Connect several displays to one computer: PC, Mac

Connect several displays to one computer: PC, Mac

If you are doing different tasks on your computer, for example, editing videos, playing games, working with texts and tables, then it is convenient to divide all these different activities into several displays connected to your device. You can set up 3, 4 or even 5 or 6 screens! Here we tell you how to do it.

How many screens does my PC support?

The number of monitors a PC can support depends on several parameters:

  • The operating system it is running 

If you have Windows 7, 8, 10 or 11, you can connect multiple monitors with DVI, VGA, or HDMI cables.

  • The number of available graphics ports

The first and easiest thing you can do to check how many monitors you can physically connect your computer to is to count the number of graphics ports on the device case. They come in DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, and VGA types. For example, if you want to hook up 4 monitors, you will need to make sure that you have 4 video ports.

You can purchase a docking station with additional ports if your computer doesn't have enough ports. For example, you can get MOKiN USB C HDMI multiport hub ($68 on Amazon)  or other similar.

However, not all graphics cards support 3 or more monitors. Therefore, it is important to find its capabilities in the specification of your card. You can search for this information by the name of your card.

If your graphics card does not support more than two monitors, you will have to purchase an additional graphics card for your device.

How do I set up four monitors on my laptop with Windows 10?

Let's take an example of 4 screens. Once you've made sure you have enough ports and your graphics card is good enough for the number of screens you need, you can plug in the cables and test the connection. For this:

  • Open Settings, then tap on System and finally choose Display.

  • The names of the four connected monitors should appear in this column.
  • If not all monitors are displayed here, then, go to Multiple Displays and and tap on Detect.

How to connect multiple screens to a Mac?

With Apple computers, the situation is somewhat more complicated and confusing, since they have their own standard, a lot of different models and generations. Therefore the ability to connect multiple monitors will depend on the model of your Mac:

Unfortunately, due to their own Thunderbolt port standards, the new Apple generation M-series MacBook Air and MacBook Pro only support one external monitor with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz. Only the M1 Mac mini supports two external displays (one at up to 6K over USB-C and one at up to 4K over HDMI 2.0). If you want to connect two or more additional screens to your M1 or M2 Apple notebook, you'll need to purchase a DisplayLink adapter, StarTech USB 3.0 to HDMI ($77,56 on Amazon). 

More advanced Mac models can support from 2 to 4 external monitors, depending on the model:

  • Mac Studio with M1 Max or M1 Ultra: four displays at up to 6K over USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 and one at up to 4K over HDMI 2.0
  • 14-inch or 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Max: three external displays at up to 6K over USB-C and one at up to 4K over HDMI 2.0
  • 14-inch or 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Pro: two external displays at up to 6K over USB-C and one at up to 4K over HDMI 2.0

And if you have a Mac computer with an Intel chip and Thunderbolt 3 or USB 3, your options are wider, using a combination of USB-C and HDMI 2.0 ports. For example:

  • Intel Mac Pro supports one 5K or 6K monitor or up to four 4K monitors through up to four 5K or 6K monitors or up to eight 4K monitors.
  • Mac mini can be connected to one 5K display via USB-C or up to three 4K screens with a combination of USB-C and HDMI 2.0 ports.
  • 27-inch iMac and 13-inch MacBook Pro support one 5K or 6K display or two 4K UHD or 4K monitors.
  • 21.5-inch iMac supports one 5K display or two 4K displays.

What to do if a Mac does not detect the connected display?

Have you connected your Mac to monitors with cables, but it does not detect them? In this case:

  • Go to System Preferences in the Apple menu, then tap on Displays.
  • Press and hold Option, then click the Detect Displays button.

How to connect a Mac to multiple displays wirelessly?

In addition, you can connect your Mac wirelessly to another Apple computer or some smart TVs you can use as monitors. For this:

  • Go to the Apple menu and open System Preferences, then click on Displays in the sidebar and scroll down.
  • Next to your Mac's name, select Add a display and select the desired device.