Sam works as a network analyst for an algorithmic trading firm. He obtained his bachelor's degree in information technology from UMKC.
Using a quad monitor stand is a great way to increase your productivity. Having more screen space available allows you to view large amounts of data and work with multiple applications simultaneously. Multiple monitors can allow you to use your computer to move effectively by taking advantage of all those cores your CPU has to offer.
You can also save a substantial amount of money by combining smaller monitors instead of using one large display. A single 30-inch monitor can easily cost anywhere from $1,200 to $2,000. Instead, you can purchase four 20-inch monitors and join them to create a display that is less expensive and more versatile.
Monitor stands also allow you to slightly curve the displays to create a more ergonomic viewing angle. If you spend a good part of your day staring at a computer monitor, you want to reduce eye strain as much as possible.
Who Can Benefit From a Multi-Monitor Display?
- Stock Traders
- Publishers / Editors
- Graphics Designers
Choosing a Monitor Stand
When choosing a monitor stand, you want one that is strong, sturdy, and high quality. After all, this stand is going to hold several hundred dollars worth of displays, so you don't want one that might collapse.
There are several different vendors that sell monitor stands, but I highly recommend Ergotron stands. Ergotron has a reputation for producing very high-quality monitor stands that will last for years. Built using steel and aluminum, Ergotron stands are designed to be very stable and won't tip over.
In this article, we'll be taking a look at the DS100 quad mount, but Ergotron offers a plethora of different multi-monitor stand and mount options. So if a quad stand isn't what you're looking for, you might want to check out a dual or triple monitor stand.
Before you purchase a monitor stand, you should make sure your monitor has a compatible mounting system. Most monitors and stands use the VESA mounting standard. In order to install a monitor on a different mount, it must be removable from the factory stand. Remove your monitor from its stand and look for a pattern of four screw holes.
The typical spacing between the holes is 100mm, or 75mm. Compare the mounting holes to the specifications of the stand you are looking at purchasing to see if they match up. Most Ergotron stands include adapters that can be used for adapting most monitors to fit their stand.
Multi-Monitor Video Cards
If you want your computer to run several monitors, you also need to make sure you have enough ports on your video card to connect them. Most modern PCs have support for two video cards, but some still only provide one video output. The good news is the monitors do not have to be connected to the same card. For example, you could install two dual-port video cards in your computer to connect four monitors.
If you plan on connecting more than four displays, you might consider using quad-port video cards. These cards can support four monitors while only taking up a single PCIe slot in your machine.
You can mix video cards from different manufactures such as ATI and NVidia but it's best to use cards from the same company when possible. Sometimes using more than one driver will cause issues to occur.
Ergotron provides everything you need to assemble their monitor stands in the box, so all you need is a flat working surface to work on. You may need a Phillips screwdriver to remove the base from your monitors.
- Secure the pole to the base: Once the pole is in place, tighten the two hex head screws using the included Allen wrench.
- Place both arms on the pole: Place both of the arms on the pole and tighten the bolt to secure it. For now, just estimate the approximate height the arms should be at.
- Secure the brackets to the back of the monitors: Next, go ahead and mount the bracket to the back of each monitor. I recommend using the enclosed thumbscrews; this will make things much easier. On the top of each bracket, you will see a plus and a minus sign; this indicates the direction the monitor will tilt. If you want the monitors to tilt slightly inward towards you then you will mount the brackets so the minus sign's meet in the middle. You can also mount the brackets so the monitors tilt slightly up or down as well.
- Place the monitors on the arms: Before you place the monitors on the stand, go ahead and attach the power and video cables, it's much easier to do while the monitors are off of the stand. Mount the bottom two monitors first so the stand remains stable; adjust the height of the arm as needed.
Configuring the Monitors in Windows
After connecting the monitors and starting your PC, there are a couple of things to do.
- Install video card drivers: If you added a new video card to your computer, you need to install the drivers in order for it to function. While you can install them using the CD in the box, I recommend downloading the newest version from the manufacturer's website.
- Arrange the monitors in the control panel: Finally, you need to arrange the location of the displays using the control panel. To do this in Windows 7, right-click on the desktop and select 'Screen Resolution'; this will open the control panel in the screenshot below. Click on the identify button; this will display a number on each of the monitors. Click on the monitors to move them around so that the arrangement of the monitors matches what you saw when you clicked identify.
If you don't see all of your displays listed, check the connections, make sure they are all turned on, then click the detect button.
If they still don't show up, try rebooting your computer; if you installed a new driver, it might require a reboot to take effect.
Enjoy Your New Screen Space
After using your quad monitor stand for a few weeks, you will find it hard to use a computer with only one screen. You will also find that your web browsing habits have changed since you can now have several different applications within view at the same time. I usually keep my email on one screen so I can keep an eye out for new messages and run web browsers on the other screens.
If you like to play computer games, you can have a lot of fun with your new creation. Most popular games are capable of running on multiple displays to provide you with an awesome gaming experience.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Andrew from Rep Boston MA on July 14, 2014:
Im saving up money on the side to have my dream of 6 monitors connected! Currently I only have one monitor for the most part and I have an hdmi connection to a tv for movies. Great detailed guide on attaching 4 monitors in a good configuration to your pc.
Sam Kear (author) from Kansas City on June 25, 2011:
It's best to use cards from the same manufacturer if you can.
Like you have discovered sometimes mixing ATI and Nvidia cards can cause crashes or other strange glitches to occur. Sometimes there are workarounds available to fix these errors but it's usually easier to avoid them altogether.
For multi-monitors SLI or crossfire is not necessary, in fact it's best not to use it. Some cards disable the extra outputs when they are in SLI mode.
I hope this helps!
danfresnourban from Fresno, CA on June 24, 2011:
The timing could not have been better, currently I utilize a two monitor set up, however I have been needing more desktop real estate.
Then I come across this great hub with the information I need. I have one question, maybe you can answer. I already have an extra monitor and an extra graphic card, however one card is ATI and the other one is Nvidia, and it crashes every time I start up the system. I read somewhere that dual graphics cards have to be the same manufacturer and equipped with either SLI or crossfire technology. If the cards are based on different manufacture tech, can I use them together.