Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Trouble activating a third monitor?

  1. #1


    Posts : 26
    WIndows 8 Pro

    Trouble activating a third monitor?


    What is the root problem I'm having and a workable solution for connecting a 3rd monitor to a Win 8.1 Pro x64 desktop?

    My primary desktop has a ATI Radeon HD 46000 Series display adapter with 1 gb or onboard dedicated video memory. I have a HP w2338h LCD monitor (1920x1080) as my primary on HDMI. I have a Dell s2404W (Digital, 1920x1080) across from me for watch videos on DVI. It's defined as extended desktop. Now I connected a ViewSonic VA2012wb (1680x1050) on to VGA 15-pin. This third monitor is intended to be vertical for reading, leaving my primary monitor available to work on. Unfortunately I seem to be limited to have just two monitors active at a time. A third monitor must become disabled.

    Can anyone explain what brick wall I seem to be hitting with a third monitor? The adapter has three monitor connectors and I don't recall reading anything about being limited to two (of three) at once.

    If it's a limitation of the adapter, can I get all three monitors active if I place the third monitor on another video adapter, preferable a USB3-based adapter?

    I'm running Win 8.1 Pro x64 on an ASUS P6 X58-E WS motherboard with a Xeon 5600 6-core processor. I currently have 13gb of memory.

    Thank you in advance for any insights.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    Go to Control Panel > Display > Adjust Resolution. Does it show 3 monitors or 2? Some video cards will make you use a DVI to VGA adapter to connect a VGA monitor. And some will just put a VGA connector next to the DVI connector and feed them both from the same source. How many video connectors are on that card and what type are they?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 26
    WIndows 8 Pro


    The adapter card (pcie v2.0) has three connectors (DVA, HDMI, VGA-15 pin). All three monitors are shown in the adjust resolution applet, but the VGA-newly-attached-monitor is disabled. Using either the adjust resolution applet or the Radeon Catalyst utility, activating any 3rd monitor results in one of the other monitors to be disabled.
    I found nothing in the ATI Radeon HD 4600 Series display adapter documentation indicating only 2 of the 3 monitor connections may be activated.

    My reading of the ATI CrossfireX technology tells me that connecting a 2nd adapter in this manner merely adds horsepower to the primary adapter. I am not a gamer, so I wonder if a USB video adapter is good enough, or do I need to add another video adapter?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    If it only supported 2 monitors I would have expected only 2 to be shown in the adjust resolution screen? How big are these screens? Maybe it has a maximum combined display width or something. If you have another PCIe slot you can add in another video card. You don't have to use Crossfire if you don't want to. If you go non crossfire you can use just about any video card you want in the second slot and it should work. I'd use anther ATI/AMD card just to make things easier driver wise.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 26
    WIndows 8 Pro


    The two older monitors are both 1920x1080. The third monitor is 1680x1050. There is 1gb of dedicated memory on the adapter. Mailing out the memory sounds reasonable because I can get any 2 of the 3 monitors activated. My motherboard manual states that using ATI CrossfireX to connect the two adapters only leaves the primary adapter's ports working, so I read that as adding memory and GPUs for more horsepower to the primary adapter's ports.

    By not addressing it, are you suggesting I stay away from USB3 video adapters?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    Quote Originally Posted by mfaklis View Post
    The two older monitors are both 1920x1080. The third monitor is 1680x1050. There is 1gb of dedicated memory on the adapter. Mailing out the memory sounds reasonable because I can get any 2 of the 3 monitors activated. My motherboard manual states that using ATI CrossfireX to connect the two adapters only leaves the primary adapter's ports working, so I read that as adding memory and GPUs for more horsepower to the primary adapter's ports.

    By not addressing it, are you suggesting I stay away from USB3 video adapters?
    You can also run two identical ATI cards in Crossfire which does as you say, it adds to the performance of the one card. But if you run two cards and don't crossfire them you can connect displays to both cards. You could run 4 or even 6 displays this way. Depending on the cards installed. CrossfireX is variation on that. Have you tried connecting one of your monitors to your motherboards video connector. I think CrossfireX will let you do that.

    I have never used a USB video adapter so I am hesitant to recommend one. I think you'll find that adding a second video card is cheaper and will preform better.

    I have 3 monitors, a 22" 1920 x 1080p LG E2242T-BN Flat Panel and 2 19" 1280x1024 I-INC AG191D TFT Flat Panels, connected to a NVIDIA GeForce GT 640 PCIe card with 2 GB of onboard RAM. HDMI-DVI-DVI. I didn't know it would do 3 monitors until I tried it. The manual didn't say one way or the other, it just said it supported multiple displays.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 26
    WIndows 8 Pro


    My motherboard has no on board video. I believe Win 8.1 Pro is limited to 6 monitors, but I did not verify that article.

    I know I have had 4 monitors on my XP Pro laptop, which I still need to download my diabetes glucose log. That Dell c840 laptop supported the lid's monitor, and an external VGA monitor. With the CDock/2 I have two additional video cards to drive the two other monitors.

    I know that the HD 4600 series is not certified for Windows 8. My motherboard has a PCIe v2.0 bus, and since I'd rather invest in the future I'll look for a PCI2 v3 video adapter that will run on the PCIe v2.0 bus, and is supported on Windows 8.1. I'm running a virtual copy of Win 10 Pro x64, so I won't have an opportunity to test the adapter drive on Windows 10 for a while.

    A USB 3.0 video adapter is tempting for the ease of moving it to other machines. Many that I've seen have USB 3,0/2.0 hubs with 1 or 2 video connectors and another LAN adapter.

    I have a plethora of motherboards, but using Hyper-V cuts my electricity bill. I am using two identical (hardware) machines with the ASUS P6 X58-E WS motherboard allowing me to test a virtual data center on a virtual network. My older motherboards are mounted on the wall as an art project showing the evolution of hardware. I even have some core memory.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    OK, the mention of CrossfireX threw me off a bit. CrossfireX will let you add a card and still use your onboard if it has one. I think it does anyway. Doesn't matter if you don't have onboard video though. I don't have any other suggestions at this point.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    ATI CrossfireX ( that "X" parameter ) is meant for Amd APU to work as ordinary Crossfire with a compatible GPU so that would not help you any. Only AMD video cards with "Eyefinity" feature would let you use 3 monitors with different standards at the same time. You could also get a cheap (since it's only for reading) PCIe video card with VGA out, don't have to connect them to each other. There are also very cheap adapters that would let you use the power of your primary GPU but you need a monitor with "Display port".
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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