Having two or more monitors in your workspace or gaming setup is the new norm.
But while we appreciate having more screens to display our games, videos, or apps, we can’t help but notice two downsides to this setup: too many wires and too few ports on the main computer.
And if you have the same setup, you know how this feels.
Too many wires can be distracting and too few ports require you to buy additional accessories.
Fortunately, there’s daisy-chaining.
We’re here to introduce you to this method of connecting monitors and if you can do it with your HDMI ports.
What Are Daisy-Chaining Monitors?
Daisy-chaining is the process of creating a series of monitors where Monitor B is connected to Monitor A using a small wire. Monitor A, in this case, connects to your computer.
You can have up to four monitors in this setup as long as your GPU and cable support it. If you need 4 monitors, then the setup will be like this:
Monitor A (Computer) -> Monitor B -> Monitor C -> Monitor D
Monitors C and D aren’t directly connected to the computer. Instead, D gets signals from C and C gets signals from B.
There is no cable connecting Monitor B, C, or D to your computer.
If you’re confused, think of it as a chain of monitors where each signal is passed on from one monitor to another.
Benefits of Daisy-Chaining Monitors
A daisy chain is best for people with limited ports on their computer or those who want to reduce wire clutter.
We know that tangled and cluttered wires can be stressful. The mess it creates can make you distracted and less productive.
A daisy chain helps you get that productivity back (as far as wire organization is concerned).
Using the 4-monitor setup we described above, you no longer need three long cables that will connect each monitor to a primary computer.
Rather, you’ll need three short cables that can be shorter than a 12-inch ruler.
With that said, you don’t need to worry if your primary computer only has one DisplayPort. This is another benefit of daisy-chaining.
Most monitors will only have one DisplayPort, so if you’re going to daisy chain, you don’t need to buy a dock to accommodate the cables of the other monitors.
However, you need to look for a middle monitor that has two DisplayPorts.
Because your middle monitor should be able to receive and send signals from one computer to another.
If your current monitors only have one DP port, daisy-chaining might not be an option for you.
Can You Daisy Chain Monitors With HDMI?
Unfortunately, no, you can’t daisy chain monitors using HDMI.
As of 2021, you can only do a daisy chain by using DisplayPorts and Thunderbolt ports.
DisplayPorts are usually available on Windows devices while Thunderbolt ports are available on Mac devices.
If you’re planning to use DisplayPorts, make sure the version is v1.2 or higher.
For Thunderbolt connections, simply use Thunderbolt or USB-C cables on each of the monitors that you’ll be connecting.
However, USB-C cables are only compatible with Thunderbolt 3 and 4 versions.
So it’s best to check what version your Thunderbolt port is so that you can use the compatible cable.
DisplayPorts are more traditional, but it’s a good alternative to USB-C.
However, if you choose DisplayPorts as your connection method, then you must ensure that your middle monitors have both DisplayPort input and output.
A DisplayPort output will send the monitors’ signals to the next monitor.
But you don’t need this port for the last monitor of the series.
How to Set Up Daisy Chain Monitors?
When you’re unfamiliar with daisy-chaining, the term sounds like a complicated process.
But it isn’t, and with the right cables, it’s as easy as connecting one device to another.
Daisy-Chaining using DisplayPort
Before you start daisy-chaining using DisplayPorts 1.2 and newer, we suggest that you check your GPU to see if it allows for MST or multi-stream transport.
If you don’t have MST yet, you can download a driver online.
Once your computer is MST-enabled:
- Connect a DP cable to your computer’s DP output port. Connect the other end of the cable to monitor A’s DP input port.
- Connect the second DP cable from your monitor A’s DP output port to your monitor B’s DP input port.
- Repeat the same process until you reach the last monitor.
Daisy-Chaining Using USB-C or Thunderbolt
If you have Thunderbolt 3 or 4 ports, you can use Thunderbolt or USB-C cables to daisy-chain monitors.
The steps are similar to when you connect DisplayPorts.
The good thing about USB-C and Thunderbolt is that you don’t need to put them in input or output ports.
However, your middle monitors should have two ports to accommodate both receiving and sending out signals.
Daisy-chaining monitors can be helpful if you have limited DisplayPorts or Thunderbolt ports on your computer.
It also helps reduce the wires that get tangled and scattered in your workspace.
The only downside is it’s not currently available for HDMI, so you have to make do with DisplayPort cables or USB-Cs.
Vance is a dad, former software engineer, and tech lover. Knowing how a computer works becomes handy when he builds Pointer Clicker. His quest is to make tech more accessible for non-techie users. When not working with his team, you can find him caring for his son and gaming.