[Tips]How to Connect Two Monitors to Your Laptop?

How to Connect Two Monitors to Your Laptop

How to Connect Two Monitors to Your Laptop: There are times when you do not have enough space on your laptop. This is mainly the problem with professional graphic designers, video editors, programmers, and businessmen. However, there is a solution to this problem and this solution lies in connecting multiple screens to your laptop. It gives you more space to work with. Plus, it becomes easy to do any delicate tasks.

Anyone who has worked on multiple monitors would know that connecting two monitors to a laptop is just awesome. It improves productivity and makes your work extremely easy. Once you get used to multiple display screens then it is really hard to go back to a single screen because it kinds of feels weird. Isn’t it?

Any operating system will allow the connection of two screens to your laptop with ease. But, connecting more than one screen to the laptop will depend on features of the machine like the graphics card, the graphics drivers, and also the memory and storage capacity. There is no way to tell what more features are required to join multiple screens unless you yourself closely analyze your laptop well.

However, we are here talking about connecting two monitors to your laptop, not more than that. So, let us enlighten you that there are multiple ways to accomplish your goal. So without further ado, let’s get the things rolling.

Our Solutions for Connecting Two Monitors to Your Laptop

The Perfect Solution for Modern Laptops: Thunderbolt

The Perfect Solution for Modern Laptops: Thunderbolt

Thunderbolt 3 is the modern way of connecting the output video to your laptop. It uses a USB Type-C connector for the installation of two screens. This method has several advantages. You will only use a single cable that is capable of handling videos, audio, data transmission, and visuals, simultaneously. This procedure is not burdensome and it will also reduce any kind of disorder on your table.  It means that you will maximize the use of ports. However, it requires you to have the concerned hardware components for making this happen.

So, check out whether your laptop has Thunderbolt 3 ports and also check whether your monitor is Thunderbolt 3 capable. If yes then everything is quite simple. You will just have to connect each screen with a Thunderbolt 3 port. 

On the other hand, if your laptop features thunderbolt input but your monitor is not thunderbolt capable which is the case with old monitors then things can be quite trickier. You will need an adapter for every monitor you want to connect to. This will make everything easy.

What if your laptop has only one Thunderbolt/USB-C port? Does it mean that you can only connect one screen to your laptop? No, you can still connect more than the screen by being smart because the docking station will do the job. It will help you connect two screens. However, there are some laptops that do not support running multiple displays through these docks. Therefore, check your laptop’s specifications.

If Not Thunderbolt: Use Display Splitter Box

If Not Thunderbolt: Use Display Splitter Box

Not all laptops have Thunderbolt or USB-C support. If your device is not updated one means it is old then your laptop won’t feature any Thunderbolt/ USB-C feature. So, what will you do? You will probably need an HDMI, DVI, or DisplayPort port. In this way, you can achieve your goal of adding an external screen; However, you will not be able to connect more than one external monitor to your laptop. It is because most of the old laptops only provide you the option of single-screen, unlike a few premium laptops that have multiple ports.

So, what’s the solution? You will probably need dual- and triple-head docks. In this way, the connection of more than one external screen is possible. You will only need a single video cable that would do most of the work. It will easily connect the multiple monitors. However, the graphics will not be the best. You might not get the crisp and sharp visuals when you play demanding games. Plus, the solution is a bit expensive. Nevertheless, it is the best solution if you do not have a thunderbolt or USB-C port.

A Better and Easy Option: USB Adapters

A Better and Easy Option: USB Adapters

If you do not like the above method because it is too expensive then you use USB adapters. It is a cheaper solution which will not be heavy on your pocket. Keep in mind that this option is not really relevant for very old laptops because they were not really designed to support these kinds of options. However, we are talking about a very old laptop, most of the laptops, nowadays support this method. These USB adapters will make use to convert the USB port into a port that allows the connection of another screen.  However, try to search for these adaptors before applying this technology 

In this way, you will be equipped with multiple screens o any modern-day operating system without having to spend a lot of money.

However, this method has might have its repercussions too. USB video-out adapters will not offer high-quality graphics on your screen, There will be significant screen tearing when you open demanding applications. /  These adaptors will also impact the processor and the RAM because it requires more power to connect two screens than a standard external display. 

Another alternative for Gamers and Graphic designers: The Docking Stations Option

Another alternative for Gamers and Graphic designers: The Docking Stations Option

The docking stations were discussed above but not in detail. If you do not want to use multiple adaptors then the docking station is the perfect solution for you. It is a more easy and better option. However, there may be other options too but we found this alternative more viable as it easy and manageable for any laptop. Plus, this solution provides better visual quality without much screen tearing. Thus. you can play the demanding with good graphics.

