Create a Multi-Monitor Workstation with MST: Boost Productivity and Invite Creativity

As business professionals, we are always searching for ways to increase productivity and get the most out of our work week. One of the most proven ways of doing this is to create a multi-display system, by adding one, two, three, or even six external monitors. In fact, Core Communications, sums up four studies which quantify the productivity boost of just one extra monitor. According to one study by the University of Utah, a second monitor can save each employee 2.5 hours each day if they use it for all their tasks. In turn, this time saved equates to money saved.

Fortunately, DisplayPort’s Multi-Stream Technology (MST) has provided an easy and cost-effective way to add multiple displays to your workstation. MST allows a DisplayPort 1.2, Mini DisplayPort 1.2, or USB-C (DP Alt-Mode Enabled) output port to extend your desktop or laptop across multiple monitors.

MST Hub Configuration

MST can be leveraged with two types of system configurations; however, we will discuss the most common type which is the use of an MST hub. An MST hub operates by independently splitting the DisplayPort 1.2 video streaming from your source device to each connected display. This allows for each monitor to display separately in the operating system and to be arranged as you wish. It is important to check the number of displays your graphics card can handle, which we will go over later.

Laptop with MST Hub connected going to two monitors in extended video mode

MST with Legacy Monitors

MST hubs have output ports of either DisplayPort or HDMI, but it is important to know that with the use of active adapters/converters, you can connect your legacy monitors as well.

 USB-C MST Hub to DisplayPort to DVI and VGA Adapter/Converters

Video Modes

There are three video modes that can be obtained using MST. Each has their uses

1. Extended Mode

The most commonly used video mode for multitasking allows you to have different windows open on each monitor and easily move content from one screen to another. It is great for referencing data on one screen, while working on a document or spreadsheet on another. It can also help to compare two images, sets of data, or two products. If interested in discovering more use cases, check out this business article.

Extended Mode via MST Hub

 2. Mirror Mode

Also called duplicate or cloning, this video mode allows you to display the same content on each screen. This mode is more commonly used in commercial settings to display information or promotions to the masses walking by. Note: This is the only mode available for macOS users.

Mirror Mode via MST Hub

 3. Video Wall Mode

The most visually appealing and eye-catching mode allows you to combine all your monitors into one giant monitor. It can provide a unique gaming experience by creating a super wide screen or catch the attention of crowd with a panoramic digital sign. Note: Video Wall mode (e.g., Panoramic) requires either an AMD Eyefinity, Intel, or NVIDIA Surround technology graphics adapter. Watch our video on how to create a video wall!

Video Wall Mode Via MST Hub

Checking Graphics Card Capability

Not all computer systems are capable of supporting MST or are limited to the number of screens they can handle, so it is important to check the manufacturer’s website for more information OR watch the video below!

 

 

Resolution Configuration

DisplayPort 1.2 ports have a limited bandwidth of 21.6 Gbps to feed enough pixels to each display. Check out of the graphic below for possible screen resolution and refresh rate configurations.

Resolution and Refresh Rate Configurations for MST