Games appear overly bright, washed out on Dell Studio notebook computer

If you recently purchased a Dell Studio notebook, you may have noticed that games like Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead, Unreal Tournament 3, and other graphics-intensive games appear overly bright, faded, and washed out on default brightness settings.


There are steps you can take to alleviate, if not entirely eliminate, poor in-game image quality issues produced by the Studio’s default settings:

  1. Turn down in-game brightness settings. Brightness controls differ for each game, but are usually located under an Options or Settings menu.
  2. Set your monitor’s brightness to two-thirds power (10 steps up from the lowest brightness settings). Use the Fn+Up and Fn+Down key combinations to adjust your brightness.
  3. If your computer features an ATI video card:
  • Download the latest drivers for the desktop equivalent of your card directly from the ATI web site. For example, if your notebook features an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650, download the drivers for the ATI Radeon HD 3650.
  • Download and run the Mobility Modder tool from DriverHeaven on the downloaded drivers.
  • Install the modified drivers.

I hope these steps help alleviate confusion for new Dell Studio owners. Dell provides no documentation on image quality issues, ships Studio notebooks with screens set to full brightness, and hosts outdated drivers for video cards on their support web site.

Thanks to my friends who recommended Mobility Modder.

No thanks to Dell, who last updated their drivers for the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650 on Jan. 14, 2009. ATI released version 9.3 of their Catalyst Suite, which includes drivers for many ATI video cards, on March 18, 2009. Upgrading from stock drivers provided by Dell to drivers modified using Mobility Modder made a visibly significant difference in game image quality.

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