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wpforte
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XPS 15 9550 with 4K Display Not Outputting Proper Black Levels

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I bought a new XPS 15 with the 4k infinity display, and for some reason the laptop display is suffering from extreme black and white crush. I have tried calibrating the display, and it seems that the lowest and highest video levels are being clipped. The result is that dark areas of an image merge together with absolute black creating terrible color banding and blockiness in shadows of images.

I have tried making adjustments to settings in dell premier color (tried uninstalling it as well), windows internal display settings, the intel integrated graphics control panel, and none of them have made a difference. Even with brightness, contrast, or black level set to max in settings, lower video levels are indistinguishable from absolute black. Same on the opposite ends with white.

The issue is identical to outputting the wrong video level to a display (for example outputting full pc range to a regular TV with limited range), but I see no means of adjusting it for the laptop's internal display settings.

For the record, black levels output to a TV via HDMI are fine, so it's clearly an issue with the signal to the laptop display or the laptop display itself, and not an overall system issue.

To be clear, this is an extreme amount of clipping. I understand that most displays cannot output a full video range of 0-255 without some banding. However, on my laptop it's so bad that anything containing shadows looks terrible. Even uncompressed photos of space have terrible blockiness that makes it looks like those 4bit images from the early 90s.

16 Replies
N1cksys
1 Nickel

RE: XPS 15 9550 with 4K Display Not Outputting Proper Black Levels

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Just toying around with my new XPS 15 fully spec'd out. I'm having the same *** issue. NOT IMPRESSED! Tried disabling Dell's Premier color software to no avail.

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di19026
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RE: XPS 15 9550 with 4K Display Not Outputting Proper Black Levels

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I had the same issue. In my case it was due to bad RAM (I had installed a 32GB upgrade from Crucial).

The 32GB upgrade seemed to work fine initially, machine booted up, system showed 32GB ram etc..

I noticed the clipped shadows right away in Photoshop (I am a photographer).

Thinking it was a driver issue, I went to the Dell website and ran their hardware test, which discovered the error in the RAM.

Took out the 32GB and put back the original 16GB that came with the machine and everything is back to normal now with the colors and shadows.

I have returned the RAM to Crucial and they are sending me new ones.

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heymanitsme
1 Copper

RE: XPS 15 9550 with 4K Display Not Outputting Proper Black Levels

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I can confirm the same issue here (9550; 4K display).

Both white and blacks are clipped and no amount of contrast/gamma/brightness adjustment will correct. Using a grey scale from 0 - 255, then the display thinks 3 is the darkest black and 252 is the brightest white. 0 - 3 are all *absolute* black (even with brightness turned up so high that 4 looks almost white!)

Shadows in youtube videos look like a screen shot from a ZX Spectrum.

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di19026
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RE: XPS 15 9550 with 4K Display Not Outputting Proper Black Levels

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UPDATE:

Received new 32GB RAM kit from Crucial. Everything looks fine now and it passed Dell's memory test.

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heymanitsme
1 Copper

RE: XPS 15 9550 with 4K Display Not Outputting Proper Black Levels

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I find it difficult to see how this could be connected to the RAM. Perhaps the issue was fixed as a side effect of dismantling the laptop...

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di19026
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RE: XPS 15 9550 with 4K Display Not Outputting Proper Black Levels

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The Intel graphics utilizes RAM


There is also the fact that Dell's memory test failed. The new memory passed the test.

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N1cksys
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RE: XPS 15 9550 with 4K Display Not Outputting Proper Black Levels

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My issue is resolved now. The culprit was the Intel HD Graphics 530 drivers (version 20.19.15.4390, released 2/18/2016). I'm using an older version (20.19.15.4331, released 11/18/2015).

The clipping, banding has been completely remedied. The system on occasion is prompting to install the new driver's. I'll have to hold out for the next. I'm not certain if there is a performance degradation somewhere else.

Latest drivers on Dell's support page below:

Version

Version 20.19.15.4390, A05

Category

Video

Release date

29 Mar 2016

Last Updated

30 Mar 2016
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heymanitsme
1 Copper

RE: XPS 15 9550 with 4K Display Not Outputting Proper Black Levels

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Thanks! I ran a RAM test with no issues found, but this driver rollback fixed it for me.

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dlm999
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RE: XPS 15 9550 with 4K Display Not Outputting Proper Black Levels

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Hi there

Having the same issue - do you have a link for where I can download the older version so I can roll back?

Cheers

Duncan

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