Multiple monitors have become a standard nowadays because they allow users to do more things with their desktops. Such setups allow for more work and productivity as additional screens open up opportunities for multitasking.
However, building a multi-monitor configuration isn't as easy as purchasing and plugging the devices into your computer. You need to look into several factors to get your setup to work without issues. One of the most critical considerations is choosing the right multi-monitor graphics card.
Graphics cards are used only to support a single monitor, but today, most video cards sold in the market have at least two to three display outputs.
Users commonly have a mix of HDMI, DVI, and VGA connections for use with various monitors. There are even graphics cards for gaming that can support up to six monitor outputs.
Although many three-monitor video cards are available today, that doesn't mean they can automatically support several screens at once. Overloading graphics cards with too many display outputs can result in a blank or black screen.
That's why it's essential to know how to choose graphics cards based on what you want to do with your multi-monitor computer setup.
The most common multi-monitor PC setups today are those that can support two to three monitors at the same time. So if you just needed two to three monitors, then the easiest thing you can do would be to find a video card that can support that amount of display outputs, right?
In theory, yes, but choosing the most straightforward path doesn't always bring the best results in the world of computers.
You may find traditional dual or triple monitor capable video cards today, but many tend to be underpowered. After all, you're asking for a single (most likely decades-old) graphics card to support two to three screens simultaneously.
The good news is that new workstation options are always out in the market that offer far better performance than conventional designs. You don't have to worry about input lag with the latest video cards since they are specifically designed to support several connected screens. So long as they are compatible with the system and installed correctly, there shouldn't be a problem.
An important thing to remember is that the higher your capabilities you want, the more expensive your choices become. The same is true with the latest multi-monitor graphics cards today.
Nvidia and AMD are the top producers of graphics cards in the PC consumer market. However, news about Intel joining in on the fray with its new brand of graphics technology, Intel Arc, will debut in early 2022.
But for, the more established graphics card manufacturers, have been releasing high-end gaming cards for quite some time now, which could support three or even more monitors. These video cards are designed specifically for use in video games and offer significantly more power compared to workstation designs.
Given that these gaming video cards are optimized for 3D gaming, they typically require much power. Processing isn't the only thing to consider, but the actual power draw of the whole system. Frequently users will need to check if their power supply unit can support a gaming graphics card, especially when switching to the newer models.
With higher power comes more heat produced by the computer, and additional cooling is necessary to keep temperatures under control. More fans are needed when you need to keep things cool, which also means more noise.
You might have noticed that many brands sell GPUs in the market nowadays. However, only two companies manufacture these graphics cards: Nvidia and AMD.
Regarding performance, most people would say that Nvidia video cards provide more performance than AMD yet they can also be more costly. People who want an affordable option can find a reliable alternative in AMD. Although AMD GPUs aren't as efficient as those from Nvidia, they can also provide similar performance levels that can take on multi-monitor configurations.
For gamers, choosing between Nvidia and AMD video cards is a matter of preference. However, you should consider whether you want to use monitors that have FreeSync or G-Sync capabilities.
FreeSync monitors are highly accessible in the market and are also more affordable. Since these are compatible with AMD graphics cards, pairing these two together is only reasonable.
On the other hand, the G-Sync monitors are designed to be used with GPUs from Nvidia. G-Sync monitors are more costly but offer variable refresh rates that improve the gaming experience.
The existing brands that sell these cards (think Asus, MSI, EVGA, Gigabyte, and Zotac) will all come down to how they are customized individually. These cards' primary differences are customer support, cooling system, software, and cosmetics.
The difference in hardware level between the two graphics card companies is negligible as they use the same GPUs from either Nvidia or AMD. Although there is no overall consensus on which video card brands is the best, those listed above are often the ones mentioned by users in various communities.
Now that you've read some of the most crucial considerations for your multi-monitor setup, you probably have a lot of things on your mind. That's why we've prepared a list of the top multi-monitor graphics cards to help you pick the right one for your needs.
Zotac GT 710
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If you're looking for the top dual monitor video card for general usage and work, then the Zotac GT 710 offers the best bang for your buck. This graphics card can still be found today and is one of the more affordable options on this list if you just need to get it to support multiple monitors.
The Zotac GT 710 with outputs for DVI, HDMI, and VGA. The graphics card is linked to the rest of its system through a PCI-Express 2.0 x8 interface and measures 145mm in length. It also has a single slot dedicated to keeping it cool for better productivity.
This dedicated graphics card lets you enjoy improved performance compared to an integrated video card. Your favorite computer applications will thank you for choosing this reliable graphics card primarily when you use it for multi-monitor setups.
XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition
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People looking to set up 3 monitors for general usage or increased productivity may find the XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition a good choice.
The unit is designed to be an effective card for using several monitors when you want to get things done. Its cooling system is effective enough to keep temperatures in check, while its durable construction ensures any bumps in the workplace won't damage its internals.
The RX 580 GTS XXX Edition offers a single HDMI, a single DVI, and 3 DisplayPort slots for its display output. It draws approximately 185W of power and can support up to 6 monitors if needed. However, you'll need to use a DisplayPort MST hub if you want to use the maximum monitors it can connect.
When running, the RX 580 GTX XXX Edition is quiet, which means users can work in peace without hearing the annoying sound of laboring graphics card fans. However, the card can be quite big so it's important to choose a casing that can accommodate its size.
Best Multi-Monitor Video Cards for Work
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A dual monitor setup isn't only for work – you can also use it for video games. However, you'll need more than a GT 710 graphics card, which is why we'll discuss the RTX 3060 in this section.
With the EVGA RTX 3060 XC Gaming video card, you can use dual 1080p monitors for gaming. This dual monitor configuration will give gamers a higher resolution than a single 1440p monitor, so you can expect to get a minimum FPS of at least 60 with most games today.
The display outputs for this video card model have four slots: 1 for HDMI and 3 for DisplayPort support. People who own the EVGA RTX 3060 XC Gaming card can have as many as four displays.
This ideal dual-monitor graphics card operates under the power of Nvidia's Ampere architecture. Ray tracing will be shown better here, while AI performance is improved thanks to its RT cores. Like all video cards in the RTX 30 lineup, the RTX 3060 from EVGA supports Nvidia DLSS, Nvidia Reflex, and Nvidia Broadcast.
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For those who have been following the ROG brand from ASUS, the RTX 3070 will be one of the best choices they can make if they want to use it for triple monitor gaming. This video card provides users with the top-of-the-line features expected from their premium range of graphics cards.
Besides providing excellent performance for playing video games, it offers an amazing boost clock frequency out-of-the-box, so you don't need to tinker with it unless you want to. Multi-monitor players will genuinely enjoy the video game experience provided by this GPU.
Many gamers love the ASUS brand, which is always included in the top list of GPU providers each year. The ROG Strix RTX 3070 Gaming card not only looks great, but its performance is one of the best in the market today. Not to mention that it also comes with triple fans for maximum cooling.
There are indeed many things to consider when you're looking to build your own multi-monitor setup. The best video card for multiple monitors will highly depend on what you want to do with your configuration. For example, are you looking to use it for work or perhaps have several screens for your gaming needs?
Furthermore, there are several primary aspects to think about when looking at each of these GPUs. The most common ones are the video memory, memory bus, memory clock, and the total display outputs it can support.
Building your own multi-monitor setup can seem confusing and overwhelming at first. But we hope that after reading this guide, you can pick the best multi-monitor video card that fits your budget and requirements.
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