LG UltraFine 5K Display works with Windows 10 PCs

Saturday, 09 January 2016

The LG UltraFine 5K Display works to some extent with Windows 10 PCs. Although the motherboard in my Windows PC did not include Thunderbolt 3 connections, I was able to upgrade it using the ASUS ThunderboltEX 3 Expansion Card. This should work with most Z170 and X99 based motherboards (I have a Gigabyte GA-Z170MX-GAMING 5 Micro). If you are unsure double check your motherboard manual to see if it has a 5-pin Thunderbolt header.

After installing the card and connecting it to the Thunderbolt header you run a DisplayPort connection between your graphics card and the Thunderbolt card using the included external cable. Very old school, reminds me of connecting a Voodoo2 up to a 2D graphics card back in the day.

Plug it into the monitor using the Thunderbolt 3 cable that comes included and it will show a picture immediately - no drivers required. Some notes:

  • Speakers work great and can be adjusted on screen or using keyboard volume controls.
  • Maximum 4k resolution as expected due to the single DisplayPort passthrough.
  • Brightness cannot be adjusted using keyboard or onscreen. I expect this is a driver issue that may get addressed eventually. The display does retain the brightness across connections so to adjust it you must plug in a Mac for now.
  • The built in webcam barely works. I was seeing sub 1fps and distortion in video recordings and Skype calls.
  • BIOS and POST screens are all displayed during boot.
  • Can be plugged and unplugged without a reboot.
  • I tried out a few different drivers from the LG website but nothing seemed to be compatible. For now it just shows as Generic PnP Monitor in device manager.

Here is the crazy passthrough setup at the back of my PC now.

LG UltraFine 5K Display works with Windows 10 PCs

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