Windows 10: Best & Cheapest Way to Use 3 Monitors

  1.    14 Oct 2016 #1

    Best & Cheapest Way to Use 3 Monitors

    I hooked up my new-to-me computer the other day. I was super excited because it had 3 ports on the video card, and while I love 2 monitors, 3 would be even better! Well, as it turns out, this version of this video card (AMD Radeon HD 5450 with VGA, DVI & HDMI) will only display 2 monitors, not 3. So, I'm thinking of upgrading the video card. Computer is a Dell OptiPlex 390 with i3-2120 @ 3.3GHz & 6MB RAM. This is for work purposes, not gaming, so it doesn't have to be the biggest & best, just whatever will show 3 monitors. I'm also open to an active adapter of some sort, though I'm not sure it will work based on the research I've done.
    Or...if I buy a second of these video cards, would that work? I saw some stuff on a thread that said if you had 2 identical video cards you could run monitors off each. It looks like there's room on the tower, but I'm not sure there's room on the motherboard. Also not sure how to check.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2. Dude's Avatar
    Posts : 12,238
    Windows 10 Pro X64
       14 Oct 2016 #2

    The Dell series don't have power supplies to run multiple gpu's, but it could be the cpu doesnt support it either. I'm going from memory, so it may be able to. You could go with an usb grapics adapter to run a third monitor. Smart Buy USB Graphics Adapter: Electronics
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3. Posts : 1,892
    Win 10 X64 Pro 1803 17751.1
       14 Oct 2016 #3

    The OptiPlex 390 has a single PCI-E X16 slot, so you're stuck with a single graphics card. (That's not entirely true, but I've never used a PCI-E X1 graphics card.)

    I'm not sure whether a card that supports 3 monitors would be supported by the weakfish PSU in the Dell OptiPlex 390 (265W for the minitower). This one is a relatively low-power card:

    It has 3 digital outputs, but the DVI one could be used with a simple (cheap) adapter for VGA if needed.

    I think you'd be crazy to waste any significant funds on a machine of this type, though.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  4. Posts : 617
    Windows 10 Home SL 64-bit, v1803
       15 Oct 2016 #4

    I think you need a dongle or something with that. I've only ran 2 monitors when I still had my HD 5450 installed.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    16 Oct 2016 #5

    If your GPU supports "Eyefinity" you can run 3 monitors.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  6. Posts : 617
    Windows 10 Home SL 64-bit, v1803
       16 Oct 2016 #6

    The ATi Radeon HD 5450 does support Eyefinity.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7.    17 Oct 2016 #7

    RoasterMen said: View Post
    The ATi Radeon HD 5450 does support Eyefinity.
    Than it could be set up thru driver.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  8.    17 Oct 2016 #8

    Actually this issue is a bit weird.

    Whilst the older cards can run 3 monitors in Eyefinity setup, the actual problem is that the cards only support 2 passive displays.

    VGA, DVI & HDMI are all passive, if you wanted to take advantage of the third monitor you would need to use the DisplayPort connection in place of one of those.

    As for @OP's question, yes getting a second card will allow you to run two more passive displays from it, or 3 if you utilised an active adaptor. A new card can cost you up to $100, whilst a decent adapter could be $50.

    Startech usually have some decent ones in supply -

    However you will need to do some checking to make sure it supports your resolution, and other requirements.

    Edit - Just for more reading.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9. Posts : 617
    Windows 10 Home SL 64-bit, v1803
       17 Oct 2016 #9

    I'm trying to find an HD 5450 with a DisplayPort but I can't find anything to the internet for the OP. But I believe the GPU supports DP output.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


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