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Thunderbolt cable


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I fail to understand why the Surface Pro has a Mini Display Port instead of just an HDMI. I have read many of other members theories but they seem just that.

That being said does a thunderbolt cable work on the Surface Pro? I plugged mine into my Alienware from my Surface and couldn't get anything. Everything I see is Mini Display Port to VGA or HDMI which is completely confusing to me.

Also does anyone know if or how I can use the Surface Pro as a digitizer drawing pad for my main rig, or even use it as a second screen?

I'm just trying to figure to figure this strange device out.
They decided to go with minidisplay port because it can output to higher resolutions than hdmi.

Right now I have used both a mini display port to VGA adapter and minidisplay port to HDMI adapter and both work flawlessly. I have used it for a projector, screen, and HDTV. You will have to buy these adapters either from Microsoft themselves or find a cheap one on ebay. I got 2 cheap adapters for around 6 dollars each and both work perfectly fine. I think there is nothing confusing about using an adapter.

I have no experience using the surface as a drawing pad but I vaguely recall reading that it is possible. Try searching it up
Mini Displayport is superior to HDMI in use and offers more than a simple video/audio connection. Because it is more versatile it was included on the Surface Pro. Here is a good summary from Dell The Truth About DisplayPort vs. HDMI - Direct2Dell - Direct2Dell - Dell Community.

Thunderbolt is a standard above displayport which incorporates displayport. So Thunderbolt devices can drive displayport devices (backwards compatible) but displayport devices cannot drive Thunderbolt devices. A PC with Thunderbolt will work with a monitor using displayport but a displayport PC will not work with a Thunderbolt monitor. A Thunderbolt cable just by itself will work for displayport and if you get a mini Thunderbolt cable it should also work with the Surface Pro.


You cannot use the Surface Pro as a drawing pad or monitor for another device. You can use it as the primary device and connected to a monitor so that you are using it as a drawing pad or it is using itself for one screen and driving a monitor as a second screen. You cannot use the Surface Pro as strictly an accessory for another device as either a drawing pad or a monitor (it doesn't take input) and frankly that would be somewhat of a waste of what the Surface Pro offers. You are better off getting a second monitor or dedicated digitizer pad for those functions.

It really isn't a strange device. It is just an ultrabook in a tablet form factor and you should just think of it as an ultra book laptop.
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You don't need a converter if you are going to a displayport monitor. This option is pretty standard these days and gives the option of backwards compatibility to other options (HMDI and VGA). They could have used a VGA port and then you could use it with VGA devices without an adapter but not HDMI or displayport. I don't see the point in that. The way it is done allows you to have options while having only one small port on the device.

Aside from that what doesn't take adapters or multiple cables these days? HDMI, mini HDMI, micro HDMI, USB A, USB B, mini usb, micro usb, 32pin to lightning, fire wire to usb, DVI to HDMI, DVI to VGA... No matter how you cut it you will either need multiple cables or adapters to connect various devices. This has been the case for many years.
Save money. DisplayPort is license free, HDMI is not. :)
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Displayport is the higher end technology and not necessarily cheaper (it just doesn't include HDMI licensing fees which are only part of the cost). It is a point of distinction among the Pro and RT as well as higher and lower end devices in general. It supports higher resolutions, multiple monitors (most likely) and is probably not seen as necessary on the RT for its intended purpose. Also it may not be possible for the hardware of the RT to support a displayport option (ARM vs. Intel in the Pro).

The bottom line is that the Pro is a more serious machine and has a displayport which is more advanced than HDMI and the RT is a more casual device and HDMI should be sufficient for getting an occasional video on the TV. There are many reasons MS may have made the choice so it is hard to say and MS is the only one that can really answer this question but whatever their reasons this is the way it is.