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How to daisy chain monitors

How to Daisy-Chain Monitors

Dwight Pavlovic
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If you use your computer as a business or creative workstation, then you’ll probably benefit from having a 2, 3, or even 4-monitor setup at your desk. But it can become complicated to set up multiple monitors, especially if you have a tight workspace. Your computer might not have enough video ports for all your monitors, and if it does you might be left with all sorts of tangled cables cluttering your desk.
What’s the solution? If you’re going for a multi-monitor setup, you should consider daisy-chaining your displays. Let’s take a look at what daisy-chaining is, and how you can do it for your setup.

What does it mean to daisy-chain monitors?

Daisy-chaining monitors means to connect a series of display devices to a commuter using a cord connection from monitor to monitor in a series, rather than connecting each device directly to the computer.
For example, let’s say you want to connect 2 additional monitors to your current desktop computer display. If you have to plug all three monitors into video ports on your computer, your computer may not have enough video ports to go around. You could use a port adapter, but that wouldn’t alleviate all the cables strewn across your desktop.
Daisy-chaining is a great way to simplify your desktop configuration. Here’s how it looks if you daisy-chain 3 monitors:
  • Monitor 1 and Monitor 2 are linked by a short video cable
  • Monitor 2 and Monitor 3 are linked by a short video cable
  • Only 1 monitor plugs into your computer
This is a much simpler and efficient setup than if you plug all 3 monitors into your computer. The cables that link each display can be short and tucked away behind the monitors giving you a clutter-free solution.

Benefits of daisy-chaining

One advantage of daisy-chaining is that you don’t have as many cables plugged into your computer, so it’s easier to maintain a clean and spacious workspace. There are lots of people who concentrate better when they have a clean work area, and if that’s you, then you’ll get a productivity boost by daisy-chaining.
Having 2 or more monitors makes it easier to do in-depth tasks. You can reference or research on one display while you type on another. That’s great if you’re:
  • Conducting research
  • Entering data
  • Video conferencing
  • Working on expansive creative applications
Daisy-chaining isn’t limited to connecting multiple monitors, either. If you were to daisy-chain devices using Thunderbolt connectors, you’d also be able to link external hard drives and other devices on the same chain. That makes daisy-chaining especially advantageous to the creative professional. Creative pros can use daisy-chaining to connect monitor to monitor with RAID-optimized hard drives linked onto the same single simple configuration.

Daisy-chain monitors

As of 2021, you can only daisy-chain monitors that are equipped with DisplayPort v1.2 or Thunderbolt. You can’t daisy-chain via USB-C, VGA, or HDMI ports. While you may see some talk of a USB daisy-chain setup, these typically involve the use of USB hubs or other accessories to be successful.
If you want to know how to connect two monitors together via DisplayPort, you need several monitors equipped with both a DisplayPort In and DisplayPort Out port. Many monitors only come with a single DisplayPort In port, but you also need a DisplayPort Out for the “middle of the chain” monitors. The last monitor on the chain only needs a DisplayPort In.
In addition, your GPU must support DisplayPort 1.2 MST. MST stands for “multi-stream transport,” and it’s the software that enables daisy-chaining between DisplayPort ports. If your GPU doesn’t currently support MST, you should be able to download an MST driver online. The driver will then enable daisy-chaining on your GPU.

How many monitors can I daisy-chain?

The number of monitors that you’re able to daisy-chain depends on your GPU. Many GPUs can handle 3 daisy-chained monitors. Other GPUs are capable of handling up to 6.
Keep in mind that there’s a limited amount of pixel data that can be transferred through the DisplayPort bus. If you’re going to daisy chain more than 2 monitors, you probably won’t be able to run each monitor at its maximum resolutions. With each display you connect, you’ll have to lower the resolution.
Pro tip: You don’t need to lower the resolution on each monitor. You could, for example, run your first monitor on a high resolution, your second monitor on a medium resolution, and your third monitor on a low resolution. Just be sure that you configure your highest-resolution monitor to be the one you use for video streaming or for doing detailed visual work.
If you only have 2 daisy-chained monitors, you should be able to run each at a relatively high resolution.

