Why can't the Surface Book 2 support dual 4K monitors at 60 Hz?

Why can't the Surface Book 2 support dual 4K monitors?  I find this absolutely baffling!  I have the 2017 Surface Pro that is able to connect to 2 Dell 4K monitors running at 59 Hz, one through the Surface dock and the other via the mini display port on the Surface Pro.  

I purchased the top of the line SB2 and tried to connect the 2nd 4K monitor using the USB-C to mini display port adapter and no cigar.  For a device this expensive this was a huge let down as I was looking forward to having even more display real estate to work with. 

I'm hoping what is this needed to resolve this is either a driver or firmware update. 

Has anyone come across this same issue? 

Thanks,

Jhason

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Hi,

I spent a couple hours on the phone with tech support about this issue. The Surface Book 2 will not even run one 4K monitor at 60 Hz if it's connected to a 1080P monitor at the same time even with the Surface display turned off. With two monitors the 4K is limited to 30 Hz. There was no answer about changing this in the future. I suspect the problem is the machine is designed not to use the 1060 processor as a display adapter. The reason being that any time the 1060 is used it will discharge the battery due to not enough charging current. In other words the power issue needs to be solved before the display issue. Who knows if that will happen?

Best,

Martin

Thanks for reply!  What a shame that Microsoft's flagship and most expensive laptop can't do this but their 2017 Surface Pro device can.  

Thanks,
Jhason

Hi,

I spent a couple hours on the phone with tech support about this issue. The Surface Book 2 will not even run one 4K monitor at 60 Hz if it's connected to a 1080P monitor at the same time even with the Surface display turned off. With two monitors the 4K is limited to 30 Hz. There was no answer about changing this in the future. I suspect the problem is the machine is designed not to use the 1060 processor as a display adapter. The reason being that any time the 1060 is used it will discharge the battery due to not enough charging current. In other words the power issue needs to be solved before the display issue. Who knows if that will happen?

Best,

Martin

I tried the Surface Book 2 with two 4k monitors through a surface dock at a microsoft store.  mostly worked though you cannot get 60hz refresh, 30hz was top.

issues around the cable are very prevalent; any adapter cable (mini dp to HDMI) will not run in 4k, you need a DP port in the monitor and a cable that will match the mini to the monitor without an adapter.  Very difficult to troubleshoot otherwise.  I suspect that is why the USB-C is having issues.

The limitations on what resultion and how many monitors can be used have to do with the graphics adapter.

The Surface book uses the integrated graphics to run the monitors - NOT the graphics card, I could not find a way to have the Gforce graphics card run the monitors.  Not sure what the graphics card does other than speed up a few apps.

some other issues related to the use of the integrated graphics card running high resolution monitors; some apps (Excel for one) lock when a graphics page is displayed.  At 4k resolution this happens, at lower resolution the problem goes away. 

I have tried some other laptops similar in architecture to the Surface; those with additional graphics cards seem to run the monitors from the integrated graphics; all have the same issue.

Only solution I have found is to use a 'gamers' laptop where the graphics card runs the displays, go back to a desktop or be content with 1440x1080.

It is pretty crazy that I can get my 2017 Surface Pro to connect to 2 4K monitors at 60 Hz.
This would suit me fine . Am I correct that a Surface Pro will do 2 4K monitors via the Surface Dock- are there any restrictions or configuration specifics?
I have a few posts on this subject. I haven't tried two 4K monitors but even with a single 4K and an HDTV you will need active adapters for both and the 4K will only run at 30 HZ.  In this regard the Surface Book 2 is disappointing.
The Surface Pro can run 2 4K monitors via the Surface Dock running at 30Hz.  However, I found this unusable for my needs.  I was able to connect 1 monitor to the dock and the other to the Surface running at 60Hz.  This works great.  It is unbelievable that the Surface Book 2 is unable to do this.  This is such a big fail for the Surface team seeing that the Surface Book 2 is suppose to be their flagship product.  I hope that Panos Panay is reading this. 
It seems that a lot of the Surface Book 2 issues are caused by design compromises. In my opinion it's one of the nicest portable PC's but not the best desktop replacement. Hopefully some of the problems will be solved with software or firmware updates.
No.  You will need to have 1 4K monitor connected to the Surface Dock and the other connected to the display port.  
Anyone mess with this after this month's firmware and video drivers updates?
Microsoft Certified Solution Architect

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Last updated November 24, 2020 Views 13,631 Applies to: