New Screen, Old One Broken

I was fighting with PC issues over the last days. I am very experienced with IT systems since this was not just a hobby but I also worked in this area (PC repair / network administration and so on). But even when you are experienced, computer issues can sometimes be very funny. I mean, it might happen that you think you solved an issue, but a day later the problem is back and you realize your initial suspicions were wrong. This can be caused by several coincidences and over the last days it happened to me again. I had the issue that my PC screen would go black somewhere in the middle of the loading process of my Windows OS. This always happened at the same exact same point of time during Windows boot up. I enabled the Windows internal monitoring tools to be able to see when this would happen. And this led me on the wrong track. I basically solved the issue, that is what I thought, but what really happened was that the issue didn’t appear anymore for some time, in other words it was pure coincidence and not because I solved it. That’s the fun about computers, the issue can disappear after you made certain changes but in reality it was just coincidence and the issue is somewhere else and appears later again, for whatever reason.

In my recent case I thought some Windows internal processes that are loaded during OS boot-up were damaged. I thought that because after I enabled Windows start-up monitoring, I realized the screen would always go black at the same time, when a certain file was loaded. This alone can lead you to all kind of things that you might want to try out to solve the issue and I did so, as said, that’s what I thought. A day later in the morning, the problem appeared again but this time not during Windows boot process, no it happened much earlier during the system boot process. Now I knew, it couldn’t be related to any Windows files, because during this process they aren’t even loaded. From now on I knew there might be a hardware issue. All kind of horror scenarios popped up in my head. It could be something broken with the mainboard, the graphics card and since I heard a strange buzzing sound that reminded me of an abruptly stopped disc or system fan, I even wondered if my hard drive would start to fail, or if some important fans would not run anymore and the system would get too hot and so on. But when I checked things at the back of the PC, I realized the sound would come from the screen, and then I almost started to laugh. It is the screen, or the cables of the screen, and it was just pure coincidence that the problem appeared during processes where you could easily think the source of the issue is somewhere else.

After I tried different cables, the problem was still there. Now I made a test, I did let the PC boot again and I waited until the screen would go black. Of course it did again at some point, and now I simply turned the screen off and then I turned it on again. I realized the system was never really blacked out, because for 2 seconds I could see what the system already loaded, it was the Windows login screen where I could type in my password if the screen wouldn’t go black again. I did repeat the step, turn the screen off and on again, and with two seconds time I entered my password and saw my loaded Windows desktop before the screen went black again. Now I knew, the system had absolutely no trouble to load the OS. There was no issue with the system, the screen was faulty. Next I searched for my HDMI cable because I am paranoid but on a good way since it’s always better to validate what you just found out. With the HDMI cable in my hand, I did connect the PC to my TV instead of the screen. And what did I just find out? I was right, the system did not have any issues. I could now see how the system would boot, except that I used my TV and that there was no black screen. It was finally clear, my PC screen was definitely broken. I needed a new one and since I do use my PC very often (for all kind of hobbies), it had to happen now and I didn’t want to wait. I went to one of our large tech stores and found one that did fit my needs, one that I really liked. I purchased the Asus VN279QL screen…

Asus VN279QL

My old PC screen was a 22 inch screen and that was ok, but since I had to spend money anyway now, I wanted to get something bigger and my new one is a 27 inch screen and quite a bit bigger. Also I went from 1680 x 1050 pixel to 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. Even as a gamer I was always fine with 60Hz and 5ms reaction time in the past, the new one is the same and I didn’t need improvements there. Minimalism was however important because even if my old screen was a flat screen, it still looked a bit clunky with the large frame around the screen. So, I wanted to get a screen where the frame around the screen is much smaller and that also seems to be the trend, which means it was easy to find one where the frame is much smaller and less visible. In general, the Asus VN279QL is quite thin, not just the frame but also the back. But it made a very well-built impression when I took it out of the packaging. Here is how thin the frame around the screen is…

Something else that I didn’t realize in the store but at home was that the whole mechanic of the base is pretty cool. Of course, you can adjust many PC screens, but this one goes in all directions. I mean, you can move the screen up or down, you can adjust the angle of the screen, you can rotate it horizontal and vertical even to the point that you are basically using it in the portrait format, although I am not sure why you would want to do that. Anyway, it’s quite funny, you can completely adjust it to your needs since the base makes the screen flexible in all axes. That’s where I was worried about the quality, but I tested it and as said the screen makes a well-built impression. There is maybe one thing that I don’t like, but my work desk is more at fault here. Especially when I hack on my keyboard, my work desk seems to cause the screen to vibrate a little bit. But not so much that you are worried about the screen, it’s just a little bit and the screen still seems to be safe. Since I am looking for a new work desk as well, I will look for one where the wooden board does not swing as much. My last words would be that I usually hate it when something breaks, but in the case of my old screen I do accept it, because I am really happy with my new one. The issue basically forced me to purchase a new one, but I absolutely love my new Asus VN279QL screen now!

