What should I look for in a computer if I want to have 3 monitors?

Sep 15, 2018
Looking to upgrade in the near future. I currently use a 5 year old Dell laptop, with 1 extra monitor hooked up. My job duties have changed, and a third monitor is practically necessary.

Would probably rather have a desktop. I don't care about portability any more.

I log on remotely and analyze data. A high majority of the time I would have spreadsheets pulled up on 2 monitors and work related websites pulled up on the other.

I'm not a gamer, so I didn't need anything extra fancy, just looking for a solid desktop that can connect 3 monitors.

I have a chance to pick up 3 HP monitors, specs from the seller: 22" 1680x1050, inputs available are dvi, vga , displayport, and secondary inputs of 2 USB ports, he's asking $140 total. Is that a good price for these, assuming they work fine?

I would need then need a desktop that can connect these monitors.

I've never built a computer, so looking to buy (new, used, off the shelf, custom made, doesn't matter)..... Would like to keep it around $500, but will go more if I need to.

Any suggestions on new, or exactly what to look for in a used one?

Thanks for the advise!

1680x1050 indicates they are probably quite old. You can easily pick up 21" 1920x1080 screens for $65 a pop on Newegg.

Prices aren't too different on eBay. $140 is a bit steep unless they are IPS panels in excellent shape. I'd say closer to $110 based on used prices. Just make sure they have VESA mounts. Triple monitors take up a lot of desk space and can look quite messy. A triple monitor stand is excellent for lining them up cleanly and freeing up desk space. There are many designs. Linked is one example.

Krieger Triple Stand.

Most desktops aren't going to support triple monitors. Even though Intel Integrated Graphics has supported them for a long time. Most OEM computers still only have two ports and one is a craptacular VGA port that just won't die. Even though it is woefully obsolete.

You'll need to find one with a discrete GPU which supports triple monitors. On the low end for nVidia this includes the GT 740 and some GT 730 (not all). So, the GT 740 is safer to buy. I believe all 900 series and later GTX models support triple monitors. For some reason the GT 1030 does not. The AMD Rx 550 also supports triple monitors. It only has a 47W TDP so will work in most desktops. There are a lot of GPU models which support triple monitors. Too many to list. It would be better to look up specific models. I'm pretty sure AMD has more low end triple monitor choices.

As for ports. As long as the monitor supports DVI or HDMI you'll be fine. Adapter cables going from HDMI, DVI or DisplayPort to HDMI or DVI are cheap. You just don't want a monitor with only Displayport or VGA. Trying to go DVI/HDMI to Displayport is difficult DisplayPort to HDMI/DVI is easy. VGA is just garbage. Plus most GPU only have one Analog+Digital port. All others would require pricey adapters.

As for a desktop. For $500 you'll have to build it yourself. Manufacturers simply don't provide the GPU option you want in that price range. That being said. Once Windows is added. I can't hit the $500 mark in what I would consider an acceptable modern business computer. Even this build is using some mighty cheap parts.
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel - Core i3-8100 3.6GHz Quad-Core Processor ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte - B360M DS3H Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($65.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: G.Skill - Ripjaws V Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4-2666 Memory ($69.89 @ OutletPC)
Storage: Kingston - A400 240GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($45.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Gigabyte - Radeon RX 550 - 512 2GB Video Card ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Thermaltake - Versa H22 ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.64 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair - CX (2017) 450W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($44.90 @ OutletPC)
Operating System: Microsoft - Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit ($98.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $575.38
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2018-09-15 09:59 EDT-0400