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Multi-monitor docking with Surface Pro 3, Pro 4, SurfaceBook, and Lenovo Yoga

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Comments (19)
  1. Yoga 3 Pro on Dell U2713hm at 2560x1440 says:

    Great write up!

    I'm able to drive my Dell 27" at 2560×1440 via an HDMI to DVI dual link cable connected to my Yoga 3 Pro.  I needed a micro hdmi adapter to make the connection and a custom mode addition via the Intel Graphics configuration utility.

    The only issue I've run into is that the Intel utility will only allow me to go to 30 hz on the refresh rate.  Any higher and the utility barks at me about not having enough bandwidth to drive that mode line.

    I may try the docking suggestion. That said, any idea why I can't get above 30 hz?

  2. Danchar4 says:

    @Yoga 3 Pro on Dell U2713hm at 2560×1440

    The HDMI-> "dual link" DVI cable you have is probably just a single link cable even though all 24 pins are present at the DVI end. Note that HDMI has 19 pins and only 3 TDMS data pairs while a dual-link DVI has 6 TDMS data pairs. Unless there are active electronics in the cable, there is no way it is going to pass through a true dual-link DVI signal so that's probably why you're limited to 30Hz. Try connecting directly via micro-HDMI->HDMI.

    Also the older 27" monitors may not fully support HDMI 1.3/1.4 and may limit the resolution to 1920×1080 when using HDMI forcing you to use DisplayPort or dual-link DVI. See if there is a firmware update for the monitor.

    The Intel documentation on the Core M processor with HD Graphics 5300 says that 3 simultaneous monitors are supported natively, however with the Core M 5Y70 processor (Y-series) model there are some bandwidth limitations. I suspect the built-in panel with 3200×1800 resolution already uses up most of the available bandwidth but perhaps if you artificially reduce the built-in panel resolution to 1600×900, then more bandwidth will be available to the external monitor.

    There are some other options to tweak in the Intel custom resolution tool like specifying CVT-RB timing instead of GTF. See this article for options to try on older Intel processors to set 2560×1440@55Hz or 2560×1440@50Hz. Those steps may work for the Broadwell/Core-M processors too:×1440-or-2560×1600-via-HDMI.92840.0.html

    If you get it to work, please post a link to a picture of your setup and I can include it in the article if you like, but I suspect you may not be able to get the proper resolution until you buy one of the DisplayLink solutions.

  3. Yoga 3 Pro on Dell U2713hm at 2560x1440 says:

    Okay, finally back in the saddle from the holidays to try out some of your suggestions.

    dropping the resolution on the built in display did not get me any extra refresh rate, however it had the benefit of normalizing the text/icon/window sizes to something closer to what I have on the Dell display. So now I've got that going for me. Remote Desktop Connection on the Yoga display is now usable.

    Sadly no firmware updates are available for the Dell.  So for now 2560×1440 at 33hz is good enough for the time being.

    I'm due for a new monitor anyway.  There's an Acer 4k monitor that supports higher resolutions through HDMI.  I may give that a ride and see if things work out. I doubt I'll make it to 4k, but even if I can get 2560 with a better refresh rate, it's worth the effort.

    Oh, and here's the pic of the Yoga 3 Pro in action with a 2560 monitor attached:

    Thanks for the tips!  I'll post here if the 4k monitor makes a difference.

  4. KSA Dallas says:

    You mention that with the Yoga 3 Pro "out of the box you can hook up a big monitor (2560×1440@60Hz)".   In the Lenovo Yoga 3 Spec Sheet it says "Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5300 in processor,supports external digital monitor via Micro HDMI Port (1080p support)".  Was your comment a misprint or do you have to do the graphcis card hacks to get the 2560?

    I'm wanting to buy a Yoga 3 to hook up to our 4k TV in conference room…would love to get at least 2560 resolution.  Very complicated!