11 thoughts on “New Screen, Old One Broken

  1. Basically, you described why I bought a new computer, except that mine had an issue with inadequate video RAM that I couldn’t fix. It being a laptop, there was no way to replace that chip — there was no room for another. I suppose I could have banged my head on a wall about that, but there was essentially nothing wrong with the computer that giving it to my husband who didn’t have such intense graphic needs wouldn’t solve. I did the same with a previous computer which is still, after 10 years, working just fine — with a minor upgrade. I think that’s one of the advantages of buying high end computers. They are worth fixing. The one my granddaughter has is not significantly slower than the new ones coming out. It was top of the line when I bought it and with a new hard drive, it’s fine. I would want a better monitor, but my granddaughter is fine with the one she has.

    I think ALL the computers I’ve had in the past 10 years are still working. Not here, but somewhere.

    I’m glad you figured out the problem. I guess you considered and discarded just replacing the monitor?

    1. Yeah, while I like notebooks too (and any kind of tech gadgets), the real plus of desktop systems is that you can upgrade everything or fixing them by just finding the trouble source. Never in my life did I purchase a complete or manufactured desktop PC. I was quite young when I did build my first PC alone. I think I was 12, probably even younger. The boyfriend of my mother at that time knew how to do build own computers and at some point when he upgraded his system, I got all his old parts but only if I would assemble them on my own but with his help. Up to this day I like it, it’s actually a great teaching style like “Hey, I have something for you, but you gonna learn to assemble it or the parts will not be of use for you”. As kids are, I didn’t like the idea but when he showed me how to put the parts and cables together, I realized it’s no different than playing lego, it was actually fun and useful. This is one of the things you learn once, and even if the technology does change, you will always be able to build your own PC’s you might just need to understand new computer parts (like when a new mainboard comes with new sockets, new connectors or whatever might has changed).

      I am not sure anymore how much PC’s I did build. Probably 20 for myself, maybe 70 if I count in the family or friends. But since I also worked in this area, the number is probably much higher. It was definitely one of those gifts (from the one boyfriend of my mother back at that time) that had no real materialist value, but a different kind of value that is knowledge. For example, while I did this for free for friends, I always was able to earn some quick bucks when I did this for friends of friends, or strangers when I was a teenager. Apart from that I probably also saved quite a lot of money when I did build my own PC’s, because it’s so much cheaper to get just the parts and put them together on your own.

      No, I did buy a completely new screen. I am pretty sure the capacitors of the old one did go kaput. I didn’t want to mess with this and since the screen was more than 7 years old, and since I always played with the idea to get a larger working and gaming screen, I just went to the store and bought the 27 inch ASUS screen. Now everything works again. It was probably really aging capacitors, in other words, the old screen just died after doing good work for me for some years 🙂 The new one was quite cheap, 220 Euros for such a large and high quality screen, I had to buy it 🙂 I am quite happy with the purchase 🙂

      1. Amazing how cheap some stuff has gotten, especially memory and monitors. I remember when buying extra RAM for the computer was big money and now, it’s small change.

        My son went the same route you did until those jobs mostly moved out of this country and to India and Pakistan. He can still assemble almost anything mechanical or electronic. He was always very handy. Also good with cars, electricity, plumbing, construction.

        The only reason i don’t have a desktop anymore — they were always my primary computer — is because I didn’t want to be tied to my desk anymore. The laptop lets me do whatever I do while the TV is on and the dogs are around. When I was working, though, I preferred the spaciousness of a big screen, preferably one large enough to show two pages of text. It took me a while to get used to a laptop and I miss the ability to upgrade you get with bigger machines. Desk tops are less expensive and faster.

        1. I’d say yes for screens but memory has never been as expensive as today. This has to do with the constantly growing mobile market. It’s a big issue right now and there are lots of news articles about the subject. I saw it yesterday in the store again, for 16 GB they want 180 Euro, while I paid about 60 Euro two years ago for the exact same brand. That’s like a 300% increase. Generally, yes, electronics have become incredible cheap, but with memory it’s very different, the price increased over time. There were always price fluctuations with memory, but at the moment we are in a phase again where memory has become incredible expensive. But I am talking about high performance RAM, not sure if it’s different with RAM for notebooks, probably not.

