Multiple monitors make a huge difference in productivity and gaming. Two or even three monitors give you a lot more screen space to work, but you need to know how to set up multiple monitors. In this guide, we’ll show you how.
Before you begin, keep in mind that not all displays are different, so you may need to perform individual troubleshooting. Setting up multiple monitors for PC gaming usually involves plugging everything in, but there are a few key settings you need to change before that.
We are not going to list any obligatory monitors for this multiscreen project, but we’ll point out the obvious: try to choose newer monitors that are all of the same model.
Making sure the monitors are the same model makes it very easy to measure and schedule them, as well as configure and maintain them properly. Without the right height settings, you can also struggle to get different monitors precisely parallel to each other. At the bare minimum, it’s good to have monitors that all have similar ports. These days that probably means all of your monitors need to have HDMI or DisplayPort connections (yes, there’s DVI too, but that’s less likely).
You also want all of your monitors to support the same features, such as graphics sync. Your game may seem very strange if your monitors have different display features and support options.
Finally, you’ll want to make sure that your graphics card has enough connections for your monitors. For example, if you’re using three 4K monitors, you’ll want to make sure your GPU has three HDMI ports to use.
You can mix and match ports as needed – say, two HDMIs and one DisplayPort – but again, it’s a lot easier if you only have several identical monitor models. If you don’t have or don’t know anything about a dedicated (non-integrated) graphics card, this should probably be your first step before setting up your monitor set. A dedicated graphics card is basically a necessity for most multiscreen setups.
To note: The are separators that you can use if you have a good GPU but only one or two compatible ports. It is not as optimal, but it is a common case.
There’s good news here – today’s GPUs are typically produced with the knowledge that some people will want multiple monitors, so if you’ve recently purchased a GPU, support is included right away. It makes things a lot easier than before. However, if you buy a graphics card specifically for this project, you can make sure that it has the right type and number of ports. You also need to confirm some multi-screen features (see directly below):
AMD: AMD graphics cards have supported multiple monitors for several generations and have even broken new ground with multi-monitor Eyefinity technology, which was introduced with support for up to three simultaneous monitors on a GPU. Eyefinity ensures that the image is distributed correctly across all connected displays and ensures that the frames do not obscure any important details. This is a very efficient setting which is necessary for a quality gaming experience. Note that Eyefinity is compatible with DisplayPort connections, so these are the ports to look for in your monitors.
Nvidia: that of Nvidia the solution is called Surround, and your Nvidia GPU must have it. Like Eyefinity, Surround supports multiple monitors as well as 3D games. Surround works with all standard monitor connections. You do not need Surround use multiple monitors with an Nvidia graphics card, however.
If you’re stuck with your current GPU and that’s not all you hoped it would be, there are adapters for tech like Eyefinity that can help you find a MacGyver solution together.
This step is easy. Plug in first, check your ports to make sure they’re the right ones, then turn it on. You will only need to use one screen for setup, so don’t panic about how the other screens will look just yet.
At this point, you may experience some issues, such as the other display not connecting properly or very obvious visual issues that make it impossible to use. It’s OK! We suggest you take a look at our multi-monitor setup troubleshooting guide to check what is wrong and how to fix it. Sometimes it’s just a matter of finding the right cable or updating some drivers.
The best place to start tweaking your gaming setup is your GPU control panel. It’s time to take advantage of this powerful graphics processor, which means ignoring all operating system settings.
Most of the major graphics chip manufacturers, including AMD and Nvidia, have custom control panels that will allow you to configure multiple monitors as well as a host of other settings.
For AMD, here is how to enter the settings and make sure Eyefinity is set correctly.
And here’s how to start with Nvidia chips. If you experience low frame rate, aliasing, or any other anomalies while gaming, go back to the GPU control panel and make other adjustments as needed.
The majority of modern games are well suited for multi-screen gameplay, but classic titles are not so much the case.
There are many up-to-date multi-screen game listings online that include just about every popular game today, as well as a surprising number of titles that date back a decade or more. This is because game designers are always one step ahead of graphics card manufacturers, so you can run many older games on your new multiscreen system. Playing your old games on a dual screen setup can finally be more than a dream. Keep in mind that support is not universal and varies by title, especially for indie games and some older games.
Online lists of games compatible with multi-monitor features are regularly updated. If you look at a list you’ll see that it includes a mix of the most recent games and a few from the past decade. In fact, games have probably advanced in this capacity more than graphics cards in the past. So there is a good chance that you are lucky and find your favorite game on a list of compatible titles. Keep in mind that not all indie or older games fully support multi-screen play.