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Can a 1920x1080 monitor work with a UHD 4K Laptop

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  • Resolution
  • Monitors
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Last response: in Laptop General Discussion
May 14, 2016 4:14:50 PM

My old work setup was a 1920x1080 resolution laptop with a secondary 1920x1080 LCD monitor connected via HDMI. Everything worked hunky dory.

However, I just upgraded my work laptop to a Dell XPS 15 9550 which has 4K UHD resolution. When I hooked it up to the 1920x1080 monitor, everything looked okay at first, but then i noticed a few things:

  • Some content looked blurry. Strangely enough, the images seem to look okay, but text (ex: website text) looks pretty pixelated. I assume this is a scaling thing where the window is scaled down in resolution to fit on the secondary monitor and then perhaps back up?
  • Some programs (ex: Photoshop) are great on my laptop screen, but when I drag it over to the monitor, it is extremely blown up and has a very small workspace. I haven't messed with the preferences, but I assume if I shrink down the UI, it will be super small on my laptop.


  • Is there something I'm missing or is "them the facts of life" with this setup? To make it more compatible am I going to need to get a 4K monitor? (The cheapest one I've found is about $400.)

    Thanks in advance!
    Kyle
  • More about : 1920x1080 monitor work uhd laptop

    May 14, 2016 4:43:10 PM

    It lists an nvidia card with that model so if you right click on your desktop and select Nvidia control panel, in the Display list is an option to adjust desktop size and position, partway down this list is a dropdown for "Perform scaling on", choose "display" instead of "gpu" with the external display selected at the top and apply.

    Does that fix the issue?
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    May 14, 2016 4:44:54 PM

    What output options do you have between the laptop and monitor? If DisplayPort is available on both, you may get a better picture.
    Any program that has scaled to look ok on the 4K screen is going to look huge on the 1920x1080.
    Type "clear" in the "Search programs and files" field and select "Adjust ClearType text". You may be able to sharpen text here.
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    May 14, 2016 6:17:00 PM

    keliason said:
    My old work setup was a 1920x1080 resolution laptop with a secondary 1920x1080 LCD monitor connected via HDMI. Everything worked hunky dory.

    However, I just upgraded my work laptop to a Dell XPS 15 9550 which has 4K UHD resolution. When I hooked it up to the 1920x1080 monitor, everything looked okay at first, but then i noticed a few things:

    • Some content looked blurry. Strangely enough, the images seem to look okay, but text (ex: website text) looks pretty pixelated. I assume this is a scaling thing where the window is scaled down in resolution to fit on the secondary monitor and then perhaps back up?
    • Some programs (ex: Photoshop) are great on my laptop screen, but when I drag it over to the monitor, it is extremely blown up and has a very small workspace. I haven't messed with the preferences, but I assume if I shrink down the UI, it will be super small on my laptop.


  • Is there something I'm missing or is "them the facts of life" with this setup? To make it more compatible am I going to need to get a 4K monitor? (The cheapest one I've found is about $400.)

    Thanks in advance!
    Kyle


  • I think it's just the effect of going from the DPI of the 4k display to teh way lower DPI of the monitor. Either that, or you have bad DPI setting in windows(display setting>change the size of text etc..
    For the 1080p monitor that slider should be at 100% and no more
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    May 17, 2016 3:11:08 AM

    For the programs that don't appear well after moving them from the 4K screen to the 1080 screen, try temporarily setting your laptop resolution to 1080p. (I promise it will look fine)
    I think those programs are using the default DPI setting, as another has mentioned. If you set the main screen to the same resolution as the external, then Windows will automatically set the relevant settings accordingly. You can then open the program, drag it over, and then set your screen back to 4K. This is probably the "least amount of tinkering" method, you can set all of the options for scaling, DPI, etc, as others have mentioned for a more complex but longer lasting solution.
    Nvidia has a program profile option still right? See if you can set those programs to start by default on the extended display through that, the option used to be there. I'm not sure if it is still, I haven't used it in a while.
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    May 20, 2016 9:06:04 AM

    Hi Starcruiser- thanks for your suggestion. I tried setting the monitor to 1080p before opening Photoshop. It basically made Photoshop look way too big on the laptop (the same problem as on my external monitor). So when I dragged it over to the external monitor, it just looked like it did before.
    Nvidia does have a program called NVIDIA GeForce Experience which sets recommends and sets resolution for games, but not applications. An interesting note is that the Nvidia control panel only allows me to change 3D settings - I think the rest of the settings are handled through the intel driver.

    Starcruiser said:
    For the programs that don't appear well after moving them from the 4K screen to the 1080 screen, try temporarily setting your laptop resolution to 1080p. (I promise it will look fine)
    I think those programs are using the default DPI setting, as another has mentioned. If you set the main screen to the same resolution as the external, then Windows will automatically set the relevant settings accordingly. You can then open the program, drag it over, and then set your screen back to 4K. This is probably the "least amount of tinkering" method, you can set all of the options for scaling, DPI, etc, as others have mentioned for a more complex but longer lasting solution.
    Nvidia has a program profile option still right? See if you can set those programs to start by default on the extended display through that, the option used to be there. I'm not sure if it is still, I haven't used it in a while.


