Having a dual monitor setup is rather common nowadays. It helps with multitasking as you can have multiple applications running side-by-side.
For example, when you are writing, you can have an internet browser open on one screen and a notepad open on another. As a result, you don’t have to keep switching from one app to another constantly.
However, one of the most prominent use cases of having dual monitors is in gaming. Aside from the improved field of view (FOV), having two monitors provides an exceptionally immersive gaming experience.
That is why so many gamers are opting for a dual monitor, and sometimes even a triple monitor setup at their homes.
- This has led gamers to contemplate an important question – Do dual monitors affect FPS?
Yes, using a second monitor can affect FPS, especially when running graphic-heavy programs or games. The drop in FPS is because the graphics card has to handle multiple tasks at once, but the impact may vary depending on the specific activities on the second monitor.
In this article, we are going to be looking at how big of an impact dual monitors have on the FPS of your favorite game. Without further ado, let’s jump right in!
Does Running Dual Monitors Affect Performance?
Yes, running dual monitors will affect your GPU performance. However, it won’t affect your CPU performance. Since your monitors are directly connected to your GPU, it will use up some of its total power.
As an example, let’s say you are using two 4K monitors. In comparison, if you use two 1080p monitors, then you will notice that the performance you get from the 1080p monitor setup is actually a bit higher than the 4K one.
If you want a more in-depth breakdown of how dual monitors affect GPU performance, check out this excellent article on how using dual monitors affects GPU usage.
The article goes into detail on factors like monitor resolution, refresh rate, and whether you are gaming or not. It provides benchmarks showing the FPS difference between one screen and two screens.
Does Having Dual Monitors Lower FPS?
As a general rule of thumb if you are using the latest GPUs (i.e. the Nvidia RTX 3060 or something better), then you are unlikely to see any significant performance drops.
However, if you haven’t upgraded your GPU in years and are using outdated cards like the Nvidia GTX 1050, then you are bound to see some performance differences. This is mainly because these newer GPUs are designed with dual monitor compatibility in mind.
In essence, the performance hit you can expect to take when using dual monitors depends on the hardware of your system as well as the monitors themselves.
Let’s consider another example – you have two monitors: one is 165 Hz, and the other is 75 Hz. Because of the difference in refresh rate, you may experience some performance issues while playing games.
How Much Does A Second Monitor Affect FPS?
So, to determine how running two monitors affects FPS, we will need to run some tests to see what the difference actually is.
For this test, we decided to use a desktop PC with a Core i7 10700K CPU and RTX 3060 GPU. We benchmarked Shadow Of The Tomb Raider at 1440p with the highest settings. To make the test interesting, we decided to use a total of four monitors. And we repeated the benchmark five times to determine the average FPS. Here are the results.
|Shadow Of The Tomb Raider
From the table, it can be observed that by adding more than one monitor, the performance does drop. However, it is not significant enough to make any real difference unless your system is already struggling to hit 60 FPS.
Once we were done with our first test, we decided to run another one. But this time we decided to check how the performance is affected by multitasking on a dual monitor configuration.
For our game, we chose CS: GO, which is an extremely popular e-sports title that a lot of people play. We again tested the game at 1440p with the highest settings.
But this time we were also playing a YouTube video on one of the screens. And like before, we repeated the test five times to get an average.
These are the results.
|Dual Monitors With No Multitasking
|Dual Monitors With YouTube On One Screen
The second experiment proves that multitasking does take away a couple of FPS when playing a game on one of the screens.
Q: Do more monitors always mean lower FPS?
A: No, adding more monitors does not necessarily mean lower FPS. High-end modern GPUs are designed to handle multi-monitor setups without much performance impact. Only older or lower-end GPUs will see a noticeable drop in FPS with dual monitors.
Q: Does having different refresh rates on each monitor reduce FPS?
A: Having monitors with mismatched refresh rates can sometimes cause performance issues. It’s best to have monitors with the same specs for optimal performance.
Q: Will switching to a single monitor boost my FPS?
A: Yes, disabling or disconnecting your second monitor can help improve FPS in games, especially if you have an older graphics card. The performance boost will depend on your hardware.
Q: Do background tasks on the second monitor lower gaming FPS?
A: Yes, any active programs or tasks on the second monitor can lower FPS on the main monitor running the game. Minimize background tasks for best performance.
Q: Will upgrading my GPU improve dual monitor FPS?
A: Generally yes, a more powerful GPU will be better equipped to handle a multi-monitor setup without sacrificing gaming performance. But factors like monitor resolution are also important.
Q: How can I optimize a dual monitor setup for gaming?
A: Use monitors with similar specs, avoid inactive programs on the second screen, close unused browser tabs, upgrade your GPU if needed, and try disabling the second monitor while gaming if FPS is still low.
Does Dual Monitor Affect FPS? – Key Takeaway
From this article, we can conclusively say that dual monitors do play a role in the FPS you are getting from a game. But that is not the end all be all of the matter.
Several factors affect how much FPS you are going to lose within a given scenario. Factors like monitor resolution, the model of your GPU, and the tasks that you are performing can affect your average FPS count.
However, you should also keep in mind that the difference isn’t going to be significant enough to deter you away from using dual monitors.
Overall, if you want to use dual monitors for gaming, then you should go for it as the reduction in performance is only minor.