Fact Check: Does an external monitor affect your gaming laptop performance? 

Can external monitor boost FPS? (Image via Dell)
Can an external monitor boost your FPS? (Image via Dell)

When it comes to gaming, every player wishes to enjoy the best possible experience their laptop can provide. One very common question is whether or not an external monitor is capable of boosting a laptop's performance.

The answer to this question is usually a resounding yes, and you will see better performance in most cases when connected to an external monitor. In this article, we'll look into why this happens, but we'll also explore some cases where you may not see any changes.

How is the performance of your gaming laptop affected by connecting an external monitor


Most gaming laptops these days work on a technology called Optimus. Although the downside of this technology is that the performance of the laptop is reduced when compared to what AMD and Nvidia have to offer, it certainly makes the device more efficient and saves battery since it requires less power to operate.

Optimus allows for dynamic switching between the Discrete Graphics Processor (DGP) and the Integrated Graphics Processor (IGP). This helps provide the best possible balance between performance and power efficiency and allows the device to use the most appropriate processor for the task.

The high-powered discrete processor generally remains idle when the task on your device is not GPU-intensive. However, when you launch a GPU-intensive task, the more powerful discrete processor will be used to render the frames.


In an Optimus system, the output is sent via low-powered integrated graphics using a discrete GPU. This can create a bottleneck situation where the performance is reduced due to the integrated graphics.

If your gaming laptop doesn't have Optimus, only uses discrete graphics like Aorus 15, or lets you disable Optimus after a reboot like the Lenovo Y540, then you're out of luck since you're not going to see any difference in performance with an external screen because you're already bypassing Optimus.

Even if your device has G-Sync, you won't see any changes when connected to an external monitor, as G-Sync requires a direct connection between the screen and Nvidia GPU to work. The same also applies to an AMD Vega integrated GPU if the port is connected to the integrated GPU.



To sum it all up, you can certainly see an increase in the performance of your gaming laptop when connected to an external monitor in most cases. However, this may not work in certain scenarios, like the ones explained above.

Most laptops will offer increased performance if a discrete GPU is present. Unfortunately, this is not possible if your device only has an integrated GPU.

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Edited by Siddharth Satish
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