How Can You Use Dual Monitors With Different Refresh Rates?

How Can You Use Dual Monitors With Different Refresh Rates?

How would it feel when you don’t have to minimize your game while playing your favorite game and surfing the web simultaneously? You’ll certainly feel at ease. 

Well, that’s what dual monitors can offer. They make it possible to run more than one application simultaneously.     

Every monitor has a refresh rate which refers to the number of times it displays a new image in one second. The general advice is to use monitors with the same refresh rate to simplify the graphics display. 

However, suppose you have dual monitors with different refresh rates, how can you set this up without complicating things? Continue reading to find out. 

Using Dual Monitors With Different Refresh Rates

Dual monitors are easy to use when both monitors have the same refresh rate. For example, a 144Hz monitor will pair well with another 144Hz monitor. However, before running a double 144Hz, make sure you have a powerful graphics card.

However, if you have a 144Hz monitor, you can pair it with other monitors with lesser refresh rates, such as 120Hz or lesser. Remember that pairing a 144Hz with a 60Hz monitor could cause friction in your programs because of the difference in refresh rates.

If you have to pair monitors with different refresh rates, make the higher one your primary monitor and the lower one your secondary monitor. In essence, you’ll run your main programs on your primary monitor and other programs on your secondary monitor.

Other Factors To Consider When Using Dual Monitors With Different Refresh Rates

Though having a monitor that supports a high refresh rate is essential, there are other factors you should consider to ensure your programs run smoothly. Let’s go through them quickly. 

  • An excellent working CPU that can quickly supply instructions, AI, data, logic, etc.;
  • a fast GPU that can swiftly execute the instructions and deliver the images you see on the screen; and
  • a monitor that can quickly refresh

These three are very important because even if your monitor supports 144Hz and your GPU and CPU cannot supply the monitor with the required number of frames per second (fps), your monitor won’t function maximally.

Note: There’s a known problem with Nvidia GPUs, especially when you pair two monitors with different refresh rates.

If you pair a 144Hz monitor with a 60Hz monitor, both usually run on a 60Hz refresh rate when movies play on the 60Hz monitor. Sometimes, it distorts the program running in the primary system, and at other times, their refresh rates are unstable.

This problem, however, usually occurs only with Nvidia cards and Windows 10. AMD cards typically give a hitch-free performance. So let’s talk more about refresh rates.

What Refresh Rate Is

The refresh rate, measured in Hertz (Hz), means how many times per second the display can play out an image on screen. 

For instance, if the refresh rate supported by a monitor is 240Hz, the display refreshes images onscreen 240 times per second.

Generally, monitors with higher refresh rates offer better display quality and performance. For example, your game or any program running on screen will run better with a 240Hz refresh rate than those with a 140 Hz or 120Hz refresh.

Can you adjust your monitor’s refresh rate? Yes, of course. Find out how in the next section.

How to Adjust Refresh Rates

  • Right-click on your computer, and then go to Display Settings.
  • Next, select Advanced Display Settings.
  • Among the options displayed, find and click Display Adapter Properties.
  • Then, click on the Monitor tab.
  • You’ll see the Screen Refresh Rate. Click on the menu available. You’ll see a list of the available refresh rates. Select the one you want and click Apply. You can now exit.

So, suppose you have two monitors and don’t know how to set them up as dual monitors. Well, continue reading to find out.

How To Set Up A Dual Monitor

Setting up a dual monitor may appear complex, but it is doable. All you require is compatible monitors. The steps below describe how you can set up a dual monitor.

  • Connect your monitors to your graphics card by plugging the monitor’s display cords at its back. If there is an HDMI port, it’s advisable to plug in your primary monitor cord, and the secondary monitor cord in any other port left.

Ensure you don’t make the mistake of plugging one monitor into your motherboard instead of your graphics card.

  • Right-click on your computer and go to Display Settings. Your computer would have identified both monitors since you have plugged them in. It will then show you two boxes written, 1 and 2. 

Number One represents your primary monitor, and 2 is your secondary monitor. 

  • However, if your computer does not identify the second monitor, click on Detect, and it will come up.
  • You can click on the boxes and drag them to the right or left, up or down, wherever you want your primary monitor to be.
  • Once you have decided on which monitor will be your primary monitor, right-click on it. Scroll down and look for the box written, ‘Make this my main display.’
  • Both monitors must be in sync. So, go to the Multiple Display box. Then, click on Extend these Displays. Also, do this for the other monitor. 
  • Once you have done this, your monitors are in sync. The mouse cursor can freely move from one screen to the other like it was the same screen. 
  • Lastly, you can add other changes to your monitors, such as changing their resolution, the text size, display orientation, etc. Just scroll down in that same setting and you’ll see all these options.

Advantages Of Dual Monitors

Dual monitors offer many advantages. We’ll consider some of them. If you use the computer for many tasks, you might consider a dual monitor setup for these reasons.

Increases productivity:

Using two monitors, especially in a working environment, increases the workers’ productivity by 50 to 70%, as it has been proven.

They can handle more programs simultaneously instead of running in and out of different programs through minimization when using one monitor. 

Minimization slows the productivity rate as it takes more time to finish one task before starting another. But with a dual monitor, you can carry out more jobs at the same time.

Reduce distraction:

Having two screens can help boost your focus on what you are doing. You don’t need to go through the distraction of moving in and out of apps.

Reduces work loss:

Since both setups are the same, the user can easily switch to the other monitor and continue the work if one monitor has an issue.

This advantage helps reduce work loss and makes the work move without waiting for a new system or repair, as it would be using one monitor.

Improves work performance:

Dual monitor enables one switch from one app to another easily. It also allows the display of more than one program at a time on full screen. As such, you can view your work side-by-side.

Reduce app cluttering:

If your desktop has too many apps, you can move some to the other screen, freeing up some space.

Easy movement:

You can quickly move programs, apps, cursors from one screen to the other. You can move your work from one screen to the other and enjoy the extra space.

Easy to use:

Dual monitors are easy to use as they can work with any computer or laptop.

Dual monitors may offer many advantages, such as improving productivity and performance, but they have a few drawbacks.

Helpful tip:

It will help you invest in a screen shield or anti glare glasses to protect your eyes. Using the computer for an extended period can cause eye strain even with one monitor. Two monitors increase the potential even more.

Disadvantages Of Dual Monitor

As advantageous and productive as dual monitors are, they also have some disadvantages. Here are some of them.

They are quite expensive:

Individuals who use the computer for many tasks and offices may prefer dual monitors. However, it will be more economical to use one monitor than using two. 

However, they will need to get a second monitor for enhanced productivity, and some of the workers may not even utilize it well. This situation leads to extra costs, and monitors don’t come cheap.

They consume workspace:

One monitor takes enough space as it is. Adding another one may take up the entire desk.

In a small office with short desks, dual monitors leave little or no work area for other files. Consequently, the management will have to invest in more oversized desks, incurring further costs in the process.

Double configuration:

It’s easy to configure one monitor, but two? Having a dual monitor means configuring both monitors in perfect sync, both in its display and in every other area.


A monitor’s refresh rate tells us how often it displays new images in one second. Therefore, when using dual monitors, it is best to use monitors with the same refresh rates.

However, if you have two monitors with different refresh rates, use the higher refresh rate as the primary monitor. Doing so will give you the best result.

When choosing monitors, ensure that your CPU can handle it by checking that frames per second (fps) correspond with the monitor’s refresh rate.

The dual-monitor can improve your productivity and performance, but they’ll cost you more money and take up extra workspace.

About the author

Johnny is dedicated to providing useful information on commonly asked questions on the internet. He is thankful for your support ♥

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