What we really like about this option is that it requires very little set up. Plus, this option is viable for any type of laptop whether you have an old or a new machine. This is why we call the docking stations to option a universal solution. 

The Docking Stations offer many options from USB-only to expansion dock model which has flexible ports, you can use the option. While the USB-only option is not really powerful but it is quite easy. On the other hand, the expansion dock model option is more powerful and would be much simpler because it requires very little setup.

The further expansion of this solution lies in the external graphics card. These Graphics cards will make your job pretty easy. It will easily connect more than two screens with ease. Plus, it will provide you high-quality graphics. You just need to attach an external GPU with your device and it will support two or three screens easily. Keep in mind that it is quite expensive and plus, they require a Thunderbolt or USB-C port which means it is limited to specific machines only. However, modern-day laptops provide this kind of luxury.  

The Easiest way: Dual Monitor Cables Set Up

This is probably the easiest way that is most used. In this method, you will use two monitors and two cables for connecting the two screens to your laptop. First, check out whether your laptop has HDMI ports. Connect the first monitor to your laptop using cables through the HDMI port. In this way, you will be able to connect the first monitor with the laptop. 

For connecting the second monitor, repeat the same process and everything will be done. But what if you have only one HDMI or VGA port, then you can use adapters which are discussed in detail. 

Why Not Use a Your Tablet 

If you do not like any of the above options why not use a tablet as your monitor? If you have an extra tablet, you can use it as a smaller screen to do your work. It will save you money and plus, it is much easier. It is also a portable option and does not require a lot of space. In order to use this option you ill probably need a USB-C port or lightning cable to make this your new desktop. After doing this, you will just have to tweak settings and everything will start.

If you have Mac as your operating system, you Apple Sidecar’s will you utilize this option. Whereas if Windows is your operating system then duet displaywill let you do the job.

What You Need To Do Before Even Thinking of Connecting Two Monitors to Laptop

This may be the penultimate part of our article but it should have been right there at the start. Nevertheless, it is really important to see whether your Windows supports the external monitors set up or not. Most modern-day Windows does but there might still be a few in the market which would not support this kind of setup at all. Here are things which you need to look for in your laptop. 

Choose the Monitors

Before doing anything it is important to first look out for monitors. Most of the screens are easy to find and are relatively inexpensive. But, it is not mean that they have essential ports for connecting multiple screens. Most of the old displays do not have the latest ports. So, check whether your monitor has a variety of ports. Also, see whether they have got several cables to attach such as a power cable and an HDMI cable. Plus, you also need to have extra plugs and cords in case you need them.

Most of the monitors do not have an HDMI cable. Therefore, you will either have to purchase it or borrow it from your friend. This HDMI cable ensures that everything you are trying setup works effectively. Your monitor might be equipped with VGA or DVI cables but they don’t really do the job The HDMI will do most of the work. In fact, it is the best option for dual monitor setups. On the other hand, VGA or DVI cables can work but it is better to have HDMI cables.

Now, if you have chosen the monitor, make sure that you have enough space on your table to accommodate the two screens. Most of the time you are well short of the space that is needed for two displays. Otherwise, things could become messier and the setup might not be as productive as you would have expected. 

Graphics Prowess of The Machine

Before going out in the market and buying an external monitor, check whether your laptop has  graphics prowess to support two or more external screens

First, you need to ensure that your graphics card is powerful enough to power two screens at once. Generally speaking, most graphics card support two video outputs. However, it is important to check its properties or all your hard work might go in vain. Check out its specifications and features. Try to get the latest graphics cards because it will provide better visual quality. If your computer has a GeForce GTX 1070 graphics unit, one of the most powerful GPUs in the market, you can see that it will easily support two screens. Plus, you can further see its features on the official website. It will be written in clear words that whether it supports multiple screens.

It is better if you have a separate graphics card. It will easily support three or even four screens at a time. But, if you relying on an integrated card then things could become a little messier. You might get to use two screens–not more than that– but the color representation might look dull. Plus, there will not be enough ports for multiple screens i.e, more than two screens. 

You will also face a serious drop in performance if you decide not to purchase a separate graphics card. The laptop might stop working altogether when you multiple tabs at once. You might also face some interruption when you use heavy applications like Full Adobe Photoshop suite. In short, try buying a separate Graphics card.

Another important thing that needs your attention is that if you are using a discrete graphics card then it is pertinent that you do not use an older GPU. Older Graphics cards do not support multiple screens at once even if you see three or more ports on your GPU.  So, goggle before purchasing the separate card and try to get the latest GPU.

