The GPD Win 4 is a handheld gaming computer that’s unlike any other available at the moment. With an AMD Ryzen 7 6800U processor, it offers better performance than a Steam Deck at higher power levels, but it’s substantially smaller thanks to a 6 inch FHD display. It also has a physical design that makes it look like a big PS Vita… and a QWERTY keyboard for thumb typing that’s revealed when you slide the display upward.
But once the Win 4 began shipping to reviewers and backers of a crowdfunding campaign, some gamers began to notice that the device would stutter when playing some games at high frame rates. Now there’s a fix for that… but it’s not exactly a simple one.
In a nutshell, the problem occurs because the GPD Win 4, like many handheld gaming PCs with small screens, uses a display that was designed to run natively in portrait orientation rather than landscape.
So GPD implemented a solution that uses an integrated circuit to tell the computer to treat that portrait display as if it were a landscape display, allowing most games to run properly without any modifications (some other game systems would have trouble running older games).
But this solution caused a problem because the portrait-to-landscape translation couldn’t quite keep up with 60 frames per second, meaning that sometimes 1 frame would be displayed for 1/30th of a second instead of 1/60th, causing what looks a bit like a stutter in some games (it apparently affects all games, but it’s most noticeable on games with 2D graphics).
GPD has found a solution, which will hopefully be implemented on units that ship in the future. But folks who want to perform the fix on their won systems will have to reprogram the integrated circuit… which takes a bit of effort and about $20 to $30 in parts.
The Phawx explains the process in a YouTube video, and notes that you don’t need a soldering iron… but you do need to open up the Win 4 and use some tools to flash the updated firmware.
If you don’t want to go through all of those steps, some users say they barely notice the frame rate/stuttering issue at all. And others have found that using a tool like Custom Resolution Utility to set the screen refresh rate to 59.2 Hz, which may make the issue less noticeable.
You may also want to try contacting GPD support and asking the company to perform the fix for you. But you’ll most likely have to pay to ship the system to and from China, so you may end up spending more to do that than you would on purchasing the parts to fix your own device. And that’s assuming GPD is responsive – the company doesn’t have the best reputation for being responsive to international customers.
That’s one of the reasons many gamers have been excited by the entry of companies like Valve and Asus into the handheld gaming PC space: they have a much larger presence in the West than smaller companies like GPD, AYA, and One Netbook and typically offer better customer service and support. But companies like GPD continue to push the boundaries of what a tiny computer can do with unusual form factors like the GPD Win 4 and other devices. So it’s nice to see that when problems like the screen stuttering issue arise, solutions can be found… even if they’re not the most user-friendly.
Too bad the 40/45 Hz refresh rate is also broken. Or at least the CRU mitigation (there’s still stutter but takes longer to show up) is only for 60 Hz.
I’ve read the FW does fix 40/45 Hz though.
NotebookCheck actually covered the stutter/duplicate frame issue in their review. It was before GPD started shipping IGG units.
Too bad GPD ignored NotebookCheck’s findings.
Scanning through the Discord, at least 2 people may have bricked their Win 4’s. Well they could still use it as a desktop PC with a monitor connected…
If this really is GPD’s solution to this, then we’ll probably see more broken devices.
Not everyone is microcontroller engineer for sure. better leave this “fix” to professionals or geeks, someone who actually knows how to program eeprom in a microcontroller.
I love my gpdwin4!