Multiple monitors have been on the rise for more users over the past several years, but how can dual monitors be advantageous for gaming?
- A certain level of sustained productivity while gaming.
- Improved visual immersion for your games when using three monitors.
- Multitasking is made easier when gaming.
- View maps or other reference material for a game.
- Makes game streaming easier to manage.
- Improved productivity when using a desktop workspace in VR.
- An improved gaming experience from your laptop.
Monitors are the means to view the information delivered from a computer. They provide us with a way to view everything being sent from the GPU.
This is especially important for gaming. Being able to view the beautiful gaming environments allows for a stunning and immersive experience. And it gets better the more you spend on your hardware.
Now that we have covered the key benefits of dual monitors, let’s take a more in-depth view of how these benefits play out in more detail.
1. Sustained productivity while gaming
A second monitor is awesome when it comes to keeping an eye on emails, or other productivity or social focussed apps while you game.
For this to be configured in a usable manner, you will need to set up your monitors to be in an extended view as opposed to a cloned view.
This simply means that your desktop gets spanned across the monitors instead of the two displays displaying the same copy of one another.
If the two screens have a different native display resolution, it makes even more sense to configure them this way.
You will also have to get ready to become efficient at switching between programs when you game.
The easiest way to do this is by pressing and holding down the Alt key on your keyboard and tapping the Tab key until you gain focus on the application you want to work with.
Once the desired application is selected, you can release the Alt key.
Note: To gain focus on an application simply means that this is the active window that you have selected that accepts input from peripherals like the keyboard or mouse.
2. Improved visual immersion when using three monitors
Games become super immersive when you have three monitors set for your games to span across.
For this type of arrangement, getting your hands on monitors with the thinnest bevel edges possible is best.
This will minimize the physical interruption between screens as they can merge together more seamlessly.
Graphics cards have good support for multiple screens making the viewing real estate deliver a much better and more accurate viewing perspective.
It is relatively easy to configure with most types of graphics cards and will require a more powerful graphics card, in general, to optimally run extra monitors at smooth frame rates.
Here’s a video discussing how to configure three monitors for gaming (I don’t recommend using USB to HDMI adapters):
It isn’t recommended to use dual monitors explicitly for gaming. The main reason for this is that the bevels of both screens will have to be placed in the center view which will be an undesirable situation.
With both monitor’s bevels always visible in the center of your viewing area it will be continuously drawing your attention to it and will be too distractive.
With three monitors, the monitor’s bevels join up at a different point as opposed to the center, thus creating a more seamless experience.
3. Multitasking is made easier when gaming
If you want to play music or other videos while you game, a dual monitor setup can be really beneficial for that.
Once again, you will need the monitors configured in a spanned or extended display mode.
While you are playing your game, you can quickly and easily switch to music or video players by pressing Alt and Tab on your keyboard as explained earlier.
It is recommended that you pause your game first by hitting escape in the game to bring up the main menu for most games before you switch out to another program.
4. View maps or other reference material for a game
For some large open-world games like the latest versions of Fallout or Far Cry, having a map on the second monitor can help you locate places easier.
This also comes into play when following walkthroughs where places or items are referenced in specific places and can be hard to locate on the game’s map.
Instead of flicking between the game and the reference content, you have it permanently in view on the second screen.
You can even have a video of a walkthrough playing while you play the game.
It also helps for cheat codes or other lists of information that you may need to reference back to.
5. Makes game streaming easier to manage
While streaming your games, having a second monitor is almost as essential as a microphone.
Operating the streaming software or tools while gaming is difficult when you have only one monitor.
This allows for easier viewing of chat in real-time for more responsive communication.
Once again, you can easily switch between your game and the streaming applications by pressing the Alt and Tab keys on the keyboard.
6. Improved productivity with a desktop workspace in VR
I personally love to watch the latest features coming out and how things are evolving in VR when it comes to productivity and gaining access to my PC from the VR headset without having to remove it and put it back on all the time.
This is especially true for virtual desktop apps like Virtual Desktop for example, and with some initial set up can bring forth a richer workspace environment.
Once again, make sure your monitors are configured to extended displays to take advantage of this useful environment.
Although you can only view one desktop screen at a time, it still is an advantage to minimize the amount of moving around application windows.
7. An improved gaming experience from a laptop
Adding a second monitor to your laptop allows for a better visual experience because of the larger screen size.
Even a fairly cheap monitor can allow for greater enjoyment of the graphical environment and immersion in your games.
Just be mindful to purchase a monitor that doesn’t have a resolution that is too high for the capabilities of the laptop’s graphics card.
Buying a 4K monitor might be too much for the laptop to handle and could considerably slow down the frame rates even when lowering the graphics details in the game’s settings.
Also, take note of the connector for the output to a monitor. You may have to purchase a separate adapter to convert the plug from a mini type to a standard-sized connector.
In some cases, you can purchase a special cable that has the appropriate connectors on it to avoid the need for an adapter.
Portable USB-C monitors are another way to connect an extra screen to a laptop. As indicated in the name, they are designed to make transportation easier and more robust.
But if you game at a desk, a normal computer monitor might be the way to go to take advantage of the larger screen size options and viewability.
Do dual monitors decrease FPS?
As long as you have the monitors configured for the game to run on only one monitor, then no, it won’t reduce the FPS.
This is usually set in the NVidia or AMD graphics configuration panels.
Do dual monitors use more GPU?
As the graphics card needs to display two different rendered screen data for each one in extended mode, yes, it will use more GPU power.
However, if the monitors are simply cloned where they are displaying the same thing, then no, it should make any difference.
Are 27 Inch monitors too big for dual monitors?
From a practical standpoint, it all depends on how much desk space you have. If you have enough room, then no, they aren’t too big for dual screens.
From a productivity and gaming standpoint, 27 inches is definitely not too big and can be the ideal entry-level size for immersion and viewability.
So that is my take on the benefits of dual monitors and gaming. In my opinion, whether you opt for two or three monitors depends on what you need for your specific needs.
If you are more gaming focussed, you cannot go wrong with three monitors. I highly recommend buying three of the same to maximize the experience.
One very large curved display will beat out three monitors in my opinion as you will completely eliminate the bevels of all three screens.
However, if productivity or streaming is the area of focus, two monitors will definitely be a great benefit.
In the past, I’ve used two screens and found the usefulness of simply being able to keep an eye on emails or analytics while I game was a game-changer.