  5. Danchar4 says:

    KSA Dallas, Yeah 60Hz was a typo. I fixed it to say 50Hz which should be achievable with an HDMI 1.4 compliant monitor and some tweaks to the Intel drivers. Check the post from the forum contributor "Yoga 3 Pro on Dell U2713hm at 2560×1440" above. This user got it working at ~30Hz. Check my suggestions for getting it working at 50Hz by adding custom resolutions with the drivers. 1440p monitors are not terribly popular, so that's probably why Lenovo doesn't mention it. Frankly, I'm disappointed with the spec sheets posted on, they don't really provide the full specs on anything and just gloss over it.

    For a conference room, 2560 vs 1080 vs 4K doesn't matter. Since you'll be seated so far away from the screen, your visual system won't be able to discern the individual pixels anyway. It may look different, but probably not better at the higher resolution. I really wouldn't waste your time trying to get it to work for that application so if you like the Yoga, get it. Its a great convertible laptop.

    People get so caught up with spec sheets and resolution that they forget the most important aspect: does it look good? I blame marketing.

  6. Brett says:

    Hi Dan,

    Thanks so much for putting this together. I have a Yoga 3 14' and am actually experiencing some issues that tech support at Lenovo cannot wrap their head around. This after 3 hours of working with various techs..

    Anyways, my issue is pretty straightforward (or so I thought), I have 2 DVI 24" Dell Monitors and purchased the  Thinkpad USB 3.0 Dock 0A33970 you mention above. The issue is that the picture is far from crisp on both monitors. I have played with various settings on the laptop but the text and overall picture remains washed out/fuzzy.

    I know the issues have to do with the connection to the Yoga as I have another Lenovo Thinkpad that connects to the same dock and with no issues.

    Tech support has claimed a couple of things all of which I think are inaccurate but will await your opinion:

    1) The Yoga 3 can only support monitors with IPS 4K and thats why its fuzzy.

    2) The Yoga 3 will not support the dock (though they were the ones that told me to purchase it!)

    3) The Yoga 3 will need to connect to external monitors via the micro usb port but they are unsure as to how to split the connection to accommodate two external monitors.

    As background, my Yoga 3 is 14" I7 chip, with 8gb ram, and windows 8.1. Please let me know if I can provide anything else and thanks so much for your help!!!

  7. Danchar4 says:


    I believe the fuzzy display is a side effect of dpi-scaling that is apparent in some applications and is well-documented on other forums. But I think there are some options for you. Check out the Surface Pro article:…/high-dpi-multi-mon-with-surface-pro-3-dpi-scaling-tweaks.aspx

    If you buy into my approach there, you can easily do the same thing on the Lenovo Yoga to workaround your problem. Basically you need to set the external monitor as the "primary" monitor and instead of using software DPI-scaling to match all the monitors, just drop the effective resolution of the Lenovo built-in screen when it is docked so that it matches the external monitors.

    Your built-in screen is ~262DPI while your 24" 1080p screens are ~92DPI. You probably want to set the Lenovo display to 250% or thereabouts (1280×720 or 1366×768) to match up with the external screens as close as possible. Then choose 100% dpi-scaling across all displays. If you follow the guidance in the Surface Pro article, when you undock, your screen will magically revert to full 3200×1800 resolution so you get the best of both worlds.

    All three points from tech support are inaccurate. The Yoga 3 supports many different monitors, not just IPS 4K. A 4K monitor is more likely to have a DPI that is close to the Yoga screen and therefore less likely to have scaling issues, but just getting a 4K monitor doesn't automatically solve the issue. The Yoga 3 will indeed support the USB docks just fine. Connecting via the microHDMI port only allows one monitor not two.

    Thanks for posting and let us know how it goes.

  8. Danchar4 says:

    Update – Got a loaner Yoga Pro 3 working with 2560×1440 @60Hz with Intel custom resolutions and CVT-RB setting:×1440-60hz-and-higher.aspx

  9. Danchar4 says:

    Added links to a few products that include both an MST hub and USB hub/Ethernet:…/y-cabled-docking-station.html…/ultraav-mini-displayport-y-cable-docking-station

    Could be a good option!

