I've been troubleshooting a problem for the better part of a year. It would take me an hour to list out all the things I've tried. Some of the symptoms of the problem could be monitor related. Long story short, I reinstalled Windows over 25 times in the past month. I've done driver installs and re-installs, different versions, different order of install, modded drivers, signed drivers, old drivers, previous versions of drivers, I've re-flashed bios to other versions, wiped Intel ME firmware, stripped MB to bare bones, tried 4 different monitors, several DP cables (until I finally broke down and bought a Club 3D DP cable), other cables that weren't DP, and more. I've tried with and without the USB connection. I've tried multi monitor setups and single monitor setups with every combination of cables you could imagine.
The main part of the problem is essentially that a game appears and feels as if it's running in a significantly lower frame rate than the FR the system says that I'm getting. Even simple games like Terraria don't feel right - they feel "heavy" and it doesn't seem like I'm getting 60FPS, let alone 100, or 120 if I overclock the monitor. Graphically intensive games have strange issues with low LOD draw, especially involving shadows and light. Shadows sometimes render in gigantic pixelated blocks, and sometimes render with artifacts that move at various speeds, or render perfectly. Things like foliage and grass shimmer when characters move in games like Witcher and Black Desert Online, etc. If I raise the refresh rate on the monitor from normal it usually seems like the moving shadows get faster. There is a lot more that I can list, but I'll spare the pain for the reader.
The strange part is on a fresh build, everything will run perfectly, until it doesn't. Once it deteriorates, it does so quickly, and the game becomes eye straining and painful to look at, stuttery, laggy, etc.
I should also note that at any point in a build, I can run a benchmark and get extremely high scores.
I'm posting here because I've dug deeper lately, and noticed some strange things with monitor related settings. The theory I'm chasing right now is that my bios and boot screens display in 1024x768, stretched out wide to fill the screen. Windows safe mode does the same thing. I think it's possible that something in the system is reading the EDID (Extended Display Identification Data) file on the monitor incorrectly, and possibly that the something in the system is rendering things in Windows.
So my main question involves the EDID file on the monitor. I ran two tools on my last build, and current build - they are CRU (custom resolution utility) and MonitorInfoView. Both of these tools allow you to see the EDID file, supposedly as it's read by Windows. In both builds, the AW3418DW has displayed like this:
Monitor Info View:
640x480 @ 60 Hz
800x600 @ 60 Hz
1024x768 @ 60 Hz
3440x1440 @ 60 Hz
CRU: breaks it down like this:
Detailed Resolutions (3 slots left) (which to my understanding was supposed to be the native resolution?)
3440x1440 @ 59.972 Hz (319.75 MHz)
Name: Dell AW3418DW
Standard Resolutions (26 slots left)
No standard resolutions
Extension Blocks (2 slots left)
CEA-861: 3 detailed resolutions, 3 data blocks
If I hit edit, I can see the resolutions --
In the data block, it says Detailed Resolutions (3 slots left)
3440x1440 @ 49.96 Hz (265.25 MHz)
3440x1440 @ 84.96 Hz (458.50 MHz)
3440x1440 @100.00 Hz (531.52 MHz)
Below that, it says Datablocks - 55 bytes left
Audio Formats 4 bytes - 1 format
Speaker Setup 4 bytes - stereo
Vendor-Specific Data 6 Bytes ID: 0X00044B
Vendor Specific Data is greyed out and un-clickable. I'm not going to list the audio formats but they're very basic.
So is this correct?
I can also tell you that if I have the Game Enhanced Mode Frame rate Indicator on, it displays 60 in the bios and blue screens, and 100 in Windows.
I've tried every kind of factory reset multiple times, I've tried the built-in test, and I even saw a post from Moderator Chris about a tool that I had to hook up to another monitor (I forgot the name) but everything shows that it's fine.
Does anyone have any other ideas, besides the basic things? I feel like I've tried everything.
Gigabyte Aorus Gaming 7 z370 MB
32GB G.Skill TridentZ RGB (4x8GB) DDR4 3600MHz DIMM F4-3600C17Q-32GTZR
GeForce GTX 1080 TI Strix GPU - 2 DP ports, 2 HDMI ports, VGA port
Samsung 960 pro NVME 1TB
Samsung 860 EVO 500GB
Corsair H115i Pro RGB Cooler (4 fans - 2 stock, 2 ML140 RGB)
Push/Pull config. for additional 4 ML140 RGB fans
Seasonic SSR-850TR Titanium PS
Alienware 34" Curved AW3418DW Monitor
Fractal Define R6 Tempered Glass Case
running Win 10 x64
Connection to Monitor:
PC GTX 1080Ti DP out --> Club 3D 1.4/Hbr3 3m DP cable --> AW3418DW DP in port
PC MB z370 USB 3.0 port --> AW3418DW USB cable --> AW3418DW USB port