Can Surface Pro X power dual 4K external displays?

Surface Pro X
Surface Pro X (Image credit: Windows Central)

Can Surface Pro X power dual 4K external displays?

Best answer: Yes, the Surface Pro X supports dual 4K external displays with up to a 60Hz refresh rate. Depending on the hardware you're using, there are a few solutions to get everything set up properly.ARM-powered Pro: Microsoft Surface Pro X (From $849 at Amazon)4K at 60Hz adapter: Cable Matters 4K USB-C Hub ($60 at Amazon)27-inch 4K display: BenQ PD2700U ($476 at Amazon)Adapter for daisy-chaining: Cable Matters USB-C to DP ($20 at Amazon)

Dual USB-C ports set the Pro X up for the future

The Surface Pro X is a thinner, more portable version from the Pro lineup that's ARM-powered thanks to a custom Microsoft SQ1 processor. For connectivity, it includes two USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 ports, as well as Surface Connect and a Nano-SIM slot for LTE.

As we saw in a Microsoft Mechanics video, the Pro X is capable of powering two 4K displays at a 60Hz refresh rate from one USB-C port, leaving the other open for a hub, dock, or other accessories.

Like the Pro 7 and Laptop 3, driving two 4K displays at a 60Hz refresh rate from a single USB-C port requires some additional hardware. The easiest solution for a one-port output is to add an adapter. While we're still waiting for the release of Plugable's USB-C DisplayPort 1.4 MST adapter announced at CES 2020, you can pick up a Cable Matters USB-C 4K adapter for about $60. It has the right DisplayPort 1.4 Multi-Stream Transport (MST) support to handle dual 4K displays at a 60Hz refresh rate; all you have to do is plug it into the USB-C port on your Pro X and plug your monitors into the adapter.

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

You can also invest in a monitor that natively supports DP 1.4 MST up (through DisplayPort or USB-C) and DP 1.2 or 1.4 down to start a daisy chain. The second monitor only needs to run DP 1.2 or DP 1.4 to connect back to the first display. Unfortunately, monitors that can act as the first in a daisy chain are currently tough to find, especially at a 4K resolution.

A top option is BenQ's PD2700U professional-grade 4K monitor, which goes for about $476. It has plenty of features and accurate color reproduction for design work, but it can also be used for more standard purposes. Bottom line? It's going to look great on your desk.

If you do decide to go this route, note that you will need to invest in a small USB-C to DisplayPort adapter to connect the monitor to your Pro X and get the daisy chain started. Cable Matters has the solution, with an adapter costing about $20.

Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt brings to Windows Central more than eight years of experience writing about laptops, PCs, accessories, games, and beyond. If it runs Windows or in some way complements the hardware, there’s a good chance he knows about it, has written about it, or is already busy testing it.