Dual Monitor w/ MST Hub

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro 3' started by n1nja, Aug 14, 2014.

  1. n1nja

    n1nja New Member

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    I came into the SP3 world after many hours researching to make sure that dual external monitors was a possibility, specifically without using USB-powered "external video cards". However, after following directions that people have posted before I have the below setup, and only one external monitor is being displayed.

    System: Surface Pro 3 i7 / 8GB / 512GB SSD
    Microsoft Surface Docking Station
    2x HP LA2206x Monitors
    StarTech Triple Head DisplayPort 1.2 Multi Monitor MST Hub
    StarTech Mini-DP to DP Adapter cable

    Plugged in like so:

    Docking Station -> Mini-DP to DP Cable -> MST Hub -> Output 1=Monitor #1, Output 2=Monitor #2

    The Surface continues displaying on its screen, and Monitor #1 gets output. Monitor #2 seems like it tries to initialize (I hear the "da-dump" sound from the Surface when it gets plugged in/unplugged) but no video output.

    I have tested the MST Hub on another laptop (HP Elitebook Folio 9470m) and both external monitors display without issue. The only difference between the two setups is the Mini-DP to DP adapter cable is not required/cant be used for the setup on the 9470m, as it has a full DP port on it.

    Any help would be appreciated, thanks!
     
  2. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I read about this some last week... one common comment was to keep the initial connection from SP3 to the hub as short as possible and if possible as a single cable. That said, this all appeared to be hit or miss with product review after product review indicating: worked great, worked but with trouble, to didn't work at all. I decided to hold off till these devices mature.
     
  3. Pawin

    Pawin New Member

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    I can't add anything about the solution as a similar configuration doesn't work on my SP3 unit. The major difference with my setup is my monitors are HDMI/DVI (no Displayport). All monitors were detected by Windows (model numbers showing up) but picture comes up only on the monitor that is connected to port #1. I can only tell what doesn't work and hope we could diagnose the problem from there.


    Surface Pro 3 i7 / 8GB / 512GB SSD
    Microsoft Surface Docking Station
    ASUS ML228H, VE228H
    EVGA 1.2a Compliant Multi-Stream Displayport 200-DP-1301-L1
    Accell B143B-003J UltraAV Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort 1.2 Cable

    Additional accessories that were used in some configurations:
    Cable Matters Gold Plated DisplayPort to HDMI Cable
    TrippLite Displayport to HDMI Cable
    IOGEAR DisplayPort to DVI Cable
    Cable Matters *Active* DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter - Eyefinify Compatible
    HDMI to HDMI cable

    The MST is connected to the docking station via
    Docking Station -> Mini-DP to DP Cable -> MST Hub

    The following configurations did not work
    1. MST Hub -> 2 DP to HDMI cables -> Monitors (tried all port/monitor configurations e.g., monitors connected #1-#2, #1-#3, #2-#3)

    2. MST Hub -> 1 DP to HDMI cable from port #1 -> Monitor 1
    -> 1 Active DP to HDMI cable from port #2 -> Monitor 2 (with some permutations of monitors and ports)

    3. MST Hub -> 1 DP to DVI cable from port #1 -> Monitor 1
    -> 1 Active DP to HDMI adapter from port #2 -> HDMI to HDMI cable -> Monitor 2

    I got the same problem from all of these configurations.

    I also:
    - replaced the Mini-DP to DP cable. I also tried powercycling the Hub.
    - tried power cycling the hub
    - power off the hub, disconnect from docking station, reconnect (with power on), connect one monitor at a time

    One thing I haven't tried is to replace the hub itself. But, frankly, at the moment I think returning the unit and switching back to a DisplayLink USB3.0 to HDMI device I have seems to be a better idea.
     
  4. malberttoo

    malberttoo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome Pawin, and thanks for the info. :cool:
     
  5. surfdock

    surfdock Active Member

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    Pawin, interesting that it works on the HP laptop. That laptop is with Intel HD 4000 graphics and no discrete AMD Radeon or NVIDIA chip, right? I've been investigating MST hub support and it seems to be quite spotty on Intel-based systems with the mini-DP ports.

