Decisions, Decisions, Decisions...

Recently I purchased 2 ASUS PB278Q monitors (2560x1440 resolution w/ max refresh rate @60hz) and am trying to connect them to my Alienware M17 laptop (Intel HD Graphics 4000 card on board along w/ the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M) by HDMI cable while keeping the refresh rate at 60p hz. and Wow, didn't know it would be this difficult! The first issue was that the monitor wouldn't display it's correct resolution (2560x1440), it only had the option for my laptops default resolution (1920x1080). I then found out from this article that I could create a custom resolution and apply it, but NOT at 60p hz. I kept on getting the message "This custom resolution exceeds the maximum bandwidth capacity" (which I'm not really sure what it's referring to, maybe the graphics card?)..so I lowered the refresh rate to 40p hz and got it to display in 2560x1440 (1 monitor)..which is totally unacceptable due to the crappy performance I was seeing... I then did some more research and realized that the cable you use makes all the difference and it's recommended to use the DisplayPort cable since it supports 2560x1440 (which my laptop has the mini displayport so it might be some help).. So I'm sitting here thinking, What in the world are my options?

Should I...

1.) Go through the trouble of ordering a 2-way DisplayPort docking station to connect to my computer through the mini display port? (do they even make those? If so, what's the best?) Would my video card even support such a thing if this was an option? Will 2 display ports hooked into 1 dock that's plugged into my laptop by 1 port be bad?

2.) Considering I made it as far as option 1, would separating these 2 display port cords and hooking 1 into VGA port and 1 into HDMI by an adapter be better? or would it be equal to option 1?

Or should I...

3.) Bite the bullet and return these 2 beautiful monitors and downgrade to two 1920x1080 resolutions?

Whatever option I choose...

1 thing is certain. I need TOP-NOTCH performance. No distorted resolutions, No poor refresh rate. I'm open to options.. If updating my video card is something I need to do, or if I'm able to keep one 2560x1440 monitor alongside a 1920x1080 monitor (keeping performance at maximum), or just getting two 1920x1080 monitors... I'll settle. The only problem is that I'm in the crossroads and I can't find my way.

Can anyone point me in the right direction?

  • Your notebook should have a Mini DisplayPort connector. This is the only option. Although I don’t know if it supports DisplayPort daisy chaining. Update: Well, your monitors don’t, anyway. – Daniel B Apr 30 '14 at 8:38
  • I updated my original post to say that I do have the mini displayport, but you say that my monitors don't support the mini display port? I'm confused on what you're saying my monitors don't do – user319375 Apr 30 '14 at 8:48
  • They don’t support daisy chaining. This is a special feature where you connect the primary display to your PC and then another display to the primary one. This way, multiple (number depending on resolution/bandwidth) displays can be driven by a single output port on your machine. – Daniel B Apr 30 '14 at 8:51
  • If I can get 1 - 27" monitor connected to the mini displayport and 1 - 24" connected by another means i'd be happy – user319375 Apr 30 '14 at 8:52
  • Oh,,, so you're saying theirs no possible way to have 2 displays connected at once even if i go with a lower resolution'd monitor?? – user319375 Apr 30 '14 at 8:54

The error you are reffering to means that your connectors can't handle the amount of graphics data at that rate. 2560x1440 with 32 bits / color means one raw screen picture takes up 14745600 bytes (14,0625 MB). make that 60 times (60 hz), that's 843,75 MB /s, make that two times (two monitors) and it's already at 1687,5 MB/s. that is 13.5 Gigabit per second. Now add the laptop monitor to this - the CABLES you use OR the GPU just can't handle that much data (or output port limit).

IMHO there is nothing wrong with just using 1080p. I would stick with that. I don't know for what purpose you need 2K, but if for gaming: your eyes won't be able to notice the difference.

UPDATE (because of comments)

You can check what resolutions can support the internal monitor on your system by doing the following steps:

  1. Open Intel Graphics and Control panel.

  2. Go to Options and select Information Center under the drop down menu.

  3. Click Save.

By doing this, you will have a document with the supported resolutions by your monitor(s) and so you will know what resolutions and hertz can be used with your system. It is also important to mention that Intel® provides the hardware to the computer manufacturers and they will design and create their systems with their specifications meaning that they can also set limitations such as the supported resolutions. (source)

  • But the display port should be able to, right? – user319375 May 1 '14 at 18:47
  • You have 3 options: Cables, GPU, or port. I'm pretty sure the cables can handle it, and if you are sure the port too, so maybe GPU? – Gizmo May 1 '14 at 18:48
  • I'm a graphic designer/ ui developer so quality and performance are a must have. 1920 x 1080 is VERY noticeable on on these monitors. everything is pixelated which is no good for me in this industry ;) – user319375 May 1 '14 at 21:33
  • and the laptop is top of the line, it should be able to handle this. 32gb of ram, 500gb solid state harddrive, geforce 680m graphics card and on-board intel hd 4000 card, i7 processor – user319375 May 1 '14 at 21:38
  • Do you think this will work @Gizmo? accellcables.com/K088B-003B.html – user319375 May 1 '14 at 23:56

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