There are a lot of different things you can do to improve your PC gaming skills, and setting up multiple monitors is one thing that can enhance your gaming. With so many screens to keep up with, you’ll create an immersive experience that takes your gameplay to a whole new level.
The difficult part is setting those monitors up. Since you’ll be working with multiple screens, cables, and ports, it’s crucial that you understand exactly what you’re doing.
Step 1: Check all your monitors
We’re not going to list any required monitors for this multiscreen project, but we will point out the obvious: Try to choose newer monitors that are all the same model.
Ensuring that the monitors are the same model makes it very easy to measure and plan for them, as well as setting them up and maintaining them. Without the right height adjustments, you may also struggle to get different monitors precisely parallel with each other. At the bare minimum, it’s nice to have monitors that all have similar ports. These days that probably means that all your monitors should have either HDMI or DisplayPort connections (yes, there’s also DVI, but that’s less likely).
You also want all your monitors to have support for the same features, such as graphic syncing. Your game may look seriously weird if your monitors have different display features and support options.
Finally, you will want to make sure that your graphics card has enough connections for three monitors. For example, if you are using three 4K monitors, you will want to make sure your GPU has three HDMI ports for use. Yes, you can mix and match ports if necessary — say, two HDMI and a DisplayPort, but again it’s much easier if you just have several of the same monitor models. If you don’t have a dedicated graphics card or don’t know anything about it – well, that should probably be the first step before setting up your set of monitors. A custom graphics card is basically a necessity for this process.
Step 2: Check your graphics card
There’s good news here — today’s GPUs are typically produced with the understanding that some people will want multiple monitors, so if you’ve recently bought a GPU, support is included out of the box. That makes things much easier than it was in the old days. However, if you are buying a graphics card specifically for this project, you can make extra sure that it has the right kind and number of ports. You should also confirm particular multiscreen features, which are:
AMD’s graphics cards have supported multiple monitors for several generations now and even broke ground with its multimonitor, Eyefinity technology, was introduced with support for up to three simultaneous monitors on one GPU. Eyefinity ensures that the image is properly spread across all connected screens and ensures that the bevels don’t cover up any important details. It’s a very effective setting that’s necessary for a quality gaming experience. Note that Eyefinity is friendly with DisplayPort connections, so those are the ports to look for in your monitors.
Nvidia’s solution is called Surround, and your Nvidia GPU needs to have it. Like Eyefinity, Surround supports multiple monitors as well as 3D gaming. Surround works with all standard monitor connections.
If you’re stuck with your current GPU and it’s not everything you hoped it to be, there are adapters for technology, like Eyefinity, which can help you MacGyver a solution together.
Step 3: Hook everything up and turn it on
This step is easy. Plug everything in first, double-check your ports to make sure they are the right ones, and then turn it on. You will only need to use one screen for setup, so don’t freak out about how the other screens look until you complete step 4.
At this point, you may run into some problems, such as the other screen not connecting properly or having very obvious visual issues that make it impossible to use. That’s all right! We suggest consulting our troubleshooting guide on multimonitor setups to check out what’s going wrong and how to put it right again. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of finding the right cable or updating some drivers.
Step 4: Change settings as necessary
The best place to start tweaking your gaming setup is your GPU control panel. It’s time to take advantage of that beefy graphics processor, which means skipping any operating system settings. Most major manufacturers of graphic chipsets, including AMD and Nvidia, have custom control panels that will allow you to set up multiple monitors as well as a host of other settings. For AMD, here’s how to go into settings and make sure Eyefinity is adjusted properly. And here’s how to get started with Nvidia chips. If you experience a low frame rate, aliasing, or any other anomalies during gameplay, go back to the GPU control panel and make further adjustments as needed.
Important note: Game compatibility
Multi-monitor gameplay works for most modern games. Classic titles will vary, but modern games are usually OK.
You can find an up-to-date list of multi-monitor games online. Most of today’s popular titles, and quite a few going back ten years or so, will be on that list. Game designers have traditionally been ahead of the graphics card manufacturers, so you may be surprised your dual-screen setup can play a variety of classic games. If you have dreamed of playing some of your older titles immersed in a sprawling multi-monitor setup, you’re probably in luck. Just remember support for indie titles, and some older games are not universal and will vary by title.
There is a fairly well-updated list of the games that are compatible with multi-monitor features. If you look at it, you’ll notice that it includes the most recent games and quite a few games from the past decade, too. In fact, games have probably been more advanced this way than graphics cards in the past. So, chances are very, very good that whatever game you dream of playing surrounded by screens will work just fine. However, not every indie or older game may have full support for multi-monitor play.