Having two monitors on your computer can boost productivity, improve performance, and significantly reduce the time it would take to finish up a project. Despite the impressive accomplishments, there have been some concerns on whether having dual monitors will slow down your computer.
Normally, having dual monitors will not slow down the computer as long as you stick to basic computer usages such as sending files and light browsing. However, you will notice a significant reduction in your computer’s performance if you engage in video streaming, video editing, and playing 3D games on both monitors.
However, that’s not all, as many things are responsible for slowing down your computer. Read on to know about them.
Can A Monitor Slow Down Your Computer?
Not every monitor can slow down your computer, and not every computer can be slowed by an external monitor. To fully answer this question, we have to understand what is involved in a computer for it to support two monitors and how these components are affected by different monitors.
Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
A graphics processing unit (GPU) is designed to manage resources in your computer, which in turn helps to improve video output. Once you connect an extra monitor to your computer, the GPU is forced to work twice as hard to manage both the refresh rate and the added monitor’s resolution. As a result, you should expect the GPU temperature to rise, which might lead to a slower computer.
There are two types of GPU’s available today:
- Integrated GPU: Comes equipped inside your computer’s motherboard. It’s excellent for light computer usage and can support video output to one monitor.
- Discrete GPU: An additional component mounted on an individual circuit board. This GPU is perfect for those who need extra resources such as video editing and playing 3D games.
As opposed to before, when you needed two graphics cards, we have modern graphics cards that can easily support two or more monitors and are within your budget. The improved graphics cards work twice as hard to ensure clear images are transmitted without compromising the graphics. Great examples of graphics cards that support dual monitors include:
XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition
Featuring an effective cooling system, the XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition is perfect for serious gamers or heavy office use. For a graphics card capable of supporting up to six monitors and costs less than $200, it’s definitely a bargain, and the manufacturers have over-delivered on this unit. The six-monitor support is made possible by the AMD Eyefinity multi-display technology. However, you still need the DisplayPort MST hub, which is quite costly.
It also has multiple video output ports such as three DisplayPorts, an HDMI port, and a DVI port. Additionally, it features an 8GB GDDR5 memory with a 500W min. recommended PSU. It’s straightforward to install, and the fans are relatively quiet.
Evga GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC Black Edition
The Evga GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC Black Edition is perfect for 4K gaming and video editing, and can support up to four monitors at once. For effective cooling, the graphics card comes equipped with the iCX cooler to give it a longer lifespan and increase its efficiency. It’s perfect for gaming with three DisplayPorts, an HDMI port, and a DVI port. However, it does cost $1000, which is worth it, given how effective it can get.
The graphics card has a 600W recommended PSU and comes equipped with an 11GB GDDR5X memory. It’s power-efficient and provides a solid 1080p, which is more than enough for gaming.
Evga GeForce GT 710
Equipped with three video outputs ports (HDMI, DVI, VGA), the Evga GeForce GT 710 is one of the best and is budget-friendly, costing less than $100. It’s perfect for daily office use and can support up to three monitors at once.
The graphics card has a 300W min. recommended PSU and a 2GB DDR3 memory.
The standard screen resolution used in modern computers is 1920×1080. It’s best to know the resolution of the dual monitors before you connect them to your computer. Choosing monitors with a similar resolution to your computer will not affect its performance.
However, your computer will slow down when you connect to multiple 4K monitors. Monitors with a higher resolution than the computer tend to use more resources, which forces the CPU to overwork.
If you insist on using high-resolution monitors, you might want to make some changes to your computer to support these monitors while still maintaining optimal performance. You can do any of the following.
Make sure your PC Supports a 4K Image Signal
Older PCs are not ideal for connecting 4K monitors due to compatibility. On the other hand, modern PCs have been modified to accommodate the 4K signal without exhausting their resources.
The type of video card your PC has will determine if it was built to support 4K monitors or not. Since a 4K monitor has an impressive 3840×2160 resolution, it requires an equally powerful video card. Here are some video cards you can try that support 4K signals:
- AMD Radeon R7 and R9 series
- Intel UHD Graphics
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX series
- Intel Iris Plus Graphics
While there are many video cards out there that can handle 4K monitors, these are the common ones as they’re straightforward to use even for novice computer users. They’re also widely used, which means they have a broad support base from people familiar with them.
A computer processor is a microchip responsible for receiving commands and processing these commands to meaningful output, such as pictures and videos. The speed at which the computer achieves this goal depends on the processor it uses. Processors have been undergoing changes with the manufacturer focusing on speed and performance.
As you would expect, a 4K monitor does require a lot of information in terms of graphics from the computer. For this reason, you should have a computer capable of responding promptly to these requests without compromising on performance.
Modern computers run on either Intel or AMD processors. Make sure your computer comes equipped with an AMD Ryzen 7 or Intel Core i7 processor to handle the 4K monitors. These processors are great for huge tasks such as gaming, video editing, and video streaming without putting too much pressure on the computer.
Connectors and Cables
Having the right cables and connectors will help you connect monitors to your computer easily.
You should be aware that DVI and VGA connectors are not built to support 4K signals. In this case, you should opt for connectors such as HDMI 2.0, USB-C, Thunderbolt 3, and DisplayPort 1.2, which work at 60Hz.
Keep in mind that while HDMI 1.4 supports 4K monitors, the images might appear choppy and sluggish since it only transfers images at 30Hz, which is half the speed of USB 2.0, making it less desirable for gamers.
Connecting two monitors to your computer might help you multitask by working on several projects at once. While it might seem like a great idea, you must consider how it will affect your computer. Besides choosing a computer with better video cards or graphics cards, or one that can support high resolutions, it would be best to consider using two video cards and two graphics processing units for optimal performance.
On matters regarding screen resolution, you should opt for Intel Core i7 and AMD Ryzen 7 processors, which are built to support 4K monitors. HDMI 2.0 connectors are preferred to HMDI 1.4.
Hamid Tahir is a Mechatronics Engineer and founder of WFH Overload. He is currently working from home and is dedicated to the continuous improvement of his home office setup. Hamid has extensive experience setting up workspaces and dealing with the related tech. He hopes to share his knowledge to help you create the most productive and comfortable work from home setup. Read More