Pros and Cons of Using Two Monitors with Different Refresh Rates

Pros and Cons of Using Two Monitors with Different Refresh Rates

Two monitors put together are like a big canvas visual artists use to get a bigger monitor to work on. While a very large monitor can be quite expensive, putting two monitors together can be a great option. It can be a practical solution for some users who want to increase their productivity or gaming experience. However, there are several pros and cons to consider when using monitors with different refresh rates. Even though a lot of games do not support two displays, there are a few games that support them. 

What is Refresh Rate?

The short answer is – “The number of times per second that a display updates its image is called Refresh Rate. The unit of it is Hertz (Hz) and indicates and it implies how many times per second the display can redraw the screen.”

For example, a refresh rate of 60Hz means that the display refreshes the image 60 times per second. You can get a smoother visual experience with a higher refresh rate especially while watching fast-moving content or playing games. This is because a higher refresh rate allows the display to update the image more frequently, reducing the amount of motion blur and providing a more responsive and fluid visual experience. However, the benefits of a higher refresh rate depending on the content being displayed, and some people may not notice a significant difference between different refresh rates.

Some Monitors With Refresh Rates

Monitor ModelRefresh Rate
ASUS TUF Gaming VG27AQL1A170 Hz
Dell Alienware AW3418DW120 Hz
LG 27GL83A-B144 Hz
Samsung Odyssey G9240 Hz
Acer Predator X27144 Hz
ViewSonic XG2402144 Hz
AOC C27G2Z240 Hz
MSI Optix MPG341CQRV144 Hz
BenQ Zowie XL2546K240 Hz
HP Omen X 27240 Hz

Pros of Using Two Monitors with Different Refresh Rates

Using two monitors with different refresh rates can give several benefits for users who require multi-tasking or want to optimize their gaming experience. While it may seem counter-intuitive to pair monitors with varying refresh rates, there are valid reasons why someone would opt to do so.

Improve Productivity

Additionally, it can boost efficiency. A more effective workflow is made possible by having multiple screens, particularly when dealing with complex tasks. Users can leave one window open on one screen while working on another without constantly switching between applications. Video editors, graphic artists, and stock traders are just a few examples of occupations that can benefit greatly from this.

Reduce Eye Strain 

It can also reduce eye strain. When working on a single monitor for extended periods, users may experience eye fatigue, leading to headaches and discomfort. Using multiple monitors can help alleviate these symptoms by reducing the need to switch between different applications constantly. The ability to have two applications open at once and view them side by side allows for a more relaxed posture and reduces eye strain. 

A Better Gaming Experience 

Using two monitors with different refresh rates can give a better gaming experience. Gamers can use one monitor for gaming and the other for other tasks. For example, the game can run on the higher refresh rate monitor, while browsing the internet or watching videos on the other monitor. This allows for a more immersive gaming experience without having to compromise on multitasking.


It can also be cost-effective. While buying two monitors with the same high refresh rate can be expensive, using one high refresh rate monitor for gaming and a cheaper monitor for other tasks can be a cost-effective option. This can be especially useful for individuals who need a multi-monitor setup but don’t want to spend a lot of money.

Improve Compatibility 

Some computers or graphics cards may not support multiple high refresh rate monitors, so using a lower refresh rate monitor as a secondary monitor can help ensure compatibility. This allows users to take advantage of the benefits of a multi-monitor setup without having to upgrade their hardware.

Cons of Using Two Monitors with Different Refresh Rates

While using two monitors with different refresh rates has its benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks that users should consider before deciding to set up a multi-monitor system with disparate refresh rates.

Visual Inconsistencies

The first drawback is visual inconsistencies. You may face a noticeable lag or shutter while moving windows or applications between two monitors with different refresh rates. This may mostly occur while moving windows from a higher refresh rate monitor to a lower one, where the transition may be more noticeable. This can cause discomfort.

Syncing Issues 

The second drawback is the potential for syncing issues. When using two monitors with different refresh rates, there is a risk that the displays may not synchronize correctly. This can cause issues such as tearing or stuttering, which can be especially noticeable during fast-paced activities such as gaming. These syncing issues can also lead to input lag, which can cause a decrease in performance and an increase in frustration for the user.

Compatibility Issues 

The third drawback is the potential for hardware compatibility issues. Some computers or graphics cards may not support multiple monitors with different refresh rates, or they may require additional hardware or software to function correctly. This can result in significant expense and frustration for users who want to set up a multi-monitor system with different refresh rates but do not have compatible hardware or software.

Fix Problems You May Face With Two Monitors With Different Refresh Rates

When using two monitors with different refresh rates, you may experience issues such as screen tearing, stuttering, or lag. Here are a few steps you can take to fix these issues:

Fix Problems You May Face With Two Monitors With Different Refresh Rates
  1. Ensure that both monitors are set to their recommended or native refresh rates. You can do this in your computer’s display settings or in the settings menu of your monitor.
  1. Adjust your graphics card settings to synchronize the refresh rates of your two monitors. This can be done using the graphics card control panel, such as Nvidia Control Panel or AMD Catalyst Control Center. Look for settings related to “synchronization,” “sync,” or “refresh rate,” and set it to “synchronize” or “adapt.
  1. If synchronization doesn’t work, consider lowering the refresh rate of the higher-refresh-rate monitor to match that of the lower-refresh-rate monitor. This can also be done in your graphics card control panel.
  1. Try using a third-party tool, such as “RefreshLock” or “CRU (Custom Resolution Utility)” to override the default refresh rate settings and synchronize the monitors.
  1. If none of the above steps work, consider upgrading to monitors with similar refresh rates or a higher refresh rate that both monitors support to avoid refresh rate mismatch problems altogether.

Wrapping Up

Using two monitors with different refresh rates can be a cost-effective way to increase productivity, gaming performance, and flexibility. However, it can also cause visual issues and reduced performance if not configured properly. Before using two monitors with different refresh rates, users should consider their specific needs and ensure that their system is compatible and properly configured.

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Nafiul Haque

Nafiul Haque has grown up playing on all the major gaming platforms. And he got his start as a journalist covering all the latest gaming news, reviews, leaks, etc. As he grew as a person, he became deeply involved with gaming hardware and equipment. Now, he spends his days writing about everything from reviewing the latest gaming laptops to comparing the performance of the latest GPUs and consoles.