Question Lenovo Y540 Geforce GTX 1660Ti Multi-Monitor Setup

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Aug 4, 2015
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I'm some sort of mid-level computer user between novice and expert (probably closer to novice at this point) and I've got a new laptop en route because I dumped 16oz of sweetened coffee over my laptop keyboard last week. (I can hear you cringe)

So here's the scenario:
At current I have two old monitors I've been running for what seems like a decade (Samsung S24C200 and HP LV2011) but they're both VGA or DVI or both. I use dongles on both to connect to my current old(er) HP laptop via USB and HDMI ports, and I also have a passive HDMI switch that I use to toggle between using the Samsung monitor for the laptop or the Xbox One Elite. This obviously isn't ideal. This current laptop (my older than the last with coffee permanently embedded laptop) is failing. It's only onboard graphics so I opted to spend a little on the new unit.

I'm in the game for new gear, monitor-wise all-in to about $200-300 USD. I don't mind using my old equipment, either.

I like to game, but it likely won't be a lot on this laptop and it definitely won't be at Ultra HD max settings, I understand that.

To save some legwork;
Lenovo Specs State for Y540-17IRH:
Supports external digital monitor via HDMI, Mini DP or USB Type-C;
supports three independent displays;
Max resolution: 3840x2160@60Hz (HDMI); 7680x4320@60Hz (Mini DP 1.4); 3840x2160@60Hz (USB Type-C)

Screen:
17.3" (439mm) FHD (1920x1080), anti-glare, LED backlight, IPS, 300 nits, 16:9 aspect ratio, 72% gamut, 60Hz

Ports:
One USB 3.1 Gen 1 (one Always On)
two USB 3.1 Gen 1
one USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1 / (with the function of DisplayPort 1.2)
HDMI 2.0
Ethernet (RJ-45)
Mini DisplayPort 1.4

I've purchased a Lenovo 4-in-1 'docking station' in tandem with the laptop for USB/HDMI/VGA/Power for the USB-C.

Wants/Needs:
I'll be using this for light gaming (obviously I want this as best as is possible for every advantage) but first-and-foremost as a work-oriented PDF/Excel/Word/Outlook unit. I will have one drive connected for continuous file backup as well. I can't lose that. I don't watch movies or TV or anything on this (I have a 40" UHD Samsung in the room, but not really feasibly close enough to use as a monitor.) If I can avoid sacrificing data transfer to the backup drive, that would be optimal. 4K would really only be something I want on one monitor for when gaming ensues (Xbox or PC) -- otherwise less than 4K would be fine for day-to-day use. I'm not opposed to closing the laptop and running three independent monitors (or using two monitors and the laptop screen). I love the idea of one (or two) vertical monitors (i look at a lot of spreadsheets) and I want this thing as tidy as possible on my desk. (you should see my ugly setup) I know desktop would have made more sense but I spend time on the road and need to transport. Eventually I'll be looking at using this rig as strictly the travel unit with real-time data backup, but that's another story. I'm getting older, and a bigger monitor doesn't seem like a bad idea (24-27, max). I finally want to get this right and I need help to make it awesome!!

So FINALLY, my question is -- What's the best way to go about three screens on this system?

How would you do it given my above scenario and the budget?

There's so many permutations of solutions and I simply don't know enough to make a decision I can feel good about. I've read up on some tech but it can be a rabbit hole, so-to-speak. I want it to be the best I can get at this moment, but I don't have unlimited pockets. I've considered Daisy Chaining DP monitors but I don't know anything about it. I've considered one monitor each for HDMI/DP/USB-C, but I worry about slowly killing the laptop and sprawling wires everywhere (as is my current situation).

I'm looking for possible solutions. I know I can do it, but I love optimizing -- and people here have infinitely more wisdom than I. I'm always reading on this forum and your combined responses here are really impressive so I know you collectively can cook up something better than what I've can.

I can't wait to hear about your idea!
 
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