How to connect 3 monitors to a PC – without upgrading your video card

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There are several ways to build add additional monitors to your computer. In this post I will describe a simple and cost effective method for how to connect 3 monitors to a PC.

How many monitors can my computer support?

The first thing that you need to determine. Is how many monitors can your computer graphics card support. This is reasonably easy to find out. The following steps outline how to do this for any computer running Windows. if your running a Mac. The method is likely very similar:

1. In the search bar in the bottom left hand corner of your display select the search icon. Search for and select ‘Device Manager’.

Search ‘Device Manager’ in windows search bar

2. In the new ‘Device Manager’ window. Scroll down to the ‘Display adapters’ drop down menu. Here you will find a list of the graphics cards installed on your machine.

How many monitors can my computer support?
In ‘Display Adapters’ drop down menu note graphics card installed.

3. Note the name of the graphics card installed in your machine. Then google search: ‘How many monitors can “NAME OF GRAPHICS CARD” support?’. This should provide you the answer with a fairly simple search.

How many monitors can my computer support?

If you confirm that your PC supports the number of monitors you want. Then great! The method I will describe below is a quick and simple method for how to connect 3 monitors to a PC.

If your graphics card supports less than the number of monitors you want. Unfortunately, you are limited to one of two options: 1. Upgrade your graphics card or 2. Get a new PC that supports the number of monitors you require.

Video cards that support 3 monitors

If you are interested in upgrading your existing computer to support additional monitors. Then check my favorite graphics cards that supports 3 or more monitors.

How to connect 3 monitors to a PC

Okay, so once you have established how many monitors your PC supports.

We can now discuss options for connecting additional monitors to your computer.

Depending on your existing graphics card you may have one or two ports. Older style computers either use VGA or DVI. Newer machines are more likely to use HDMI and / or DisplayPort.

Any of these ports are fine for connecting additional monitors to your PC. HDMI and DisplayPort offer better overall performance than VGA or DVI. For the purposes of setting up a basic multiple monitor setup. They do the job just fine.

To connect your PC to your additional monitors. It really is as simple as plugging them in. Using the appropriate port. Most monitors come standard with a selection or input ports. Either VGA, DVI, HDMI or DisplayPort.

If you find your PC or monitor doesn’t have compatible output and input ports. Below Is list of adapter cables that can be used depending on your needs.

Preview

Cable Adapter

DisplayPort to VGA

DisplayPort to DVI

HDMI to VGA

HDMI to DVI

DisplayPort to HDMI

Can a USB port be used for video output?

The issue that most people have when wanting to connect additional monitors is the number of available VGA, DVI, HDMI or DisplayPort output ports on their PC.

If you have fewer video output ports than you require and your PC graphic card supports. Then a good alternative is to use a spare USB 3.0 port.

Its possible to use a USB to HDMI or USB to DisplayPort adapter.

The only downside to this solution. Is you MUST have a USB 3.0 connection. Most new PC’s will have USB 3.0 ports.

How to check if a port is USB 3.0

To check that your PC has an available USB 3.0 port. Go to your ‘Device Manager’. Under ‘Universal Serial Bus controllers’. Check for available USB 3.0 ports.

How to check if a port is USB 3.0

Another easy way to check USB ports is USB 3.0 are sometimes (but not always) blue in color.

USB 3.0 to HDMI and DisplayPort adapters

If you have an available USB 3.0 port. Then below is a list USB3.0 to HDMI or USB 3.0 to DisplayPort adapters. Thee adapters support both Windows and Mac OS.

How to connect monitor to PC using USB 3.0 adapter

Once you have your USB 3.0 to HDMI or DisplayPort adapter. It’s easy to connect your monitor.

The first thing you want to make sure to do is download and install the adapter drivers onto your computer.

The adapters come with a CD driver software. I have also linked to the full list of drivers for the ‘Cable Matters’ adapters.

How do I get 3 monitors to work on Windows 10?

Once you have connected all 3 monitors to your PC. You want to check they’ve been detected.

The additional monitors should be automatically detected by Windows and should display. This may take a few seconds.

If your additional monitors don’t display. Right Click anywhere on your desktop and go to ‘Display Settings’.

Under ‘Rearrange your displays’. Is the option in the bottom right hand side to ‘Detect’.

How do I get 3 monitors to work on Windows 10?

How to extend desktop in windows 10 using 3 monitors?

Once windows has detected all of your monitors. It might display the same image on all monitors.

To extend desktop across all monitors to create a continuous display.

Right Click anywhere on your desktop and go to ‘Display Settings’. Scroll down to ‘Multiple displays’. In the drop down menu. Select ‘Extend these displays’.

How to extend desktop in windows 10 using 3 monitors?

This create one large desktop area across all monitors.

For more information on how to setup 3 monitors on windows 10. Check out my post ‘How to connect 3 monitors to a laptop using a docking station’.

Final Word

Adding additional monitors to your computer is a great way to increase productivity or just create a more comfortable workstation.

There are several ways to create a multiple monitor computer workstation. In this post I have discussed one of the simplest and budget friendly methods for how to connect 3 monitors to a PC.

If you are interested in connecting additional monitors to laptop. Without loads of messy cables. Checkout my post ‘How to connect 3 monitors to a laptop using a docking station‘.

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