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Glitchy display: nvidia driver, KDE, or hardware problem ?



Hello,
I am using F10 with KDE 4.1, using nvidia-173xx driver (the older nvidia 
driver, I think). My graphic card is GE Force FX 5500 AGP (rather old). I use 
some 3D effect in KDE. I use both the DVI and VGA output from the card with 
Twinview option.

The problem is :

1. rather frequently the desktop would lock up for few seconds. Sometime when 
this happens, I can move around my mouse pointer but not do anything else. The 
mouse pointer becomes a block of glitchy display that moves around. On other 
instances, it would just lock up and not accepting any input.

2. Once in a while the whole screen would blink with a blank screen, then 
comes back to normal. 

When these things happen, I don't usually do anything fancy (i.e. not 
switching / moving  Windows with 3D effect or anything like that), just simply 
typing on terminal or document. When (1) happen, the OS itself is still 
running. I can workaround the lock up by switching to TTY (CTRL-ALT-F2), then 
switch back to X again. That almost always clears the lock up, although 
sometime it takes a second or two before CTRL-ALT-F2 gave me TTY. 

So, my question is, is there a known problem with either the Nvidia driver, or 
KDE, or the combination of both ? Or, am I simply having a bad graphic card ? 
Any suggestions to find out ?

Thanks.
RDB


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