External Display? 1440p or 4k? 24" or 27" ? What would you suggest?

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro 3' started by mteich, Dec 21, 2014.

  1. mteich

    mteich New Member

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    Hello everyone,

    for work I am about to get an i7 surface 3 with Dock. Currently I use an older 24" 1080p HP Display.

    After reading about all the resolution and scaling issues, i was wondering what would be the best external display for the surface 3. I do not understand completely the scaling issues but i guess the surface is set at 125% or 150% scaling. Therefore I thought the best would be a 27" with 4k and the same 150% scaling. But then there are issues with not currently 60hz. I saw some workarounds with unofficial drivers to get it up to 50hz with 4k. Also the 24" 4k Dell Model ist supposed to work in "MST Collage mode" in 60hz, but then other issues.
    Yet on the other side maybe a really good Dell 24" or 27" 1440p display maybe the better solution? But what about scaling settings then?


    What would you suggest would be the best for my office / work environment?

    Thank you!

    Markus
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2014
  2. surfdock

    surfdock Active Member

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    mteich, Check these out if you haven't already:
    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/danchar/arc...with-surface-pro-3-and-lenovo-yoga-3-pro.aspx
    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/danchar/arc...on-with-surface-pro-3-dpi-scaling-tweaks.aspx

    Its hard to find a "best" monitor when ordering from the Internet. Why not visit a store like Best Buy or Dixons and plug the Surface Pro 3 into a bunch of monitors and use them in the store side by side until you find one you like? Make sure to bring some stuff you like to work with on a USB stick like photos or documents or whatever so you can make sure.

    All you'll get on the forums is personal opinions that may not reflect your preference. Here is my opinion. If you don't want to go through all the effort of testing panels, the 2560x1440 27" IPS monitors are pretty much a slam dunk. I had a 4K TN panel that was quite disappointing and went back to lower resolution IPS panel that has far better image quality. For desktop use when your eyes are so far away, all the extra pixels in 4K displays don't really help. For most people getting the better contrast and color clarity of a premium IPS panel is a far better choice. But in today's marketing focus on numbers, everybody wants more pixels. Pixels are easy to sell. Color clarity isn't. Its worth taking the time to ignore all the marketing and just focus on what looks good for your particular application.

    For folks used to working on old laptops and monitors, pretty much any of the latest generation IPS panels will be so much better that it doesn't even matter which brand you choose. The Dell ones are very nice but there are some off-brand ones at lower price points that work well too.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2014
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  3. Jamie Youngblood

    Jamie Youngblood Member

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    I'd go IPS 4k @ 60Hz. I use the 32" Dell, but the 24" or 27" would be great as well (assuming they support the old MST collage mode that the SP3 requires).
     
  4. malberttoo

    malberttoo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Markus, welcome.

    I can't say that there is a "best", although you will find several recommendations on various threads in the forum.

    However I personally would stick with DisplayPort for my choice of connection.
     
  5. mteich

    mteich New Member

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    Thank you!
    Using a 27" 1440p display would mean you would not use any scaling on the external screen right? Also you would have to set the surface 3 to 100% and a custom lower resolution?
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2014
  6. surfdock

    surfdock Active Member

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    Yes, but it depends on whether you have the Surface screen at the same viewing distance as the 27" screen. If you use the SP3 close-up such that you can use the pen and touch, then the default settings of 150% scaling on the SP3 combined with 100% on the 27" works great.

    If you're like me and prefer to have all screens at the same viewing distance and want objects to appear approximately the same size across them, you want 200% on the SP3 and 100% on the 27". See my guide for details on the 200% workaround option.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2014
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  7. rquellet

    rquellet Member

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    I've gone through three different 4k monitors in search of the ideal external monitor for the Surface Pro 3.
    - Samsung U28D590D (28" TN)
    - Asus PB287Q (28" TN)
    - Dell P2715Q (27" IPS)

    Hands down, without any reservation, I recommend the Dell P2715Q. The IPS screen on this monitor is night and day better than the TN screen in the other two. In fact, the P2715Q is the best monitor I've ever used. The P2715Q works with the Display Port output on the Surface Pro 3's dock. The Samsung didn't work at all with the dock's Display Port output.

    There is one caveat though, you'll have to install the latest Intel graphics driver and add a custom resolution to make this monitor work with the Surface Pro 3. There is no "collage mode" option on the 27" Dell 4k, like there is on the 32" Dell.
    Resolution: 3840 x 2160, Refresh: 50Hz, Timing: CVT-RB.
    These settings work well, the Surface Pro 3 is unable to refresh faster than 50Hz at this resolution. Maybe in the future a driver update will allow 4k @ 60Hz.

    The main reason I purchased this monitor was to align the DPI scaling percentage of the Surface Pro 3's screen with the external monitor's DPI scaling percentage. Windows 8.1 is absolutely terrible at handling multiple DPI's on desktop applications, making desktop programs look extremely blurry on either your external monitor or Surface screen depending on which screen is attached when you first log-into Windows. Do yourself a big favor and get a screen that has the same DPI as the Surface's screen. It's made a huge difference for me.

    By default, Windows 8.1 will round down to 150% DPI scaling for the Surface's screen and the 27" 4k monitor. This is too small for my tastes, so I decided to lock my DPI scaling at 175% for the Surface's screen and the external monitor's screen. The actual optimal DPI scaling percentage of the 27" 4K Dell is 170% (163DPI/96DPI - which is very close to 175%).

    TL;DR:
    Buy the Dell P2715Q, because it has an IPS screen and its DPI will solve the "Multiple Monitor DPI Scaling Problem" with Windows 8.1.
     
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  8. surfdock

    surfdock Active Member

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    Yeah the Dell IPS 4K panel is very nice. That or the 2560x1440 are both great choices.
     
  9. mteich

    mteich New Member

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    hmm and 50hz will be OK?
     
  10. B'midbar

    B'midbar Guest

    If you're after full refresh rate and are okay with QHD, the ASUS-PB278Q is 27", 2560x1440 and is an IPS panel.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2014
  11. malberttoo

    malberttoo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Do any of you guys have any experience with a 16:10 monitor that works happily with the SP3?
     
  12. rquellet

    rquellet Member

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    50hz is fine for me so far. I'd prefer 60hz, but it's not working yet. For comparison, I've used 30hz on the older 4k panels and found it unusable. I highly doubt you'd have an issue with 50hz.
     

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