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How to create an insane multiple monitor setup with three, four, or more displays

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal | June 16, 2015
Studies have shown that dual monitors can increase productivity, but the jury is still out on whether adding even more monitors means even more productivity.

Studies have shown that dual monitors can increase productivity, but the jury is still out on whether adding even more monitors means even more productivity. That aside, having multiple monitors (and I'm talking three, four, five, or even six) is just...awesome, and something you totally need in your life.

Right now, my main PC has a triple-monitor setup: my main 27-inch central monitor and my two 24-inch side monitors. I use my extra monitors for a number of things, such as comparing spreadsheets side-by-side, writing articles while also doing research, keeping tabs on my social media feeds, and, of course, watching Netflix.

A vertically-oriented monitor can save you a lot of scrolling trouble in long documents. If you are a gamer, well, I do not need to sell you on three-plus monitors can be for games that support multi-monitor setups. You just need to plan ahead. Here is our full guide on setting up multiple multiple monitors--and all the factors you will need to take into account before you do so.

Check your graphics card(s)

Before you run out and buy a bunch of extra monitors, check to see whether your computer is physically capable of handling all that graphics prowess. The easiest way to do this is to look at the back of your PC: How many graphics ports (DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, and VGA) do you see?

If you do not have a discrete graphics card, you may only see video two ports--most motherboards come with integrated graphics that can only run dual-monitor setups. If you do have a discrete graphics card, you will probably see at least three ports, not including the ports on your motherboard.

Tip: While it is possible to set up multiple monitors using ports on both your motherboard and your discrete graphics card, you will see a performance drop and some lag when you move windows between monitors. If you want to do this, you will also need to enter your PC's BIOS and go to Configuration > Video > Integrated graphics device and set it to "Always enable."

Just because you see three or more ports on your discrete graphics card, however, does not necessarily mean you can use all of them at the same time. For example, many older Nvidia cards are unable to run more than two monitors on a single card, even if they have more than two ports. The best way to find out whether your graphics card supports multiple monitors is to find the name of your card (Control Panel > Device Manager > Display Adapters) and Google it with the monitor setup you're looking to run (e.g. "Nvidia GTX 770 four monitors").

 

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