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ozzuneoj
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DVI cables not working consistently?

Sun Oct 09, 2016 2:52 pm

Has anyone ever had a set up that was picky about DVI cables? I've been using whatever random old DVI cables I could find laying around for years. I bought a bunch at Goodwill a few years ago and they all work great.

Last week our local radioshack closed and I got a couple of 6 foot "Gigaware" DVI-D cables at 95% off. Since my main machine takes priority over all others (and I could use the extra 6 inches of length on the new cables) I decided to just use a new cable for my system as they are slightly longer, sturdier and have ferrites (not sure how much this matters for DVI-D).

For some reason it was terribly inconsistent. It seemed to work fine at first. Then, some times I wouldn't be able to get the DVI input to register when switching back from VGA (I have two system hooked up to this monitor). Other times when turning the system on with the Gigaware cable installed it'd show the startup information, but it was scaled in a 4:3 aspect (normally it will fill the entire screen without stretching), and when Windows tried to load I'd get no picture. It did this several times. When I get this strange 4:3 bootup display and enter the UEFI interface it is a mess! There are sections of the interface missing and the text is all stretched out and ghosty. I thought maybe my system was the culprit, opened up my tower, poked around a bit, saw nothing wrong, tried it again and it worked fine. But the problem came right back after rebooting.

So, I reconnected my old cable and haven't had a single problem for two days. I decided to inspect the new cable, thinking maybe it was defective or damaged on the ends and found a tiny tiny (1mm long, a few hairs breadth) piece of metal in the end of the cable, touching two pins together. Thinking I'd solved it, I removed that bit of metal (which was conductive), tried it again and it STILL doesn't work. I just get "No signal detected". So, I tried the other brand new identical Gigaware cable... and it does the same thing! Hooking up my old Goodwill cable (~5.5', no ferrites) brings the image back immediately and works fine every time.

What gives? I've never seen anything like this. Has anyone ever seen variations in DVI cables or their compatibility? The new cables I bought were sealed in clam shell packages and were in perfect condition. The second cable was barely handled at all as I just wanted to test it, so there's no way I damaged both of them.

All the cables are dual-link. My display is a BenQ XL2720Z running at 1920x1080@120Hz (with blur reduction enabled) on a PNY GTX 970 XLR8, 2500K on an MSI P67a-G43 with an up to date BIOS.

EDIT: Upon inspecting the cables closely, it looks like the pins are much thinner than the ones in the other cables I have. I don't know if this would be enough to cause a problem though... seems unlikely that a cable could be produced, branded and sold at an expensive retail chain without adhering to basic specifications.
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The Egg
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Re: DVI cables not working consistently?

Sun Oct 09, 2016 4:24 pm

ozzuneoj wrote:
All the cables are dual-link. My display is a BenQ XL2720Z running at 1920x1080@120Hz (with blur reduction enabled) on a PNY GTX 970 XLR8, 2500K on an MSI P67a-G43 with an up to date BIOS.

The fact that it's new and appears to be higher build-quality doesn't necessarily mean it will perform better (or isn't defective). I suspect that running at 120hz is a big part of the issue, as this requires double the bandwidth (7.46Gbps according to an online calculator), which puts you fairly close to the maximum abilities of dual-link DVI (7.92Gbps according to Wiki, after you account for overhead). If the cable is out of spec by even a small amount, it may not be up to the task.

Both your monitor and videocard appear to be quite new....any reason you're not using a more modern connection method, such as Displayport?
 
ozzuneoj
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Re: DVI cables not working consistently?

Sun Oct 09, 2016 6:02 pm

Well, as mentioned, the cables have problems long before windows loads, and show severe corruption in the UEFI. At this point the computer is running at a lower resolution and refresh rate.

I'm using DVI because it offers the most options with the least compatibility problems for this particular monitor. Also, I don't have any DP cables. Haven't had a reason to switch. I don't think they offer any benefits for my current situation.

I can use any bargain basement dual link DVI cable I have laying around and run 1080P at 120hz without issues. This would be the first time I've had a cable for a digital interface that had severe problems like this without having signs of physical damage. It just seems odd that both do the same thing.
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Kougar
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Re: DVI cables not working consistently?

Sun Oct 09, 2016 9:58 pm

When you say the pins are much thinner... is it a DVI-D M1-DA cable? They made all the pins smaller to add additional pins in order to give some kind of funky USB capability to it. Sounds like something Radioshack would've been selling.

It's also possible someone simply bent the cable too tightly and damaged the wires inside, or it was a defective cable to begin with. 1080p@120hz isn't even close to the max bandwidth of a DVI-D cable so the thinness alone shouldn't be enough to cause problems.
 
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Re: DVI cables not working consistently?

Mon Oct 10, 2016 12:31 am

Kougar wrote:
1080p@120hz isn't even close to the max bandwidth of a DVI-D cable so the thinness alone shouldn't be enough to cause problems.

