As computers continue to advance in computing power the need to display more information is greater than ever. Our USB display adapters are based on DisplayLink technology and the driver limit until now has been 6 USB attached monitors. Now, with the DisplayLink 7.5 M1 driver (and higher) and our Plugable USB graphics adapters and docks, this limit has been removed. 14 monitors via DisplayLink plus one to two additional via on-board PCIe graphics is the new limit.
Here’s a video of a massive 14 monitor setup we created in our office with Plugable hubs and graphics adapters. Take a look:
Overall we were extremely pleased with the results but there are some important limitations to be made aware of. The removal of the 6 adapter limit DisplayLink feature and is still in early testing. Users may see slow enumeration of attached adapters beyond the previous 6 adapter limit. Our 14 monitor setup took 15 minutes on each restart to bring all the monitors up, but was reasonably snappy after that. In our video we focused on mainly static content on each monitor. Full-screen video playback on multiple screens will start bogging down your system.
On our computer equipped with a Core i3 3217U with Intel HD Graphics 4000 we capped out at about 10 simultaneous HD YouTube videos though playback was well under 15 FPS. Expect to be able to play around 2 to 3 HD videos smoothly with near 100% CPU load. Anything more and the frame rate drops significantly. This is mainly due to the limitation of the entry level Intel Core i3 processor in the Intel NUC computer we used. Surprisingly having only USB 2.0 on this system did not seem to be the main limiting factor.
Further testing on a more powerful Intel Core i5 based computer proved to be a much better experience. Slow enumeration was still present but to a lesser extent. HD video playback on multiple monitors was acceptable on all 14 monitors though still not perfect. Users who wish to attempt a setup such as the one in our demonstration should consider using an Intel Core i7 based computer with Intel HD Graphics 4400 or better. The use of USB 3.0 based graphics adapters vs USB 2.0 is strongly recommended for best performance, however, some USB 3.0 equipped systems may run into USB resource limit issues. Our Surface Pro 2 was only able to connect about 9 USB 3.0 graphics adapters before we ran out of USB resources.
Have any questions? We’ll be happy to help. Feel free to post below. Thanks for going out of your way for Plugable products!