How to DisplayPort daisy-chain

Here’s how to set up a daisy-chain using DisplayPort.
  1. Verify that your GPU can support DisplayPort v1.2 MST (if not, download a driver)
  2. Plug each of your monitors into a power source and make sure all power cables are securely connected
  3. Use a DisplayPort cable to connect your computer to DisplayPort In on Monitor 1
  4. Use a DisplayPort cable to connect DisplayPort Out on Monitor 1 to DisplayPort In on Monitor 2
  5. To daisy-chain additional monitors, follow a similar sequence: use a DisplayPort cable to connect DisplayPort Out on Monitor 2 to DisplayPort In on Monitor 3 and so forth

Adjust your display settings

Windows 10 may not immediately recognize your daisy-chained monitors. Or it might recognize your displays in an erroneous configuration - for example, it might think that a display placed on your left is a display placed on your right.
You can easily adjust your display settings in Windows 10. Follow this step-by-step guide to configure them.

How to Thunderbolt daisy-chain

Here’s how to set up a daisy-chain using your Thunderbolt port, which isn’t very different from the procedure to DisplayPort daisy-chain.
  1. Verify that your GPU can support MST (if not, download a driver)
  2. Plug each of your monitors into a power source and make sure all power cables are securely connected
  3. Use a Thunderbolt cable to connect your computer to Monitor 1
  4. Use a Thunderbolt cable to connect Monitor 1 to Monitor 2
  5. Add additional monitors in the same fashion. Thunderbolt typically enables you to daisy-chain 6 or 7 independent monitors
You can also run a Thunderbolt daisy-chain by using a Thunderbolt docking station. Just plug each monitor into the Thunderbolt dock via Thunderbolt cables. Then, connect your Thunderbolt dock to your computer. Your computer should recognize each of the displays.
The dock method isn’t quite as space-efficient as the traditional daisy-chain method because somewhere on your desktop you’ll have a swarm of cables plugged into your dock. But it’s still advantageous because you’ll easily connect several monitors to your computer via a single Thunderbolt connection.
Not only that, the Thunderbolt is a super-fast bus that can quickly transfer a huge amount of data, so it might be a better option for you if you’re working with intensive visual software on more than one monitor.

Best monitors for daisy-chaining

Remember, your HDMI cable and USB ports won’t be much use when trying to daisy-chain multiple monitors. To enable daisy-chaining, you need:
  • A capable GPU that can handle simultaneous processing for multiple displays
  • Monitors that have both video input and video output ports
Here are 5 of the best HP monitors for daisy-chaining.

1. HP Z24u QHD monitor

HP Z24u QHD monitor
The HP Z27u QHD display boasts a Quad High Definition (QHD) resolution (2560x1440) making it a great choice for professionals who want to see everything in detail. You’ll be able to build out your new multi-monitor display with the best possible viewing accuracy. The always-on blue light filter feature HP Eye Ease makes sure you have minimal blue light exposure while still having true color accuracy.
Useful for any workspace that needs to support multiple monitors, the HP Z27u is meticulously crafted with 4-way ergonomic adjustability (height, tilt, pivot, and swivel). In addition to a fully adjustable build, it includes an anti-glare panel and a 1000:1 contrast ratio along with 350 nits of brightness .
Key features:
  • QHD resolution
  • HP Eye Ease always-on blue light filter
  • Anti-glare panel
  • Fully adjustable (height, tilt, pivot, and swivel)

2. HP OMEN 25 monitor

HP OMEN 25 monitor
Drawn from the HP line of dedicated gaming tech, the HP OMEN 25 monitor boosts your screen space with a 24.5-inch diagonal display. It also features one of the best refresh rates available, clocking in at 144 Hz with AMD FreeSync™ technology for reduced blurring and tearing. This is a cost-effective way to get the most out of performance graphics cards and higher-end game titles, and a great option to pair with an existing HP OMEN desktop PC.
The HP OMEN 25 is a strong multimedia display thanks to its speedy 1 ms response time and FHD resolution, which is a great baseline for streamers and creatives. It’s also a good general use model, with tilt adjustability and solid connectivity options. You’ll find a DisplayPort™ 1.2 connection for easy daisy-chaining, as well as 2 HDMI 1.4 and 2 USB 3.0 ports to accommodate your other accessories.
Key features:
  • FHD resolution
  • Priced under $300
  • High 144Hz refresh rate
  • 1 ms gray to gray
  • AMD FreeSync™ technology

