David Papp Blog

Is your DVI monitor stuck at 1920 x 1080 but you want to use 2560 x 1440?

I recently acquired a new component for my desk, a 27″ Dell UltraSharp monitor (U2713HM). I was very excited about having more real estate for working and even more excited about being able to run this monitor in portrait mode orientation.

The price was right with one of the famous Dell deals and anticipation was rising with running a 1440 x 2560 resolution!

Upon unpacking the monitor from the box and connecting it to my desktop using a Display Port (DP) cable, I was rewarded with a BLANK SCREEN. How utterly disappointing. I couldn’t figure out why it was not displaying anything at all however my desktop was claiming to have detected the additional monitor (it was replacing a prior 21″).

No worries, I ended up using the DVI cable that was previously connecting to my 21″. I did now receive a video signal however it was all pink and just looked horrible. It was detecting 1440 x 2560 resolution (remember, I am in portrait mode for orientation).

At this point I was starting to wonder if I was shipped a dud. I was not looking forward having to wait again for a replacement and wasting my time going through the return process.

I changed the resolution to 1080 x 1920 and everything worked. Looked great. I couldn’t figure it out. I read through the documentation supplied, tried using their troubleshooting tips, read them the FAQ, searched online.

Finally I figured it out. With enough Googling, I came across someone else who had the same issue and it turns out I was educated on something I wasn’t aware of… single link DVI cables vs dual link DVI cables.

A single link cable is 18-pins and can only go up to 1920 x 1200. Above this resolution you need a 24-pin dual link cable so you can achieve 2560 x 1440.

Thankfully there was a dual link DVI cable in the box, so I swapped it out for the original DVI cable I had and still nothing. Power cycle the monitor and voila! Super beautiful 2560 x 1440 (well 1440 x 2560 for me).

I proceeded to do more troubleshooting now that I had achieved my goal to see why I couldn’t use the Display Port cable as originally intended. Turns out I had to change the input source on the monitor (using the little menu buttons directly on the monitor) to select DP instead of DVI. I am not sure why this didn’t auto detect originally, it would have saved me a whole bunch of time.

Though I guess I ended up learning something new about DVI cables. I was never aware of single link vs dual link. I am sure many people are aware of it. But it is frustrating if you don’t know. They don’t explain this anywhere in the documentation to check the cable. A single link DVI cable plugs right into the dual link connector. It simply is missing 6 of the pins. So even though it fits perfectly and looks identical, there can be subtle differences in these cables.

My hope is that I will have saved someone else some frustration in the future if you happen to run into this. I am super happy to be running 1440 2560 on a 27″ monitor now. I can work on very tall documents and have little to no scrolling. It is a great additional monitor to have on your power system.



2 thoughts on “Is your DVI monitor stuck at 1920 x 1080 but you want to use 2560 x 1440?”

  1. I had heard of Dual-link DVI, but I had no idea what it was used for. It is rather strange that the monitor didn’t auto-detect though, Dell Ultrasharps are known for being really good monitors, so it’s surprising that it didnt’ have that seemingly basic feature.

  2. I might have to wait a few years before I encounter the same problem. People in my country are still mostly using those bulky TVs or small, Chinese monitors and are also still clueless on how to connect stuff to the PC. I’m moving out of the country and will be handling all the “tech” stuff with my significant other so this would help lots!

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