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    May 20, 2016 9:11:01 AM

    Actually, the Nvida control panel only controls the 3d settings. I think the intel control panel is the only way to change scaling, resolution, etc. I wasn't able to find the settings you referred to with the intel control panel.
    oobymach said:
    It lists an nvidia card with that model so if you right click on your desktop and select Nvidia control panel, in the Display list is an option to adjust desktop size and position, partway down this list is a dropdown for "Perform scaling on", choose "display" instead of "gpu" with the external display selected at the top and apply.

    Does that fix the issue?


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    May 20, 2016 9:15:27 AM

    No, unfortunately there's no DisplayPort on either. I am connected via HDMI. The laptop does have a Thunderbolt port, but I don't think that will help.

    As far as the text on the external monitor, it's really the biggest issue. Any text in my web browser is terrible. It's totally readable, but it's pretty pixelated. If I take a screenshot, the image is really small. So clearly the web browser is scaling up, but the text isn't scaling like a vector image. It's more like it's getting zoomed in.

    VincentP said:
    What output options do you have between the laptop and monitor? If DisplayPort is available on both, you may get a better picture.
    Any program that has scaled to look ok on the 4K screen is going to look huge on the 1920x1080.
    Type "clear" in the "Search programs and files" field and select "Adjust ClearType text". You may be able to sharpen text here.


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    May 20, 2016 10:15:56 AM

    keliason said:
    No, unfortunately there's no DisplayPort on either. I am connected via HDMI. The laptop does have a Thunderbolt port, but I don't think that will help.

    As far as the text on the external monitor, it's really the biggest issue. Any text in my web browser is terrible. It's totally readable, but it's pretty pixelated. If I take a screenshot, the image is really small. So clearly the web browser is scaling up, but the text isn't scaling like a vector image. It's more like it's getting zoomed in.

    VincentP said:
    What output options do you have between the laptop and monitor? If DisplayPort is available on both, you may get a better picture.
    Any program that has scaled to look ok on the 4K screen is going to look huge on the 1920x1080.
    Type "clear" in the "Search programs and files" field and select "Adjust ClearType text". You may be able to sharpen text here.




    Have you checked windows's DPI setting like i said in my previus reply?
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    May 20, 2016 10:20:31 AM

    Yes, the size of text, apps, and other items is set to 100% for the external monitor. For the UHD laptop, it's at 250% (which is recommended.)
    Hlsgsz said:


    Have you checked windows's DPI setting like i said in my previus reply?


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    May 20, 2016 10:31:59 AM

    keliason said:
    Yes, the size of text, apps, and other items is set to 100% for the external monitor. For the UHD laptop, it's at 250% (which is recommended.)
    Hlsgsz said:


    Have you checked windows's DPI setting like i said in my previus reply?




    post a PNG screenshot(Win+PrtScr) and look in documents/pictures/screenshots.
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    May 20, 2016 12:29:10 PM

    http://screencast.com/t/NsjEFbfy7ox

    Hlsgsz said:
    keliason said:
    Yes, the size of text, apps, and other items is set to 100% for the external monitor. For the UHD laptop, it's at 250% (which is recommended.)
    Hlsgsz said:


    Have you checked windows's DPI setting like i said in my previus reply?




    post a PNG screenshot(Win+PrtScr) and look in documents/pictures/screenshots.

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    May 21, 2016 3:05:25 AM

    keliason said:
    http://screencast.com/t/NsjEFbfy7ox

    Hlsgsz said:
    keliason said:
    Yes, the size of text, apps, and other items is set to 100% for the external monitor. For the UHD laptop, it's at 250% (which is recommended.)
    Hlsgsz said:


    Have you checked windows's DPI setting like i said in my previus reply?




    post a PNG screenshot(Win+PrtScr) and look in documents/pictures/screenshots.



    I meant one with text that you think is badly displayed...
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    May 27, 2016 1:48:47 PM

    Here's a screenshot:
    http://screencast.com/t/hIUMgqyvUse

    The problem is that this shows a much cleaner image than my monitor. The text in the address bar looks much worse in reality. I think the screenshot is taking a proper sample (before scaling issues). What appears on my screen is different and doesn't show how degraded it is.

    Hlsgsz said:
    keliason said:
    http://screencast.com/t/NsjEFbfy7ox

    Hlsgsz said:
    keliason said:
    Yes, the size of text, apps, and other items is set to 100% for the external monitor. For the UHD laptop, it's at 250% (which is recommended.)
    Hlsgsz said:


    Have you checked windows's DPI setting like i said in my previus reply?




    post a PNG screenshot(Win+PrtScr) and look in documents/pictures/screenshots.



    I meant one with text that you think is badly displayed...


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    December 18, 2016 8:57:55 AM

    How did problem get resolved. I'm experiencing the same issue now with my xps 13
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