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Does Connecting a Monitor to Gaming Laptop Increase Refresh Rate?

A common question I get is “If I have a 60Hz laptop screen, can I use a faster monitor like 144Hz?”

The answer is yes! You can play games on a monitor with higher resolution and refresh rate (Hz) compared to what the screen the laptop came with is capable of.

If you connect an external monitor to your laptop, the monitor can run at the maximum refresh rate that it supports. The refresh rate of the laptop’s screen is not relevant, it does not matter.

The caveat is that the way you’re connecting the laptop to the monitor must support the resolution and refresh rate of the monitor.

For example, HDMI 1.2 cannot run a 1440p monitor at 144Hz, however HDMI 2.0 and newer can do this just fine.

If you’re connecting a monitor to your laptop with HDMI, refer to this page to see a list of what HDMI versions are needed to support different resolutions and refresh rates.

If you’re connecting a monitor to your laptop with DisplayPort, refer to this page to see a list of what DisplayPort versions are needed to support different resolutions and refresh rates. Type-C ports use DisplayPort, so check this if you’re connecting with a Type-C cable.

Conclusion

People want to know if they buy a bigger, faster, expensive screen if it will be limited by what the laptop screen runs at. The resolution and refresh rate of the laptop’s screen is not relevant. It depends entirely on what the external monitor you’re connecting supports, and whether the display connection (port) supports the resolution and refresh rate.

Hi, I’m Jarrod, a tech reviewer from Australia. I mainly focus on laptops, but am interested in all things tech related!

6 Comments

  • Swapnil

    Hey Jarrod! I need ur help. I bought a lenovo legion 5 pro laptop after watching ur review. N with the help of the lenovo tech team I updated each n every thing including the drivers on the laptop. But since I never had a gaming laptop before I don’t have anything to compare it with. My problem is that I’m facing some aliasing issues in asphalt 9 n valorant n idk if it’s the game’s issue or the laptop’s. Also, because of that I started to look at every graphic detail more critically. N some of the smaller images like when I open the microsoft store n the thumbnails right below the big image look very grainy, like someone has turned the sharpness to the highest value. Idk if it’s how it’s supposed to look or if there’s something wrong with it. I tried to Google this problem to find out a way to test if the graphics r working as they’re supposed to. But all I found were the apps n ways to run a scan or check the graphic card. But that doesn’t make me feel confident about it. Because this is the second legion 5 pro I got delivered. The last one was malfunctioning n the tech team n the engineer were unable to detect what was wrong with that. In all scans it showed the laptop was working fine as per design. The graphic card was working fine. N yet it kept crashing the moment i tried to play any game. So those scans don’t make me feel secure with my purchase. Is there a way u can tell me I can check if the graphics on my laptop r the way they’re meant to be? Or if u could tell me if those images look as grainy n sharp on ur laptop as they do on mine? I know ur a busy person. But idk who I should ask other than u to help me. Cuz the tech team said they can’t help me with it. They can only act on what the scans r telling them. Also, if u could tell me if the 1 sec delay between the left click n the refresh menu to pop up is normal on a brand new gaming laptop, that would be a great help.

    • Jarrod

      Are you running the games and Windows at the native screen resolution (2560×1600)? I’d manually get the latest Radeon driver for the integrated graphics and Nvidia driver for discrete graphics and would expect things to be fine. There are some text clearness settings you can play with in Windows but not sure if that affects games. Not sure what you mean by refresh menu.

  • Swapnil

    Thank u so much for replying. Yes the resolution is 2560×1600. N I’ll try to install those drivers manually.
    About that refresh thing: when I was pressing the right mouse button on desktop, i thought in a brand new laptop the menu to refresh n other things would pop up the moment i released the mouse button. But it took a second to show. That’s why I was a little concerned. But now that I have used it a few times, some times it appears quickly.
    Anyways, thank u for the help Jarrod!

  • Hesamedin

    Hi Jarrod hope you do well, a question, for gaming purpose (mostly) and daily works , you’d prefer legion 5 pro 2021 with rtx3070 or 2022 5I pro with 3060 ? Imagine they are nearly same price in my country for my chose.
    Thanks

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