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kkrathi
SCSI Port
Posts: 50
Registered: ‎07-23-2008
Location: US
Views: 825
Message 1 of 9

P50 display ON plus two external monitors without a dock possible?

Hi all, would really appreciate some help from you all!  I want to connect P50 to two external monitors and have all three displays (p50, monitor 1 and monitor 2) on.  Is that possible without a dock?

Monitor 1 is a 21.5 inch Asus monitor with HDMI, VGA and DVI ports

Monitor 2 is slight ancient 22 inch HP monitor with only VGA and DVI ports

 

My P50 laptop has HDMI, Thunderbolt, and a Mini displayport connector.

 

Can I connect the P50 to the two monitors and have the displays on all of them (including the laptop) be on?  

 

If yes, what do you recommend is the best way to connect them?

SeniorGuru
Posts: 2,222
Registered: ‎06-13-2013
Location: US
Views: 814
Message 2 of 9

Re: P50 display ON plus two external monitors without a dock possible?

First, you haven't mentioned if you have a "discrete graphics" nVidia GPU in your P50. I will assume you do, and I will recommend that you set your BIOS to have Config -> Display -> graphics device set to "discrete graphics".  This will effectively disappear the built-in Intel HD Graphics hardware (from the CPU) which would normally control the laptop screen.  It will instead assign the nVidia GPU to control the laptop screen as well as all externally connected monitors.  You should then download and install the normal latest retail nVidia graphic driver for your Quadro GPU from the nVidia driver download site.

 

Next, you should use both the miniDisplayPort and HDMI connectors on your P50, to connect to the external monitors. You can connect the HDMI port on the laptop to the monitor which has an HDMI source connector, using a regular HDMI-HDMI cable.

 

The second external monitor can be connected to the miniDP connector on the P50, but you will need a proper modestly priced miniDP->DVI cable like this one.

 

That's it. You can use the nVidia Control Panel (installed as part of the normal nVidia driver) to activate all three screens and also to set the desired resolutions on all three screens.

kkrathi
SCSI Port
Posts: 50
Registered: ‎07-23-2008
Location: US
Views: 799
Message 3 of 9

Re: P50 display ON plus two external monitors without a dock possible?

Thank you for your prompt response. A clarification to your question:

 

<First, you haven't mentioned if you have a "discrete graphics" nVidia GPU in your P50. >

 

When I look at the nVidia notification in my windows task bar, it says "Quadro M2000M (inactive)".  I take it that means I have a discrete graphics nvidia gpu but I am not using it.  Is that right?

 

 

SeniorGuru
Posts: 2,222
Registered: ‎06-13-2013
Location: US
Views: 795
Message 4 of 9

Re: P50 display ON plus two external monitors without a dock possible?

You paid for the Quadro M2000M, but you're not really benefitting from it.  By default the BIOS is set fo run graphics in "hybrid graphics" mode, meaning the built-in Intel HD Graphics (from the CPU) controls the laptop screen through the Intel driver.  The nvidia M2000M will be used for all externally connected monitors, and the M2000M GPU will be "kicked into action" to assist on the laptop screen for particular applications that require additional graphics horsepower.

 

The Intel graphics uses less power than the nVidia GPU, and hence you get more battery lifetime for portable mode if you run that way.  But if you're plugged into wall power and are not concerned about how many hours you can run without being plugged in, then there is no reason in the world not to set things in the BIOS to make use of the nVidia GPU 100% for the laptop screen as well as all external monitors.  Worst case if you really do need an extended period of portable operation you can always temporarily go back to "hybrid graphics" to once again temporarily make use of the low-power Intel graphics.  And then go back to "discrete graphics" (i.e. 100% nVidia-only) when you are once again plugged in.

 

So, go into the BIOS.  At boot time when the Lenovo logo appears and you see the "press ENTER to interrupt..." message prompt, press ENTER (perhaps repeatedly) to get the boot interrupt menu and then press F1, or just press F1 right away at that prompt to get into the Setup utility immediately.  Then navigate over to the Config tab, and down to the Display item, and press ENTER.  Then select "discrete graphics" for the graphics device item.  Then F10 (to SAVE and EXIT).

