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Does Running Two Monitors Affect Performance?

As a tech enthusiast and an owner of multiple monitors, I’ve often been frustrated by the performance issues that can arise when running two monitors. After doing some research and testing, I’m here to share how I solved this problem and other solutions I discovered.

Running two monitors will always affect the computer’s performance because the second screen needs more resources to operate. However, the level of impact varies greatly depending on how you use your dual monitor setup and whether your computer is powerful enough to support it.

If you want to find out more about the effect of dual monitor setups on computer performance keep on reading this guide!

Does Running Two Monitors Affect Performance?

Like any part of your computer, a monitor will have to consume various system resources in order to operate. 

Since these resources would have been otherwise put to other functions and uses, running two monitors will technically affect your performance no matter what, especially if you are using your computer for multitasking while gaming.

With that being said, just having a monitor connected to your computer is not enough to cause a significant drop in performance that you might notice. 

Unless you’re running an app or a program while playing, that effect will likely be as little as a few percentage points.

Factors That Impact Performance While Running Two Monitors

Although running two monitors will always have an effect on your performance, there are some aspects that can greatly impact the amount of performance or FPS lost. Let’s check them out:

1. Your Setup and Hardware

If you’re mainly interested in playing games smoothly with a consistent frame rate above 60 FPS on a dual monitor setup, you’ll need a powerful computer with high end processing power.

On the other hand, if your computer hardware is outdated, you’re going to notice significant stuttering and frame drop as soon as you use the other screen for multitasking. 

2. What You’re Using the Other Screen for

Most people use dual screen setups for multitasking. Here, the first screen will play different content from the second one.

This is usually common for gamers who like to view documents, articles, videos, or live streams on the other screen. 

This type of display usually causes a drop in frame rate. However, for a powerful computer, the drop will usually be limited to around 10 to 20 FPS only.

Alternatively, if you’re using the other screen for extended display, meaning you’re extending the game to the other screen, the performance will be affected the most.

Extending display uses the same resources as playing in higher resolution, so you should expect up to a 50% drop in FPS.

On the other hand, mirroring the display on the other monitor doesn’t require as much processing power, so you should expect a frame drop of as little as 1 to 5 FPS in the worst case.

3. The Apps You’re Running on the Second Screen

As previously established, running live streams and videos causes a noticeable drop in performance, despite not being very high.

However, if you’re using the other screen to keep track of other apps, such as recording, video editing, and/or streaming apps, the drop will be a lot higher.

4. Whether You’re Playing a Resource-Demanding Game

Another factor that you should also consider is the type of game you’re playing. Of course, if you’re playing a light game that doesn’t put a lot of strain on your hardware, you might not notice a significant drop if you run two monitors at the same time.

On the other hand, playing AAA games on the highest settings would prove challenging in dual monitor because the slightest FPS change is noticeable on average gaming computers

What Are the Minimum PC Requirements to Run Two Monitors?

Technically speaking, running two monitors is unrelated to computer requirements. For instance, you don’t need a minimum RAM to run two monitors, but you’ll still need enough RAM to support whatever you’re using on the two screens combined.

However, since most operating systems that support dual monitor displays have minimum requirements, you might want to check them out. 

This also goes for the minimum requirements for apps and software responsible for managing the two monitors, such as NVIDIA Control Panel or Radeon Settings. 

With that being said, you still need a GPU and a CPU that support dual monitors, and the minimum ones are Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 or its equivalent, and NVIDIA GeForce 510 or higher.

As you can notice, the minimum requirements are fairly easy, so just about any modern computer or laptop today should be capable of running multiple monitors.

Final Thoughts

This wraps it up for today’s guide about the effect of running a dual monitor setup on computer performance. The second screen will always have an impact on the performance because it needs resources to work.

However, the level of impact of running two monitors will vary dramatically depending on whether your PC is powerful enough and the type of applications or games you play on either monitor.