Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dell E6420 laptop & Intel HD graphics 3000 vs HP L3065 dual-link DVI 2560x1600 monitor

A couple of years ago, I purchased a very nice HP LP3065 monitor. This is a 30" model, with 2560x1600 resolution. The only connections available are 3 dual-link DVI ports. This ensures that most laptops will not be able to work with it, since they usually have VGA, HDMI or DisplayPort outputs, none of which are compatible with dual-link DVI.

Today, I got a new Dell E6420 laptop at my office, along with a Dell PR02X docking station. The station provides a number of extra ports not found on the laptop, including two DVI ports which have the full number of pins required for dual-link.

I took them both home to try against the LP3065. Unfortunately, I got an enlarged 1280x800 picture. That is 1/4 of the resolution of the monitor. This indicates that the DVI ports is actually operating in single-link mode. I'm not sure if this limitation is due to the laptop or the docking station. I guess when I work at home I will have to use the laptop on the other monitor, a 24" Gateway FP2401, which supports 1920x1200 over single link DVI.

Update : research shows that this is a limitation of the Intel Graphics 3000 chip used in the Dell E6420 laptop. This graphics chip doesn't support dual-link DVI. It is capable of 2560x1600, but only when using DisplayPort, which is not available on the HP L3065.

Unfortunately, since we are talking about a laptop, there is no way to upgrade its graphics chip. The only way would be to switch to a different laptop to something based around a more full-featured nVidia or ATI graphics chip. There may be some USB video card solutions, but I'm not sure any supports dual-link DVI, and if it does, I fear what performance will be like at 2560x1600. Perhaps there will be a suitable USB 3.0 video card capable of dual-link DVI in the future ? But then I would also have to get the USB 3.0 optional module for the laptop in addition. This solution does not exist today, and so at this point it looks like I will not be able to use my 30" monitor at home for anything work related.

Update : I bought this expensive Accell UltraAV B087B-002B DisplayPort/DVI-D Dual-Link Adapter last year, and it worked great.


  1. Have you considered a displayport to dual-link DVI adaptor?

  2. I'm typing this on a E6420 connected to a LP3065 in full 2560x1600 glory. The above poster is correct, I'm using a displayport to Dual Link DVI adaptor, which works fine with the PR02X dock. The adaptor I'm using is an apple one, so i need yet another adaptor to convert it's mini diplayport plug into the normal full size one to work with the dock. However you can get the convertors with the correct plug. Have a look on amazon, they are about $100 unfortunately. Make sure you get the dual link version, it should come with both the displayport connector and a usb connector for extra power. Good luck!

  3. Thanks to the Anons' posts.... I'm on my out way to pick up one of this OBSCENELY expensive adapters. But hooray if it works.

  4. I have E6420 and LP3065 as well, but not the docking. The E6420 has an HDMI-out. Then I guess it will work with an HDMI -> DPort in addition to the obscenely expensive DPort -> DVI-D dual-link?

    Or is there an HDMI -> DVI-D dual-link adapter?

  5. You need HDMI 1.4 to support 2560x1600 . The video card must be 1.4 capable, as well as the drivers. As no HDMI 1.4 monitor currently exists, it is not likely that these will really work. So, I am not sure that the HDMI -> Displayport -> DVI-D dual link will work. If I were you, I would do the safe thing and buy the docking station and the Dport -> DVI-D dual link adapters, as that combo is known to work.

  6. Yes, sounds like the best option then. Thanks for the reply.