Closely analyze the available ports on your laptop

Now, this is the most important part. Although it is discussed in the earlier parts, but now we will discuss it in detail. Your laptop might not have all the necessary ports but it should be equipped with at least one out of the below-mentioned four ports.

Display Port

DisplayPort is quite similar to HDMI but both have slightly different functions. Display Port is usually found in PCs rather than on a TV screen. It will provide high-quality video and high definition audio content protection. 

Digital Video Interface (DVI) 

DVI is also used for connecting multiple screens which is manufactured by the  Digital Display Working Group (DDWG). There are different types of DVI connections which include  DVI-A that is used for analog display. Another one is DVI-D which is used for digital display. The last one is  DVI-I which is used for both analog and digital.

Video Graphics Array (VGA) 

Video Graphics Array, VGA is a display monitor that is used in most personal computers. It was developed by IBM in 1987. They allow the  640 x 480 resolution color display screens with a refresh rate of 60 Hz. This is the best alternative to HDMI ports

High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI)

Short for High Definition Multimedia Interface, HDMI is the most important connector and cable that will provide you high-quality videos and audios with ease. If your laptop has HDMI ports then everything will be smooth and manageable.

You will find these ports on the right and left sides of the laptop. Not only your laptop should have these ports, but your monitor should also be equipped with these ports. 

Tweak the settings to get things rolling

What did you think? You will choose the monitor and plug it in and everything will get rolling. Nope! not so fast fellow. You still have a lot of work to do. There is one thing you need to do. You will have to configure first. You will have to go to display settings which will take to you to a program for configuring your needs.

Questions and Answers

WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF MONITORS THAT CAN BE ATTACHED TO A SINGLE LAPTOP?

There is no specific answer to this question. It depends on many factors. There is no one particular thing that counts. You will have to see the number of ports on your laptop first. Then you will have to check out whether your graphics card can support multiple screens at once. You also need to see other factors as well but the most important factor is the number of ports on your laptop that support multiple screens. It also depends on the monitor size and resolution. 

DO YOU REALLY NEED 3 DISPLAYS ON YOUR LAPTOP SCREEN?

It totally depends on you. Some people do not prefer these many displays on the laptop screen. But some do especially those who are professional video editors and businessmen. Those who need to do intricate 3D or 2D work really need 3 displays on their screen. Besides multiple displays have their own advantages such as it provides more space to work with. You also get more productive as you can finish the work quickly. Plus, those who do delicate work need more space which only multiple screens can provide. 

WHICH CONNECTION IS BETTER: HDMI OR DVI?

Both have almost the same restrictions and limitations. Both are really good in terms of video signal quality. However, the only thing that sets the HDMI connection apart from the DVI connection is the  HDMI’s Audio capability. 

Both have their own uses and advantages. But we think that HDMI connection is better as HDMI is more complete because it will allow you to hear the sound when you do your daily chores such as playing games and watching movies. Having said that, the problem with HDMI connection is that you can lose the signals anytime until you replug it again and again

On the other hand, you will not see these sudden interruptions when you use a DVI connection. You will notice a continuous supply of signal because it is capable of joining into the connection. Now that you have read our comments it depends on you whether you want an HDMI connection or the other one. But, keep in mind that The latter one does not carry the audio which may a major turn-off for many.

DO I NEED TO BUY AN EXPENSIVE CABLE TO CONNECT MY LAPTOP TO ANOTHER MONITOR?

No, there is no need to buy an extension cable for connecting the monitor to the laptop. Any cable will do the job. However, try buying a quality cable which does not mean that you need an expensive cable. Quality cables are not heavily priced. In fact, they come at a reasonable rate.

DO I NEED A LOT OF RAM FOR CONNECTING MULTIPLE SCREENS TO  LAPTOP?

Not necessary. In fact, the RAM has very little impact on the multiple screens. The RAM comes in handy when you open multiple tabs at once or when you open heavy applications. It allows your processor to work effectively.  For example, if you are a professional video editor you will need at least 16 GB of memory to do the work. On the other hand, if you are a college get student even 8GB of RAM would be enough. However the more RAM, the better it is.  

Final Thoughts

Above are all of our solutions for Connecting Two Monitors to Your Laptop. Laptops are the best way to complete your online chores. However, the screens on the laptops are relatively small. Therefore, you might not have enough space to perform delicate tasks. This is the reason you might need to switch to multiple screens as it will give you breathing room. It will also make your workload more manageable.

Key Reference

  1. Thunderbolt (interface) – Wikipedia Link
  2. How to Split an HDMI Signal to Multiple Displays (And 3 High-Quality HDMI Splitters) Link
  3. How to connect one, two or more monitors to your laptop, including USB Type-C Link
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