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Dell Optiplex 7010 3 monitor setup

Posted on 2014-04-03
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
Hi I have got a Dell OptiPlex 7010 machine that has got an on board VGA adapter as well as 2 display ports.

I have got 2 HDMI to display port adapters but I cant get all 3 screens running at once.

As soon as I try Windows 7 just disables one of the screens?

I have setup similar with an HP machine and that works fine, any idea why this doesn't work?

Thanks
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Question by:RedDoorSupplies
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by:nobus
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by:RedDoorSupplies
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Sorry just getting article not found from that link?
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by:nobus
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
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I don't know about your Dell OptiPlex 7010, but I have an HP 8460w laptop in an HP advanced docking station and it supports three monitors, but only after I figured out the trick — when I first tried it, I could get only two monitors working. The solution was to get an active adapter, not passive. I first purchased this DisplayPort (male) to DVI (female) Active Adapter for one office:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004SUO1GM/

It works perfectly. I now have three monitors working where before only two of the three worked at a time. For a second office where I was having the same issue, I purchased this DisplayPort (male) to HDMI (female) Active Adapter:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009YC3W1Y/

This also works perfectly and I now have three monitors working at that office, too.

The first two monitors are connected to the dock via DisplayPort and DVI. I'm driving both at 1920x1200. The third monitor may be either the laptop display or an external VGA monitor.

The StarTech website has a good explanation of why you need an active adapter instead of passive to get the three monitors working:
http://www.startech.com/AV/Displayport-Converters/Active-DisplayPort-to-DVI-Adapter~DP2DVIS

Also, the AMD website has this nice description (and other excellent material) of the basic requirements for connecting multiple displays:

Connecting multiple monitors for AMD Eyefinity technology couldn’t be simpler. There are four easy rules to remember:

1. The first two monitors can connect to the graphics card with any display output on your product: HDMI, VGA, DVI or DisplayPort.

2. The third (or greater) display must be connected to the graphics card via DisplayPort.

3. If your monitor does not have a DisplayPort connection, you will need an inexpensive active DisplayPort adapter for it. DVI to DP adapters can be had for less than $30 USD.

4. Every family of GPUs supports a different maximum number of displays.

Of course, the computer must have AMD Eyefinity technology for this solution. Regards, Joe
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by:RedDoorSupplies
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Ok thanks.

What I have got is one screen connected via VGA and the other 2 are using displayport to HDMI adapters (http://www.startech.com/AV/Displayport-Converters/DisplayPort-to-HDMI-Cable-Adapter-Converter~DP2HDMI2)
to run two plasma screens.

Does the active/passive still apply the these adapters?

Thanks
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
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Yes, that's the same config I have in one case — two DisplayPort ports on the computer connected to an HDMI port on two monitors (both are flat panel LCDs with 1920x1200 resolution), and a VGA port on the computer connected to a VGA port on a third monitor. Note that you need just one of the active DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapters. The second DisplayPort-to-HDMI connection can be by a plain DP-HDMI cable. Regards, Joe
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by:RedDoorSupplies
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Great thanks must say I didn't realise there was a difference in active and passive displayport adapters.

I have just ordered 1 of the startech active adapters and will give that a go as soon as it arrives.

Thanks
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
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I wasn't aware of it, either...until I tried to get three monitors working. :)
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by:RedDoorSupplies
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Hi I have just got my active DisplayPort to HDMI converter but I still cant get it working.

Do I need to do anything different?

As soon as I try and activate all 3 screens 1 always shows as disabled still?

I have plugged the active adapter into port 1 the passive adapter into 2 and the VGA in but still doesn't seem to work.

Any ideas?
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
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I assume what you mean is that when you select "Extend desktop to this display" on the third monitor, it sets one of the others to "Disconnect this display". Mine looks this:

three monitorsIn this case, display #1 shows as "Disconnect this display", but 2, 3, and 4 are all active at once. If you're able to get only two of the three going at once with the active adapter, it's possible that your display adapter doesn't have the necessary support. Look in the "Display adapters" section of Display Manager to see what adapter you have. Mine, for example, looks like this:

Device Manager - Display adaptersAs I mentioned in an earlier post, mine has the AMD Eyefinity technology, which supports the 3-monitor capability with the active adapter. If you still can't get it working, we'll need to research your display adapter. Regards, Joe
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by:RedDoorSupplies
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Yes that's exactly what I get, looks like I cant run all 3 at the same time with this graphics card which is a shame.

Will probably get a USB to HMDI converter and use this for the 3rd screen as I know this works.

Thanks for all your help anyway
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
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You're welcome. Which graphics card is it?
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
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I'm still curious which graphics card it is, but in any case, have you gotten a USB-to-HDMI converter yet? If so, please let us know the make and model, and how well it is working for you; if not, here's a suggestion. Although I haven't used a USB video adapter, I have used many StarTech products with varying DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI, VGA, and USB features — they have all been excellent! I would not hesitate to try their USB video adapters, so here's a link at Amazon that shows several of StarTech's USB video adapters, including HDMI, and even a dual monitor one (HDMI and DVI): http://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-Monitor-External-Adapter-USB32HDDVII/dp/B008CXFMT6/

For best performance, get a USB 3.0 one (not USB 2.0) — of course, only if your computer has a USB 3.0 port.

Btw, I was on another EE thread recently where an expert strongly recommended this one:

http://www.amazon.com/Cable-Matters-SuperSpeed-2048x1152-1920x1200/dp/B004MS0DIK/

Worth putting on your short list. Regards, Joe
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by:RedDoorSupplies
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Hi really sorry for the delay I haven't been back to site for a while.

Here is the display adapter as its shown in device manager
Display.jpg
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Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 500 total points
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OK, that confirms you don't have the Eyefinity technology, which is from AMD, not Intel. So the USB-HDMI external video card adapter is the way to go, as mentioned in previous threads. Regards, Joe
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by:RedDoorSupplies
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Thanks again for all your help!
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
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You're welcome! Regards, Joe
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