In the modern era where all the work gets done on laptop and desktop, the need for another desktop arises after a while.

Especially when a person works on multiple windows at the same time that too on a single computer, one can slowly feel suffocated and frustrated. For people who multitask, setting up two monitors is a must. Any modern laptop or desktop can run dual displays. All one needs is a second monitor. This investment won’t go to waste. It will only boost productivity and efficiency. 

Before we move towards the purchases of dual monitors, let us look through the process of setting up dual screens.

A step-by-step guide to setting up a dual-screen setup (a second monitor) with a laptop

Before setting up a dual-screen with a laptop, one needs to check a few things. However, most modern laptops are capable of adding external monitors. For example, Windows 7, 8, 10, and 11 easily support multiple monitors.

Still, one needs to check its graphic card properties and make sure it supports external monitors. If it does not, then one needs to buy the correct graphics card and install it on their PC or laptop.

Dual Monitors

Next, one might need to check the ports of the laptop. Does the laptop have a DVI, VGA, HDMI, display port? Also, check for these ports on the monitor as well. However, if the ports differ in both the devices, then one can try using a display splitter, docking station, HDMI dual monitor adapter, and pluggable 4K DisplayPort. 

Now that the person has made sure that the cables, ports, and graphic card specifications are ready, it’s easy to set up a dual-screen with a laptop. Once the cables are attached to their rightful places, then you need to follow the below-mentioned steps to set things up! 

1. Plugin both the monitors to the back of the graphics card (not the motherboard).

2. Right-click on the desktop and select Display Settings.

Display Settings

3. As the two monitors are plugged in, the Display Settings page should automatically detect and represent both monitors by showing two boxes labeled “1” and “2.” 

4. If the second monitor, for some reason, doesn’t appear in this box, click the Detect button to get the computer to identify both monitors.

5. Select the other grey box to configure that monitor. 

Configure

6. Click and drag the boxes around to mirror the desk and monitor setup. If the user wants the primary monitor on the left or right side, simply drag the box representing the preferred monitor to the desired side. 

7. The same thing happens if the monitors are stacked vertically or at an angle.

8. Once the user knows which monitor is primary and which monitor is secondary, click the box representing the preferred monitor.

9. Scroll down to check the box saying, “Make this my main display.”

Main Display

10. However, sometimes, while doing an initial setup of adding a second monitor, both screens will mirror one another. Simply fix this by locating the multiple displays box.

Multiple Displays

11. Make sure the “Extend these displays” choice is selected for both monitors. This will essentially make two monitors act as a large one, allowing the user to move the mouse cursor between them as if there is no break between them.

Display Extension

12. Finally, the user can do final tweaks to the settings, such as changing the resolution, display orientation, and text size to complete the ideal setup.

Connectivity options available to connect the monitor to the laptop

Modern Video Ports
Older Video Ports

Modern monitors come with a combination of DVI, VGA, HDMI, and DisplayPort ports. In other words, one has a couple of options for connecting the monitor to the laptop. However, one might purchase HDMI or DisplayPort cable separately if the two corresponding ports differ from each other. 

Use an HDMI Cable

HDMI

HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface. It is a single cable stop for transferring HD video as well as audio. Most new laptops come with at least one HDMI port. The user only has to get an HDMI cable and connect one of its ends to the laptop and the other end to the monitor. 

There are three types of HDMI connectors – Standard (handle all applications), Mini (for DSLR cameras, camcorders, and tablets), and Micro (for smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices). 

Although before purchasing an HDMI cable, check if the laptop has an HDMI port first, as it looks a lot like the DisplayPort input. 

DisplayPort Cable

DisplayPort

DisplayPort can also transfer HD audio and video signals from a laptop to a monitor. This port is more common than HDMI on the monitor. This connector has 20 pins and comes in two sizes, the mini-DisplayPort, and the DisplayPort. 

One way to recognize DisplayPort is the appearance of the port itself. DisplayPort has five sides and has a slanted upper right-hand corner as opposed to HDMI, which has eight sides, with the left and right-hand corners appearing identical. 

USB-C Cable

USB-C

USB stands for Universal Serial Bus. Some laptops come with Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C video output option. These ports are found in all kinds of devices, such as the latest smartphones, high-end laptops, and external hard drives. USB-C is an industry-standard connector for transferring both power and data over a single cable. The USB-IF develops the USB-C connector. USB-IF has huge companies like HP, Apple, Samsung, Dell, Microsoft, and Intel in its membership. 

DVI Cable

DVI

DVI stands for Digital Visual Interface and is the oldest display option. It doesn't offer good quality. However, it can still display a resolution of up to 2560 x 1600 pixels. If the user has an old monitor, then it might have only a DVI input. It is an industry-standard connector for the transfer of digital video content. It can be configured to support DVI-A (analog), DVI-D (digital), or DVI-I (digital and analog). 

