How Many External Monitors Can I Daisy Chain To A Surface?

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how many external monitors

If you’re wondering how many external monitors you can connect to your Surface tablet by daisy-chaining Displayport (or Mini Displayport) capable monitors together, this post is for you.

While the maximum number of external monitors (or other displays, see our post on how to connect external displays to your Surface) a Surface can support is just 2, it is highly dependent on a combination of your resolution settings/refresh rate. As you might expect it also depends on which processor you have (core m, i3, i5, or i7) and whether or not, you’re also using the built-in display.

Sound complicated?

Well, it kind of is. However, the table below that should simply it. It shows the number of monitors and the conditions that apply.

Note: In this post, I am only including information about Surface 3, Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 4, and Surface Book. I am not including older Surface models.

How Many External Monitors Can I Connect?

Surface # of External displays Max screen resolution Max refresh rate
Surface Pro 3 – any processor 1 4096 x 2160 24 Hz
Surface 3 & Surface Pro 3 – any processor 1 3840 x 2160 30 Hz
Surface 3 1 3840 x 2160 30 Hz
Surface 3 1 2560 x 1600 60 Hz
Surface Pro 3 any processor or Surface Pro 4 Core M 1 3840 x 2160 60 Hz
Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book – any processor 1 3840 x 2160 60 Hz
Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book –  i5 or i7 processor 1 4096 x 2304 60 Hz
Surface Pro 3 with i7 or i5 processor, or Surface Pro 4 Core M 2 3840 x 2160 30 Hz
Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book –  i5 or i7 processor 2 4096 x 2304 30 Hz
Surface Pro 3 – i3 processor 2 1920 x 1200 60 Hz
Surface Pro 3 –  i7 or i5 processor 2 2560 x 1440 60 Hz
Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book with any processor 2 2560 x 1600 60 Hz

See the pattern?

Yep, the more powerful your device, the more external monitors it can support – not a big surprise. Also, notice that if you take down the resolution, you can support more displays. In addition, if you have 1 or 2 external displays that you want to run at a higher resolution, it may be possible with the Surface display (built-in) turned OFF. This helps with the DPI scaling for external monitors to keep them in focus, otherwise things may appear “fuzzy”. Turning off DPI auto-scaling or setting it all to 100% may help with this too.

One other bit of useful information; in general, you’ll have better performance for your external monitors if you turn the display on your Surface OFF. Not only does this free up video memory but, it also alleviates some possible display scaling issues which will make for a sharper display.

Finally, here’s a few tips that might make working with external monitors a bit easier:

  • Tip 1: Use keyboard shortcut Windows Key + P to easily toggle between external monitor options.
  • Tip 2: If you want to daisy-chain monitors (via Mini Displayport connections), you MUST make sure that you have the latest Windows and Surface Updates installed.
  • Tip 3: Look into using an ACTIVE Mini Displayport adapter if you’re trying to connect multiple monitors. It will cost you a little more but, tends to work better than the , less expensive, passive versions.

Cheers!

Joanna-


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is a former IT Director for a major public university, who gave up a high paying career to blog full time. She is proud to be a professional geek. Joanna loves all things technology and Surface tablets are her passion. She and Tim created LoveMySurface.net to help others be more productive using these awesome tablets.

6 COMMENTS

  1. This would be great if scaling worked in any kind of way. I have two 1920 x 1080 monitors connected to my i7 pro 4 and I have to reboot at least 4 times a day when the scaling gets confused. I also lose the task bar regularly. Disappears of some screens, jumps to the middle of the screen on the surface.
    I tried the latest Intel video driver. Doesn’t help.

  2. I have SP4 with the new Docking station. When redocking the Surface the 2 monitors do not come back on. I had a SP3 with old docking station and had no issues. Latest updates installed. Microsoft not interested no official reply on Technet with any update / fix.

  3. Just FYI, i brought my surface3 (not pro) to a local Microsoft store and connected it via mini display port to display port to a Dell u3415w. Was able to display 3440×1440 at decent 50hz, thereby getting more pixels than 2560×1600 at 60hz.

  4. I have had similar problems with my deployed Surface Pro 3’s & 4’s, until I was directed to update my firmware for both the Surface and the Doc. I haven’t had any issues since then, even while hot-swapping the devices.
    I currently run 2 1080p external displays (1 from each port on the doc) and the surface display.

  5. I have a i7 surface book and run four external monitors on it. I used a coupe of USB display adapter but they all work

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