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4 Posts


May 26th, 2021 00:00

Dell inspiron 3501 won't output 4K to External Monitor

I have a 3 month old Inspiron 3501 with an i5 1135G7 processor with the usual intergrated Xe graphics. I have tried to using it with an external 4K monitor but I can't seem to get it to go beyond 1080p.

Both the Intel Graphics Command Centre and the Windows display system only allows up to 1080p at between 48 to 60 Hz only. I can't even set it to 24 or 30Hz.

I'm using a high spec HDMI 2.0 cable which works perfectly well with other computers on this monitor. I know the HDMI port on the 3501 is only 1.4b spec, but it should be able to get to 1440p at 60Hz or 2160p at 30Hz, but I can't seen to go beyond 1080p

PS: the Dell support line has not been very helpful and keep refering to the inbuilt display at 1080p which is therefore a hardware limit to the external resolution. Which of course is a different thing altogether. If this is truly a hardware limitation, then this is a serious flaw in this laptop as almost all TV's and a lot of external monitors now go beyond 1080p.

FYI the sales chat log that I have with the sales person has clearly stated that 4K 30Hz is available on an external monitor via the HDMI 1.4b port

If anyone knows a solution, please help.


14K Posts

May 26th, 2021 05:00

@i0nicBondZz  With a few Inspiron and Vostro models, Dell originally advertised them as supporting HDMI 1.4, but when users found that they could only achieve 1080p, Dell removed all mention of 1080p and posted this KB article indicating that a 1080p max was normal — even though the listed systems launched in 2019. Your model isn’t specifically listed, but I wonder if that’s just an oversight rather than a confirmation that it isn’t affected by the issue described there.

In terms of fixes, it seems the HDMI output is the only video output since that system’s optional USB-C port isn’t indicated as supporting video. Your only workaround at that point would be a USB dongle that relied on “indirect display” technology called DisplayLink — not to be confused with DisplayPort. Plugable is a solid vendor for those if you want to look into them, but DisplayLink comes with some drawbacks that I’ve written about in the post marked as the answer in this thread.

Honestly though, if this issue isn’t fixed after updating your BIOS and drivers, I’d return the system for a different model if at all possible. A laptop that can only run a single external display and only at 1080p is pretty lame here in 2021. And even if you get 4K 30 Hz, the lag of a 30 Hz refresh rate isn’t acceptable to many people.

May 26th, 2021 05:00

Thanks for the info. I have just got confirmation from Dell support that this is indeed the case for the 3501

It is a motherboard limitation and not the HDMI port or the GPU, nor will it be fixed with any bios or driver updates. This should be have been made known to the customers as this is a deal breaker for me. In fact the sales support staff actually stated (via chat) that 4K 30Hz is supported externally.

Well I'm glad to have a 2010 spec laptop in 2021

14K Posts

May 26th, 2021 06:00

@i0nicBondZz  Sorry to hear that. When this first came to light, I thought it was shady that Dell just scrubbed references to HDMI 1.4 from the specs and documentation of affected systems, but since that to me sounded like somebody bungled the design or manufacturing of those systems such that it didn’t perform as intended, I thought that they would certainly fix this for future models. But if Dell Support’s answer is reliable — which can sometimes be a big “if” — then it seems they somehow didn’t fix the issue, but somehow managed to reintroduce the HDMI 1.4 false advertising, as it were.

As for the problem itself — or maybe deliberate design decision at this point — that’s puzzling to me as well. But on the other hand, Dell’s lower-end Inspiron systems sometimes still have 10/100 Ethernet rather than Gigabit, even though their business-oriented Latitude models standardized on Gigabit around 2003.

May 26th, 2021 06:00

The problem isn't that the system is slow or old or whatever, but the lack of information or rather the misinformation that misleads the customer. 

I find it incredible that an 11th Gen Core i5 with the latest Xe graphics and HDMI 1.4 in a 2020 laptop is limited to 1080p external output. If I was aware of this from the website or sales staff I would have avoided this unit. Not only for this limitation, but rather, the possibility (or probability) of other shortcomings.

I know is caveat emptor but  surely any computer geek looking at those specs would expect more than 1080p. 

2 Posts

July 20th, 2021 21:00

This is crazy that my 11th gen Iris Xe Dell Inspiron 3000 can't go above 1080P.  Nothing in HDMI 1.4 prevents it from going above 1080P at lower refresh rates.  HDMI 1.4 supports over 10 Gbps which means it should support 3440x1440 resolution of at least 60 Hz if not 75 Hz.  It should do 2160P at 30 Hz or fake 60 Hz with chroma subsampling.  Even a cheaper $300 AMD based laptop will do this.

14K Posts

July 20th, 2021 22:00

@GeorgeOu  I agree, and I have no idea what the underlying cause of this limitation is or why Dell thought it made sense to release laptops in 2019 and onward that could only support 1080p output.  It's even crazier than the fact that they still release some Inspiron systems with 10/100 Ethernet rather than Gigabit Ethernet.  But the Dell KB article I linked above and the real-world experience of owners of the systems that it lists indicates that that's precisely what happened.

July 20th, 2021 22:00

Since my original complaint to Dell, they have changed the specs on the documentation page to specify that the 3501 will only output 1080p on an external monitor. This info is not on the main selling product page but on the support site under documentation. They've also changed it on a number of other laptops. 

Thankfully they have decided to all a return and refund me the full cost of the laptop. I'd chalked that up as a win despite many hours of hair pulling trying to get it to go beyond 1080p.

Not sure if I would buy Dell again, but I guess at least they have a good return policy.

2 Posts

July 20th, 2021 23:00

Now I'm going to have to sell a 1+ month old laptop used at a loss.

1 Message

December 2nd, 2021 02:00

It looks like it concerns also Inspiron 5515.
It's a shame, especially to not have the information clearly.

It's so unbelievable.

May 4th, 2022 16:00

This is probably too late, but updating from Windows 10 to 11 solved this same 4K output issue for me. After installing Windows 11, my Inspiron 3501 (i3-1115G4 processor) started working with my Samsung U28R55 monitor. I have no idea why this worked, but I'm just happy to have 4K at 60 Hz. Just in case, make sure to select display 2 when changing the display settings. Hopefully, you'll experience the same relief I did when you see that 3840 x 2160 resolution option waiting for you.

1 Rookie


2.3K Posts

May 4th, 2022 18:00

every one look at this, this community user upgraded to 11 which fixed this issue


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