Tuesday, June 21, 2011

XPS 15z: Screen brightness flicker/dim on battery by Intel "Display Power Saving Technology"

When on battery power, the brightness of the Dell XPS 15z LCD screen becomes unstable. If you switch from a bright web page (http://www.google.com) to a darker web page (http://www.nasa.gov), it automatically dim a little. It gets brighter the other way. It's almost like screen flickering when you switch between windows of different brightness.

Apparently this is a feature by Intel to  save power on battery. (Display Power Saving Technology)
"This feature extends battery life by lowering backlight intensity while minimizing impact to display quality. Select Maximum Quality for the best display quality or Maximum Battery to prolong battery life. Clear the check box to disable this option."

To fix it (if you find it annoying), go to Intel Graphics control panel and disable the feature.

Right click on some empty space on Desktop and from the menu choose Graphics Properties > Power > Change the pull down menu on power source from 'Plugged in' to 'On Battery' and uncheck "Display power saving technology". Click OK. Now the flickering should be gone.

I slid the bar to almost left (More towards 'Maximum quality' side) without disabling the feature and it also worked.

25 comments:

  1. Yet another helpful post on one of the minor issues with the 15z. Personally I'm going to keep it activated just to see if it does bother me in the long term because supposedly it's supposed to save battery (which I need as I'm out and about a bit). Not quite sure how constantly changing brightness is more battery effective but we'll see!

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  2. Ya, I don't know how much of battery would be saved by that feature. But I was more worried about my eyes because of the flickering than battery life. If you want to save a little more battery, you may want to kill two cypress processes (CyCpIo.exe and CyHidWin.exe) through task manager (Ctrl+ Shift + Escape). However, you would lose minor touchpad functionality.

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  3. Thank you!

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  4. @Jiri van Bergen: You'r welcome. Thanks for taking your time to show appreciation.

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  5. Thank you for the help, I found this dimming effect to be annoying because it would on occasion dim a video on youtube I was watching at full screen. Along with dimming other sites I visited.

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  6. @Ragneki5880: I'm glad that it was helpful to you. I appreciate your comment. Enjoy your new laptop!

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  7. Very helpful info, thanks. I seem to have the same problem (annoying brightness instability), but it only happens when the AC Adapter is plugged in (not on battery) and apparently only in Windows (not when playing games, for instance).

    I don't have the "Display Power Saving Technology" in my options panel. Any ideas?

    Thanks in advance.

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  8. @LDF: That's interesting. Now I also don't see that option in mine. Maye be they removed the option with the latest driver/software update. But your problem seems like something else. Is it the same symptoms as that in the blog post except it happens when plugged in? Did you install some battery monitoring software?

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  9. Hi TechNetizen, thanks for your response. I'm pretty sure it's a hardware problem, as it happened on a fresh install of Windows 7 (i.e. with no drivers). I'll call the Dell service and let you know, as it may be useful for others.

    Cheers,

    L.

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  10. I too don't have that "Display power saving technology" adjuster; the window looks identical, but the right pane only has Power Source and Power Plans.

    My XPS 15z (assembled Nov. 2011) dims instantly (and annoyingly) whenever it's displaying something predominantly dark. Whether it's a dark web page or even a CorelDRAW doc w/ a lot of black or brown or green... it dims. Absolutely love the laptop, but
    this is bothersome.

    MD

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  11. I made a mistake in my last post on December 13, 2011 10:32 AM.

    The dimming only occurs when the 15z's running on BATTERY. No issues when plugged in.

    MD

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  12. @Anonymous: May be you should check the "Power options" in control panel to see the settings; specifically "Dim the display".

    But I hope your problem is already solved. Please post the info if you think it could help others with similar problem. Thanks

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  13. Thanks man!! Well, the options of "Display power saving technology" does not show in "intel graphics and media control panel" in power-tab.

    I did update the drivers and software to the latest ones from intel.com directly, but still "Display power saving technology" does not show!

    Please, What should I do?

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  14. If you have Dell XPS 15z, just uninstall a stupid tool from Dell called: Quickset64. Then the whole annoying of Intel DPST will disappear.

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    1. If you remove quickset, some of your multimedia row keys won't work well. Try dvd eject button, wifi button, battery button etc and see whether it works

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    2. Yup, I tried all these keys and they are working perfectly, as they are part of the keyboard and act with Fn key. My laptop is Dell XPS 15z.

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    3. Probably you can see from taskmanager (Ctr+Shift+Esc)that quickset.exe is still running in the background. The battery saving option by Dell quickset is quite useful to turn off the battery charging while plugged-in.

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    4. Good news, I installed an older version of Quickset which does not support DPST staff.. and guss what, I got all the functions back including Keyboard light and Battery charging function.. It is happy ending after all ^_^

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    5. Good job. Glad to know it's all working for you

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  15. THANK YOU. I just got a new Dell Inspiron 14z and was bummed because I thought it was defective because the screen was getting dimmer and brighter ever so slightly while on battery and it was driving me crazy. Google led me to your blog and now all is well.

    For those who can't find the setting, make sure you do ADVANCED MODE (when I go to the settings, a pop up asks me basic or advanced), then power, then on the upper right click 'plugged in' and change it to 'battery' to see the setting to turn off the Intel power saving feature.

    I can't thank you enough. I'm so glad that it's fixed!

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome. Glad to know it was useful. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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  16. Thanks for the tip! I just got a Inspiron 14z and the flickering was driving me crazy. I did the same-- just dialing down the setting made it so much better. Thank you for posting!

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  17. fuck yeah!!! i was getting ready to return my new laptop because of this issue. thanks a lot!!

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  18. It’s not just the brightness that is reduce; the contrast is also reduced, resulting in an ugly, bland display.

    Worse, the setting is not retained. No matter how many times I set it to knock it off, the setting keeps getting reverted, so it keeps reducing the brightness and display.

    I’m not sure what triggers it (though I’m fairly sure it does it whenever the screen resolution changes), and I cannot find a way to make the setting to stick permanently.

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  19. Thank you very much for this tip. I spent a week trouble shooting with Dell Support and they were about to send a tech out to replace my motherboard when I saw this article. I suggested Dell update their knowledge base to reflect this fix.

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