 

You will now be operating in pure nVidia graphics mode, for the laptop screen and external displays as well.  Maximum performance.  I also recommend going to the nVidia driver download site to get and install the latest retail nvidia driver for the Quadro (Notebook) M2000M for Win10 64-bit.

 

Once the nVidia driver is installed, right-click on the desktop to present "nVidia Control Panel" on the popup menu.  You can then configure your (a) multiple displays, and (b) screen resolution on each display.

kkrathi
SCSI Port
Posts: 50
Registered: ‎07-23-2008
Location: US
Views: 787
Message 5 of 9

Re: P50 display ON plus two external monitors without a dock possible?

Thank you.  Before trying that, is there no easier way to switch graphics card?  I ask because I often unplug laptop and go on for easily few hours without power in meetings.  I wouldn't want to restart the computer every time to switch card.  I noticed that in nvidia control panel, under "Manage 3d settings", it gives an option "select the preferred graphics processor for this program" to select nvidia.  Can't I just do that on an ongoing basis?

SeniorGuru
Posts: 2,222
Registered: ‎06-13-2013
Location: US
Views: 777
Message 6 of 9

Re: P50 display ON plus two external monitors without a dock possible?

Theoretically, you don't need to operate in "discrete graphics" mode at all, and you still should be able to control both of your external monitors via the miniDP and HDMI ports on the P50.  You can just keep running the way you are, in "hybrid graphics" mode with the Intel HD graphics in charge of the laptop screen.  The nVidia graphics are ALWAYS designated to handle external displays, even when you have "hybrid graphics" set. The only difference is control of the laptop screen, via either Intel+nVidia (as needed, or under program control through the nvidia 3D settings which theoretically "force" use of the nVidia GPU as you specify) or purely from the nVidia GPU.  That's the only difference between the two different graphics modes. But it is undeniable that graphics performance from the nVidia GPU is superior to that of the Intel GPU, at the expense of more power used.

 

You can experiment for yourself just how much battery lifetime you get in portable mode when running "discrete graphics".  On my P70 I can get more than 1 1/2 hours from my nVidia M3000M GPU running on battery if I have to, with more possible if you turn the brightness down somewhat.  I have, on occasion (say a plane flight) taken the time to go to "hybrid graphics" (which works fine on the laptop screen for normal use, just not as well as nVidia for video and other high-performance needs) so that I could get several hours of use.  Others probably can say they get more.

 

I just can't see why I would ever use the Intel graphics and driver even for just the laptop screen when plugged into the wall when the nVidia GPU and driver is just better.  I run 99.9999% plugged into wall power, so it's a no-brainer for me.  And for the once-every-few-years where I have to run portable for 2-3 hours, I still try to stay in "discrete graphics" mode if I can.  Worst case, I take a minute or two and get into the BIOS to go back to "hybrid graphics" and dim the screen a bit, for this rarest of situations.  I don't consider this an inconvenience.  I'll even take the trouble to find a nearby power socket if I can, if I'm going to be running away from my home desktop environment for many hours at a time, so that I can just still plug into wall power and never be concerned about battery lifetime.

 

Regardless, you can run EITHER way and still control both external monitors using both miniDP and HDMI ports, and the cabling I mentioned originally.

 

P.S. - I may just not be doing something right, but I have been running in "discrete graphics" mode on my W530 since 2013, and on my P70 since 2016, because my experience with what nVidia and Lenovo call "Optimus mode" (i.e. "hybrid graphics") has just never gotten the nVidia GPU to be forced to be used for specific programs and windows as I thought it was going to be used.  Every time I used the nVidia utility to see if it was working or not, even when the program window I thought I had forced it to be used for had focus, it wasn't.  And then I couldn't seem to undo that selection, remove that program from the list, etc.  I just didn't seem to understand how to use these settings to get what I wanted accomplished.