VGA Adapters

VGA

VGA adaptors are the oldest connector used for computer video output. It was introduced by IBM and could display millions of colors. Its 15-pin connector was a standard analog monitor adaptor for over two decades. However, the newer computers no longer have VGA connectors. 

Windows settings to duplicate and extend the displays

Display Rearrangement

Working with external monitors at the same time boosts productivity and allows the user to work with various applications at the same time. It is the best tool for multitasking.

Windows automatically detects when the user tries to connect to the second monitor. However, if one doesn't see the option, then press the Fn key and F5 key to configure laptop + external screen, laptop display only, or the external screen only. Another option is that one can press the Windows key + P together to reach the same display.

How to Duplicate the Screen?

Duplicate Screen

When the screen is detected, make sure to select ‘Duplicate these displays' under the Multiple Displays drop-down menu.

The desktop is duplicated to run demos and presentations where each display has its unique refresh rate and screen resolution. For example, if the user pairs a 1024 x 768 pixels resolution projector to a laptop with a 1366 x 768 pixels resolution screen, both will run at a lower resolution, i.e., 1024 x 768 pixels resolution. The display most probably will have black bars boundaries on the left as well as on the right of the laptop screen.

How to extend the display?

Extend Display

Extending monitors means the computer interprets that the monitor the user is attaching is a separate device. One can see different things on each monitor, but the monitors together behave as one big screen.  

  • For that either press the Windows + P key together or right-click on display and select Display settings.
  • Navigate to Display Settings
  • Click on Multiple Displays
  • Open the drop-down menu and select Extend these displays 
  • Now, go back to Display settings
  • Under customize your display, the user can see the local arrangement of monitors by 1 and 2
  • Select Identify to check how Windows detects monitors
  • Drag the display boxes to match the monitor's physical order
  • Select Apply and keep the changes 

How to split screen between two different monitors?

Splitting screens can be a synonym phrase for doing multitasking using both monitors. A perfect example of its usage can be of any YouTuber. Nowadays, artists of many video streaming platforms such as YouTube, Twitch, etc., use OBS and such software to ease the whole streaming process.

They usually open the content screen, such as any game, meeting, or any visuals they want to share with their audience on one screen and the OBS controller on the other one.

Split Screen

Steps to split your windows into two different monitors

  • For that, either press the Windows + P key together or right-click on display and select Display settings.
  • Navigate to Display Settings
  • Click on Multiple Displays
  • Open the drop-down menu and select show only on 1 
  • Now, go back to Display settings
  • Under customize your display, the user can see a preview of both monitors by 1 and 2
  • After setting the view on Monitor 1 in a similar manner, one can set the display in monitor 2.

Is it possible to have different refresh rates on both monitors?

Refresh Rates

Yes, one can use multiple monitors with different refresh rates simultaneously. However, it’s better to use each monitor for a separate task and also make sure that the resolutions match. Ideally, one needs to have two identical monitors that match not only refresh rates but resolution and color settings as well. Although, it’s also fine to use mismatched refresh rates on a computer. 

It’s common to use a primary display (144 Hz monitor) for games and use a 60 Hz monitor as a secondary monitor. But when the user connects two monitors with different refresh rates together, some complications may arise. The most common is a stuttering problem on a 144 Hz monitor and forcing it to scale down to 60 Hz when anything plays on a 60 Hz monitor. 

The GPU commonly locks both displays to match the lower refresh rate when connecting two monitors with different refresh rates. It primarily happens with Nvidia GPUs. 

One can fix mismatch refresh rates by solutions given down below. These solutions are focused on the PCs or laptops working on any Nvidia graphic card. 

GPU scaling

GPU Scaling
  • Open Nvidia Control Panel
  • Select Adjust Desktop Size and Position option
  • The screen will pop up where the user needs to decide which display to edit.
  • Select both displays
  • Set both to scale to GPU

Turn on Nvidia G-Sync

Nvidia G-Sync is a technology that provides smooth gameplay by allowing the GPU and monitor to work with each other seamlessly. It is an ultimate gaming display, and the variable refresh rate ensures no tears during gameplay since the GPU outputs every frame. Although, the user needs to ensure that its display supports Nvidia G-Sync. 

Connect 60Hz monitor to the motherboard

Let CPU handle it. Plug a 60 Hz monitor straight into the motherboard. A CPU should have integrated graphics. If the user has an Intel CPU, it's going to work. It might not work for AMD CPU. The new CPUs can handle it just fine, although it might put a minor strain on an old one. 

Disable hardware acceleration on browser

Disabling hardware acceleration on the browser means the CPU will run all video-playing tasks on the desktop. This won’t put too much burden. If it doesn’t work on Google Chrome, then try Firefox. 

