Guide to Triple Monitor Setup for Immersive Widescreen Gaming, Part 2
Make Sure All Your Monitors Can Hook Up to Your Graphics Card
BenQ BL2710PT I/O ports (image from Amazon)
Of course, you need to make sure your monitors can actually connect to your graphics card. If you have monitors with multiple inputs (such as DisplayPort, DVI and HDMI or other connections), you can mix and match their inputs to find the best suitable connection for your graphics card. The Dell UltraSharp line for example, is known for cramming tons of I/O ports in their thin and reasonably affordable display.
If you want to save more however, here are some awesome but cheaper alternatives for triple monitor setup. Some models with high-quality performance cut their connectivity options to keep the prices down. Thus, make sure you have the I/O ports necessary for connecting multiple displays.
The Challenge of Triple Monitor Gaming
XFX Triple Display Monitor Stand (image from BIANOTI)
Some good-performing displays like the Monoprice 27-inch LED Backlit WQHD Monitor, has only one DVI-D input and a VGA input. If your graphics card contains tons of DisplayPort outputs, then you will have a tough time. You will end up spending more on adapters and dongles just to make the tripe monitor work, and even then, some problems from here and there may arise. Seamless triple monitor gaming dont require all three monitors to be connected with the same connector and run on the same resolution, but it can provide you a lot of convenience and better gaming experience if they are. If you end up with a DisplayPort output and a VGA, then don’t expect all of your games to work with that kind of display combination.
It’s like a chicken and egg state; when you already have a graphics card and satisfied with it, then you simply can shop for monitor and see how others have made triple monitor with that card and make sure you have the right port combinations, ideally, three of the same display. On the other hand, if you have the displays and you want to shop for a graphics card, you can simply choose corresponding the port options you have on your displays. If for some reasons you already have both, then your best bet is to purchase adapters and dongles and hope for the best. If things don’t go according to plan, at the very least, you will have three working displays, but will be limited to one or two for gaming.
Activate All Three Monitors in Windows
(image from LifeHacker)
Now that you have the right monitors and graphics card, it is time to put all the pieces together. Windows will automatically recognize all connected monitors to the computer. If you are lucky, they will work automatically. If they don’t then you need to do some configurations. Here’s how to do it:
Right click on your desktop > click “Screen Resolution”
You will see all the monitors connected to your computer, as well as their positions relative to the primary monitor.
If one of your displays is missing, click “Detect”. If the display looks greyed out, that signifies either a problem with the connection or the screen resolution you want to run is too high. You can try lowering the resolution on that specific monitor and see if it starts to work. Also, in your Screen Resolution Control Panel, make sure you set the “Multiple Displays” to “Extend these displays”. You may have to drag and drop the position of your monitors to match where they are physically placed on your workstation.
Once you have everything all set up and all of your three monitors are up and running, click ‘Apply’ and ‘Ok.’ At this stage, your triple monitor setup can work for anything you want, a great setup for productivity, as you basically tripled the screen real estate – open more tabs, Windows, apps, documents, etc.
Firing Your Triple Monitors for Gaming
(image from TechSpot.com)
Now that you have all your three displays up and running, it’s time to test and fire them up for triple-display gaming. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1. Before you do anything, make sure you have updated the drivers of your graphics card. Go to your manufacturer’s page and get the updates. For AMD users, click here. For NVIDIA users, click here.
Install the drivers and reboot your PC. After the reboot, launch the driver software of your graphics card (head to AMD Catalyst Control Center or NVIDIA Control Panel).
Step 2. After getting the drivers, you can now set your monitor for the multi-monitor gaming. For AMD users, you need to make an “Eyefinity Display Group” to lets your graphics card know which monitor would be the primary display (should be at the center of your field of view) and which ones on the left and right side.
For NVIDIA users, you need to do the same thing; click “Configure Surround, PhysX” to set your primary display. Both controls come with bezel thickness correction, can move displays around, change monitor resolution, etc. even as you play games.
Step 3. After configuring your displays, try playing your favorite games. You may have to check the video settings of your game and change the resolution to match the resolution of all three combined monitors (let’s say for example all your monitors runs at 1920 x 1200px. That will be 5760 x 1200px). Set your game’s settings to 5760 x 1200px resolution.
Step 4. If your game lets you change your field of view, you will also want to expand your view to get more peripheral vision of the game (which actually is the best part of triple monitor setup). Take your time on experimenting on different values. Some games will set you at around 45° in front for single display, while some let you go as far as 75° or even 90°. You can set it as high as you want, but of course, you have to consider how images and objects are displayed. If too stretched, you may end up with distorted and too-fat-looking objects. See which works best for you.
For games without the ‘Field of View’ options, you can edit the configuration files manually. This differs from one game to another, so you need to do some digging (Google search the game for its FOV sample) to see the changes you can do. Either way, your game will play across three monitors at this point.
The whole process may seem complicated, but as soon as you have all the right parts and have a good idea how they work together, they are pretty simple to do. Triple monitor gaming setup is pretty easy to setup. The configuration is what makes it difficult, as most often than not, there are lots of areas you need to cover, and lots of areas that can go wrong. You may end up with a game that don’t support three monitor, have a graphics card with different resolution and screen sizes, or a dated or broken graphics card driver that causes problems on particular games, etc. All the pieces can fit together easily, but you have to look every detail.
XFX Triple Display Monitor Stand (image from XFXForce.com)
All in all, you have two options, you can either work your way to find solutions to make things work, or you can upgrade your rig for the best triple monitor gaming setup. Of course, you have to consider the size of your desk or gaming station. You can also invest in a good quality triple monitor stand for the best gaming comfort and ergonomics.
Once you have everything set though, the rest is walk in the park. Gaming in triple monitor setup is one of the best ways to immerse yourself to the world of the game you are playing and get the best gaming experience possible.