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Can I Add More than One External Monitor to My Machine?

Question: I own an Acer Aspire 5750 with an Intel HD graphics 3000. I’m currently using it with one external monitor and the laptop monitor. Can I add a second external monitor and have all three monitors working at the same time? The operating system is Windows 7 Home Premium, 64-bit with 8 GB of memory. I’ve done some searching without success. I’ve sent a request to Acer about a month ago. So far, no answer from them.

I can think of several different ways to add a second external monitor. Not all of them will work on your laptop – that depends on your machine’s capabilities – but some will.

Let’s look at your options.

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Use your additional video outputs

The easiest approach is to see if the machine itself has additional video outputs.

For example, you currently have your main screen and another monitor presumably plugged into an adapter that’s available on your Acer. If there’s another adapter available, then you should be able to plug in an additional monitor.

But I’m going to assume that this is not the case for you (because you wouldn’t be asking the question). So, let’s look at your next option.

Multiple MonitorsTry a USB-to-DVI video device

A very quick, easy, and inexpensive solution is to use a USB-to-DVI device.

My desktop has two video outputs and I had monitors plugged into both of those. I wanted to put a third monitor on my desktop machine, so I purchased a USB-to-DVI device. I plugged it into the USB port on my desktop and the DVI input on my monitor. My machine reconfigured itself automatically and then I had three monitors. It worked quite well. This method is also great for presentations or if you’re taking a laptop to various locations and you have no other way of connecting an external monitor.

The only caveat is that the USB-to-DVI device works great if you are displaying static or slow-moving images, such as web pages, documents, or photos. It may lag with motion video or anything that’s heavily motion-oriented, like a game. The USB interface simply can’t transfer the data fast enough to keep up with things like that.

When I used it, I only had a problem with video on the monitor that was connected to the USB. The other monitors displayed everything fine. I even played World of Warcraft on them, but I was never able to play it over the USB interface.

Use the display port or HDMI

Some laptops now include additional ports called “display ports.” For example, my Surface Pro and my MacBook Pro both have this output.

Some laptops also have HDMI. That’s another alternative because it includes both video and audio. Quite often, you can use those in addition to whatever you’re using normally.

Using the display port or the HDMI port depends on the hardware capabilities of  the laptop. Does it have those ports? If so, then it boils down to the capabilities of the installed video drivers. If you’re having problems with that, make sure you have the latest drivers.

For both the MacBook and the Surface Pro, all I had to do was plug in a Display-Port-to-HDMI adapter for my monitor and it worked really well.

Get a new video card

There is one more scenario that I want to describe. With your laptop, it might not be feasible, but it will work on some desktop machines.

Some video cards can handle multiple monitors. If your desktop allows you to have several video cards plugged in, you can connect multiple monitors. Windows handles this just fine. If you’ve ever seen flight simulator scenarios where they have nine monitors displaying portions of a very large visual field, they’re using multiple graphics cards to display that image.

So, those are my suggestions for you. My guess is that if you have an older machine, the USB solution is probably going to be the most practical and the easiest to set up.

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7 comments on “Can I Add More than One External Monitor to My Machine?”

  1. There are boxes that can take output from one port and split it among two identical monitors. Your system thinks it is sending to one monitor, and the side to side resolution on each monitor is only 1/2 of the full resolution your port can support. But it works. We used it that way at work for older laptops that didn’t support two monitors. Newer laptops don’t have that problem, but I can see where we could use them to support up to 4 monitors on our current laptop systems.

  2. About your point “Use your additional video outputs”, I don’t think that would necessarily work. I have a laptop with a AMD 6630M graphics card (and unfortunately Intel HD Graphics), and even though AMD says their card supports up to 6 monitors, the laptop its self does not seem able to do so. Upon plugging in a monitor via HDMI and another via VGA, windows does not seem to allow all three monitors (that includes the laptop display) from extending the desktop at once.
    (Perhaps a display port to multiple HDMIs would work)

    (Also tried a laptop with an AMD integrated 6520G which also didn’t work)
    (Will try another laptop that only has a Nvidia GTX 770M[should support 4 active displays], no integrated card)

  3. I have an Acer Aspire X3400 with Geforce 9200 internal graphics. I added a low profile PCI graphics card with dual output (Nvidia GT430). I now run three monitors for stock charts with few problems. Not bad for a little mini-tower.

  4. No mention is made to what the monitors display. Are they displaying (a) the same image; or are they displaying (b) different parts of one image; or are they displaying (c) three different images?

  5. I have a hp laptop WITH INTEL CORE i3 AND 6 GgB ram and 64 bit windows 8.1 operating system. I cannot make it show 3 monitors ( 2 external plus one laptop screen). it has a hdmi and vga ports so I connected 1 monitor to vga and other to hdmi. I then went to screen resolution by right clicking and when I click on 3rd monitor it says the settings cannot be saved. do I need updated drivers and if yes where do I get it from.


  6. i am trying to use 3 monitors with an Acer Aspire. I have one hooked up via VGA and then an HDMI connector that goes to a splitter. From the splitter there is one HDMI cord to one TV and then going to the other TV is 2 CAT5 wires going to a HDMI connector which goes to the other TV.

    I had it working with just the VGA and one TV coming off the splitter but when I added the 2nd TV the desktop from the VGA went black. The Icons still show at the bottom of the screen but when you click on the icon it doesn’t populate the desktop

    The same computer program needs to feed to all 3 monitors and have the same display
    Any ideas on how to make this work?
    Does the CAT5 need to be replaced with the same kind of HDMI as the other TV or is there something else I need to do.


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