Your Daisy Chain Monitors How to Guide
A single computer screen can often seem a bit limiting if you're a designer or coder. Switching windows or tabs is a productivity killer as it upsets your workflow. A dual monitor setup can save time and boost productivity by allowing you to focus on different tasks simultaneously and complete work in a shorter amount of time. You can easily create a clutter-free multi-monitor workspace with daisy chaining.
Laptops usually only have one video port, so it can be complicated to set up multiple displays. Plus, if you have a compact workspace, you'll have a mess of tangled cables and cords cluttering your desk.
Daisy chaining multiple monitors is a great way to increase your workflow and minimize that cable clutter. You can maximize your screen space with 2, 3, or even 6-screens to look at. This article will show you what daisy chaining is and how to set it up.
What does daisy chaining mean?
Daisy chaining means connecting multiple devices together in a chain, one after the other. Transmissions go to the first device, then to the second, and so on in a linear series. It's most commonly used to connect computers but can also connect:
- External hard drives
What do daisy chaining monitors mean?
Daisy-chaining or multi-stream transport (MST) means you chain your monitor to another monitor instead of directly to your computer’s video output port.
Rather than connecting each monitor directly to the computer, you can connect them to a single video output port on your PC. You use short video cables to connect each monitor in a linear series.
Daisy-chaining your monitors together is a great way to reduce clutter on your desktop. Here's an example of how it works if you daisy-chain three monitors:
- Only Monitor 1 plugs into your computer.
- You connect Monitor 1 and 2 with a short video cable.
- You connect Monitor 2 and 3 with a short video cable.
This much more efficient setup reduces desk clutter and simplifies cable management. It's also a great way to connect multiple monitors for better multitasking or to extend your desktop.
4 Benefits of daisy chaining your monitors
Research shows that two monitors are better than one as you'll boost productivity and improve multitasking. Here are four benefits of a two or more monitor workflow:
1) Improved productivity & efficiency
With two screens, you can keep multiple programs open simultaneously, such as email and your browser. Rather than needing to switch between apps, you simply access the other app, already open, on your other screen.
Basically, the more you can see, the more work you can do. One study found that up to 42% productivity boost for IT workers and creatives increased working on multiple monitors.
A 2012 multi-screen productivity study conducted by Wichita State University found that using a laptop with a desktop monitor is more effective than using a single monitor. The dual monitor users could:
- Finish a specific data-finding task 2 minutes faster
- Efficiency improved by 18% with more accuracy and speed
- Switch windows 15% less frequently
Spending 15% less time switching screens means saving up to 9 minutes per hour. That could mean an extra 56 days saved annually due to your boost in productivity.
2) Better workflow and focus
Organizing different apps onto different screens helps us prevent mistakes. Having two or more monitors can make it easier to do in-depth tasks - you can research on one display while typing on another. With a streamlined workflow, you'll feel more in control.
A University of Utah study found that task focus was 28% easier and productive work was 32% faster with dual monitor setups. In a hybrid world, where we blur our home and work lives, all this timesaving could make a world of difference.
3) Side-by-side work is simpler
Multiple computing tasks often require having two separate windows open next to each other and referencing or comparing data between them. Managing side-by-side windows can be challenging if you're working with one screen. You'll have to scroll to see information continually, and your job takes longer than needed
With a second screen, you can have both documents fully open, making it easy to compare and contrast data between the two, speeding up your work.
4) Reduce cable clutter
Your cables stay organized, and you don't have to use an extra connector for your laptop.
Which monitors can daisy chain?
First, you'll need two or more monitors that support daisy chaining with outputs of either:
- DisplayPort v1.2 or higher
Also, ensure your monitors have both DisplayPort In and Out ports to connect in the middle of the chain. You can't daisy-chain with HDMI, VGA, or USB-C ports.
What GPUs can daisy chain?
