Can You Use Multiple Monitors with Different Refresh Rates?

So you’re looking to upgrade one of your monitors to one that has a higher refresh rate. Can you use multiple monitors with different refresh rates? Are there any issues or bugs that you should know about?

Let’s take a look.

Can You Use Multiple Monitors with Different Refresh Rates?

Yes. You can use multiple monitors with different refresh rates at the same time. It’s best to use each monitor for a separate task, and make sure the resolutions match.

It’s common to use a 144 Hz monitor as a primary display for games while using a 60 Hz monitor as a secondary monitor. Ideally, what you want are two identical monitors that not only have matching refresh rates but also colour settings and resolution.

But if you only have the budget for one high refresh rate monitor, it’s perfectly fine to use two monitors that have mismatched refresh rates on a computer.

144 Hz Lowered to 60 Hz When Using Multiple Monitors:

There’s a known bug on Nvidia GPUs when monitors with mismatched refresh rates are connected.

The bug either locks the higher refresh rate monitor to match the refresh rate on the lower monitor, or the refresh rate dips at random intervals. It usually happens when a video or other type of media is playing on the low refresh rate monitor.

It seems like some applications can force both monitors to synchronize to the same refresh rate.

It can be frustrating because it interrupts your smooth high refresh rate monitor with stutters and other issues. It’s especially bothersome for streamers who often have programs like OBS and others running on their secondary display.

When those programs are open, the main 144 Hz display drops to 60 Hz too, and that entirely defeats the purpose of having a high refresh rate monitor.

Note: AMD cards don’t seem to have this issue. It mostly happens with Nvidia cards and Windows 10.

1 – Connect the 60 Hz Monitor to Your Motherboard

In most cases, connecting the lower refresh rate monitor directly to a video input port on your motherboard, instead of your graphics card, solves the issue.

You might have to enable the onboard VGA setting in your motherboard’s BIOS. The setting you need to enable is called “IGPU” or “Onboard Graphics”.

Even the VGA port can output 60 Hz, although it’s better to use HDMI or DVI if they’re available.

When you connect a monitor directly to a motherboard, it will use your CPU’s integrated graphics. If your CPU does not have integrated graphics (some AMD CPUs do not include the feature) you won’t get a video signal.

2 – Disable Hardware Acceleration on Google Chrome

Tap the three dots on the top right corner of Google Chrome and open Settings.

Scroll to the bottom of the settings and click on Advanced, scroll down further, and toggle “Hardware Acceleration”.

3 – Set Display Scaling to GPU

To do this, right-click on your desktop and select Nvidia Control Panel.

Locate “Adjust Desktop Size and Position”, select your primary display, and change Perform Scaling On to GPU.

Repeat the process on your secondary display too. If your secondary display is not connected to your GPU, it won’t show in this panel.

 

4 – Enable G-Sync if Possible

If your graphics card and monitor support G-Sync, there will be an option to toggle it in the Nvidia Control Panel. Make sure it’s turned on.

If you can’t find the option in the Nvidia Control Panel, chances are your GPU and monitor don’t support it.

The Bottom Line:

You can safely use multiple monitors with different refresh rates on the same computer.

But if you have a Geforce graphics card, you might run into a bug that lowers the refresh rate of both monitors to 60 Hz.

The tips I provided should be able to fix the issue.

About Tim Gagnon

Timothy Gagnon is a tech blogger and writer. When he's not dissembling computers, he's researching the latest tech gadgets and trends.

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