  10. Monitor Challenged says:

    I apologize in advance –  I am pretty clueless about monitors, so please excuse any stupid questions.

    On my current ASUS I have a DisplayLink docking station, a Targus ACP71USz. The Targus site says it has DVI-I and HDMI 1.4 with 6-channel (5.1) audio 2048×1152@60Hz external monitor ports.

    Then I have two Dell  P2411Hb monitors. They do VGA and DVI. 1920 x 1080 resolution, plus full-screen support for lower resolutions.

    I have monitor1 plugged direct DVI into DVI, and monitor2 is DVI with an HDMI adapter. Works great except the ASUS is having all sorts of power/battery issues, so they got me a new Surface 3, which I can't wait to use – except I can't live without my multiple monitors.

    They also bought me a Surface docking station. I don't really care which one I use, as long as I still end up with 3 monitors.  (I keep the ASUS open, so I have three monitors when I'm docked.)  Whichever dock I don't use will go in the storage closet for someone else.

    I don't know that I care much about the resolution, and I've never fiddled with the refresh rate since it's never bothered me. I'm pretty nearsighted and old enough that even my near vision needs cheater glasses. I have my current monitors set for 1920×1080. I tend to use the OS magnification to boost up to 125%. I'm not trying to do any gaming or video intensive work so throughput probably isn't an issue for me.

    I can easily request new cables or hubs, if my Targus will work with my Dell monitors by just buying something inexpensive.

    I checked the Dell site and it says my P2411Hbs are not supported with Windows 10, so I have leverage to get new monitors if I need to. But if I get new monitors, or even grab some used monitors from a storage closet, I need to know what to look for so it will work. And appropriate cables.

    Can you make a recommendation?

  11. Danchar4 says:

    @monitor challenged

    Here are two approaches that will work with your current hardware with no need to search for new cables or anything:

    1. Surface Tablet -> Surface Dock -> Targus

     -> HDMI Monitor #1

     -> DVI Monitor #2

    This is easy to dock and hookup. Just plug the USB cable from the Targus to the back of the Surface dock and forget about it. Your monitors will still plug into the Targus. You'll be using more hardware than absolutely necessary, but it will work fine.

    2. Surface Tablet -> Targus

     -> HDMI Monitor #1

     -> DVI Monitor #2

    This has fewer devices and cable clutter than option #1, but you will need to manually plug in the USB and power to the Surface tablet just like on your old Asus laptop instead of using the more convenient Surface dock.

    Other approaches will require different hardware:

    3. Surface Tablet -> Surface Dock -> miniDP MST hub

     -> miniDP-HDMI adapter -> Monitor #1

     -> miniDP -> DVI adapter -> Monitor #2


    4. Surface Tablet -> Surface Dock

     -> miniDP-HDMI adapter -> Monitor #1

     -> USB DisplayLink dongle DVI -> Monitor #2

    Given that you can get your workstation setup with the devices and cables you already have, I don’t think its worthwhile buying more stuff. But if someone else really wanted to use your Targus dock, you could certainly try one of these options.

    BTW your monitors *are* supported in Win10. Pretty much any monitor will work fine if it has the right connector for your PC. Vendors probably don't bother updating their websites for older products.

  12. Monitor Challenged says:

    THIS IS SO AWESOME! I did #1 as suggested above and just plugged the Targus into the Surface docking station. I moved the network cable from the Targus to the Surface doc, and the webcam and the USB hub, but left the monitors on the Targus, It took a while to get the Display Link driver installed, but it worked! It's a lot on my desktop, but I have plenty of space back there I'm not using.

    Thank you.  I didn't realize it could be that easy!