Multi-stream transport (MST) is the software that allows daisy-chaining between DisplayPort ports. So, you need a compatible video or graphics card (GPU) with DisplayPort 1.2 MST or higher support.
If your GPU doesn't support MST, you should be able to download the latest drivers that support MST. The updated driver will allow you to daisy chain.
How many monitors can I daisy chain?
The number of monitors you can daisy-chain together depends on your graphics processing unit (GPU). Many GPUs can support up to three monitors. Others can handle six or more.
Remember that a DisplayPort 1.2 data transfer is limited to 21.6 Gbps over four lanes. So if you're planning to daisy-chain more than two monitors, you may have a lower screen resolution on each one.
How to daisy chain your monitors
If your work involves using multiple screens in different apps, a daisy chain setup will help streamline your workflow. Here's how to set it up:
- Check that your GPU supports DisplayPort v1.2 MST. Download a driver if not.
- Connect each monitor securely to a power plug.
- Use a DisplayPort 1.2 or higher cable to connect your laptop's DisplayPort In on Monitor 1.
- Use a DisplayPort 1.2 or higher cable to connect DisplayPort Out on Monitor 1 to DisplayPort In on Monitor 2.
- Follow a similar pattern to connect additional monitors: use a DisplayPort cable to connect DisplayPort Out on Monitor 2 to DisplayPort In on Monitor 3, and so on.
The Three best monitors for daisy chaining
Here are 3 of the best Acer monitors for daisy-chaining
1) 42.5" Predator CG7 Console Gaming Monitor
This massive 42.5-inch display is perfect for gamers who want the ultimate 4K gaming experience. With a 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms Visual Response Boost, this display provides a smooth and responsive gaming experience. The VESA Certified DisplayHDR™ 1000 technology also produces stunning visuals with accurate colors and deep blacks. Whether playing the latest AAA titles or streaming your favorite movies, the Acer Predator CG7 is the perfect display for an ultimate gaming and entertainment experience.
- Screen: 42.5" 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) 144 Hz
- Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI, USB type C
- Response Time: 1 ms VRB
- Brightness: 1000 Nit
2) 27" Nitro XZ3 Gaming Monitor
The Nitro XZ3 Gaming Monitor is the perfect way to take your gaming to the next level. With a 27" curved display, you'll see more of the action and immerse yourself in the game like never before. The ZeroFrame design means less bezel area so you can see more of the screen. And with a response time of just 0.5ms, you'll be able to see every detail clearly, even during the most fast-paced action.
- Screen: 27" WQHD (2560 x 1440)
- Inputs: 2 DisplayPort, 1 HDMI
- Response Time: 1ms GTG
- Brightness: 400 Nit
3) 31.5" Professional PE0 Monitor
This Acer 31.5" Professional PE0 Monitor delivers stunning 4K image quality and extraordinary performance. The IPS panel provides excellent viewing angles and accurate colors. The 4K resolution will ensure that everything looks as sharp as possible. Plus, the 4 ms response time ensures you won't miss a beat while gaming or working. The 350 Nit brightness means you'll be able to see everything clearly, even in the brightest environments. This monitor's sleek, slim design is perfect for any home or office.
- Screen: 31.5" 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) 60 Hz
- Inputs: 1 x DisplayPort, 2 x HDMI, 5 x USB 3.1
- Response Time: 4 ms GTG
- Brightness: 350 Nit
Is daisy chaining your monitors worth it?
Absolutely. Setting up a daisy chain is simple and allows a single output to run from your laptop to the monitor. You avoid messy cords and a cluttered desktop. When multitasking, you can expand your visual workspace by daisy chaining multiple screens rather than opening and minimizing different apps from the taskbar. When you can view multiple apps simultaneously, you'll save time and boost productivity. *The opinions reflected in this article are the sole opinions of the author and do not reflect any official positions or claims by Acer Inc.
Robert is a Taiwan-based writer and digital marketer at iamrobert design. He has a passion for helping people simplify their lives through tech.