Most Windows laptops can't drive external 4K displays?

hajime

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 23, 2007
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I looked at some high-end Lenovo and HP laptops but they only have HDMI 1.2. As far as I know, we need HDMI 2.0 to drive 4K displays (especially TV). Does that mean most windows laptops can't drive 4K TV at 60Hz? How does it work in Windows' world?
 

hajime

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 23, 2007
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At 60Hz? I am looking for a laptop of less than 2kg (the lighter the better), 8-16GB RAM, 1TB SSD (even better if I can put two SSD in it for triple boots), 14-15" inch screen (no 1080 please, somewhere around UXGA is good, text in 4K is too small for me to read). 10 hours battery life. If possible Nvidia GPU. Any suggestions?
 

benzslrpee

macrumors 6502
Jan 1, 2007
406
26
spent the earlier part of this year shopping for a Windows laptop. your assessment is correct. under $2k the majority of Windows laptop cannot drive 4K @ 60Hz since these machines are spec'ed with older HDMI, display ports, or USB-C with 3.0 capabilities. also this is assuming you are excluding the desktop-replacement type machines from Alienware and other gaming-centric product lines

i ended up with a ThinkPad X1 Yoga 3 (paid slightly north of $2.5k) so i can vouch that it can drive 4k @ 60Hz. from memory, i think the Dell XPS 15 and 13 can do so as well. i was not aware HP now had laptops that fit this criteria but that does open up the choices a bit

from what i read on Lenovo forums, PC OEMs generally start discounting their products in the summer as they prep for new launches in Q3 and Q4 so you may be able to find something in your target price range of $2k

to address your final point on how does 4k work in the Windows world? in one word - painful. i had to get back into the mode of learning what each component of hardware was capable of since many OEMs club these together without much thought. i would find a graphics chips that can do 4k but the ports were the older HDMI and DP, or OEMs advertising USB-C and finding out it is only 3.0 and not the 3.1 / 10gpbs, Thunderbolt 3 but only supports 2 lanes of something or the other versus 4. this is all before you go shopping for monitors and start learning to spot the differences in not only the ports, but faux 10 bit vs. true 10 bit, ads that claim 100% gamut coverage and you realize it is only sRGB not Adobe or P3 etc. then the cables, chargers (thunderbolt vs. 3.1 / PD, QC etc.)

anyway, good luck! this was sort of a random data dump so PM me if you have any specific questions

I looked at some high-end Lenovo and HP laptops but they only have HDMI 1.2. As far as I know, we need HDMI 2.0 to drive 4K displays (especially TV). Does that mean most windows laptops can't drive 4K TV at 60Hz? How does it work in Windows' world?
 

bopajuice

Suspended
Mar 22, 2016
1,571
4,348
Dark side of the moon
I just bought a Razor laptop that supports HDMI 2.0 for less than $1,100 USD. When it arrives I'll connect it to my 4K monitor and let you know what I can display.

spent the earlier part of this year shopping for a Windows laptop. your assessment is correct. under $2k the majority of Windows laptop cannot drive 4K @ 60Hz since these machines are spec'ed with older HDMI, display ports, or USB-C with 3.0 capabilities. also this is assuming you are excluding the desktop-replacement type machines from Alienware and other gaming-centric product lines

i ended up with a ThinkPad X1 Yoga 3 (paid slightly north of $2.5k) so i can vouch that it can drive 4k @ 60Hz. from memory, i think the Dell XPS 15 and 13 can do so as well. i was not aware HP now had laptops that fit this criteria but that does open up the choices a bit

from what i read on Lenovo forums, PC OEMs generally start discounting their products in the summer as they prep for new launches in Q3 and Q4 so you may be able to find something in your target price range of $2k

to address your final point on how does 4k work in the Windows world? in one word - painful. i had to get back into the mode of learning what each component of hardware was capable of since many OEMs club these together without much thought. i would find a graphics chips that can do 4k but the ports were the older HDMI and DP, or OEMs advertising USB-C and finding out it is only 3.0 and not the 3.1 / 10gpbs, Thunderbolt 3 but only supports 2 lanes of something or the other versus 4. this is all before you go shopping for monitors and start learning to spot the differences in not only the ports, but faux 10 bit vs. true 10 bit, ads that claim 100% gamut coverage and you realize it is only sRGB not Adobe or P3 etc. then the cables, chargers (thunderbolt vs. 3.1 / PD, QC etc.)

anyway, good luck! this was sort of a random data dump so PM me if you have any specific questions
I was running a 2015 MacBook Air in Bootcamp. Had OS X and Windows X running and connected to a 4K monitor. The Windows drivers for my Samsung 4K monitor we head and shoulders above what was available on the OS X side. The Windows drivers gave me more control and options, a better picture, and were a lot more stable.
 

