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Connect 3 monitors to your PC, how to do it

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This article explains how to connect 3 monitors to a computer to increase productivity. Sometimes you need a command center whether you are playing, programming or working with multiple documents. Here’s how to connect three monitors to your PC.

How to connect 3 monitors to one computer

  1. Connect all monitors to power and turn on each monitor.
  2. Check the ports on your PC to determine the video outputs you have available.
  3. Check the video inputs available on the three monitors you will be using. The ports on your PC don’t have to match those on your monitors, but you’ll need a cable or adapter with the proper connections if they’re different. HDMI and DisplayPort are the most common video connections.
  4. Different monitors can use different video connections. For example, you can connect two monitors with HDMI and then a third with DisplayPort.
  5. Connect the video cable of the first monitor to the PC and then to the monitor. Wait for the PC to detect the monitor and display an image. If so, repeat for the second monitor and finally for the third.
  6. Right-click on the Windows desktop and click Display Settings.
  7. A diagram will be visible at the top of the Display menu. If this is your first time connecting multiple monitors, the diagram will show a rectangle with the numbers 1, 2 and 3 together. Scroll down until you find the Multiple Monitors option. Click the drop-down field and then click Extend these views.
  8. Scroll back to the top of the Display menu. It will now show three rectangles, each labeled with a number. These rectangles show the position of each monitor on the Windows desktop. Edit the diagram so that the location of each rectangle is approximately the same as the physical location of each monitor on the desk.
  9. Verify that the monitors are arranged the way you want by opening a window and dragging it between the monitors.
  10. Close the View menu.

We’re done, did you see how simple it was to connect 3 or more monitors to your PC?

Can my computer support three monitors?

A computer needs the proper hardware and software to support three monitors at the same time. Even one with enough physical video outputs may not support three monitors if the graphics hardware driver doesn’t support that many displays.

The incredible diversity of PC hardware means there is no quick and easy rule for determining if your PC supports three monitors. Instead, you should look at the available physical connectors and published specifications for your PC’s video hardware.

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You can count the physical video outputs available with a look at your PC’s ports, but there is a common exception to note. Most desktops can only handle video connections from one graphics solution at a time. You cannot use the video output from a motherboard along with the video output from a video card if you have one installed.

You will also need to check the published specifications for your graphics hardware. Determine the hardware your PC is using with Windows Search for Device Manager. Open Device Manager and then find Display Adapters in the drop-down list. Expand this option to see the video hardware used by your PC.

When you know the graphics hardware, open your favorite search engine. Look for a support or specifications page on the official website of the company that manufactured your PC’s video card.

You may have a hard time finding official specs for hardware older than five years. Beware of results from unofficial websites. Many third-party websites try to list your video card features, but most are unreliable.

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How to connect 3 monitors with an HDMI splitter?

You can use an HDMI splitter to connect three monitors, but the results will likely not be what you are hoping for.

A “splitter” is a video adapter that takes a single output and splits it into multiple duplicate outputs. It can only display a single video output on several monitors.

In other words, all three monitors will show the same image, which isn’t very useful on a PC.

There is no easy way to expand the limitation of a PC’s display output with a splitter or adapter. The only option that truly extends a PC’s display output is an external video card, which bypasses your PC’s hardware. It’s an expensive, niche option and only works with a small selection of PCs.

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Connect 3 monitors in daisy chain

Another option for connecting three monitors is a daisy chain connection. This option is supported by DisplayPort 1.2 and Thunderbolt 3 (or later) and USB-C connections which include a DisplayPort mode. HDMI does not support daisy chain connections.

In a daisy chain, the first monitor connects to the PC via one of the video outputs listed above. Then the first monitor connects to the second and the second to the third.

A daisy chain is functional but has limitations. The first and second monitors must have video connections that can function as an output. This setup isn’t common, so you’ll need to carefully check the specs of the monitors you want to use.

Your PC must support this function. Most PCs sold in recent years will, but older models often don’t. Check the website of the PC manufacturer or the website of the company, which made your graphics card, to see if daisy chain connections are supported.

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