How To Fix External Monitor Lag With Your Gaming Laptop

gaming laptop external monitor lag fix

Are you struggling to connect your gaming laptop to an external monitor? is it frustrating when the monitor is lagging if plugged in to your gaming laptop? there are some factors which can cause an issue like this, well don’t worry! I’m going to tell you some very simple steps to fix this so you can enjoy your gaming sessions.

But before I move on to fixing this issue, there are a few misconceptions that need to be cleared.

Why Your Laptop Gives Low FPS When Connected To An External Monitor

Your monitor usually lags because of the following things:

  1. Problem with the display driver
  2. Outdated GPU Drivers
  3. Bad USB – HDMI Cable
  4. Incorrect Refresh Rate
  5. Power Settings
  6. More than It can handle
  7. Overheating

These are some of the most common problems which can be fixed easily.

Does Using An External Monitor Slow Down Your Laptop?

To be very blunt, no an external monitor does not slow down your laptop, it may increase the temperatures slightly because your laptop will be powering two screens at a time.

But if this is happening then you should either check if your laptop is overheating or you should upgrade the RAM on your laptop, most gaming laptops come with extra RAM slots so you shouldn’t have any problem installing more RAM, you could also use a laptop cooling pad to lower down the temperature.

How To Fix The Problem

1. Check Your Game Settings

The first thing is to see if your game is performing the way it should, the main things that should correspond with your external monitor is the resolution of your game, the FPS and refresh rate, absence of any of these things may cause the monitor to lag.

You need to check if the resolution is the same as on your gaming laptop, for example if the game resolution is set to 1080px and the monitor resolution is set to 4k then your monitor will lag, so make sure that the resolution is same.

Then comes the FPS, locking your framerate is a good way to ensure that there are no fps spikes and will result in a smooth experience, apart from that the refresh rate is important because if again, it’s not the same as your laptop then the monitor will lag.

2. Check USB – HDMI Latency

Using USB-A is not preferred because it follows the standard USB protocol which is limited when it comes to resolution , fps and latency, so switching to thunderbolt or USB-C will make sure that you’re getting the most amount of output from your laptop.

3. Make Sure That Refresh Rate Is Same

This is a very common problem, most of the time when you purchase an external monitor for your gaming laptop, the main reason of lag is because you forget to set the refresh rate of both the screens same.

Because if your refresh rate is not the same then the monitor will give a very choppy display, if it’s a 60hz monitor then make sure that your laptop is also set to 60hz refresh rate.

To set the refresh rate of your laptop the same as your monitor, all you have to do is this:

  1. Right Click On Desktop
  2. Click On Display Settings
  3. Scroll down then click on advanced display settings
  4. Scroll down again, click on the desired refresh rate and then apply settings

4. Don’t Play Via Screen mirroring or WIFI

Connecting your laptop to the monitor is extremely easy through Wi-Fi or screen mirroring, but it doesn’t offer the same benefits as connecting it through the HDMI cable, that’s because screen mirroring usually works over bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

And a wifi connection is usually unstable and even a small spike can cause a lag, furthermore, when it comes to screen mirroring, it usually gives a very laggy and choppy display which practically makes it useless, so this option is not viable.

5. Check and Update Graphics Card Drivers

Sometimes all you have to do is update your GPU drivers, because old drivers tend to lose support over time and in order for your graphics to function optimally it needs to have the latest drivers.

6. Make Sure That Monitor Is Using Dedicated Graphics Instead Of Integrated Graphics

When there are 2 displays then windows automatically switches to integrated graphics, so you need to check if your monitor is using integrated graphics or the laptop GPU, because this can make a huge difference.

If your monitor is not using the dedicated graphics card in your laptop then follow these steps to enable it ( For Nvidia Users)

  1. Right-Click on desktop
  2. Go to Nvidia control panel
  3. Click on Nvidia Physx Configuration
  4. Switch from integrated GPU to dedicated GPU on the 2nd monitor
  5. Apply settings and save

This will switch the display of your monitor from the Intel HD graphics to your laptop GPU which will increase the smoothness and performance of the screen and give you 0 lag.

7. Check Power Settings On Your Laptop

When connecting an external monitor to your gaming laptop, it’s essential to see that while gaming, your laptop power settings are set to maximum performance and it’s plugged in.

Absence of each of these things will most likely result in a lag because the monitor needs the right amount of graphics and CPU power from the laptop, and if it’s not plugged in or in performance mode then it cannot give it’s full potential.

8. Enable Vsync

Vsync is a common culprit when it comes to laggy displays, that’s because Vsync doesn’t limit the FPS to a certain number and because of that , there are severe FPS spikes.

So always enable Vsync whenever you’re playing games on an external monitor and the chances of a lagging display will become really slim.

Usually your second monitor lags while gaming because Vsync is turned off and due to that in certain scenarios / places the FPS drops or spikes suddenly and when that spike then relays to the monitor, enabling vsync in your game settings will make sure that the FPS is constant throughout.

9. Disable Intel Display Driver

Your monitor may be lagging because it’s using the intel display driver, so you should simply disable the intel display driver in your windows settings to get rid of the problem.

10. Check The USB – HDMI Cable

The last thing is to check the USB cable for any tears or loose ends, because this might be why your external monitor is lagging so make sure that the wire is intact and free of any lose cables or protrusions.


I’ve explained in detail how you can fix a laggy external monitor on your gaming laptop, these are easy-to-do fixes which can be implemented within minutes and will result in a smooth gaming experience.