Actually, it is fairly close (about 0.5Gbps, see my post above), to the point where I don't think it could handle 144hz.

ozzuneoj wrote:
Well, as mentioned, the cables have problems long before windows loads, and show severe corruption in the UEFI. At this point the computer is running at a lower resolution and refresh rate.

If that's the case, then you just got unlucky with some garbage cables.  It can happen, even if they were in a nice package from a brick & mortar retailer.

ozzuneoj wrote:
I'm using DVI because it offers the most options with the least compatibility problems for this particular monitor. Also, I don't have any DP cables. Haven't had a reason to switch. I don't think they offer any benefits for my current situation.

If DVI offers the most options, then the others offer less?  I can understand if you don't feel like bothering, but it seemed as though you were actively searching for a better (or at least longer) cable.  A good Displayport cable is $9.95 on Amazon (or $11.99 for a 10'), has enough bandwidth to where you'd never have to think about it again, and also eliminates having to mess with annoying thumbscrews.  If you've just got a weird fondness for DVI, then to each their own.
 
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Re: DVI cables not working consistently?

Mon Oct 10, 2016 8:22 am

What you're describing is exactly what I fix semi-regularly by replacing the DVI cable.

You almost certainly have bad cables, or fussy connectors on either your monitor/GPU
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ozzuneoj
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Re: DVI cables not working consistently?

Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:52 am

The Egg wrote:
Kougar wrote:
ozzuneoj wrote:
I'm using DVI because it offers the most options with the least compatibility problems for this particular monitor. Also, I don't have any DP cables. Haven't had a reason to switch. I don't think they offer any benefits for my current situation.

If DVI offers the most options, then the others offer less?  I can understand if you don't feel like bothering, but it seemed as though you were actively searching for a better (or at least longer) cable.  A good Displayport cable is $9.95 on Amazon (or $11.99 for a 10'), has enough bandwidth to where you'd never have to think about it again, and also eliminates having to mess with annoying thumbscrews.  If you've just got a weird fondness for DVI, then to each their own.

I got the DVI cables for less than a dollar each and I use them for other things, that's why I bought them. The fact that they were slightly longer and looked nicer (on the outside!) were the only reasons I decided to try them on my main system as opposed to putting them in my box-o-cables to use elsewhere.

Also, custom resolution\refresh rates to reduce crosstalk on strobed monitors like mine are more flexible on DVI, as DP reduces colors to 6bpp (from 8bpp) when the pixel clock goes above 360Mhz. DVI doesn't do this, which can allow better color gradients, even on a (good) TN panel.

I just made this thread to ask if anyone had come across DVI cables that were for some reason not "compatible" with certain devices, as it seemed unlikely to me that the only two defective DVI cables I've ever owned would have been bought brand new at the same time. I'm inclined to go with Chrispy_ on this one and say that my monitor or video card (probably the monitor) is picky and expects a DVI connector with thicker pins than these Gigaware cables have. Now I'm glad I picked up the older and probably more robust DVI cables at Goodwill years ago. They were sealed in plastic, so they're not all filthy. I guess its not unreasonable to believe that manufacturers would be cheaping out on DVI cables now that they're becoming less common.
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ozzuneoj
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Re: DVI cables not working consistently?

Thu Oct 13, 2016 10:14 am

Kougar wrote:
When you say the pins are much thinner... is it a DVI-D M1-DA cable? They made all the pins smaller to add additional pins in order to give some kind of funky USB capability to it. Sounds like something Radioshack would've been selling.

It's also possible someone simply bent the cable too tightly and damaged the wires inside, or it was a defective cable to begin with. 1080p@120hz isn't even close to the max bandwidth of a DVI-D cable so the thinness alone shouldn't be enough to cause problems.

Its a standard DVI-D Dual Link cable. It fits the connectors on my monitor\GPU just fine.

I'm thinking the thickness of the connectors is something that isn't as strictly regulated for the DVI spec, and these are probably the newest way to cheap out on cables. Its kind of ironic that Radioshack charges a premium price and often times tell their employees that it is due to their stuff being higher quality... when the quality on an item like this is apparently so low that it isn't compatible with certain things. That's a bad sign. Wal-Mart sells "ONN" branded cables, packaged in plastic baggies and sold fairly cheaply by Wal-Mart exclusively and they tend to be just as good as Monoprice and other cheap-but-good cables from my experience. How Radioshack got conned into selling well packaged and name branded garbage for exorbitant prices probably has at least something to do with why they're doing so poorly.
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Re: DVI cables not working consistently?

Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:12 am

ozzuneoj wrote:
Also, custom resolution\refresh rates to reduce crosstalk on strobed monitors like mine are more flexible on DVI, as DP reduces colors to 6bpp (from 8bpp) when the pixel clock goes above 360Mhz. DVI doesn't do this, which can allow better color gradients, even on a (good) TN panel.

