4k Screen resolution vs 1080p

Using a 4K monitor for work – First impressions

Of late, I’ve been doing an enormous amount of design and documentation work. This has left me sitting at my desk for weeks on end. I’ve had a multi-monitor setup for a while, but I found that even with 2×24″ and a 14″ 1080p screens, I still manage to run out of window space, and spend a lot of time squinting at the smaller laptop screen. This has given me grief with my neck, and to stave of permanent injury, I’ve been looking at investing in more pixels. As my 2015 Q1 schedule shows more of the same, I impulse purchased a Dell UP2414Q monitor. This is to supplement my cheap but good Benq 24″ and not cheap but necessary Samsung TV.

To say the experience so far has not been great is an understatement. The monitor itself is terrific, but trying to run 4k right now is a series of massive fails. Whilst aware of some of these issues before I purchased, I had no idea than in the tail end of 2014 graphics support would still be so crappy.

4K Gripes

So in no particular order, my gripes so far:

  • If you want to run native 4k resolution, your options are either HDMI (limiting you to 30Hz) or Displayport 1.2 connections. No problem, my work laptop has a DP1.2 connector, except:
  • The Pro 2x Dell docking stations don’t support DP1.2. Once you are docked, the connection drops to 4k @ 30Hz
  • If you stop using the docking station and go direct to the laptop you loose a bunch of USB ports, convenience and the ability to run other screens (such as my Benq and Samsung).
  • Whilst you can daisy chain additional screens from a 1.2 enabled monitor, you can only do so with other DP1.2 screens. It seems you can’t connect a screen via DP, and loop out a DP-> HDMI adaptor to another screen. In my current situation, this forces me to abandon one of my screens.
  • Losing a the mouse cursor on a native 4k Screen is a constant annoyance. I’m aware that MacOS has some features that make this better, but they are not in Windows 7 which for the moment, I’m stuck with.
  • For reasons I am unable to fathom, my choices for native resolution are either 3840×2160 or 2048 x 1152 (barely better than 1080p). I was initially offered 2.5k, but after updating to the latest driver (updated nearly 6 months ago), I’ve actually got fewer options.
  • My i7 Haswell laptop with Intel HD4000 graphics REALLY struggles to drive the 4k display, and I’ve found really stability problems with the drivers. This laptop is not underpowered by any stretch, but it’s still not enough to run any of the 4k demo videos that I’ve found.

Buyers Remorse x 4k

So, I’ve got more than a bit of buyers remorse at the moment. Whilst I’m still working on tuning it, the loss of two otherwise perfectly good screens is not an option .

So my next steps are:

  1. I’ve ordered a Pro 3 docking station which includes native DP1.2 support (at the loss of one set of DVI connectors)
  2. See If I can find a better set of drivers from Intel, rather than Dell.
  3. Maybe chop in the Benq for a newer 24″ 1080P with DP

 

 

I’ll update this blog when I get a chance, if and when I make any progress.

 

 

Source Image, Wikimedia commons:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Digital_video_resolutions_(VCD_to_4K).svg

 

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