A three-monitor setup gives you a panoramic view of your work and enhances productivity. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to set up with all the cables, the ports, the monitor positioning, and whatnot.
Connecting three monitors to a PC is easy, provided you systematically complete the task. In most cases, you have to follow just four easy steps.
1. Matching the ports and cables.
2. Position the monitors.
3. Connecting the monitors.
4. Changing the Operating System (OS) settings.
The only challenge you may face is an insufficient number of ports. But we will explain how to tackle this problem also. Be warned, with increased screen real estate. You also get increased procrastination.
We will cover a few methods to ensure that you have one solution or another going for you. We will explain the merit of each method and answer some common questions relating to this setup.
- How To Connect 3 Monitors to a PC
- Frequently Asked Questions
How To Connect 3 Monitors to a PC
Before we begin, you need to check whether your PC is capable of handling three monitors or not. Two elements control a multiple-display setup. These are the device drivers and the hardware in the form of the display adapter (GPU).
Find the name of your display adapter by searching for “Device Manager” in the Windows search. Scroll down to “Display adapters” and double-click to find the name. Fire up your browser and look up the manufacturer’s specification for your PC’s display adapter.
You should be fine if you have bought a GPU in recent years. Nonetheless, it is advisable to check as some budget models may not support this feature.
Next, follow one of the methods once you are certain that you have the requisite gear for the setup.
Method #1: Sufficient Ports Available on PC
Now we follow the four-step process we mentioned earlier.
Step #1: Matching the Ports and the Cables
Identify the three ports on the back of your PC. These could be HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-C (with DisplayPort Mode), or Thunderbolt ports.
Now, repeat the process for each monitor.
Examine the cables that will connect each port from the PC to the port on the monitor. Don’t worry if your monitor does not have the required port. You can buy adapters that allow you to interconnect non-like ports. For instance, an HDMI-to-DisplayPort cable or USB-C-to-HDMI. Most eCommerce sites sell cables that offer different combinations.
Step #2: Position the Monitors
You may like to use a monitor in portrait mode and one in the landscape. Hence, arrange the monitor in the order that you want them.
Step #3: Connecting the Monitors
Connect the first monitor and wait for the display to appear. Once it appears, repeat this step for monitor number 2 and monitor number 3.
Step #4: Changing the OS Setting
Finally, with all your monitors powered up and connected, you will notice they display the same image. You need to instruct the OS to treat them as one big monitor rather than duplicates.
Right Click on the desktop and select the “Display Settings” option from the menu. You will now see a diagram. Ignore it for a minute. Scroll down to where it says “Multiple Display”. Click on the drop-down menu and select “Extend these displays”.
Now scroll up to the diagram. You should see three monitor representations and the corresponding numbers (1,2 and 3). Match the diagram to the physical placement and orientation of the monitors by dragging the corresponding representation.
Close the Display Setting window. You are all set.
Method #2: Using Multistream Transport (Daisy Chaining)
This method is slightly more complex than the first.
For Multistream Transport (MST), a.k.a. daisy chaining, you need three monitors with DisplayPort 1.2 (Input and Output). You also require two DisplayPort-to-mini-DisplayPort cables and one DisplayPort-to-DisplayPort cable.
- Connect the first monitor with the PC using the DisplayPort-to-DisplayPort cable.
- Using one of the DisplayPort-to-mini-DisplayPort cables, connect the first monitor to the second monitor.
Remember to use the DisplayPort Out-Port on the first monitor and the mini-DisplayPort In-port on the second monitor.
- Repeat this step for the connection between the second and third monitor. Your Daisy Chain is ready.
- Use the menu of the first monitor and activate the MST option.
- Change the OS settings (as discussed in Step 4 of Method#1).
The Daisy Chain option is easy but not the most practical solution. It requires at least two of your monitors to have DisplayPort input and an output port. Unfortunately, most monitors do not offer this feature.
Now you know there are multiple solutions, how do you decide which is the best solution for you? If your rig supports multiple displays, the only thing you need to check is the number of ports. Once you answer this question, the solution becomes apparent.
Frequently Asked Questions
An HDMI splitter will only mirror your main monitor. This means that the monitor will only duplicate the video output.
In most multi-monitor setups, you want the three monitors to be an extension of each other. Doing this adds to your screen real estate. That means you get to work on multiple screens without constantly shifting between tabs. Consequently, your productivity improves.
Yes, you can. Not only VGA, but you can also use any of the following ports.
· USB-C (with DisplayPort mode)
· Thunderbolt 3 or Thunderbolt 4
You only need to ensure that you have the right connectors at each end of the cable/adapter.