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Having read Jeff Atwood's blog post on Korean 27" IPS LCDs, I've been wondering to what extent these are useful in a notebook + large display situation.

I own a Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E320 with 2nd gen. integrated Intel graphics. According to the spec from Intel, this should support HDMI version 1.4, and, using DisplayPort, resolutions up to 2560x1600. HDMI version 1.4 supports resolutions up to 4096×2160, however, according to c't (German), the HDMI interface used with Intel chips only supports 1920x1200. The same goes for the DVI output - dual-link DVI-D, apparently, is not supported by Intel.

It would appear that my laptop cannot digitally drive this kind of resolution. Now what about other laptops?

According to the article in c't above, AMD's integrated graphics chips have the same limitation as Intel's.

NVIDIA graphics cards, apparently, only offer resolutions up to 1900x1200 over HDMI out of the box, but it's possible, when using Linux at least, to trick the driver into enabling higher resolutions. Is this still true? What's the situation on Windows and OSX?

I found no information on whether discrete AMD chips support ultra-high resolutions over HDMI.

Owners of laptops with (Mini) DisplayPort / Thunderbolt won't have any issues with displays this large, but if you're planning to go for a display with dual-link DVI-D input only (like the Korean ones), you're going to need an adapter, which will set you back something like €70-€100 (since the protocols are incompatible).

The big question mark in this equation is VGA: a lot of laptops have it, and I don't see any reason to think this resolution is not supported by the hardware (an oft-quoted figure appears to be 2048x1536@75Hz, so 2560x1440@60Hz should be possible, right?), but are the drivers likely to cause problems?

Perhaps more critically, you'd need a VGA to dual-link DVI-D adapter that converts analog to digital signals. Do these exist? How good are they? How expensive are they? Is there a performance penalty involved?

Please correct me if I'm wrong on any points.

In summary, what are the requirements on a laptop to drive an external LCD at 2560x1440, in particular one that supports dual-link DVI-D only, and what tools and adapters can be used to lower the bar?

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This is thoughtful and well-written but I'm not really seeing the question here. A lot of speculation, but not really a solid question. I'm not sure this is a good fit for the site as-is, but there's probably a decent question here somewhere. –  Shinrai Aug 9 '12 at 18:22
    
I agree with @Shinrai that this has the potential to be an excellent (and very interesting!) question, but isn't quite there yet. Perhaps you could edit it to make a final question statement of what you're actually trying to achieve? –  nhinkle Aug 9 '12 at 18:23
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On a side note, I'm receiving one of these monitors soon, and will be testing out how well it works with different connectors and adapters. I'll publish my findings on the SU Blog once I've got it all figured out, but it might take a while. –  nhinkle Aug 9 '12 at 18:24
    
I've added an outgoing question. It is quite broad, but my thought when writing this was that it'd be more useful to get the question "Will this monitor work with (insert laptop here)?" answered generically than ask "Will this work with the E320 because I don't think it will". Lots of closely related tangents. –  tjollans Aug 9 '12 at 18:34
    
The outgoing question helps. I'm going to let this one cook for a bit, and if I see nobody's answered it adequately I'll take some time and write something up myself. –  Shinrai Aug 9 '12 at 20:21

2 Answers 2

I am successfully using a Korean 27" IPS display (Crossover 27Q) at 2560x1440@60Hz in Linux over a VGA cable, with an old (GM45) Intel chipset. To my surprise, the hardware can drive the image just fine at that resolution over VGA. The image is relatively sharp, but there are some "ringing" artifacts to the right of hard intensity transitions.

The most surprising thing though is that a second, brand new Belkin VGA cable I bought could not drive the monitor at full resolution. I don't know if it's because the first cable has those ferrous blocks on both ends to cancel RF noise, or if there is a wiring difference between the two cables, or if there is a difference in electrical characteristics of the wires, but the EDID of the monitor can't even be probed, so Linux doesn't know what modes the monitor supports with the Belkin cable, and will only drive it at a much lower resolution by default. I had no idea there was a difference between high-end and low-end cables.

I also tried the display with a Mid-2012 Macbook Pro with Intel HD 4000 graphics. The display only runs at 1920x1200 over both HDMI and DisplayPort-to-DVI with a Dual Link DVI cable. Apparently the chipset and the DisplayLink ports support 2560x1600 for Apple products, but not for third-party products. Probably running Linux or similar with HD 4000 you would have more luck.

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Are you using a VGA to dual-link DVI-D cable? Can you post an image of the cable you say is working, or a link to where you purchased it. I am using Linux as well, I really hope I can find a laptop that is capable of driving this beautiful display. Thanks! –  Aras Oct 24 '12 at 7:38

Ivy Bridge HD 4000 (the most likely used Intel laptop video) is limited to 3 displays. One is required to be a DisplayPort 2560x1600, one at up to 1920x1200 and 3rd one is HDMI.

Normally, HDMI is 3rd port, and it is limited to 1920x1200. So laptops are simply limited. If there is no DisplayPort on laptop (it is always out there on chip, but may be not on the motherboard) then it is end of story.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ivy-bridge-benchmark-core-i7-3770k,3181-3.html

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Thank you, this is helpful. I'm not going to accept this answer (for the moment at least) because it only applies to one specific chipset, not the one in my laptop, and it doesn't address the question of what the VGA output is capable of. –  tjollans Aug 17 '12 at 21:11

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