3. HP Pavilion 32 QHD 32-inch monitor

HP Pavilion 32 QHD 32-inch monitor
The HP Pavilion 32 QHD 32-inch monitor offers a 32-inch diagonal display with Quad High Definition (QHD) resolution (2560 x 1440) for crisp, consistent picture and video quality. It provides a 100% sRGB color space designed for an eye-catching visual experience, whether you’re a heavy streamer or a hobby gamer.
To maximize ease of use, this 32-inch monitor also offers tilt adjustability, an ultra-wide viewing angle, and a built-in anti-glare panel to reduce distractions during sunny days at work. Plus, you’ll enjoy great connectivity, with dual HDMI and DisplayPort, plus USB-C for the next generation of PC accessories.
Key features:
  • QHD resolution
  • Priced under $400
  • Built-in low blue light mode
  • Anti-glare panel
  • Tilt-adjustable

4. HP Z27q G3 QHD display

HP Z27q G3 QHD display
With QHD resolution and a 99% sRBG color gamut, the HP Z27q G3 QHD display delivers superior clarity with vibrant, high-accuracy colors. It’s perfect for creatives and media professionals who need to see their work at the highest possible quality.
It also offers a sleek aluminum build with a trim profile and frameless design, maximizing visual comfort when daisy-chaining multiple devices. You get plenty of connectivity with an HDMI 2.0 connection, 4 USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, and DisplayPort 1.4 in and out, which makes this a perfect middle-of-the-chain monitor.
The HP Z27q is a particularly environmentally-friendly build and it received recognition from both ENERGY STAR and EPEAT for superb energy efficiency. When it comes to construction, each unit is built with parts sourced from 80% recycled materials. Shipping and packaging materials are also 100% sustainably sourced and recyclable, minimizing the overall environmental impact of your daisy-chained displays.
Key features:
  • QHD resolution
  • High-performance from HP Z series
  • Priced under $400
  • HP Eye Ease always-on blue light filter
  • Fully adjustable (height, tilt, pivot, and swivel)

5. HP U28 4K HDR monitor

HP U28 4K HDR monitor
For creators who prefer true 4K resolution, the HP U28 4K HDR monitor offers color accuracy with useful screen presets like sRGB and Display P3. It features an IPS panel with VESA HDR400 approval, a certification for premium monitors which indicates high dynamic range (HDR) quality. The HP U28 is also sustainably sourced, incorporating ocean-bound plastics equal to 3 16 oz plastic water bottles, as well as fully recyclable packaging.
With this monitor, you get HP Eye Ease, too, an always-on blue light filter that reduces eye strain without ruining color accuracy. It also has a height-adjustable stand and swivel, so you can adjust and extend these displays into a dynamic multi-screen setup.
With all these perks, you’ll enjoy both performance and comfort during marathon projects and long after-hours work sessions. Plus, you have access to a wide range of connection options, including HDMI 2.0, 2x USB Type-C (DisplayPort 1.2, power delivery up to 65 W), DisplayPort 1.2, and 3 USB-A 3.1 Gen1 ports.
Key features:
  • 4K resolution (3840 x 2160)
  • Priced under $500
  • HP Eye Ease always-on blue light filter
  • Produced using recycled materials
  • Adjustable height and swivel

6. HP E22 G4 FHD monitor

HP E22 G4 FHD monitor
The HP E22 G4 FHD monitor boasts a 21.5-inch diagonal Full High Definition (FHD) resolution (1920 x 1080) screen at an affordable price, making it a great choice for professionals with a tight workspace or budget. You’ll be able to build out your new multi-monitor display quickly and with minimal effort. For built-in connectivity, you’ll find loads of options, including DisplayPort, HDMI, VGA, USB Type-B, and four USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 connections.
Useful for any workspace that needs to support multiple monitors, the HP E22 G4 offers several important ergonomic features. In addition to a fully adjustable build (height, tilt, pivot, and swivel), it includes an anti-glare panel and the always-on low blue light feature HP Eye Ease. That means less worry about harmful impact on your vision – ideal for office spaces with multiple external monitors and busy work routines.
Key features:
  • FHD resolution
  • HP Eye Ease always-on blue light filter
  • Anti-glare panel
  • ENERGY STAR® certified and EPEAT® registered
  • Fully adjustable (height, tilt, pivot, and swivel)

Summary

With the right displays in your workspace, it’s both easy and convenient to daisy-chain monitors. It’s the best way for professionals with tight offices and workspaces to boost your screen real estate, without getting overburdened with cluttered cords and a messy desktop.
Just remember to shop from a list of vetted devices to guarantee support. Even then, it doesn’t hurt to check out the product specs to confirm you’re adding a viable DisplayPort v1.2 or Thunderbolt display to your cart for your daisy-chain monitor setup.
About the Author: Dwight Pavlovic is a contributing writer for HP Tech Takes. Dwight is a music and technology writer based out of West Virginia.

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