After nearly three years with the Microsoft Surface Book 2, I was growing tired of its sluggishness. This isn't new; I've been disappointed with the slow performance of this laptop since the get-go. But, I love the hardware, I don't think any other manufacturers are doing much better, and I like the idea of Microsoft's integrated drivers for Surface devices (their failings are another story), so I've lived with it.

One thing that slows this laptop WAY down – especially when using the Intel GPU – is the high DPI display. I've always felt that display resolutions are far outpacing hardware capabilities, and this laptop is no exception. Yes, I know people like to not see pixels, but which is worse: a slightly-less-than-perfect display, or a slow ass laptop with all kinds of animation jank, shitty performance and short battery life? On a 15" display, most people's meatball eyes can't tell the difference between 260 dpi and 130 dpi to begin with.

So, I set out to find a way to add some custom 3:2 resolutions. After searching for a bit, I came across this Reddit post in which u/SurfaceDockGuy posted an extremely helpful list of potential 3:2 resolutions. These are my favs:

  • 3240 x 2160 (260 dpi; native resolution)
  • 2592 x 1728 (208 effective dpi; 125% scaling)
  • 2160 x 1440 (~173 effective dpi; 150% scaling)
  • 1848 x 1234 (~148 effective dpi; 175% scaling)
  • 1624 x 1080 (130 effective dpi; 200% scaling; 4:1 pixel mapping)
  • 1440 x 960 (~116 effective dpi; 225% scaling)
  • 1296 x 864 (104 effective dpi; 250% scaling)

The 1624x1080 caught my eye due to it being half the resolution of native, and its 4:1 pixel mapping which eliminates most of the blur caused by running a non-native res.

In the comments of the post, u/SG_01 linked a registry file which adds these resolutions to Windows and makes them selectable via display settings. I've mirrored the REG file here:

Download REG File

Please note I've only tested this REG file on my Surface Book 2 15" running Windows 10.

The performance difference is insane. It feels like a brand new laptop. Programs open faster, run better, animations are smoother, and battery life has improved drastically. Adobe CC is like night and day.

One day, hardware will catch up to displays and this won't be a problem anymore. That day is not yet here, so I'll be running half res for the time being.