For many, a 3-monitor setup is the perfect way to enhance their gaming experience and productivity. However, going from a single monitor to a three-monitor setup may be more difficult than you first thought. Luckily, we’ve got a ton of experience with multi-monitor setups, explaining everything you need to know about triple-monitor setups in this guide.
Tri-monitor setups have grown in popularity over the years, with many of the best racing sim setups using a 3-monitor setup. It’s not all about the game though. Twitch streamers, multitaskers, and daily users will all find benefits in using more than one monitor, tripling the amount of desktop space they previously had.
That being said, we’re here to discuss everything you need to know about a 3-monitor setup. We’ll explain how to build a three-monitor setup, which monitors are great for multi-monitor use, comparing 3-monitor setups to dual-monitor setups, and more in this simple guide.
What is a 3 monitor setup?
A three-monitor setup is a computer setup in which three monitors are used at the same time. In 3-monitor setups, the monitors in question can be angled in any formation, connected by HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, DVI, or Thunderbolt 3.
As you can imagine, a 3-monitor setup can be incredibly versatile. Whether you’re into gaming, content consumption, productivity, or editing, most people can find benefits from using a triple-monitor setup. They’re especially handy for people who like to have many tabs and processes running at once, allowing them to maintain high levels of productivity on a 2nd or 3rd screen.
For gaming, sim racing is arguably the most common use case for a 3-monitor setup. Many games, however, support a multi-screen setup, allowing you to experience your virtual world from a completely different perspective.
Are 3 monitor setups worth it?
It all depends on what you plan to do while on your PC. If you’re the type of person who enjoys playing competitive games but works a little on the side, chances are you won’t reap the full rewards of a triple-monitor setup. That said, for people who use Twitch, a three-monitor setup can be extremely versatile.
Popular streamers will use 2 or even 3 monitors to ensure that they are not only interacting with their audience, but also to give them the freedom to switch seamlessly between their streaming software and other applications. Having a dedicated third monitor for your Twitch chat is also incredibly convenient as it means you can interact with a larger percentage of your audience.
Aside from Twitch streaming, a 3-monitor setup is also ideal for productivity users and marketers. If you’re looking to keep a close eye on a number of different stocks or currencies, the best way to do that might be through multiple screens. Some people like Bitcoin prices to be visible at all times, especially considering the volatility of the cryptocurrency.
Below, we’ve listed the most common scenarios that would benefit from a three-monitor setup:
- Racing Simulator/Player
- Video/photo editor
- Productivity User
- Person working in social media
- Twitch Streamer
Is a 3-monitor setup expensive?
It all depends on the monitors you plan to use. There are plenty of smaller, budget-friendly 24-inch monitors out there that are perfect for triple-monitor setups. You don’t have to get the best gaming monitors for a multi-screen setup – you can go for something much less premium.
That said, if you want a great gaming experience, you’ll want to prioritize high refresh rates and low response times. This way, you won’t be riddled with screen artifacts like tearing and smudging.
All in all, you can create a 3-monitor setup for any budget. If you want the cheapest setup possible and don’t prioritize gaming, you can get three 60Hz monitors on a budget and go. However, if you plan to play fairly regularly, you’ll probably have to pay a premium for at least one of the screens in your setup.
Three Monitor Setup vs Dual Monitor Setup
So, do you go for a dual-monitor or a triple-monitor setup? Of course, the triple-monitor setup is much more versatile than the dual one as it comes with an extra 24-inch (minimum) screen space. However, you may not need this extra workspace.
If you think you can be more productive with a dual-screen setup, you’ll save a few bucks in the process. Of course, if you only get two monitors, you’ll be able to take advantage of slightly more premium options, which will allow you to get a better monitor-to-monitor experience.
Additionally, dual monitors only require two GPU input cables. Let’s remember that not all GPUs offer three video inputs, which means you may actually be limited to a dual-monitor setup.
How to set up 3 monitors on a computer
If you’re all on a 3-monitor setup, let’s take a closer look at how to set one up.
Fortunately, the process of setting up 3 monitors on your computer is incredibly simple. However, there are some preliminary checks you need to do.
1. Check your GPU for video inputs
One of the first things you need to do before, well, even buying the monitors, is to check if your GPU can accommodate a triple monitor setup.
Check the back of your GPU to see if it has three available inputs. If so, then we’re off to the races.
2. Make sure you have enough cables
The next thing you need to do is make sure you have all the correct cables for your new setup. You will need to match your cables to the inputs on the back of your GPU, as not all GPUs offer three HDMI or DisplayPort options.
Instead, you’ll often find each GPU with a mix of inputs (HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, DVI).
3. Check available power outlets
Again, although this may seem basic, it’s something people often overlook. Make sure you have all the power outlets available before you start.
4. Start connecting your monitors to the GPU
If you have all the cables, inputs and sockets available, start connecting your displays to the GPU.
At this point, it may be helpful to label (sticker tag) each cable with numbers so you can easily determine which cable goes to which monitor.
While this may sound silly, it helps if you need to change monitors, cables, or just rearrange your setup.
5. Turn on each monitor and make sure they register with the PC
At this point, each monitor should turn on and show either a black screen or your desktop background. If your monitor’s standby light is not active or you see the monitor cycling through display inputs, chances are it is not being recognized by the PC.
If this happens, you may need to go to the next step and try to manually register the monitor. Of course, a monitor that doesn’t work with a PC is pretty thin, so I wouldn’t worry much.
6. Configure your 3-monitor setup in Windows Display Settings
At this point, you’ll want to head to your Windows display settings (Right-click on the desktop and select it from the options) to configure them properly. Unless you are lucky, you will often find that the orientation of the monitors is wrong.
For example, the monitor on the far left was actually assigned the center position – and so on.
On the inside Windows display settings you will be able to drag and drop the monitors in the correct orientation.
If you don’t know which monitor is which, just ‘Identify‘ monitors by pressing the key ‘Identify’ button under the screen configuration section of Windows display settings.
7. Save your monitor configuration settings and you’re done
You can apply the settings at the bottom of the window. If it asks you to confirm the settings, just confirm them and close the window.
Best monitors for a 3-monitor setup
If you’re interested in a more versatile multi-monitor setup, you’re probably wondering which monitors are best for the job. Fortunately, we have plenty of experience with monitors, allowing us to recommend displays for all scenarios.
Below we have listed some of the best monitors for 3 monitor setups:
Best Gaming Monitors for a 3-Monitor Setup
The ASUS VG279Q may be an aging panel, but it still offers great value and decent gaming performance in a triple-monitor setup. It offers a respectable 144Hz refresh rate, low 1ms response time, and IPS panel technology.
Best Mounting Monitor for a Multi-Monitor Setup
Acer B287K Monitor
The Acer B287K is an excellent monitor for a dual/triple monitor setup. It offers good coverage of the sRGB spectrum, decent colors right out of the box, and an incredibly accurate sRGB emulation preset. Although it only has a 4ms response time and a low 60Hz benchmark, it brings 4K resolution to the party.
See the full Acer B287K monitor review here.
Best budget monitor for a three monitor setup
Acer Nitro VG240Y
The Acer Nitro VG240Y is a budget monitor that, despite its price, still ticks a lot of good boxes. It might not be as big as the previous two mentions, however, it still provides plenty of screen real estate when it comes to a 3-monitor setup. It has an IPS panel, low 1ms response time and 1080p screen resolution – not a bad combination of specs for everyday use.
So there you have it, our quick guide to 3 monitor setups. Hopefully, we’ve covered everything you need to know if you’re thinking of upgrading your current gaming setup. If not, feel free to ask us a question in the comment section and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.