Setting Up Multiple Monitors

Guide to Mounting Multiple Monitors the Professional Way

To be fully productive with your computer activities, all you really need is a monitor along with a mouse and keyboard and you are all set to use your favorite operating system. But as you use your operating system, you may find that your productivity is limited especially if you see other workstation setups that consist of 2 or more monitors.

While many computer users may already be running two monitors, as most graphic card offer at least two display outputs,  with motherboards also capable of providing display output and affordable access to a second graphics card, anyone can enjoy multiple monitors setup now, be it three, four, or even 10 monitors at once.

While many computer owners are still closed-minded and think it’s utterly unnecessary and impractical to have a multiple monitor setup, not to mention it requires substantial amount of work, multiple monitor configurations are becoming more common, as more and more people are taking advantage of them for different reasons. You may not be able to realize the potential unless you give it a try and setting up multiple monitors is simple to do if you have the appropriate hardware.

Also, it is important to note that there are more and more good-quality monitors in the market with very affordable price tag. Even panels aren’t that expensive anymore, especially those TN-based displays. With 22 inch widescreen 1080p monitors available at around $150 USD and the bigger 24 inch 1080p cost just a little more. This simply means that maxing out your monitors is not that expensive.

A single 19-inch 4:3 monitor is usually enough for browsing and reading, many match it with 24-inch widescreen display. A three monitor setup can sit nicely on a large desk, but anything beyond this require more thorough planning.

Though it’s not very common, laptops can also accommodate multi-monitor setup. Usually, laptops are limited to an extra monitor output, but you can always work with some accessories and ports to have it running on two or even three more monitors.

If you’re planning to have three monitors, then you should shop for USB to DVI adaptors, they are available around $80 USD. This is very beneficial for laptop users to have a third video output. However, you should know that it has a lower response time and only compatible for static content, not video.

 

Finding and Identifying the Ports

Before you get all excited and buy multiple monitors to plan your aspiring setup, you should make sure that your computer is capable of handling multi monitors.

You should be able to check quite easily by looking behind your desktop and check the various ports available. The most common port is the VGA port which has three rows of five holes but what is most important is the location of the port.

If the VGA port is located outside of the available ports on the card slots, that port is for integrated graphics and you cannot use integrated graphics if you have a video card plugged in.

There might be another VGA port on card slot as well so it looks as if you can use two monitors but you really can't since the VGA port belongs to the video card. Fortunately, if you look at any neighboring ports on that video card, you may notice some other ports like a DVI, DisplayPort , or HDMI port. If you are unsure of what ports you are dealing with, consult the manual or box of your video card. If you have a video card, the idea is to only use the ports there and you may need certain cables to make a multi-monitor setup possible.

A DisplayPort and Thunderbolt can provide a nice series of multiple monitor capabilities, including the interoperability between the two. DisplayPort, Thunderbolt and PCIe are all naturally interrelated.

The PCI Express is a great high-speed serial bus, thus, it makes sense to use that as the basis for everything in the communication layer of the computer. DisplayPort does just that, extending PCIe to the display.

Thunderbolt on the other hand, takes this standard to the next level and extends it to all external devices. Thanks to its 20Gbps, this type can support two 2,560 x 1,600 displays at 60Hz. It will still have a 4Gbps for easier future expansion.

Choosing a Driver

One of the most common problems in dual and multiple monitors is that, usually we’re asking applications and programs to work in a way they were not designed for, and aren’t expecting This is beside from physically trying to align multiple bulky monitors next to each other.

AMD and Nvidia provides great tools within their display drivers to help you in this dilemma, they correct bezel display which then helps reduce the shaky effect of moving from one display to another. The good news is that, both AMD and Nvidia are pushing for a triple monitor setup for gaming as they believe it’s the key to get the best of high-end gaming cards. The support of these drivers is vital, they provide reassurance that your displays will run well.

Should you wish to go beyond three monitors, the AMD Eyefinity system make multiple displays seemingly “invisible” for computer applications by allowing users to group multiple screens in one single screen. This kind of feature is on top of what Windows already offer, and does a fine job for multiple monitor setups.

Connecting and Setting up Multiple Monitors

If you know what ports you are dealing with, you should have no trouble finding the cables you need and it is very likely for your monitors to come with these cables. Basically you just plug in one monitor and plug in the other. Then you just need to arrange the monitors in your preferred layout. Putting identical monitors right next to each other is the best way to take full advantage of the multi-monitor setup.

 

Triple Monitor Setup

Some video cards may have even more ports because they are powerful enough to allow more than 2 monitors to be connected. When setting up 3 monitors, it is best to put your primary or largest monitor on the center while it is flanked by the two other monitors so you can effectively drag windows or objects to your left or right. Some AMD video cards have 6 ports so you can plug 6 monitors in a 3x2 fashion. If you hope to have that kind of setup, do some research on the specific monitors that support this. 


Control Your Desktop

Windows Controls

Windows already provide some useful controls for dual and multiple display setups. At the most basic, Windows allow its users to imitate the physical line up of the displays. The idea is that, the pointer lines up as you move it from one screen to another. There is also an orientation control that allow users to deal with rotated displays or upside down displays, but that’s basically all Windows can do.



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