Investigating Issues With Certain Intel Graphics Driver Versions, Windows 10, and DisplayLink
Bob Boerner | February 10, 2020
Plugable has received recent reports of mouse or keyboard inputs being delayed (also described as ‘lagging’) or the entire image within a display momentarily freezing while using a DisplayLink-based product such as our UD-3900 docking station with a Windows 10 system.
For the customers we have helped that reported this behavior, we have found the cause to be an out of date Intel graphics driver. Updating the Intel graphics driver with the latest version published by the laptop manufacturer or from Intel directly resolved the problem.
In the course of helping our customers, we often observe trends that help us identify solutions. Over the past two months we have noticed a trend in a small portion of our customer’s systems running Windows 10 that have an internal Intel graphics adapter while using a DisplayLink-based product such as our UD-3900 docking station.
Important—The information presented below does not apply to all cases. We wanted to share our findings for the benefit of others, as well as to highlight some best practices when using our DisplayLink products.
In the cases reported to us, customers would describe a delay of approximately 5 to 10 seconds between physically moving the mouse and the position of the mouse pointer on-screen reflecting the change, or a keypress on a keyboard being reflected within an application.
In other cases, customers would describe that the entire image within the display would ‘freeze’ momentarily, and then return to normal after a few seconds.
Using our PlugDebug diagnostic utility, we started to notice a pattern. Almost all of the systems were made by Dell or HP. The systems were relatively new models that contained Intel ‘Ice Lake’ processors (CPUs) with either integrated Intel Iris Plus graphics adapters or Intel UHD graphics adapters.
The Intel graphics driver versions we recorded that resulted in the problem behavior were:
"Problem" Driver Versions
After updating the Intel graphics driver to one of versions listed below, the problem behavior stopped and the issue was resolved:
"Solution" Driver Versions
Important—It is important to note that each specific problem case is different, and that the solution described above will not apply to all instances (even those with similar behavior). It is for this reason that we have not provided direct download links to the driver versions listed above.
For general reference, here are links to the major Windows laptop manufacturer’s support pages:
We wanted to post this information to highlight the symbiotic relationship between a DisplayLink-based product and the drivers for the host system’s internal graphics adapter in order to encourage best practices when troubleshooting problems.
In brief, our DisplayLink-based products are ‘virtual’ graphics adapters that rely on the host system’s CPU and internal physical graphics adapter to generate the image shown on the attached displays. In some instances, it is the driver for the physical graphics adapter (and not the DisplayLink device) that can cause problems.
As a result, when unexpected behavior occurs the best practice is to update to the latest version we recommend of the DisplayLink driver and at the same time ensure that the latest version of the host system’s internal graphics adapter driver is installed.
Our recommendation for updating a system’s internal graphics adapter driver is to access the original laptop manufacturer’s website in order to download the latest version of the graphics driver that the laptop manufacturer recommends for a specific system.
This is important for two reasons. The first is that a laptop manufacturer may not provide technical support for a system that is not using the specific driver versions they recommend.
The second is that in some cases a laptop manufacturer may have ‘customized’ in some way the graphics adapter driver that was installed on the system from the factory.
As a result, a ‘generic’ graphics adapter driver downloaded directly from the graphics adapter manufacturer (for example Intel, Nvidia, or AMD) may not install automatically and require a manual installation, the details of which are outside the scope of this blog post.
In summary, Plugable noticed a recent trend that certain Intel graphics adapter driver versions caused unexpected behavior when using a DisplayLink-based product on Windows 10 with a small number of new systems. For those affected in these specific cases, updating the Intel graphics adapter driver resolved the problems.
Important—The specific details in this post will not apply to all cases, as each case is different.
In general, when things are not working as expected with our DisplayLink-based products and a Windows system, the best practice is to update to the latest version we recommend of the required DisplayLink driver and the latest graphics adapter driver version published by the system manufacturer to help rule them out as possible contributors to problem behavior.
Should any customer using a Plugable DisplayLink-based product run into problems, please contact us directly via email@example.com with the output of our diagnostic utility PlugDebug (insert link) so that we can help.
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