I am trying t find out if there is a way my DELL E6420 can run 3 external monitors?

I currently run 2 with the laptop screen as the third using a Dell docking station. The docking station still has one VGA port available.

  • Have you tried using the single vga port that is free? – Ramhound Jan 31 '12 at 18:48
  • Rick, did you ever find an answer? I, too, would like to know if it's possible to run 3 external 24", 1920x1200 monitors through the dock with the Nvidia graphics. – Charles Chen May 3 '12 at 20:15
  • See my answer, I forgot that I had asked this question. – rick schott Jul 13 '12 at 21:27

You will need to get a USB -> VGA adapter in order to run three monitors or a more expensive solution. These USB -> VGA Adapters usually run $50. However, they suck for anything other than business use. Even then, it feels like you're "RDPing or VNCing" into that extra monitor. It is rather laggy.

  • +1 for the recommended solution. But, I wouldn't describe the USB->VGA experience as sucky as network remote control. It is somewhat better than that. But you're right that falls short in certain circumstances, e.g. full screen video. Other than the obvious frequent refresh scenarios, I don't find it too laggy, especially if I keep the color quality at Medium (16-bit). My Microsoft Outlook lives on that second monitor, along with a few well-behaved apps. See also my answer at superuser.com/a/14119/781 – Chris W. Rea Jan 31 '12 at 19:00

I was able to run 3 24" monitors plus the laptop screen if need be on Windows 7 with a dock:

  • 1 HDMI Cable
  • 1 DVI Cable
  • 1 VGA Cable
  • Open the laptop screen

enter image description here

  • How did you get it to work, did you have to buy a USB dongle? Or where you able to do it with the dock and the hdmi port on the laptop? – user151332 Aug 9 '12 at 16:21
  • @Dccloth My dock has 3 video out ports (1 each: display port, DVI, and VGA); I can use all 3 of them and the laptop screen at the same time (2 on the Quadro, 2 on the IGP). If you have a model with only the IGP I suspect you're limited to 2 screens. – Dan Neely Nov 5 '12 at 15:19
  • @DanNeely If you have the Nvidia GPU, you can run three monitors... but I can only run two since I have the cheaper onboard Intel GPU. – Sun Nov 5 '14 at 17:40
  • It should be noted that you will need to enable Nvidia Optimus in the BIOS – вʀaᴎᴅᴏƞ вєнᴎєƞ Nov 6 '15 at 21:12

This is similar to situations where your laptop has a VGA, DVI and/or HDMI. You can have only two monitors running at the same time. This includes the laptop screen. You could run two external monitors or laptop + vga. Other than that, get a USB to VGA adapter. They are for the desperate though. Don't get if you're expecting to watch videos or play games.


I currently have a E6420 and was hoping to have two monitors and laptop display but it was a no go. I use the SIIG USB to VGA adapter. I work with spreadsheets and web pages so I am not looking for speed so it works for what I need.

I am running WIN 7 (64) and it works well. If you want to view videos and/or play games you can use the other monitor. Performance is a bit slow when dragging across screen but it is negligible.

  • Are you using a dock or just the ports on the base machine? – Charles Chen May 3 '12 at 20:16

protected by Community Aug 9 '12 at 16:26

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