hajime

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 23, 2007
6,018
829
spent the earlier part of this year shopping for a Windows laptop. your assessment is correct. under $2k the majority of Windows laptop cannot drive 4K @ 60Hz since these machines are spec'ed with older HDMI, display ports, or USB-C with 3.0 capabilities. also this is assuming you are excluding the desktop-replacement type machines from Alienware and other gaming-centric product lines

i ended up with a ThinkPad X1 Yoga 3 (paid slightly north of $2.5k) so i can vouch that it can drive 4k @ 60Hz. from memory, i think the Dell XPS 15 and 13 can do so as well. i was not aware HP now had laptops that fit this criteria but that does open up the choices a bit

from what i read on Lenovo forums, PC OEMs generally start discounting their products in the summer as they prep for new launches in Q3 and Q4 so you may be able to find something in your target price range of $2k

to address your final point on how does 4k work in the Windows world? in one word - painful. i had to get back into the mode of learning what each component of hardware was capable of since many OEMs club these together without much thought. i would find a graphics chips that can do 4k but the ports were the older HDMI and DP, or OEMs advertising USB-C and finding out it is only 3.0 and not the 3.1 / 10gpbs, Thunderbolt 3 but only supports 2 lanes of something or the other versus 4. this is all before you go shopping for monitors and start learning to spot the differences in not only the ports, but faux 10 bit vs. true 10 bit, ads that claim 100% gamut coverage and you realize it is only sRGB not Adobe or P3 etc. then the cables, chargers (thunderbolt vs. 3.1 / PD, QC etc.)

anyway, good luck! this was sort of a random data dump so PM me if you have any specific questions
Thanks for sharing. Another strange thing is that when I looked at the specs of Winodws PC (I think it was the X1 Carbon 6th generation or the ASUS one), they claimed that the laptops have Thunderbolt 3 port but the speed is 10Gbps rather than 40Gbps on the MBP 2017. How come? Isn't Thunderbolt 3 = 40 Gbps especially on a laptop with only one Thunderbolt 3?
[doublepost=1527436302][/doublepost]
I just bought a Razor laptop that supports HDMI 2.0 for less than $1,100 USD. When it arrives I'll connect it to my 4K monitor and let you know what I can display.



I was running a 2015 MacBook Air in Bootcamp. Had OS X and Windows X running and connected to a 4K monitor. The Windows drivers for my Samsung 4K monitor we head and shoulders above what was available on the OS X side. The Windows drivers gave me more control and options, a better picture, and were a lot more stable.
Thanks. Can I drive 4K at 60Hz or only 30Hz? Please also check if the Razor laptop has heat issue when driving 4K display.
 

benzslrpee

macrumors 6502
Jan 1, 2007
406
26
i think the 2 lanes means data transfer can reach up to 20 gbps max and 4 lanes hits up to 40 gbps. why OEMs use one versus the other is probably a cost vs price thing

from memory i believe the 2018 X1 C and Y3 all have 4 lanes / 40 gbps TB3. i am unfamiliar with Asus offerings so i have no comments there. what i ended up noticing was that any OEM that provides the full TB3 experience will usually call it out specifically in their marketing / ads. if they just mention ‘oh and xyz supports TB3’ then i will take a closer to double check whether it is 20 or 40 gbps

Thanks for sharing. Another strange thing is that when I looked at the specs of Winodws PC (I think it was the X1 Carbon 6th generation or the ASUS one), they claimed that the laptops have Thunderbolt 3 port but the speed is 10Gbps rather than 40Gbps on the MBP 2017. How come? Isn't Thunderbolt 3 = 40 Gbps especially on a laptop with only one Thunderbolt 3?
[doublepost=1527436302][/doublepost]
@bopajuice i am not familiar with Samsung products. i had the 4K UltraFine and am currently using a Viewsonic 2785 (or something). both worked without a hitch on Macs. i had to hunt around for ICC profiles to install on Windows and i am still unsure whether the color space settings are active. i am currently researching why i cannot get HDR options to appear in the settings despite everything in the display chain (monitor, cable, graphics) supports HDR. if you have any ideas i’d greatly appreciate your help

edit to add - i think hdmi 2.0 does 4K/30 and you need hdmi 2.0a or 2.0b to get the full 4K/60. this is from recollection so there’s a good chance i am wrong. that said, i remember skipping hdmi as a input criteria because the spec requirements seemed a bit nebulous and focused on 3.1, TB3, or DP 1.2
 

bopajuice

Suspended
Mar 22, 2016
1,571
4,348
Dark side of the moon
Thanks for sharing. Another strange thing is that when I looked at the specs of Winodws PC (I think it was the X1 Carbon 6th generation or the ASUS one), they claimed that the laptops have Thunderbolt 3 port but the speed is 10Gbps rather than 40Gbps on the MBP 2017. How come? Isn't Thunderbolt 3 = 40 Gbps especially on a laptop with only one Thunderbolt 3?
[doublepost=1527436302][/doublepost]

Thanks. Can I drive 4K at 60Hz or only 30Hz? Please also check if the Razor laptop has heat issue when driving 4K display.
Wiil do. Arrives next week.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,810
33,781
Boston
I was running a 2015 MacBook Air in Bootcamp. Had OS X and Windows X running and connected to a 4K monitor. The Windows drivers for my Samsung 4K monitor we head and shoulders above what was available on the OS X side. The Windows drivers gave me more control and options, a better picture, and were a lot more stable.
I found quite consistently windows drivers to be superior to OS X, and updated regularly. Need a driver from Epson or Canon, good luck, especially if youre printer or scanner is not brand new.

My epson scanner has all sorts of applications/functionalty in windows that makes it a powerful tool, in OS X, epson tells me to use the delivered image scan which is a joke compared to what epson provides for windows.
 
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