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Laptop screen flickers (vertical lines) - what's the cause?

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In most likeliness it is the video adapter that is faulty especially since you were saying that you were gaming with the laptop . Sometimes being that the graphics chip gets very hot, over time the connection of the solder points on the graphics chip come loose and will result in flaky video . Try too see if you press down over where the graphics chip is if you get a good picture , if yes then it can be repaired in some cases by reflowing the gpu or it can be replaced if it is not integrated into the motherboard. Anyways I hope this helps.