HDMI is one of the most popular multimedia interfaces as majority of the devices use it. As such, you simply cannot have enough of HDMI ports on your computer. If unfortunately, you have run out of HDMI ports, can you add HDMI ports to a computer or laptop?
Fortunately, the short is answer is yes. There are plenty of ways to add more HDMI ports to your laptop or desktop using simple methods such as adding dedicated graphics card or adapters. However, they all require a reasonable investment in most cases.
Computers have a limited amount of HDMI ports, particularly laptops. Therefore, it becomes a nuisance when you want to add more devices, for instance, more monitors to your laptop.
In this article, I will talk in detail about different methods you can use to add more monitors to your laptop.
So Can You Add HDMI Ports to a Computer or Laptop?
As alluded to earlier, yes, there are several different methods you can use to add HDMI ports to your desktop or laptop.
I will talk about 5 of the most popular methods. These include:
- Using a Dedicated Graphics Card (Recommended for Desktops)
- Using an External GPU Enclosure (For Laptops)
- Using a HDMI Splitter (For Mirroring Only)
- Using a USB-HDMI Adapter
- Using a USB-HDMI Hub (Recommended for Laptops)
1. Using a Dedicated Graphics Card to Add More HDMI Ports
This is a method that works for desktop computers.
Basically, desktop motherboards have PCIe slots which can be used to add dedicated graphics cards to your PC.
Dedicated graphics cards can come in a wide variety of connectivity option as well as price ranges. Top of the line graphics cards are very expensive and intended for gamers.
However, if you are not a gamer and want to simply add more HDMI ports to your PC, you can simply add a budget dedicated graphics card with multiple HDMI ports.
It should be noted that most dedicated graphics cards support 4 external displays at max.
The affordable dedicated graphics card above comes with 4 HDMI ports. You can use this to add 4 additional monitors to your PC.
2. Using a Dedicated Graphics Card to Add More HDMI Ports
This is similar to the point above, but intended for laptops.
You see, laptop hardware cannot be expanded. Unlike on desktop motherboards, laptops motherboards do not have PCIe slots for adding in an extra dedicated graphics card to.
However, you CAN use external GPU enclosure to add a dedicated graphics card of your choice to your laptop.
Unfortunately, there are two major caveats here:
Firstly, the external GPU enclosures are very expensive.
Secondly, your laptop needs to have at least a Thunderbolt 3 port – which is generally found on only premium gaming and workstation laptops.
While this is an interesting method to keep in mind, given how expensive the enclosures are, this is not a method that I would personally recommend for adding more HDMI ports to your laptop.
3. Using HDMI Splitter to Add More Slot (For Mirroring Displays)
HDMI splitters are a very simple device for adding more HDMI ports to your computer.
They plug into the HDMI port on your laptop or desktop and then split into two or more HDMI ports.
However, they DO NOT work the way you might think they do.
By simply adding more HDMI ports, they do not give you two INDEPENDENT HDMI ports.
Instead, the split ports can only DUPLICATE/MIRROR one source signal.
In other words, what you see on one monitor will be mirrored or duplicated onto the other monitor.
As such, splitters do not allow you to EXTEND the display.
While they do serve their specialized purpose, for adding multiple screens for your workstation, these may not be the ideal solution you are looking for.
4. Using a USB-to-HDMI Adapter to Add HDMI Port
One of the easiest solutions to adding more HDMI ports to your laptop or desktop is through a USB-to-HDMI adapter.
A USB-to-HDMI adapter, as the name suggests, plugs into the USB Type-A or Type-C port (depending upon your models) on your laptop and desktop and then converts that into an HDMI port.
The biggest benefit of this method is that USB ports are found in abundance on laptops and desktops, hence you should have little to no issue finding room for this device on your PC.
In addition to that, these adapters allow you to EXTEND the display. Unlike the HDMI switches, they do not duplicate the displays and instead the more you have the more independent monitors you can have.
And finally, another huge selling point for these devices is that they are highly affordable.
Unfortunately, there is a catch here – there is always a catch.
While these devices can work great for office and work environment, they are not intended for gaming.
In other words, the monitor connect to a USB-to-HDMI adapter will have horrible performance in gaming. You’ll experience serious lags and stutters.
Also Read: Does My Laptop Have an HDMI Input?
5. Using a USB-HDMI Hub to Add HDMI Ports
Finally, you can add more HDMI ports to your PC using a USB-to-HDMI hub.
This is perhaps my most recommended option for adding HDMI ports particularly on laptops.
A USB Hub is a device that allows you to add many different ports to your laptop or desktop via the use of a Type-C port.
Take for instance, the hub above. This hub plugs into the Type-C port on your laptop or desktop and then splits into 4 independent HDMI ports.
Unlike a normal HDMI splitter which only shows duplicate displays, this allows you to have an extended display.
It should be noted that while the USB-C to HDMI hub as you see above requires any USB 3.0 Type C port (5 Gbps) to work, others are far more demanding.
Many hubs require a Thunderbolt 3 port which has a transfer rate of 40 Gbps and is found mostly on premium ultraportable laptops and and on Apple Macbooks. Others require USB Type-C port wit video output support.
Hence, you must confirm before you buy.
Also Read: How to Check HDMI Port on Laptop?
So the answer to the question “can you add HDMI ports to a computer or a laptop?” is a resounding yes.
With desktops things are much simple. You can add more HDMI ports by just adding a new affordable dedicated graphics card.
With laptops, however, you can use devices like adapters and hubs to add more HDMI ports.