Surface Pro 4 - External screen keeps turning on/off (black flickering)

Hi there,

I just made a video of my recent problem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Phi_Yru77aM

You can see that when I'm using the built-in screen of my SP4 (i7, 16GB, 512GB) and only one 4K external screen (both at 60hz), this monitor keeps turning black on a random basis. All my drivers and firmware are up to date (Surface Dock and Surface). I even tried the last Intel Iris 540, same results. I tried another MDP to DP cable, same results. I tried another screen, same results. I tried different refresh rates, same results.

I bought this screen a month ago and I was working fine at the beginning. I strongly suspect an update or the fact that I tried to connect two 4K monitors at 60hz (and I would have damaged something in the process?).

If I deactivate the built-in screen, the problem goes away (something that I just found tonight).

Should I send the device in warranty or just wait for a software fix? The 4K experience is not there yet, I'm a bit disappointed I have to say.

Cheers,

D.

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so i too was on Intel Iris Graphics 540 version 21.20.16.4627..... today it updated to 24.20.100.6136 but still no luck

About a month ago, my Surface pro was updated with a firmware and new graphics drivers.  I have Iris Plus 640 with version 24.20.100.6136 (which coincidentally is the same version as your 540 chip) and the blank outs have been resolved.  I never have them anymore. 

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I have a Surface 4 with Iris Graphics 540. I have been sufering for months with this annoying behaviour of 2nd 4k monitor going black randomly. I have tried everything (including Microsoft support) with no lucky.

Now.... finaly today it seems I have a solution:

I've set the monitor to DisplayPort 1.1 (it was set to 1.2 before).

I've been working for about 3h using video and pushing the cpu without having the black screen!

btw...driver version is: 21.20.16.4627

I have not yet tried with the latest driver (24....)

I'd recomment to give it a try an post your experience... hopefuly it will work for you too!


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Hey mate,

I just tried your trick but unfortunately, the refresh rate has dropped to 30hz and you cannot select 60hz again. This is why the black flickering is gone (bandwidth isn't saturated anymore).

I found the details of DisplayPort resolutions explained here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DisplayPort#Resolution_and_refresh_frequency_limits

Still no luck and it has been more than a year :-(

G.

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You are right !!!

just checked and I am also limited to the 30Hz (as mentioned in the wiki).

So, no solution yet! :-(

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Not to burst all your bubbles but work just issued me with a Surface Book 2, and I am getting this issue. It's the 13.5" with Intel Graphics 620, and it's connected to the external monitor (Samsung LU28E570DS) via USB-C --> HDMI. I'm limited to 30Hz because of the limitations of Samsung's HDMI ports; and the external monitor randomly blacks for 3 seconds and then comes back.

At its worst, it's 5-6 times per hour; at best once every 2 hours.

A side note: I cannot use the Surface Dock to connect to HDMI (via Mini-DP --> HDMI cable) because then I'm limited to 1080p which on the 4k monitor looks dreadful. I have updated the Dock to the latest firmware. I'm waiting for delivery (today) of a Mini-DP to DP cable to try using the Dock to connect to my monitor... but TBH I'm not holding out much hope...?

Cheers

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I gave up on my SP4 and the flickering. I traded my SP4 in for a SP6 and I am no loner having the flickering issue.

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Same. The 4 has a systemic issue with external 4K displays.

My 6 works flawlessly.

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>> I gave up ... and traded my SP4 in for a SP6 ...

Really good for you two but an expensive solution. I'm still struggling.

 

To all of you who managed to submit a case to Microsoft within the warranty period:  have any of you had any success/response/replacement? 

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A response yes, a replacement no. The responses were all grasping at straws, resetting the computer, trying new drivers, even suggesting new displays. I did all of the above, and still no luck. It is a fundamental issue with the surface pro 5.

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Dear Microsoft, Microsoft CUSTOMERS,

    I must say I am astonished by the manner Microsoft is dealing with this issue. Let's face it, there is quite a number of CUSTOMERS complaining about the same issue (this thread, to mention one channel) Yet, it seems Microsoft, instead of actively solve the problem, has chosen to use brute force by putting the Microsoft Support army in between the CUSTOMER and a real solution.

    I say so, due to the experience I have had with Microsoft and the Support - I have contacted them countless times, spent hours and hours of my time troubleshooting with an army of restless Support attendants who always start back from the beginning. I must reckon the support team is well trained on customer relationship techniques: "yes, rest assured I will personally look after your problem", "I am sure we will find the best solution for you", "thank you for being so polite during our conversation", "thank you for waiting". That is all very nice and good, nevertheless, if I was looking for professional comfort, I would seek a psychologist. When I contact Microsoft Support, I am seeking for an efficient technical SOLUTION and, for most pleasant and polite the attendants might sound, the least I want is to be with them, troubleshooting.

    I do feel sorry for the support people, though - left unattended by Microsoft engineering. Yet, mostly sorry I feel for the CUSTOMERS  who needs to be on chats and phone calls, sometimes out of business hours and even past midnight, repeating over and over an issue that has been clearly documented by many others... where are you Microsoft ??? step up for your customers and address the issue.

   Please, Microsoft Support, stop asking customers to make a factory reset. I have been through this path, and again, spent endless hours on backups and resets just to find out that, by doing a factory reset, the problem goes away due to a "clever" re-staging process whereby the frequency of the external monitor gets reduced to 30Hz. Shame on this "clever" factory reset that induces the CUSTOMER to believe the problem is solved where it actually just hides the problem under the carpet.

    Shame on Microsoft for not providing a clear fix for their CUSTOMERS. Until when are you going to keep on ignoring the issue ?

    To finalize, my household uses 5 devices, currently being 2 of them Surface devices. Rest assured that, on the upcoming replacements, my  buying decisions will be highly influenced by this experience. The lines above do not grasp my disappointment.

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Last updated June 2, 2021 Views 22,633 Applies to: