10-18-2008 09:19 AM - edited 06-29-2009 03:13 PM
Executive summary: All current Lenovo ThinkPads with switchable graphics (R400, T400, T500, and W500) have usability issues in connection with Vista and the use of external monitors. For more than half a year, users were plagued by frequent Windows crashes. During that time frame, Lenovo did not comment on the various available reports and complaints. By the end of April 2009, Lenovo resolved many issues by releasing a new official driver. Though several problems, including severe ones, remain as of today. Lenovo has said to be actively working on the remaining issues (without outcomes so far).
Old problem description
On Vista 32 and Vista 64, the ATI display driver "amdkmdap" crashes when an external monitor was active before OR an application (game) using DirectX technology is used. The user typically receives a couple of so-called "Timeout Detection and Recovery" (TDR) messages from Vista:
(Click here for an explanation of the message from Microsoft)
Sometimes, amdkmdap crashes several times in a row. Then Windows crashes with a so-called "BSOD", likely resulting in data loss. Typically, Windows detects "atikmpag.sys" as the crashing driver. Sometimes, also an instantaneous reboot happens independent of prior TDR crashes. In such a case, no BSOD is displayed.
The following movie illustrates the phenomenon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBX9QsCmrpY
This behavior above has been confirmed for the following ThinkPad models: R400, T400, T500, and W500 (see below). Problem reports indicate that the symptoms are often related to playing games and/or the notebook being docked and the external monitor being connected via DVI.
Though, the presence of these two conditions is not necessary to trigger the driver crash:
Steps to reproduce
While intially (around September 2008 - October 2008) the crash could be triggered easily, the situation is now (December 2008) more complex. The crashes do still occur, though there is no clear pattern anymore. According to various reports, the display driver crash can be triggered as follows:
Here are more issues which seem to be related. More information can be found in other posts of this thread:
Lenovo has released a new "tip" document which provides a link to a new driver. Get it here but be sure to read the instructions!
(Old tips follow below the line. Consider them as obsolete.)
Here are some tips which might make the problem occur less often. I have not tried all of them. Though, A. and B. have improved the situation for me; your mileage may vary.
A. If you do not have to use an external monitor, then switch to Intel graphics for time being.
B. Make some changes to your system:
C. Disable the switchable graphics in the BIOS setup and install modded drivers from ATI (see zilla's post in this thread for instructions).
The last workaround (C.) has been confirmed to work reliably by several users. Though, thereby you use drivers which have not been tested by Lenovo. It's possible (but not very likely) that damage results by doing so. Also, it might be difficult to install a future Lenovo driver which resolves the issues reported here. Finally, you cannot use the power-saving Intel graphics. Thus, you should only use this workaround if you know what you are doing.
The programs can be downloaded from the following locations. Notice that System Update does not always offer you immediately the lastest versions.
- Lenovo support has informed me today (2008-10-24) that they are working on the problem.- changed subject (was: Major troubles with DVI-port and a T400) to reflect new information.
- changed message body to reflect new information
- 2008-11-15: The problems are still present and there is still no ETA for a fix.
- As expected, also R400 models are affected. See below for reports.
- 2008-11-26: Still no word from Lenovo when the problem will be fixed. Added information on (partial) workarounds.
- 2008-12-03: Lenovo updated MIGR-70490. Though, problems persist.
- 2008-12-13: Updated problem description on the basis of new reports.
- 2008-12-16: Updated problem description on the basis of new reports.
- 2009-01-07: Updated problem description on the basis of new reports. Still no word from Lenovo. I called Lenovo's customer service in the Netherlands and was promised to receive a callback. Though, so far they didn't (want to) get back to me.
- 2009-01-08: Updated workaround description on the basis of new reports.
- 2009-01-10: Updated executive summary on the basis of new reports.
- 2009-01-14: Updated problem description on the basis of new reports (movie).
- 2009-01-19: Updated workaround section.
- 2009-01-21: Happy birthday MIGR-70490! It's now 4 months. Updated workaround section. I called Lenovo's customer service in the Netherlands again.
- 2009-01-22: Added section "User opinions"
- 2009-01-23: Updated problem description on the basis of new reports.
- 2009-01-24: Small updates.
- 2009-02-02: Small updates.
- 2009-02-03: Changes to section "Executive summary". Added section "Important information for affected users".
- 2009-02-04: Update to section "Credits".
- 2009-02-19: Update to section "Credits".
- 2009-02-27: Quick update to "Executive summary" and "Workarounds".
- 2009-03-10: Quick updates to section "Executive summary" and "Important information for affected users".
- 2009-03-21: Quick update to "Executive summary"
(Please don't expect that this list is complete. I am not paid to keep it accurate and complete and, actually, I have a life besides writing about Lenovo's problems. )
I have major troubles using a Dell 2709W monitor with my T400.
The notebook is attached to a Advanced Mini Dock to which the monitor is connected via DVI.
The problems are as follows.
A. Activating the external monitor often fails
Steps to reproduce:
1. Attach a Dell 2709W via DVI to an Advanced Mini Dock which is connected to a T40
2. Start Windows and make sure that the T400 is running on the ATI card.
=> Dell monitor enters power saving mode because no signal is coming.
3. In Windows use either the Presentation Director, Windows, or the ATI tools to activate the Dell monitor.
Expected result: The Dell monitor is activated and the Windows desktop is shown on it.
Actual result: It takes 1-3 seconds for the Dell monitor to display something. The monitor shows the Windows desktop for a short period. Then it's black again and the monitor returns to the power saving mode .
Analysis: It seems that the Presentation Director, Windows, or the ATI tools (or more aptly, I guess, the ATI driver) expect a quick response from the DVI-port that a monitor is present. If they do not receive the response, the DVI-port is deactivated again. Since the monitor is too slow to respond and enters the power saving mode too quickly, the monitor can hardly ever be activated.
Suggested change: Change these tools (or the ATI driver) so that they wait longer for a response on the DVI-port.
B. Resuming from monitor sleep causes Windows to fall back to a low resolution if the Dell monitor was activated before
Steps to reproduce:
1. Attach a Dell 2709W via DVI to an Advanced Mini Dock which is connected to a T400
2. Start Windows and make sure that the T400 is running on the ATI card.
3. Select the Energy Star profile
4. Activate the Dell monitor
5. Don't use Windows until the notebook display and the Dell monitor are set to sleep by Windows.
6. Wake up the displays (e.g. by pressing some keys)
Expected result: Both displays are run in the display mode as before.
Actual result: The Dell monitor still sleeps. The notebook displays is run at a lower resolution (I guess 800x600). The Windows login prompt is not visible and it has to be guessed that it is shown. Though the typical Windows login background is visible. If the password is entered, then Windows can be used again. Though, the resolution is still low and the Dell monitor still sleeps.
Analysis: It seems that by sending the Dell monitor to sleep, the monitor deactivates the DVI-interface or enters a low-power interface mode. This seems to disturb some component in Windows (the Presentation Director, Windows, the ATI tools, the ATI driver) in a way that Windows only activates the notebook display when it resumes from "monitor sleep".
Suggested change: Change these tools (or the ATI driver) so that they can cope with the situation that the DVI-interface is deactivated and wait longer for the interface to be in a useable state. Reactivate an external monitor even if it "sleeps very deeply".
Relevant system information
- T400 2767-CTO (T9400, 2x2GB RAM, ATI, WXGA+ LED)
- Advanced Mini Dock
- Vista 32 Business (German) - fully updated
- All Lenovo updates via System Update are installed- Dell 2709W
Solved! Go to Solution.
10-19-2008 02:19 AM - edited 10-23-2008 10:16 AM
This is an update to my previous report.
Sometimes when my computer resumes from standby in a state in which the Dell monitor was attached and active before the notebook going to sleep, the display driver crashes (amdkmdap). Below is the eventlog entry from Windows:
Datum: 19.10.2008 11:12:33
Benutzer: Nicht zutreffend
Anzeigetreiber amdkmdap reagiert nicht mehr und wurde erfolgreich wieder hergestellt.
