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I am looking for a new laptop, and it will be connected to an external monitor the majority of the time, presumably via HDMI. The monitor has native 1920x1080 resolution.

I'm not really concerned with the resolution of the screen on the laptop, so I'm mostly looking at machines with lower resolution (typically 1366x768) due to cost.

My old laptop was like this, and it was able to output at 1920x1080 (1080p), but is there a way to know that other machines will as well? Is this a function of the graphics card or chipset? My old machine had the normal, low-end onboard "Mobile Intel HD graphics", so does this mean that any machine with that will output at 1080p?

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The manufacturer(s) of the notebooks you're looking at don't provide these specs? –  techie007 Sep 30 '13 at 20:33
    
An Intel-employ told in a forum: "The resolutions available on each video port are limited by the computer manufacturer. I recommend getting in contact with the manufacturer in order to check if the video port supports or not that resolution." –  c0dev Sep 30 '13 at 20:40
    
I always look on newegg and filter by screen resolutions. This filter is for the actual screen resolution and not the external supported resolution. –  kobaltz Sep 30 '13 at 21:03
    
@techie007 - I don't see them anywhere. They have the screen's resolution of course, but I don't see output resolution anywhere. One that I'm considering, for example, is the Toshiba Satellite S50 (or S55), and I've looked at several sites. All I can find on Toshiba's is: "Audio and Video DISPLAY* 15.6" HD TruBrite® LED Backlit Touchscreen Display (1366x768) DISPLAY RESOLUTION 1366x768 (HD), 16:9 aspect ratio, Supports 720p content AUDIO DTS Studio Sound™, Headphone jack (stereo), Microphone jack (mono), harman/kardon® stereo speakers" and "HDMI® output port." –  Jer Sep 30 '13 at 21:49
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The S55 has an HDMI port only, no VGA port. The HDMI spec defines the resolution reqirements: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDMI (I know, Wikipedia is non-authoritative, but it's a fairly readable article.) If it has a VGA port instead of HDMI, you'll need to know the graphics driver/chipset to determine the max resolution supported, since mfrs don't tend to include this detail. –  Debra Oct 1 '13 at 2:35
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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Definitely reading the specs from the manufacturer is the best way. However, I can personally guarantee that any laptop that has an HDMI port will be able to output 1920x1080. Your performance at that resolution will vary depending on the graphics card.

Also, any laptop manufactured in the last several years will be able to output at that resolution, you may not be able to play games at high frame rates on everything but I don't think you'll have a resolution issue.

This isn't a really technical answer but without more technical information (model number, GPU series, HDMI spec, etc) it's hard to give a specific technical answer.

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No, this is helpful. I suspected this was the case (I have a really old, slow netbook that can output at higher than 1080p) but just wanted to be certain. I am a little curious though - take the Toshiba Satellite S50 or S55. Do you know of anywhere I could find the supported output resolutions? Now that I think of it, a full list would be somewhat useful as I do like to use it with a much lower resolution if I'm sitting far away. –  Jer Sep 30 '13 at 21:51
    
Googling around I couldnt see any specific lists, but I checked out the laptops you mentioned and they will be more than powerful enough to power a 1080p monitor, even with pretty good frame rates. It will support dozens of resolutions, you can even download programs to make custom resolutions if you wanted too. Good luck. –  tbenz9 Sep 30 '13 at 22:34
    
Great, thanks. Still curious why it's so hard to find out, but this is definitely good enough for me. –  Jer Sep 30 '13 at 22:47
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You're correct in guessing this is a function of the video card. This gets complicated though . . .

For example, the Toshiba site for the S50 doesn't list much useful info.

It mentions it's got a GeForce GT 740M with Optimus, which implies that it's also got integrated graphics. If you do a bit of digging you can find that the base CPU (Intel® Core™ i3-3227U Processor) has an Intel HD 4000. That laptop also has VGA (which Toshiba seems to refer to as RGB) and an HDMI out.

I mention all this, because depending on the implementation, the GeForce may only work on the VGA port, and not the HDMI. See this question for more details.

In any case, both the HD4000 and the GT 740M will drive 1080P, and the HD4000 will do basic gaming okay.

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