At the moment I have got two monitors running off a dual output video card. I have read this article about having multiple monitors connected.

It says that this

is highly dependent on the combination of motherboard and graphics card you use as some motherboards will not allow you to use the onboard video if an add-on video card is detected

My question is there a way I can check if my computer will work with three monitors, before I go and either buy a new monitor or borrow one (which involves much hassle).

  • 1
    If it's Dell, it will disable the onboard. Easiest way to go triple is to get any ATI Eyefinity card, you also then won't get performance differences between the three screens and our previous setups of one PCI-e and one PCI card had. Jan 20, 2012 at 12:17
  • Just a note I have a old dell 3300 (off the top of my head) with a standard ati PCI dual graphics card. I tri-monitor off of that and the on-board with out a problem - it worked straight off (but I was a little surprised to be honest!)
    – megaSteve4
    Jan 20, 2012 at 16:05

5 Answers 5


Even simpler test!

Just swap one of your monitors to the onboard VGA output and see if it's displaying!


What motherboard do you have?

According to Belarc=> Board: ASUSTeK Computer INC. V-M2NC61P 

A google search shows this is an 'V-Series M2NC61P Asus PC (Desktop Barebone)' and reading the manual shows (in the BIOS/Advanced/Southbridge Configuration)

*Primary Graphics Adaptor [PCIE -> PCI -> IGP]*
Allows you to set the display decives priority.
Configuration options: [PCIE -> PCI -> IGP] [IGP -> PCI -> PCIE]

Usually the motherboards which disable onboard video actually do it on a hardware level - you would not see a display adaptor listed in device manager, this would be your next port of call to see if the onboard Graphics Adaptor is enabled with either of the 2 BIOS settings, if it is then you might be able to use that setting (aslong as your 8400 works) to have 3 displays...

If it doesn't your next step would be a 2nd Graphics card as explained by josh3736 below, but just remember - your motherboard only has ONE PCI-e x16 port (and 2 'standard' PCI).

  • Ah, the simplest answers are always the best. However, when I connect one monitor to onboard I get nothing on the other one. Also I have no idea what motherboard I have - how do I find out?
    – Rooneyl
    Jan 20, 2012 at 10:53
  • 2
    @Rooneyl: superuser.com/questions/175213/… Jan 20, 2012 at 13:55
  • If you can let us know which motherboard you have then we can give you a definate yes/no answer... Aswell as probably providing instructions if it's possible :)
    – HaydnWVN
    Jan 20, 2012 at 14:00
  • 1
    According to Belarc=> Board: ASUSTeK Computer INC. V-M2NC61P Rev x.xx Serial Number: MS1C88B85001002 Bus Clock: 200 megahertz BIOS: American Megatrends Inc. 0301 12/20/2007 and Display: NVIDIA GeForce 8400 GS [Display adapter]
    – Rooneyl
    Jan 20, 2012 at 14:56
  • 1
    that's mine computer
    – Rooneyl
    Jan 20, 2012 at 15:44

Simply unplug one of the monitors from your graphics card and plug it into the main board.

If you get a display you know that you can buy a new monitor.

  • +1 as i initially just beat your answer by a few seconds ;)
    – HaydnWVN
    Jan 20, 2012 at 15:52

Since you commented that after connecting one monitor to the IGP and one to your graphics card you only had the one attached to the IGP working I think you're out of luck unless you get a card that supports 3 monitors natively. Any ATI5xxx 6xxx or 7xxx card will do this provided at least one of your monitors supports displayport. If you're buying a new monitor this isn't hard to get as long as you're not determined to buy the absolute cheapest monitor you can find. You can connect a non-DP monitor to a DP port on an ATI card; but to get 3 monitor support you'll need to use an active adapter; these are on the chunky side and run about $30. The much smaller/cheaper passive adapters won't let you add a 3rd monitor.

Most ATI/nVidia cards will only support a total of 2 monitors across VGA, DVI, and HDMI. There are a handful of exceptions; but they're the result of customization by the manufacturer so you'll need to read the specsheet/box to find them; it's not as simple as "any XYZ series card will work".


You need to check the bios. There may be an option in there for enabling/disabling the on board video.

  • I'm afraid there isn't :(
    – HaydnWVN
    Jan 20, 2012 at 15:52

You will best get that questions answered by borrowing a monitor and trying it. It may require a BIOS setting change. Even if you fail to use the onboard video, here is a possible solution for you to try if you are using a Windows OS (at the time of this writing there are still a few issues with Linux if you try for a high monitor count):

Try adding a USB Graphics Adapter (I like the Plugable UGA-165 devices from plugable.com, available on Amazon and elsewhere) and hooking up a borrowed monitor to it. When it enumerates you will see it listed in your Display Settings. This should work in W7,8,8.1,10 and perhaps even earlier versions than I have listed. USB2 will work well- USB3 is faster, but uses more USB endpoints. Most W10 systems will allow up to 6 total HDMI adapters/monitors, but this is somewhat dependent on your existing video card and CPU/Memory resources.

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