 

In the end I said "why am I wasting my time?" and "why would I ever want to use Intel HD Graphics when I'm plugged into power anyway?".  Just use nVidia 100%, for my laptop screen as well as 100% for all externally connected monitors, HDTV televisions, etc.  I wanted to get my money's worth for the graphics add-on I bought, all the time.  But then battery lifetime is really of ZERO concern to me.

kkrathi
SCSI Port
Posts: 50
Registered: ‎07-23-2008
Location: US
Views: 765
Message 7 of 9

Re: P50 display ON plus two external monitors without a dock possible?

Thank you.  I will try the "auto select" feature on nvidia control panel if it works.  Otherwise, you have kinda convinced me to take the trouble of using exclusively nvidia. Question on nvidia drivers.  You mentioned that I should get it from Nvidia website.  Lenovo support in its updates also has drivers for the nvidia card that is usually combined with the intel drivers.  If I get the separate nvidia driver from a non-lenovo website, would that mess up my system?  I take it that you are probably going to say that it is okay.  But is there something I should specifically take care of to avoid glitches or destroying my graphics cards in some way. I am not too savvy so I am almost scared to download anything from nVidia site without knowing what I am doing.

freddellmeister
Token Ring
Posts: 133
Registered: ‎12-24-2011
Location: AE
Views: 746
Message 8 of 9

Re: P50 display ON plus two external monitors without a dock possible?

Regardless of Nvidia setting:


P50 supports external digital monitor via HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, or Thunderbolt;
and according to psref supports four independent displays;
Max resolution: 3840x2160@60Hz (DisplayPort via Mini DisplayPort cable);
3840x2160@60Hz (Thunderbolt); 3840x2160@30Hz (HDMI).

 

I have sucessfully used a USB-C (TB)  to VGA adapter on the P50 so thunderbolt port works well for VIDEO.

SeniorGuru
Posts: 2,222
Registered: ‎06-13-2013
Location: US
Views: 740
Message 9 of 9

Re: P50 display ON plus two external monitors without a dock possible?


@kkrathi wrote:

Thank you.  I will try the "auto select" feature on nvidia control panel if it works.  Otherwise, you have kinda convinced me to take the trouble of using exclusively nvidia. Question on nvidia drivers.  You mentioned that I should get it from Nvidia website.  Lenovo support in its updates also has drivers for the nvidia card that is usually combined with the intel drivers.  If I get the separate nvidia driver from a non-lenovo website, would that mess up my system?  I take it that you are probably going to say that it is okay.  But is there something I should specifically take care of to avoid glitches or destroying my graphics cards in some way. I am not too savvy so I am almost scared to download anything from nVidia site without knowing what I am doing.


The nVidia driver currently available packaged by Lenovo (along with the Intel driver) is version 391.25.  The package was released in April 2018 and was current from nVidia back in April.  The current retail nVidia Quadro (notebook) driver is 411.81, dated Oct 25 2018.  You don't need to go with the latest nVidia retail driver from nVidia, even if you change from "hybrid graphics" to "discrete graphics".  The back-level older nVidia driver included in their Intel/nVidia package is fine, and will work fine by itself (since there's no need to use the Intel driver if there's effectively no Intel GPU present once you switch to "discrete graphics")i.  It's just back-level compared to what's available right now from nVidia.

 

So if you feel skittish about using a driver on your P50 from a non-Lenovo site, you're not obligated to take my suggestion. I simply say that there really is nothing to fear, and you will not do any damage to your nVidia M2000M simply by using a newer driver now that will almost certainly be available through Lenovo in a few months.  There's nothing to worry about, and no special settings. It is simply the newer driver version that is available right now via nVidia, instead of the same driver available packaged along with an Intel driver through Lenovo in a few months.  And there is probably very little, if anything, different about the somewhat newer version than the older version, which will affect anything you or I do.  I just have faith that it can't be wrong to stay current with nVidia.

 

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