Jul 17, 2012

Lenovo ThinkPad X230 Tablet - External Monitor (2560 x 1600) Through DisplayPort

Gear: Cooler Master Notepal Ergostand, SIIG USB Mini Multimedia Keyboard, Logitech G700 Gaming Mouse, SteelSeries QcK, Fujitsu Lifebook Digitizer, Bose AE2 Audio Headphones, HP Pavilion DV6T QE, iPod Nano 6G, Dell U3011 Monitor, UltraBase Series 3.

I have been watching some of the search key words regarding the X230T and I noticed that several people want to know if the X230T can handle a 2560 x 1600 resolution external monitor. The answer is yes.

For my tests I got a Dell UltraSharp U3011, which is a 30 inch monitor that has 2560 x 1600 as the native resolution. I like running the X230T in Extended Mode which means that the X230T's screen is active, and has a resolution of 1366 x 768. The total pixel count rendered is 5,145,088.

BTW, the max resolution of VGA is 2048 x 1280, which is a lot less than what DisplayPort is capable. If you want the full resolution you need to use DisplayPort.

For the Dell U3011 to display that resolution it needs to use the DisplaPort. I like using the docking station's port, but you can use the X230T's DisplayPort. No I will not run a test to see if you can use both simultaneously (I don't have another monitor to test it with).

Projection Modes:
  • Press Win + P keys.
    • Disconnect Projector.  (only X230T screen active)
    • Duplicate. (X230T and external monitor mirror each other)
    • Extend. (each screen can have it's own resolution)
    • Projector Only. (only the external monitor is active)

Performance of Extended Mode with native resolutions:
  • Documents - Good.
  • Web browsing - Good.
  • Most programs - Good.
  • Flash video - Varies
    • Some videos when resized to full screen can lag.
      • May also be depended on the wifi/internet speeds.
      • Hulu.com does not run smoothly.
    • Sites that work well:
      • Youtube, Amazon.
  • Native video - Good
  • Graphically intensive - Lags.
    • I demoed the iTunes visualizer and that lags when put in full screen.
    • When the iTunes visualizer is at 1366x768 it does not lag.

DisplayPort Audio
Audio can go through the DisplayPort, your monitor has to support it. The Dell U3011 has audio output, so you can connect your speakers to it.

The DisplayPort audio is taken over by the monitor (at least with the Dell U3011). If you turn off the external monitor the audio will stop. Turn on the external monitor and the audio will come back. If you connect headphones to the X230T's combo jack the audio will NOT be routed automatically to the headphones.

I recommend changing the Default Audio Device to the X230T's native audio device. Because I have the docking station I have a few extra possibilities. If you turn off the external monitor audio will continue to play, and if I connect headphones audio will be automatically routed to the headphones. This is a much better setup.

The Dream Setup
I want a single laptop/tablet that is both mobile and powerful enough to be a desktop computer. The X230T is close to that because of the docking station capabilities. I can have my system mobile and when I'm ready to "work" I simply place it on the docking station, and all of my devices become connected instantly.

The only drawback to the X230T is that it does not have discrete level graphics. Because of this it is not the best 3D gaming system. The X230T can play many intense-less 3D games, but it cannot run intensive 3D games. For this reason I have kept my HP Pavilion DV6T QE. I still play GRAW2 and when playing on the X230T the game crashes.

HP used to make a convertible with discrete level graphics, but they stopped. The system was the (TM2, TM2T, TX2... series). One other company that makes convertible tablets with discrete level graphics is Fujitsu (a version of the T901 had Nvidia graphics, and I believe the T902 will have that). Of course the HP and Fujitsu systems are not as good as the Lenovo on battery life, screen quality, and docking capabilities.

Overall I'm very satisfied with the X230T. I know it has some limitations, and the software is not perfect, but it does a very good job at getting things done. I hope that answered many of your questions. ;)

I cannot get the max/native external resolution!?

To get the max resolution you will have to be in Extend or Projector Only modes. Press the Win + P keys to change the mode.

If you need to modify the resolution:
  • Connect your monitor to the system (either via it's ports or the UltraBase).
  • Minimize all Windows.
  • Right click on the Desktop.
  • Click on Screen Resolution.
  • Select the monitor you want to modify.
  • Under Resolution you can select the desired resolution.

It is likely that in Duplicate/Clone mode you will not get the monitor's max resolution.  In Duplicate the X230T's screen takes precedence, and therefore the external monitor has to adjust to work with the resolution.

Kids, that is how you go from profits to being broke. All that gear is very expensive, so I'm not going to purchase anything new for quite a while. Every post that I create costs money and is only possible because of your support. I disclose earnings on the Money page. Expenses and the "real profits" are not mentioned in there, because it is harder to track, and the first 2 years I managed to lose $X,XXX, so I didn't make any profits until 2012 (which the current balance is about $100). I have enough for web hosting expenses, and that's it.



  1. To get even closer to the "dream setup", you could use an external gpu as described here:


    That way, you'd be able to use it for gaming as well. I very much appreciate your work by the way, it really helped me with my decision which Laptop to buy.

    1. http://www.jessebandersen.com/2010/11/vidock-4-unbox-hardware-setup-software.html

      It could work, but I really hate connecting/disconnecting and dealing with settings. The Intel HD graphics can sometimes cause issues, which I do not want to deal with. If the docking station automatically set everything for me that would be ideal, but it doesn't work like that.

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