Friday 15 March 2019

Microsoft Surface DVI-Adapter problem solved

Mini-DP to DVI adapter problems with Microsoft surface

This problem affects all Microsoft Surface PCs (Surface Pro 4 and newer / Laptop 1+2) using the "brick" type dock rather than the older stands. Our good quality Eizo monitors turned black during work or were not recognized by the Surface PC, when conected with a mini Display Port (MiniDP) to DVI cable or adapter.

Microsoft's recommendations

Microsoft recommends two adapters here on their website. Unfortunately none of these is available inside the EU at the moment. So I ordered the "Cable Matters mDP-to-DVI (model 101022)" directly from the US to try it out.
And sure enough it worked. But I need about 50 of them and would have to get someone to import them to Germany. Too much trouble for my suppliers.

First result:

  • Cable Matters model 101022 works perfectly

More research

I then ordered the other adapter from "gofanco" also directly from Amazon US. That has not arrived yet, but in the meantime, I had a closer look at the specs of the gofanco, specifically the chipset:
  • Chipset: Parade PS171

Use the force!

So if the Cable Matters adapter works, and the gofanco has a PS171 chipset, the next step is to find out what chipset Cable Matters uses. If it is the PS171, too, we have a well founded theory.
Only one way to find out: We cracked the case open carefully to reveal this:
Inside the CableMatters 101022
I needed a microscope to be sure, but this is a PS171 chip. 

Alternatives to Microsoft's recommendation

The DeLOCK mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter 62603 lists the same PS171 chipset on it's spec sheet here. And also shares other buzzwords like "Eyefinity" on the list.

I ordered one and I'll report back when we tried it out.
EDIT 2019-03-27:
We had one user testing the DeLOCK 62603 adapter for over a week without any problems. In the meantime, the gofanco adapter arrived from Amazon US. That one (, being recommended by Microsoft,) also works as expected.


For Microsoft Surface pro (Version 4 and newer) and Surface Laptop (Version 1 and 2)  with the new surface dock, use miniDP to DVI-Adapters with the Parade PS171 chip.