<Provider Name="Display" />
<TimeCreated SystemTime="2008-10-19T09:12:33.000Z" />
10-20-2008 12:05 AM - edited 10-23-2008 10:17 AM
Yesterday, Windows crashed after amdkmdap several times in a row. The result was an unexpected Windows shutdown followed by a restart.
Errorcode: 0x00000116 (0x84a1d008,0x8dd9e5a6,0x00000000,0x0000000d)
The problem pattern seems to be connected to the ATI drivers. How can I make sure that the relevant people from Lenovo/ATI are informed?
10-22-2008 07:11 AM
I've informed Lenovo support, though I've received until now no reply.
I've also sent error reports to Microsoft through the Vista error report tool. So, ATI/Lenovo should have access to the memory dumps collected by Vista.
Some more info about the config:
- ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3400 series drivers from Lenovo, version: 8.520.4.300
- Problem occurs when Notebook is docked and Dell monitor is attached to the DVI-port on the docking station.
- Dell monitor runs at 1920x1200 (32bit) at 60 Herz.
- Notebook display runs at 1440x900 (32bit) at 60 Herz.
- Windows is configured to extend the windows area.
- amdkmdap-service problem can be trigged quite reliably by sending notebook to sleep and waking it up again.
10-23-2008 06:37 AM
I've called Lenovo support. I've been informed that my support request is not in their system. Nevertheless, I got I reply from firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "<Notification>-OpenPR:Acknowledgement of your support request." (I omitted the tracking number due to privacy reasons.)
Lenovo support has advised me to install the graphic card drivers from ATI. I've done so but the display driver still crashes after Windows resumes from standby when it was running on both displays before it entered standby.
I've installed the following driver: 8-10_vista32_dd_69564.exe
That is the display driver from the Catalyst™ Software Suite Version 8.10. If I understand correctly, this is the same driver as Lenovo lists in the driver matrix
10-23-2008 08:56 AM - edited 02-03-2009 11:53 AM
Lenovo support made me reinstall presentation director to rule out this component as a factor. After the reinstallation, the amdkmdap-problem is still present. Letting Windows go to standby and waking the system up afterwards, is a reliable method in my case to reproduce the problem on condition that an external monitor was active. The problem does not occur if no external monitor is present.
A web search for "amdkmdap", "atikmpag","BSOD" with one of the ThinkPad-series names (like "T400") shows that other persons also have this problem with R400s, T400s, T500s, and W500s:
- My W500
- Bioshock keeps crashing (seems related)
- Vista x64, ATI graphics, dock + external LCD = bluescreens? (a report by a W500 user)
- Standard Laptop mit ein paar Macken (in German)
Some possibly related Non-Lenovo cases:
In the cases in which people observe the "amdkmdap"-problem and describe the circumstances, the use of an external monitor is always a factor. These other reports also indicate that it is likely not an issue with the hardware of my notebook (or then a general problem for many batches of these machine types). For it happens a) on many systems and b) on different kinds of systems.
If others want to contribute to the problem solution, then we should provide Lenovo and ATI a good problem description. So, please add your description.
10-23-2008 10:51 AM
I have that problem to. I buy W500 10 days ago and it was normal until I put it in a dock and connect with 2 external monitors. I get this crach 2 times a day. I cannot see what those craches have in common. I have this setup:
W500 with Vista Ultimate x32
Advanced mini dock station
1 DVI monitor (Lenovo lx22) connected to DVI output
1 analog Samsung 940N monitor on analog output.
10-24-2008 02:20 AM
Lenovo support informed today (2008-10-24) that the amdkmdap-problem is known and that they are working on the problem.
Irritating: Lenovo knows about a problem that is affecting many people and is not informing them while they could do so easily. Thereby, many working hours are wasted.
In my opinion, such behavior is irrational and irresponsible.
10-24-2008 06:26 AM - edited 10-24-2008 07:10 AM
Just to mention something. I get this error twice per day and while I work. So its not related on to standby or something.
Today first time it happen it was after I switch to remote desktop (which was locked due to inactivity).
Second time today was after MSN message popup apper (it never appers at the end )
Well after last blue screen (20 min. ago I got another). Now it started in middle of working (writting) . Its starting to be very frustrating. I called our contry main servis and they even did not hear about this .