          My desk and desktop PC was always my comfy zone, where I can completely focus on whatever I do at the computer. Basically like a true working area. Also it’s my system with much horse power for high end gaming. On the couch I mostly use my tablet. I sadly don’t have a notebook at the moment, but probably in the future again because all of it has a place. As you said, having still a large keyboard while not being tied to the desk, that’s what I loved about notebooks too. 🙂

        2. Wow. Price has gone way up since I last looked. I haven’t needed memory, so I wasn’t looking. I assumed it had stayed as low as it was when I bought this computer — a year and a half now.

          When i was working, I needed a desktop — and I needed the separate space of my office. Now, though, my house isn’t so full of people as it was. Garry’s a quiet guy and I don’t need to hide from distraction.

          After all the heart surgery, I couldn’t sit in my office chair. I had to sit with my feet up just to keep the swelling down. It was more than a year between the surgery and something like a normal life. By then, I was used to a laptop and had learned to adapt to the smaller screen. Going from a 27 inch to a 14″ inch took some adapting. But I wasn’t writing books anymore, so i didn’t need the two-page view to see the shape of the book and I learned to process pictures in a smaller space. I got became accustomed to it. If I hadn’t been so ill, I don’t know if I’d have made the move.

      2. I didn’t know you had a heart surgery, I hope you are doing fine now! I think you make a really great point there, it totally depends on what you are doing…. I could easily enjoy blogging with a notebook, or a desktop PC… just not with a tablet (pointing with the finger at the WordPress devs lol) except maybe for just photo sharing. Also with gaming it depends. I noticed I can enjoy small and easy app games on a tablet like quiz games or puzzles, and I think I could enjoy quite a lot of games with a notebook except special games where it’s fun to use a larger screen, where you prefer a desktop keyboard or where you need much more performance.

        I know what you mean when you said adapting to a smaller screen size. In 2015/2016 when I (temporary) moved to Reinfeld to help my uncle who got the brain tumor diagnosis, I got my own room and I had my PC and my cat with me. I didn’t need a screen because my uncle said I could use HDMI since there was a 30 inch TV in that room. So, for the time I was helping him there, I was using that 30 inch thing in my temporary room and it was kinda cool. A half year later when we took my uncle back to Lübeck, closer to us, to be able to help better… I moved back into my apartment that I of course didn’t give up for the time I was away. The first evening I sat in front of my own 22 inch screen and thought “Oh my god, this is such a tiny screen!”. It took me some time but after three weeks I was able to enjoy my small screen again. It was especially funny because at that time a friend asked me if I would like to play a game together, and it really took some time until I could enjoy the screen size again. 😀 But we are creatures of habit, and can get used to it again 🙂

        By the way, I sometimes have the same impression when I used my tablet a bit too much… when I later grab my smartphone, I do experience the same phenomenon. The phone then looks smaller than I thought it would be. I think it’s the brain playing tricks with us 🙂 When you used something larger, the previous things can look much smaller than they actually are. I think it’s really the brain playing games with us 🙂

        1. My friend Tom (he’s the one who writes on my site) has a complete 3D rig with sound and headset and it’s kind of amazing. That’s his favorite gaming place, but I don’t like getting that physical with games. It’s tiring. He also has a desktop which he uses as a server from which he bounces stuff to his iPad and laptop. And his gigantic television. And for little stuff — emails, or just checking something on the internet — he uses the iPad. But I notice he doesn’t use the phone for anything. I think it’s too small for him, too.

          I have a Kindle which I use entirely for reading and listening to audiobooks with a nifty little blu-tooth speaker. I have a lightweight laptop I use when this laptop is too heavy to haul — and I don’t think I’ll need Photoshop. I used to have an iPad, but I didn’t like it. I gave it to my granddaughter who needed it for school. I have a smartphone I use only when I absolutely need it because it’s too small and the sound is tinny.

          The heart surgery was three years ago and so far, so good. I had two valves replaced, a bypass, and got a pacemaker. And a few other things. It was a lot of surgery and I’m glad I’m alive. It was a long trip back. So far, so good 😀

        2. I am glad to hear that you are ok now, but I can imagine that this was a difficult route. I wish you a happy new year and keep going! I’ve seen it in my own family over the last years that health is a great gift, and that it can be taken away so fast. :/ I wish you and your family all the best. I don’t have many wishes for 2018, I just want that my uncle doesn’t have to suffer too much when things get more ugly for him since this is a terminal diagnosis, and that all other family members continue to stay healthy.

  2. Have a good New Year. Let’s hope that this is a better year for ALL of us. The past couple of years in the U.S. have been pretty intense and for people like us, scary. I suppose it proves that anything can happen. If it happened before, it can come back around and bite you again.

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