I've never heard that one. Perhaps this was for an older version of the Displayport standard?
 
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Re: DVI cables not working consistently?

Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:21 pm

The Egg wrote:
Kougar wrote:
1080p@120hz isn't even close to the max bandwidth of a DVI-D cable so the thinness alone shouldn't be enough to cause problems.

Actually, it is fairly close (about 0.5Gbps, see my post above), to the point where I don't think it could handle 144hz.


DVI-D is rated up to 1920×1200 @120 which is a bit above the OP's 1080p. The OP wasn't running 144hz. Still, it's always possible that with thinner pins the signal attenuation is too much for it to handle though. Especially if anything is adding significant line noise... I assume these cables had ferrite chokes on them, right?

ozzuneoj wrote:
Its kind of ironic that Radioshack charges a premium price and often times tell their employees that it is due to their stuff being higher quality... when the quality on an item like this is apparently so low that it isn't compatible with certain things.


Hah. When I was shopping at the local Radioshack before they closed they had a ton of Thermal compound (AS5 tubes) for 75% off... it still cost a dollar or two more than buying it off Newegg. That alone should tell you how overpriced their stuff was.
 
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Re: DVI cables not working consistently?

Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:05 am

RadioShack was a big deal back in the 1970s-1980s. In most parts of the country you could not easily get the sort of stuff they carried anywhere else, unless you were willing to order by mail or phone and wait a week or more to have the items shipped to you. They never figured out how to adapt to the rise of the internet, and lost their way. Fry's and Microcenter seem to have figured out how to straddle the online/B&M line (and TigerDirect gave it the ol' college try for a few years), but RadioShack never "got it".
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Re: DVI cables not working consistently?

Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:38 am

I think Rat Shack started losing once it became possible to call up computer companies and order a computer. IIRC in the early-mid '90s getting a computer that way from someone like Gateway 2000 (back when they were not only good, but one of the top companies) might save you hundreds of dollars vs. what Radio Shack wanted for similar specs.
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Re: DVI cables not working consistently?

Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:50 am

bthylafh wrote:
I think Rat Shack started losing once it became possible to call up computer companies and order a computer. IIRC in the early-mid '90s getting a computer that way from someone like Gateway 2000 (back when they were not only good, but one of the top companies) might save you hundreds of dollars vs. what Radio Shack wanted for similar specs.

Yeah, they took a wrong turn in PCs too. They were there alongside Apple in the early days (and outsold them too, for a while). The IBM PC (and compatibles) revolution just flattened them.

Sad thing is, if they were still what they were back in the '70s/'80s they might've have a chance in today's market by re-focusing their efforts to cater to the "Maker" crowd.
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Re: DVI cables not working consistently?

Sat Oct 15, 2016 10:06 am

IMhO they should have merged or expanded into the other hobbies. Like RC/quadcopter.
 
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Re: DVI cables not working consistently?

Sat Oct 15, 2016 1:44 pm

just brew it! wrote:
RadioShack was a big deal back in the 1970s-1980s. In most parts of the country you could not easily get the sort of stuff they carried anywhere else, unless you were willing to order by mail or phone and wait a week or more to have the items shipped to you. They never figured out how to adapt to the rise of the internet, and lost their way. Fry's and Microcenter seem to have figured out how to straddle the online/B&M line (and TigerDirect gave it the ol' college try for a few years), but RadioShack never "got it".

Actually, the Frys here in IL seems to have begun decaying over the past couple years.  Their shelf selection has become very poor, they don't seem to be adding new models with any consistency, old/outdated items are still on the shelf everywhere at nearly full price (a GTX770 for $350 about a month ago), and employee numbers have dropped considerably.  They also began adding "shipping" to online price matches a few years ago (even if the item has free shipping online), which I'm sure angered many people including myself.  They need to understand that their customers are going to be much more informed, just due to the nature of what they're selling.  Speaking of which, their online presence sucks too.  I'll be surprised if Frys is around in a couple years.

Microcenter on the other hand, seems to be doing great.  They've recently doubled-down on their DIY/Raspberry Pi section, as well as adding lots of tools for soldering and such, and even some standalone components such as capacitors, etc.  Their keyboard section has a display model with multiple different cherry switch types, so customers can see what they like.  They just seem have their ear to the ground and are much more customer friendly than most retailers.
 
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Re: DVI cables not working consistently?

Sat Oct 15, 2016 1:52 pm

Yeah, Fry's seems to have gone downhill somewhat. They still have random good deals from time to time, but Microcenter has more of a clue (great CPU/motherboard bundles, and generally competitive prices on other stuff), and seems to have ramped up their component level "maker" stuff in the past few years as well.

That's unfortunate for me, as the Fry's is closer to where I live, and I no longer work for the company with the awful commute, which had the mitigating factor that Microcenter was sort of on my way home. :cry:
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