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A few readers asked about using larger hi-resolution monitors with the Lenovo Yoga Pro 3. Given the general lack of info and the nebulous “specifications may vary” statement on the Lenovo website it is understandable that folks were concerned. Who wants to buy a premium laptop without knowing whether it will work with their premium monitor? Well I borrowed a Yoga Pro 3 from a colleague today to test it out with an Asus 4K monitor (PB287Q).
First of all, for those concerned about using this laptop with a 4K monitor, it works out of the box with no issues with a $2 microHDMI->standard HDMI adapter. The only drawback of using a 4K resolution is that the refresh rate is limited to 29Hz/30Hz which for me is a bit sluggish. There is no way around this limitation with any driver tweaks as far as I could tell. The Intel Broadwell Core-M simply does not have the capability of driving a 4K panel faster.
Using the 2560×1440 resolution also defaulted to 29Hz/30Hz, but I was able to get it to sync to 60Hz with some tweaks in the Intel Control panel. Just drop into the Intel control panel by right-clicking on the desktop and selecting “Graphics properties”. After futzing with the awkward UI in this particular version of the Intel driver (whatever shipped with the Yoga) I found the custom mode settings. You need to click the down arrow next to the word “Display” to reveal all the options. Once you select Custom resolutions and click OK to the warnings about possibly blowing up your computer, you’ll get an interface like this:
Note the “CVT-RB” timing option which reduces the overall throughput needed to sync to the panel. Also note that I chose interlaced mode. non-interlaced works just fine too but you can try either.
With the external monitor attached, I found that with the Yoga panel set at native resolution (3200×1800) sometimes the panel would go black or the monitor would go black. I’m not sure if it was my cables or something else since I only had the laptop for 30 minutes or so. I set the Yoga to 1600×900 and didn’t see that behavior but it could have just been a random thing. Also I found that when switching between resolutions via the Intel control panel sometimes it didn’t switch properly. But if I went in the Microsoft display control panel and set the resolution there it worked fine. Could just be a buggy Intel driver. In any case with just a minute or two of tweaks, I had a reliable 2560×1440@60p refresh and it looked great!
Here are a few more screenshots of dxdiag etc. all reporting 60Hz.
Here is the laptop and monitor together. Obviously the 28″ Asus dwarfs the 13″ laptop and the scaling is all wrong between the two monitors, but otherwise it looks OK:
Now to use the more popular 27″ 2560×1440 monitor size (109dpi) with the 13.3″ 3200×1800 (276dpi) laptop screen and have all the sizes match up, you need 100% scaling on the 27″ monitor and 250% scaling on the Lenovo. Unfortunately Windows 8.1 doesn’t do this right. So you can either get Windows 10 for independent monitor scaling, or add the custom resolution of 1280×720 or 1366×768 to the Yoga panel using the custom resolution feature described above. For more info on matching resolutions see the dpi-scaling article. For more info on using multiple monitors see the docking article.
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