How To Run Two 4k Monitors From Your Surface


If you own a Surface Pro 4, there is a good chance you are looking at picking up the Surface dock. The device, which will set you back $199, is not cheap but it does expand the functionality of your Surface quite a bit.

Earlier this week, I ordered two Dell 27in (P2715Q) 4k monitors to use with my  Surface Pro 4. The process to get them up and running was a serious pain in the butt which is why I am writing this piece to hopefully help save you a few hours of time when trying to setup your system.

The Surface dock, which claims that it can support 2 4k displays is technically true, but it can only do so at 30hz. If you have never used a monitor at 30hz, it is an awful experience, everything feels sluggish and it’s about as annoying as watching a YouTube video where the audio is off by ½ a second. But, according to the documentation for the Surface line, you should be able to run two 4k displays at 60hz, which you can, but not through the dock.

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To run two monitors at 60hz with the dock, you must use one port on the Surface dock and the other DisplayPort on the Surface Pro 4. Any other arrangement will not work, it took me a few hours to figure this out as Windows doesn’t provide any helpful information and simply locks the displays to 30hz.

My favorite part of this entire experience is that when I was trying to arrange the monitors in the modern Settings app, the layout was displayed backwards. No matter what I did to arrange the multi-monitor setup, the configuration was backwards. Opening up the older control panel had the proper configuration which allowed me to complete the setup process and get the displays aligned correctly.

Unfortunately, this was not the end of my struggles with the dock as another error in Windows kept popping up.


Plugged into my dock was a Blue Yeti microphone, a USB dongle for my mouse, a webcam and Bose speakers (speakers are self-powered) and this caused the USB controller to run out of resources which kills the dock. To fix this, I have to plug my microphone directly into the Surface and leave one port open on the dock otherwise it becomes overburdened and stops functioning.

My hope was that the dock would create a clean solution for running two monitors and all my peripherals but the end product is less than ideal here. If you are not running 4k displays, the dock works wonderfully but when you get near the edge of high end computing environments, the experience breaks down.

But what about the Surface Book? Well, that device cannot run two 4k displays at 60hz because the dock connector is too large to plug into the book while using the built-in DisplayPort connector.

And for those who are curious, the SP4 handles pushing two 4k displays just fine but when podcasting, it reaches its max capabilities and begins to feel a bit sluggish. Admittedly, that’s quite a bit of stress on the system with its weaker graphics solution but should hopefully give you a decent reference of what the i5 Pro 4 is capable of handling.

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Comments (7)

7 responses to “How To Run Two 4k Monitors From Your Surface”

  1. <p>Hi Brad Sams. Interesting article!</p><p><br></p><p>Do you if this method also works with the Surface Laptop 2? I wonder if I am able to use full specs of my monitors if I connect my first 4k 60Hz monitor to the mini displayport on the SL2 and to other 4k 60Hz monitor on the Surface Dock?</p><p><br></p><p>Regards,</p><p>Zandschuur</p>

  2. <p>Nice article brad, it helped me decide to buy the surface dock and its great.</p><p>What other cool tricks can the dock do for me? Can I run 4k60/4k30/4k30 on three monitors using all the displayports?</p>

  3. <p>Thank you thank you Thank you!!</p><p>This at least partially renewed my sanity. </p><p>I can't believe how crappy the options for MS surface docks are. I have a USB-C dock that would great with laptops — except the surface with the crappy usb – c adapter that won't charge. Now their own dock won't work with the displays. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!</p>

  4. <p>Thanks Brad, Are you in a position to advise if a pair of 2K monitors will work at 60Hz from the dock please?</p><p><br></p><p>Regards</p><p><br></p><p>James</p><p>SP5 + Dock</p>

  5. <p>Hi, with my Surface 4 Pro I only get the option for 60Hz (actually 59) on my only 4k monitor if I connect it directly. Did you do anything to get it on one of the ports of the dock? This is a major flaw of the (premium) dock.</p>

  6. <p>I have 2 Asus PB287Q 4K monitors, one direct to SP4, and one to the Dock. Works fine, but I have never succeeded to get both on 60 Hz. only 30. is there something I am overlooking?</p>

  7. <p>I had two LG 4K displays working with my Surface Book &amp; Surface Dock for 24 months @ 30mhz, until last week when it stopped working. Nothing I've tried has got it working again. Would appreciate any thoughts.</p>

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Brad Sams has more than a decade of writing and publishing experience under his belt including helping to establish new and seasoned publications From breaking news about upcoming Microsoft products to telling the story of how a billion dollar brand was birthed in his book, Beneath a Surface, Brad is a well-rounded journalist who has established himself as a trusted name in the industry.
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