  13. Doug says:

    Is anyone able to drive two external monitors on A Surface3 Pro under Windows 10?  I was able to do this under Windows 8.1, but it stopped working under Windows 10.  I have tried all sorts of things  – clean Win10 install, DisplayPort Hub, second USB Graphics adapter.  No matter what I try, I can only get one external monitor to work.  Frustrating.  Its pretty bad when my home-made desktop runs Win10 just fine, but a Microsoft machine has compatibility issues…

  14. Danchar4 says:

    Doug, yes we run SP3 with multiple monitors all the time here at Microsoft. Please head on over to…/surface and post your question there with details about your config and the support folks will help. I recommend connecting all your devices and then running dxdiag.exe and saving the log file. Also run dispdiag.exe from the command-prompt and save that log too. These two logs may help the support staff identify the problem you're having. If you're near a Microsoft store, you could bring your cables/adapters in and have the store team try to get it to work with their monitors.

    Hope you get it working. Windows 10 with multi-mon is great!

  15. Anthony says:

    Win 10 – Lenovo X1 – Lenovo Thinkpad  Hub 3.0 ->  up to 3 external monitors

    Please note that you can have up to 3 external monitors + Lenovo X1 screen working all without issue!

    -> 2 external monitors through the Hub 3.0 using the 2 DVI interface

    -> 1 external monitor through Lenovo X1 mini display port connector

    ->  1 monitor of the Lenovo X1

    You would need to buy

    – 1 adapter: mini display port to DVI (white over molding) (not the VGA who has the blue over molded plastic)

    – DVI to DVI cable (to connect the monitor to the above adapter)

    – Lenovo Thinkpad  Hub 3.0

    Please note that Lenovo has several different Hubs on the market till now (Feb 2016).

    Not all of them have 2 DVI outputs.…/s-l1000.jpg…/thinkpad_usb3.0_dock_0A33971_3.jpg

    Hope this helps

  16. Mark says:

    I have a Lenovo Yoga Pro 3 with a ThinkPad USB 3.0 dock connected to two Dell P2412H monitors via the DVI ports on the back of the dock. I use all three monitors (Yoga display plus two external Dells) at one time. All three monitors are set to the “recommended” resolutions (Yoga is 3200×1800 and the two Dells are both 1980×1080). The problem I am having is performance on my external monitors for everyday word processing and spreadsheets. When I am using Word or Excel on the external monitors, the mouse drags, the typing lags (i.e. it is 5-7 characters behind what I am typing), scrolling is painfully slow, etc. I can move the same document to my Yoga monitor without closing (just drag and drop) and the performance issues go away.

    Before you ask, all of my drivers are updated, Lenovo tech support is helpless, and I am about to throw away this computer and get a new one. Was hoping someone here had an idea to solve this.

    Thank you,

    1. Danchar4 says:

      Hi Mark,

      Please follow-up with the DisplayLink folks for support:

      DisplayLink makes the chipset inside your dock.

      DisplayLink is MUCH better than Lenovo tech support. If you haven’t downloaded the latest driver directly from the DisplayLink site, do that first. It is typically newer than the Lenovo/HP/Dell drivers. You can also join their forum and post log files using their troubleshooter tool. I bet they can help you get to the bottom of it.

  17. Luis says:

    Hi Dan, I just bought a Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro and I want to add a Docking Station. I was ready to buy the Thinkpad USB 3.0 but people at Lenovo Tech Support keep telling me that they aren’t compatible. Are they right? If so, what Docking Station should I use? I tought of using the Plugable UD3900, but to my knowledge, it does not allow me to see the two additional monitors if my Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro is closed.

    What I want is a Docking Station that will allow me to close up my laptop and work directly on the two monitors.


    1. Danchar4 says:

      Luis, either of those DisplayLink-based docks will work with your Yoga Pro 3. There is no requirement to have the laptop lid up or down with either dock. Just set your power settings in Windows appropriately. If you have any questions about the Plugable one, ask the folks at Plugable. Their support staff are the best in the business IMHO,

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