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Kaby Lake Spectre x360 13t external displays via DisplayPort flicker/flash, sometimes freeze laptop

HP Spectre X360 13t-w000
Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit)

Hi,

 

I just got the new Kaby Lake (Intel's 7th gen) Spectre x360 and ran it through its paces. It seems to be a solid machine, but there's one serious issue so far - external displays flashing on and off, at least when hooked up with a USB-C Thunderbolt 3 to DisplayPort adapter (this one from CableMatters: http://amzn.to/2gKQrVR.

 

  1. What happens when I connect external monitors (1 or 2-3 via DisplayPort MST) is sometimes they work fine.
  2. Sometimes, if I disconnect and reconnect, they start flashing on and off.
  3. Sometimes, the whole laptop freezes upon connection (happened twice today so far).
  4. And finally sometimes the externals are not working at all - the system detects them, but selecting Extend or anything in multi-monitor mode just reverts back to Single.
  5. Oh, and this happens once: http://i.imgur.com/Su9zInD.png http://i.imgur.com/qG9K8yC.png - the external display got stuck in a 640x480 generic mode and would not turn on.

As you can see, it's a cluster@$%*.

 

Here's a video of the flickering/flashing (case #2 above): https://youtu.be/OkngFs_h2xk.

 

Both the laptop and the 7th gen Intel chip are relatively new, so I haven't been able to find a thread discussing potential culprits, or fixes from HP. Here's a similar issue with EliteBooks http://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Notebook-Hardware-and-Upgrade-Questions/External-Dual-Monitors-and-Lapt..., but I don't know if they're related.

 

I do have a buddy with the same system who's gone through several USB-C hubs already and returned each one due to flashing, so I think the problem lies deeper, probably with Intel's HD Graphics.

 

I don't want to give up on this laptop and go back to my Dell Latitude E6520 (which is a 6lb clunker, or like 10lb with the battery slice), so I hope HP can look into it. Reliable use with external monitors is a must these days for any home or business user (I happen to be both).

 

There's an ongoing discussion on Google+ here about this: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ArtemRussakovskii/posts/4sF6o9tbR9s.

 

Thanks for any help.

 

P.S. I'm a technical user and a software engineer, so I'm not afraid of challenges getting this fixed. HP level 2+ support, I'm here to help you figure out the solution.

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HP Support Agent
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Kaby Lake Spectre x360 13t external displays via DisplayPort flicker/flash, sometimes freeze laptop

Hey@Archon810,

 

Thanks for reaching out to HP Support Forums. One stop for all solutions about your HP product.

To have the best experience on HP forum, visit our HP Forums Guide to know more.

 

I was going through your post and would like to help you.

 

Your PC flashes and has all sorts of display issue. Is that correct?

 

This could be due to the chipset driver which sometimes creates IRQ conflicts causing the display ports to randomly become active for a while and change the order.

That’s when you see the display flashing.

 

Using the link below try updating the correct display driver and the chipset driver as well.

 

http://support.hp.com/us-en/drivers/

 

This should help you fix the issue. Please share more to serve you.

 

Resolv_S

 

Glad to help you. I work for HP

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Archon810 Tutor
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Kaby Lake Spectre x360 13t external displays via DisplayPort flicker/flash, sometimes freeze laptop

This is a brand new machine with all the drivers up-to-date. Neither the HP certified latest Intel HD Graphics driver, nor the one from Intel itself fix the problem. I believe a deeper look is needed.
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Archon810 Tutor
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Kaby Lake Spectre x360 13t external displays via DisplayPort flicker/flash, sometimes freeze laptop

The craziest update: only 1 of 2 USB-C ports results in flickering (the one closer to the top edge). The 2nd one doesn't. Why in the world would this happen? 

However, now there's a problem I ran into before that's blocking me. After some unplugging and replugging, external monitors stop getting detected entirely.

And the 1st Dell U2415 in the MST chain is being reported in Windows 10 as 640x480 generic digital display. Seemingly no way to fix: http://i.imgur.com/qG9K8yC.png.

I don't know at this point if it's an issue with MST in general, Dell's implementation, Intel Graphics, adapter, Thunderbolt, or smth else.

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Kaby Lake Spectre x360 13t external displays via DisplayPort flicker/flash, sometimes freeze laptop

Hi@Archon810,

 

Thanks for responding.

 

I can suggest you perform a diagnostics and check if the diagnostics tool picks up any hardware issue on the PC.

Please use the link below to perform the hardware diagnostics.

 

http://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c03467259

 

Hope the information shared will help you. Please share for more.

 

Resolv_S

 

Glad to help you. I work for HP

Please click Accept as Solution if you feel my post solved your issue, it will help others find the solution.
Click the Kudos Thumbs Up" to say “Thanks” for helping!

 

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Archon810 Tutor
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Kaby Lake Spectre x360 13t external displays via DisplayPort flicker/flash, sometimes freeze laptop

Hi,
 
I ran diagnostics, but it passed everything.
 
I have an update on the situation.
 
I've been testing the dual-display Plugable dongle and 99% of the time it has worked correctly and powered 2 monitors (I'm giving up using 3 externals with the lid down at this point). At one point it actually caused a hard freeze of the 13t, but I have been unplugging and replugging, and it hasn't happened again. Sometimes, the screens don't come on, but very rarely, and a replug always fixes it. So I'm fairly happy with this as a permanent solution. There's also no flashing/flickering monitors with the Plugable dongle on either Type C port.
 
So the problems I have been experiencing seem to come down to MST (DisplayPort chaining) where you use a single cable to the first monitor, then chain the other monitors. MST with the Dell U2415s that I have really don't play well with laptops where you unplug and replug all the time. Not sure if it's Dells, Microsoft, or HP but MST = evil with the x360, apparently.
 
Another thing I'd like to note is Plugable's dongle is detected as a proper Thunderbolt device whereas CableMatters one is not. Here is a screenshot with both dongles plugged in: http://i.imgur.com/5KctLGK.png.
 
I hope this thread helps someone in the future.
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