    Can you please post the following files from your working HP setup with all monitors plugged in?

    - run dxdiag.exe then click "save all info" to generate the full log file
    - from command-line run dispdiag.exe - save the .dat file.

    Then please do the same with everything all hooked up on the Surface Pro 3. If you can, bypass the SP3 docking station and connect directly to the SP3 to eliminate as many variables as possible.


    Are you comfortable opening up the Startech unit and taking a picture of the PCB? We opened up the EVGA unit and found two 1->2 STMicroelectronics chips in cascade configuration. Odd that they are not going with a single chip solution so I'm curious if the Startech one is the same design.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2014
  6. Pawin

    Pawin New Member

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    It's actually n1nja who could get it work with an HP laptop ;)

    Now I'm replacing my EVGA unit with a newer version (from L1 to L2). I'll see if it works with the SP3 when I get it.
     
  7. Pawin

    Pawin New Member

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    Now I can confirm that the replacement unit I got from EVGA, although is an firmware-updated L1 version instead of the L2, can connect to 2 external monitors.

    My setup is as follows

    Surface Pro 3 (i7)
    --> MS SP3 Docking Station
    --> Accell B143B-003J UltraAV Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort 1.2 Cable
    --> EVGA hub 200-DP-1301-L1
    ----> port 1: IOGEAR DisplayPort to DVI Adapter --> DVI cable --> Asus VE228 monitor
    ----> port 2: Cable Matters DisplayPort to HDMI Cable --> Asus ML228 monitor
    ----> port 3: unused

    The hub also works when I plugged directly to the SP3. I use the display driver that comes with the SP3, not from intel website, and have updated everything to the most recent version via Windows Update. I could unplug the hub from the docking, plugged it back in and still have all the monitor configurations recalled (the one you can adjust via "Screen Resolution" in Windows).
     
  8. surfdock

    surfdock Active Member

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  9. Pawin

    Pawin New Member

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    There used to be some references to the L2 version in the US website (particularly in the FAQs section). But somehow those have been removed very recently.

    I have both boxes and, unfortunately, the difference between the one that works and the one that doesn't is the serial number. The working one has about 2,000 units more recent that the bad one, according to the S/N (14425213018021xx). The P/N, UPC, EAN are the same. The reason I know my current unit has an updated firmware is because the EVGA customer service rep told me so.

    I do not know how to check the firmware version of the hub that I have.
     
  10. surfdock

    surfdock Active Member

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    Thanks Pawin. We have the same older version of the box here. Going to do some more research on this firmware issue.
     
  11. agt499

    agt499 Member

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    Hi - I'm not using a hub, but am daisychaining 2 Dell monitors using MST. Among the things I've encountered:
    • Dock connection is definitely less reliable than straight from the SP3, but is now OK for me subject to the following...
    • SP3 seems to be quite fussy on MiniDisplayPort cable quality. After a failure (detected by windows but blank screen) with a generic cable I sourced a Lenovo branded one that is 100% reliable.
    • My monitors have a setting to enable/diable DisplayPort 1.2. In my case was disabled out of the box and needed to be enabled.
    • You can also try the latest display drivers straight from Intel's website. Apart from anything else this installs the Intel HD Graphics control panel which includes a tool for DisplayPort topology which may be useful for troubleshooting.
    • My monitors were detected as 59Hz, and the second/slaved one was periodically flickering and disconnecting. Forcing refresh rate to 60Hz has been much more reliable (for three weeks and counting)
     
  12. surfdock

    surfdock Active Member

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    We confirmed with EVGA that the early hubs have a HW issue that cannot be corrected with firmware updates. You need to RMA the unit by calling: 1-888-881-3842. No word about other vendors like Club3D/Startech, however if they are based on the same chipset, its likely they have the same problem and need to be returned as well.

    We are not certain why the hubs tend to work with the AMD/NVIDIA laptops and not Intel but as far as we can tell, the early hubs are not meeting DisplayPort spec properly in all cases and only worked properly if one monitor was connected to port 1 on the hub.

    Hope this helps.
     

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