I've been struggling with keeping my external monitors driven from the Surface Pro 4 dock to stop cutting out and need some advice.
I've replaced my desktop setup to a Surface Pro 4 i7 16GB + New Surface Dock. But ever since I got this setup, I've been struggling to keep my two monitors connected to my dock from lossing signal. I've tried many different things, but haven't seem to be able to find a long term stable solution. Looking on the web didn't yield me any positive result or any anyone posting similar problem in recent days.
Here's my setup:
- Surface Pro 4 16GB
- New Surface Dock
- Mini Displayport to DVI adapter
- VE247 DVI monitor
- SyncMaster 710T DVI monitor
I don't seem to have any trouble or problem running my monitors off this setup, but after using it for sometime (few minutes to few hours) the external monitors would appears to lose signals and turn off leaving my Surface Pro 4 monitor on. Looking at the device manager or display setting shows my two other monitor, but I'm unable to extend my desktop or get their signal back. The most efficient way to bring them back is to do a power cycle on the dock. Unplugging the dock for 10 second would normally do the trick to bring the monitors back.
If I move the cables or dock a bit it would disconnect the monitor in the same way. Unplugging the monitor cable and reconnecting it back doesn't help bring it back. I always have to do a power cycle on the dock to get my monitors back.
Is kind of strange in the fact that I can leave my computer on or put it in lock screen mode for over night and day and not have any monitor issues. It normally crash or cut out when I put load at it. The kind of load I put it to would be running a YouTube video on one monitor and working with browsers and RemoteDesktop on other screens. Sometime the monitor can crap out without much load as well.
Some of the things I've tried, but didn't help:
1. I've also read power draw from other USB device on the dock can cause monitor issues.
- My dock is connected to an external sound card and USB is fully loaded with keyboard, mouse and hubs.
- I've tried removing all the usb connected device and drive it directly off the surface instead, but this doesn't seem to fix the problem either.
2. I've tried connecting only one monitor, but it doesn't seem to change anything or extend the period before having issue.
3. I've tried running one monitor directly off the surface and the other off the dock.
- The monitor connected directly to the surface never have any issues, but the monitor connected to the dock still craps out.
4. I've fully updated my window and using the dock firmware updater to fully update the dock firmware to the latest.
5. I've read someone had it working by orienting the cable to point vertically.
- I've ran out of idea, so I've tried this too without much success.
6. I've read that the dock's mDP require an active mDP to Dvi adapter.
- Currently I'm using the VicTsing Mini DisplayPort 3-1 adapter I got off Amazon
- After learning that I've tried the Cable Matters Gold Plated Active Mini DisplayPort to DVI but it yield even worst results
I believe the VicTsing isn't an active adapter, but it appears to work for longer period of time. When I switch over to the Cable Matters active adapter it would scamble my video feed after a couple minute or hours and cut off. The VicTsing never scamble the feed, but it would just disconnect my monitors. I think the VicTsing adapter actually work better for a prolonged period of time.
- Having both adapters, I've tried running one monitor off the VicTsing and the other off Cable Matters. The Cable Matter active adapter actually crap out first with the scamble feed.
- I've also retest everything using both adapter and a combination of them.
A lot of people seem to have issue when docking and undocking the device, but I don't really have any issue with regards to that. The monitors works fine after redocking everytime.
I'm not sure if this is a problem with my dock, or adapter or monitor compatibility.
If anyone have two cents to give, I would be much appreciated.
One more thing I've discovery recently, using the Shift + Ctrl + Win + B (restarting graphic driver) will recover my monitors. Sometime it will take two or three restart, but it would reconnect my monitors again. I've gone back to using the VicTsing passive mDP to Dvi adapter.
This brings to the question, is it the video driver that's the problem here? Is it that the SP4 doesn't have enough power to run two monitors under load? Or maybe there's a bug in the graphic driver that crash under certain situations.
Got in contact with Microsoft Online Chat support and we determind it might be a defected unit or a problem with the cable.
So I brought my SP4 and Dock into the Microsoft store the next day to debug the issue. After spending over an hour at the store and testing three different dock and a combination of all the connections I think we identified the problem.
Inititaly we couldn't reproduce my issue with single monitor, until we plug in two monitors. After plugging in two monitors we can disrupt the video and connection by wiggling the cable from SP4 to Dock.
Our initial assessment was a defected unit, so we grab a demo unit from the store and test it. Worked fine with the demo unit, so got my dock replaced with a brand new unit. After hotswapping the demo dock with the brand new unit the problem came back.
Then we hotswap back to the demo unit and the problem until to exist.
After a couple more test we finally identify the possible cause.
The problem is if the external monitors are connected to the dock after the surface has booted up it can cause video glitch or connection glitch. The stable way is to connect all the wires before booting up Surface and it has been running stable since.
This is looks like a software/firmware bug, but that has a real physical element. Is baffling that slighty moving the cable can cause monitors to turn off and glitch out, but this problem can be fix or avoided if boot Surface up with the dock and monitor connected.