  • Navigate to the settings menu of the browser
  • Search disable hardware acceleration 
  • It’s usually listed under the system tab.
  • Disable it 

Best Monitors

#1. LG 32MP60G-B Monitor

LG 32MP60G-B Monitor is a secondary monitor with high image quality and has a 32-inch display size. It comes with a stand and is also wall mountable. It includes an HDMI cable and has a 75 Hz refresh rate. The monitor is thin and weighs around 12.8 pounds. It has DisplayPort and D-sub as well. 

LG 32MP60G-B Monitor

This monitor supports AMD FreeSync Technology that helps to eliminate any tearing while gaming. LG has added an IPS panel that enables a wide viewing angle as well as color fidelity.

This monitor has 1ms of response time. It is an affordable monitor and has an excellent price-performance ratio. It comes with a video resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, so it supports Full HD resolution movies and all other visual stuff.

#2. Acer Nitro XV272U

Acer Nitro XV272U is a 1440p gaming monitor. It has a 170 Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time. This monitor has a 2560 x 1440 pixels resolution widescreen.

Acer has added an IPS panel and supports AMD Radeon FreeSync technology. It provides HDMI and USB cable. The display has various ports such as Display Port, HDMI, and USB.

Acer Nitro XV272U

It includes HDMI and USB cable as well. It comes with two speakers and supports 1.07 billion colors. Acer Nitro is an affordable computer that promises silky smooth visuals with faster frame rendering and lower input lag to make quicker decisions. 

#3. Asus TUF

Asus TUF is a 27-inch (2560×1440 pixels) IPS gaming monitor with a 1ms response time, 165 Hz refresh rate, and G-Sync compatibility for a tear-free experience. The monitor comes with ASUS Extreme Low Motion Blur Sync Technology that possesses a 1ms response time and an Adaptive-Sync that eliminates ghosting as well as tearing. It provides sharp gaming visuals with high frame rates. 

Asus TUF

ASUS Eye Care technology will minimize eye fatigue and has an ergonomic stand with a full height that can tilt, swivel, and pivot to accommodate any desk. It offers flexible connectivity options with DisplayPort 1.2 and Dual HDMI. Asus TUF has a high dynamic range for color and brightness levels that exceed the capabilities of ordinary monitors.

#4. Z-Edge

Z-Edge is a 27-inch curved monitor that covers a broader field of view and enhances the depth of the perception. The monitor offers maximum immersion for movies and games. Built-in the high-end VA panel, the monitor enlarges the viewing angle to a greater extent, providing the 178° panoramic viewing angle. The contrast ratio 3000:1 offers richer colors, allowing the user to capture more image details. 

Z-Edge

It has a 75 Hz refresh rate and 5ms response time. The display dramatically reduces motion blur, picture stuttering, as well as ghosting. The fast response time brings a steady visual, giving the users an exceptional gaming experience.

Flicker-free and low blue light technology minimizes blue light to protect eyes from strain after the prolonged use of the monitor. It has multiple port support, VGA, HDMI, and also comes with two speakers. 

#5. Samsung CF390

Samsung CF390 is a 27-inch desktop business monitor. Its 1800R curved screen provides an immersive viewing experience for better productivity and also reduces eye fatigue. It has a full HD, i.e., 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution screen with an industry perfect 16:9 aspect ratio. Samsung VA panel delivers a wide viewing angle. It has an Eye Saver Mode as well as Flicker-Free technology that helps minimize eye strain due to long working hours. 

Samsung CF390

It provides easy connectivity, HDMI input for high-speed devices, and VGA for legacy applications. The slim, VESA-mountable panel is suitable for multi-screen workstations.

This monitor has an adjustable-tilt stand that fits onto any desktop. Samsung CF390 monitor comes with a 3-Year Business Warranty with extended warranties available for purchase. 

#6. LG 24MP400-B

LG 24MP400-B has a modern feel but a rustic design. It is thin and has a borderless design. This monitor has a 24-inch display. One can enjoy gaming, movies, shows, and videos in Full High Definition (FHD) with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.

LG's FHD Monitors present amazingly accurate color performance with an IPS display to give the user an experience that wows from virtually any viewing angle.

LG 24MP400-B

AMD FreeSync compatibility brings clearer, faster, and smoother gameplay for the users. LG reduces screen tearing as well as minimizes stutter. The lack of input lags enables seamless, fluid movement in fast-paced games. Dynamic Action Sync elevates gameplay for a pro-level experience. LG 24MP400-B has a 75 Hz refresh rate. 

Conclusion

Be it the gaming industry or total workflow that has drastically shifted to computers and laptops has given rise to working simultaneously on various computers at once. It has made work-life easy as well as productive. The immersive experience and high-definition of modern monitors have entirely changed the way computers have been used before. 

Pairing a monitor with a laptop has offered the user a wide display to work on, and it is also super easy to connect two devices with the help of in-built multiple ports and cables. This article has discussed all the ways to set up dual monitors as well as the best secondary monitors that are affordable and easily available in the market.