09-05-2016 12:02 PM
I've been running into a fairly consistent problem with my Lenovo Thinkpad P70. It has the Quadro M3000m, and the Xeon CPU option which includes the HD530 graphics. I usually run the graphics in Hybrid mode, since I run into driver compatibility problems running it in Discrete Only.
In Hybrid mode, there's some strange behavior. When I use the external HDMI display only, Extended Display, or the internal laptop display only, everything works well. However, when I use "Duplicate Display", it does not work. The laptop display turns on, goes to a very low resolution (1280x720 I believe), and the external display turns off.
When I look in the Intel GPU multi-display settings, it says that there are two displays, the laptop display and "virtual display". When I go into the nVidia multi-display GPU settings, it shows that there are three: The Samsung TV (My external display), the internal display, and 'Analog display', which it shows connected via VGA (which is wrong), and also shows a max resolution of this 'analog display' as 1280x720. In the nVidia screen, it shows that while activating the 'duplicate display' mode, the computer tries to connect to both the internal display and this 'analog display' (which is not correct at all), but if I manually disable the analog display, enable the Samsung TV, and then right-click the Samsung TV and click "Duplicate from Display 1", the duplicate display feature works, and the "analog display" disappears from the list. The thing is, every time I switch back and fourth, this whole process resets, and it's a big pain to manually alter the settings in the nVidia settings every time.
The even more strange thing is, when I uninstall the OEM graphics drivers entirely, reinstall them (The Optimus drivers provided by Lenovo), and restart, the feature works great right after installation. However, the next time I restart, the problem is back to normal.
Does anyone know of why this might be happening, and know of a solution? Thanks!
09-05-2016 12:39 PM
You haven't mentioned the details but I'll assume you're up-to-date with Thunderbolt firmware and P70 BIOS. And I will assume you're using the P70's HDMI connector and an HDMI->HDMI cable to your Samsung TV.
And not that this is necessarily a real "solution" if there's a genuine issue through the P70's HDMI connector (which goes through the Thunderbolt hardware) but have you tried an alternative cabling approach, using miniDP->HDMI cable to go from P70 to the Samsung TV?
Using the proper 2-ended cable the miniDP connector fully supports an HDMI display with video and sound, same as the HDMI->HDMI cable would. But it doesn't use the Thunderbolt hardware and instead goes directly from the graphics chips. Many of the P50/P70 issues using HDMI connectors on the display devices have been avoided when starting from the miniDP connector on the laptop.
Just a thought, that you might try to see if it makes any difference. A miniDP->HDMI cable is inexpensive, and at least worth a try.
To be honest, my exerience is that running "discrete graphics" on my P70 (with M3000M and non-touch 1920x1080 FHD screen) is the SOLUTION to many issues, not to mention that the nVidia graphics will then also be used 100% to support laptop screen as well as external displays. I'm of the opinion that involving Optimus and the onboard Intel graphics causes rather than resolves graphics issues.
I run my P70 with "discrete graphics" set and have never had issues with external displays, including both real monitors (using DVI, DP and HDMI connectors through a proper 2-ended cable starting from miniDP) as well as HDMI TV's (again using proper 2-ended miniDP->HDMI cable). I have on occasion run "clone mode" (i.e. duplicate the two displays) as you're wanting to do, but in normal operation run using either (a) laptop-only when away from home, or (b) external display only which is my typical mode when at home in my office, or (c) extended desktop mode and two live displays when streaming HDTV from HBO/SHO/Netflix through the laptop as monitor #1 to a connected HDTV as monitor #2. I never use Optimus and "hybrid graphics", and never use the HDMI connector on the P70, no matter what second display and mode I'm working with.
09-05-2016 01:12 PM
Thanks for the quick reply!
The BIOS and the Thunderbolt firmware are up to date. I have tried using the Displayport as well, with no change unfortunately. In fact, with the Displayport, I notice that the process "TPONSCR" (The onscreen display drawer, it says), spikes in CPU usage, resulting in 30-40% constant CPU use. HDMI does not seem to cause this.
I'd love to use the discrete GPU only if I could, but I've found that the nVidia drivers are not good for what I do. I use this laptop for pro audio, and any program that uses ASIO experiences audio dropouts, clicks, pops, freezes and crashes while using the nVidia drivers alone, which seems to be remedied by using the integrated GPU for these programs. Newer and older versions of the nVidia drivers do not seem to make it better (older versions are often times much worse, resulting in constant audio interruptions and dropouts). Regarading the audio issues, I spent a few months talking to the manufacturer of the audio programs, audio interface, and nVidia, and it seems that we've narrowed it down to the display drivers being the problem, but there's no clear solution yet. That's another issue altogether of course, but I guess my experiences so far have lended me to believe that the display drivers on this machine are a complete mess if I'm even having problems with the integrated GPU.
I'm considering trying Win10 instead of Win7, since I suspect a laptop that has hardware 11 years newer than the OS it's running might be part of the problem. Do you know, on the off chance, if there have been less reported display driver issues under Windows 10?
09-05-2016 02:58 PM
Sorry, couldn't really tell you about Win10 vs. Win7 as it relates to what might be pertinent to your particular usage, I'm actually a Win7 "production" user for my own needs although I do have Win10 installed as a second boot option on my P70. But my Win10 implementation is essentially a duplicate of my Win7 implementation, so my own experience in Win10 (for as little as I've used it) has also been "problem-free". I couldn't begin to speculate on whether your "pro audio" usage for the nVidia Win10 driver would give you better results than with Win7.
But installing your own Win10 from scratch as a second Boot Manager OS (rather than upgrading your Win7) seems like an easy experiment. The license key for Win10 Pro is already in your machine's UEFI BIOS, so you just need to get a Win10 install media on USB to try it (assuming you can carve out 85GB or less for it from your HDD/SSD). Why not just give it a try?
I don't use the Lenovo-provided Optimus Intel/back-level-nVidia driver package. Instead, I simply use the latest nVidia retail driver to go with my "discrete graphics" setup. Interesting that you've observed no difference in your symptoms when using miniDP rather than HDMI.
But then you're using Pro Audio apps and are clearly getting into driver areas that are unique. Apparently you've worked long and hard on this, including getting vendor and manufacturer support involved (other than Lenovo), and if it really is an nVidia driver issue as you say then certainly you're doing anything wrong.
Have you tried a genuine external monitor rather than a Samsung HDTV?