender* and Adobe* Photoshop work fine during our tests.

 

We don't have the graphics driver "26.20.100.8142" and as you previously pointed out, that is a driver that was available on Dell's website. However, for the ACER* computer, we don't see links to previous/old drivers on their website.

 

We do have available two old 26.x drivers. Version 26.20.100.8141 and Version 26.20.100.7985.

In this case, you may try to perform a Clean Installation of Intel® Graphics Drivers in Windows* using one of those 2 Intel® Graphics DHC drivers. Just in case, we would like to remind you that during the process, please make sure all steps are followed, including disconnecting from the Internet and making sure you get to the Microsoft Basic Display Adapter before trying to install the graphics driver.

 

If the behavior persists, then our recommendation is to report this directly to ACER® Support for further debugging and assistance, as well as to verify if your OEM may have another newer (recommended) driver or an older version that may work better.

 

Best regards,

Andrew G.

Intel Customer Support Technician

rochaana
Beginner
1,272 Views

I've already tried installing the 26.x ones available, but unfortunately it gives me a system incompatible error. I imagine it's because the driver supports up to Windows 10 version 19H2 and currently I'm using the 21H1 version (and it gave the same error when I was using the 20H2 one), which is why I asked if there was a possibility to make such older drivers available to newer versions of Windows.

Otherwise I would have to try to reinstall a previous of Windows itself to try to fix this problem (which as far as I know can only be done by formatting everything), but given that this laptop was already like this from day on I can't be sure that it would actually help (and it would take way too long to set everything up again and I can't afford to waste all that time as this is my work computer).

AndrewG_Intel
Moderator
1,252 Views

Hello rochaana

Thank you for your response.

In regards to your inquiry about the Windows® version compatibility, please allow us to double-check this so we can provide you with proper information before you move forward to try more complex steps such as an operating system reinstallation. We will be providing more details as soon as they are available.


Best regards,

Andrew G.

Intel Customer Support Technician


AndrewG_Intel
Moderator
1,114 Views

Hello rochaana

Thank you for your patience in this matter.


We would like to inform you that the driver 26.20.100.8141 can be used on Windows* 10 Version 20H2. We tested this in our lab and regarding the installation error, our recommendation is to make sure that you are doing a clean installation (i.e. disconnect from the internet and get to Microsoft Basic Display Adapter before launching installer for 26.20.100.8141 as we suggested before in our previous posts...).


Also, regarding the original issue "Screen brightness flicker in Photoshop/Blender", we were unable to reproduce the issue in our lab, and considering that you confirmed that this is not happening on a second monitor, this is most likely due to the hybrid graphics configuration. At this point, the best course of action is to report this directly to the laptop manufacturer (OEM) and letting them know that Intel® was unable to reproduce the issue using our latest generic drivers.


Having said that, we will proceed to close this inquiry now. If you need any additional information, please submit a new question as this thread will no longer be monitored. Thank you for your understanding and it has been a pleasure to assist you.


Best regards,

Andrew G.

Intel Customer Support Technician


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