This post is about an issue where the game on the primary monitor gets constant stuttering when the second monitor is playing or streaming video on sites like Twitch or Youtube. No matter how powerful the GPU is, the game would still stutter randomly. This happens specifically on 144hz and 60hz dual monitor setup. Even if the game maintains its high FPS (or maybe a slight drop of FPS), the stuttering and lag would still be there. So, FPS is not the cause of the issue here. Solutions are everywhere but none actually works. Here are what we have tried and may be of help to you.
How to fix game stuttering and lag on dual monitor (144hz and 60hz)
The symptom of this problem is that literally anything you open on your second monitor (commonly Chrome or Firefox that are playing videos) would cause the game on your primary monitor to stutter and lag randomly. The issue is most likely due to the two monitors having different refresh rates, commonly a 144hz gaming monitor with a casual 60hz monitor, and Windows 10 seems to be not able to handle the compatibility of the two running together. Here’s what you can try to fix the issue (most solutions are for Nvidia GPU users only).
Solution 1: Fixed Refresh instead of G-SYNC
This solution is the one that actually worked to fix the issue for me. So, I’ve listed it here as the first solution you should try before digging deeper into others. The solution is to change only your game’s “monitor technology” used to Fixed Refresh instead of G-SYNC. Here’s how.
- Open Nvidia Control Panel.
- In the left panel, click on Manage 3D settings.
- Go to the Program Settings tab.
- Under Select a program to customize drop down menu, select your game from the list. If you don’t see your game in the list, click Add and browse to your game’s exe file.
- Then, from the list of feature, go to the option called Monitor Technology. If it’s on G-SYNC, change it to Fixed Refresh. Click on Apply then restart your game. Verify if the game stuttering and lag issue still exists.
Solution 2: Disable G-SYNC
Solution 1 did the same thing but only disabling G-SYNC for that particular game. If that doesn’t work to solve the lag issue, you may want to try to disable G-SYNC for the entire system.
To disable G-SYNC entirely, go to Nvidia Control Panel. Under Display, click on Set up G-SYNC. Uncheck the option for “Enable G-SYNC, G-SYNC Compatible“. Click Apply and restart everything including your game and whatever app you were running on your second monitor. Run them again to see if this fixes the game stuttering issue.
Solution 3: Full-screen your game
While your game may not have the full-screen option, if the option exists, try running it full-screen and see if the lag problem still persists.
Solution 4: Turning on / off VSync in game
This is a workaround that has proven to fixed the issue for many others. If your game has the VSync option in its graphic settings, try turning it On or Off and see if it fixes the issue. Since the problem is likely due to different refresh rate on the dual monitor, changing VSync settings may see a difference here.
Solution 5: Changing 144hz monitor to 120hz or 60hz
Another well known solution to this issue is to change your primary monitor refresh rate to 120hz instead of 144hz, because 120hz is divisible by 60 and may help the two monitors to work better with each other. To change the refresh rate of a monitor, follow the steps below.
- Right-click anywhere on your desktop and then select Display settings.
- In the right pane, scroll down and click on Advanced display settings.
- On the next window, click Display adapter properties for Display 1 (or 2) of your 144hz monitor.
- Go to Monitor tab. Under Screen refresh rate, select 120 Hertz. Click OK to apply the changes.
Alternatively, you can also change the 144hz monitor to run only 60hz which in most cases solve the game stuttering and lag problem. But, obviously it isn’t an ideal solution for a gamer who pay so much for a high performance 144hz monitor but to run it only on 60hz.
Solution 6: Try with different cable connectors
If you have other types of cables (such as DisplayPort, DVI or VGA) other than the one you are using right now for your second monitor, try other connector as well to see if it fixes the problem.
Solution 7: Connect your second monitor to integrated graphics
This is an advanced and complicated solution that theoretically should solve the issue. The trick is to connect your second monitor to your integrated graphics (onboard built-in graphics, if your motherboard has it) instead of your dedicated GPU. Then, force Chrome or Firefox to run using the Integrated graphics. This way will allow your dedicated GPU to focus running your game instead of sharing its resources to other app on your second monitor.
First, you will have to enable your integrated graphics if you have not been using it ever since, and connect your second monitor to it. We have a guide related to connecting second monitor to your onboard GPU. Read: Second Monitor Not Detected in Windows 10 (Integrated Intel HD Graphics).
After successfully connecting your second monitor to the Intel HD Graphics, you need to force the app you want to open on your second monitor, for example, your Chrome or Firefox browser, to run using the Integrated graphics. For detailed guide on how to do this, read: How to Force App or Game to Use Nvidia GPU or Integrated Graphics.
Solution 8: Turning off hardware acceleration on Chrome or Firefox
This is yet another popular fix to lag issue related to browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Turning off hardware acceleration in these browsers will stop the browser from using other hardware such as the GPU to perform tasks, and instead it will let CPU handle all the requests.
- To turn off hardware acceleration in Chrome, click on the triple dotted icon at top right of Chrome window, and then click Settings. Search for hardware acceleration. Toggle off the Use hardware acceleration when available option, then click Relaunch.
- To turn off hardware acceleration in Firefox, in Firefox window, click on the triple lined icon at the top right corner, then select Options. Search for hardware acceleration. Uncheck Use recommended performance settings and then uncheck Use hardware acceleration when available options.
Solution 9: Check if you have Nvidia Share (Shadowplay) turned on
Nvidia Shadowplay is a built-in tool for Nvidia Geforce Experience. It is a tool capable of capturing your in-game screen to allow user to save instant replay. Check if you have Shadowplay instant replay switched on. If it’s on it might be the reason your game lags when you have two monitors doing different things at the same time, because it may use up huge amount of GPU resources to capture both screen at large resolutions at the same time.
Press ALT+Z keys to bring up Shadowplay and make sure Instant Replay is off (provided if you don’t need it).
Ultimate Solution: Getting another 144hz monitor
The most ideal solution is of course to get another 144hz monitor as your second monitor so that the two monitors can work together better in Windows 10. If none of the solutions above work for you, this may be your ultimate solution to the issue.