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Can My Laptop Support Ultrawide Monitor?

Adding an ultrawide monitor to your laptop can be productive in screen space and image details, whether for gaming or work.

But how would you know if your laptop supports a widescreen display boasted by ultrawide screens?

In general, your laptop can support an ultrawide monitor if it supports a high-resolution display, has an appropriate GPU, memory bandwidth and drivers, and reliable display ports (HDMI, Thunderbolt, or USB-C).

In fact, your lower-specification laptop may support an ultrawide monitor, but it will significantly downsize the actual resolution to fit the image or distort it all together.

Undoubtedly, the ultrawide display comes with many benefits, but they tend to take up a lot of desk space and are a wee bit expensive.

Read on to find out whether your laptop supports an ultrawide monitor and if it is a good idea to get one.

What is the Resolution of an Ultrawide Monitor?

Before jumping on the bandwagon, let us determine what an ultrawide monitor is and is not.

The sellers and retail websites may advertise many screen resolutions as ultrawide, but the ultrawide display’s aspect ratio is greater than 2:00:1.

They are wider than taller and usually require high-resolution displays.

A few examples of the ultrawide resolutions include:

Common NameAspect RatioResolution
WFHD64∶272560×1080
WFHD+12∶52880×1200
WQHD43∶183440×1440
WQHD+12∶53840×1600
UW4K12∶54320×1800
UW5K (WUHD)64∶275120×2160
UW5K+12∶55760×2400
UW6K43∶186880×2880
UW7K12∶57680×3200
UW8K12∶58640×3600
UW10K64∶2710240×4320

Similarly, the ultrawide monitor will prefer high-resolution images usually offered by 2K, 4K, and higher. Anything under will lack the crisp and rich color required for a wider display.

Here is a table outlining different resolutions and the ones appropriate for ultrawide display.

DisplayResolutionCommon Name
720p1280 x 720SD or HD Ready
1080p1920 x 1080Full HD
1440p (2K)2560 x 1440Quad HD (OK for ultra-wide display)
4K3840 x 2160UHD or Ultra HD (OK for ultra-wide display)
Ultra-Wide2560 x 1080, 3440 x 1440 or higherWide or WUHD (OK for ultra-wide display)
Note: Ultrawide monitor uses a combination of various aspect ratios and suitable resolutions (1440p, 4K, or more).

However, remember that running ultrawide monitors will require laptops with higher specifications.

Your laptop would require a decent amount of CPU and graphics processing unit of the video card to playback ultrawide images with full efficiency.

How do you Know if your Laptop Supports an Ultrawide Monitor?

Knowing whether your laptop supports the ultrawide monitor can be tricky yet sometimes straightforward.

Inquire the seller or manufacturer about the maximum display it can support if you buy a new laptop and whether it has the correct specifications to support an ultrawide display.

However, you would need to examine the specs for slightly older laptops.

The specifications may include the laptop’s screen resolution, video card driver and processing unit, refresh rate, and display plug.

Your laptop will support an ultrawide monitor with the desired accuracy as long as the graphics card can display 1440p and has at least one HDMI 2.0, USB-C, or Thunderbolt plug.

Otherwise, the laptops with slightly lower specifications would have to install a dedicated video card on top of the internal video card to get by.

Curved monitor and blue light
Your laptop can support an ultrawide monitor if has optimum specifications.

However, it is less likely to support a dedicated video card if it does not have Type-C Thunderbolt 3, Thunderbolt 2, M.2 NVMe slot, mini PCIe, or ExpressCard slot.

The CPU or processing power would not matter as long as you have a powerful graphics card, but running a high-end graphics processor will quickly drain the life out of your laptop.

Hence, a high-end CPU, processing power, and battery laptop are essential to run an ultra-wide monitor.

Laptop Specifications Required to Support Ultrawide Monitors

Let us discuss the laptop specification required to support and run ultrawide monitors entirely.

1. Video Card, GPU, and Driver

Your laptop will fail to support an ultrawide monitor without a powerful video card.

Any modern laptop with a video card that can handle 2K or 4K software decoding and provides fast bandwidth memory (18 Gbps or more) will support an ultrawide monitor.

The minimum GPU required for a seamless ultrawide display is as follows;

Graphic CardSupportRefresh Rate (Hz)
GeForce GTX 1080 2K-4K144
GeForce GTX 960 2K-4K60
GeForce GTX 980M 2K-4K30
Nvidia’s RTX 20802K-4K30-60
Nvidia’s RTX 30802K-4K60
Nvidia’s RTX 3090 (DLSS technology)2K-8K30

Similarly, the high-end video card must have a supporting graphics driver to optimally allow your operating system to use graphics.

Your laptop should already have installed the default driver to get you started.

Otherwise, you should download the latest driver updates from the respective graphics driver website.

2. HDMI or Other Connection

Connection is another crucial factor because supporting ultrawide monitors would require high-speed cables and reliable connection ports.

HDMI cables are standard with many ultrawide monitors; however, older HDMI connections (below 2.0) cannot handle the higher resolutions required by ultrawide monitors.

Here is a table describing different HDMI versions and their specifications.

HDMI ConnectionSpecification
HDMI 1.4Transmits 1080p to 4K but only at 30Hz
HDMI 2.0Offers 18GB memory bandwidth to support 4K at 60 FPS
HDMI 2.0aSimilar to 2.0 but with HDR for vibrant color
HDMI 2.1Supports up to 8K display with dynamic HDR, faster refresh rate, and bandwidth

Alternatively, you can use Display Port 1.3 or 1.4 port which supports 4K display at 120Hz.

Thunderbolt is the latest and most reliable display connector that supports 4K to 8K displays at a higher refresh rate.

Thunderbolt 2 can easily support a 4K monitor, while Thunderbolt 3 and 4 will support UHD display at 60Hz and 120Hz.

Similarly, if the laptop has a USB-C port and the ultrawide monitor has a USB-C port, you can use a USB-C cable to connect them.

Read our blog about whether it is safe to Hot-Plug HDMI Cable to the laptop or monitor.

3. Native Resolution

Your laptop’s native resolution will significantly influence whether you can add an ultra-wide monitor.

The unmatched or lower native resolutions will lead to stretched or distorted images on the external monitor.

difference between different resolutions
The image shows the difference between different Monitor resolutions.

However, the laptop’s display resolution is not the same as its output capabilities.

The laptop screen has no relationship to the laptop’s output capabilities. Most laptops are designed to support external monitors for serious work.

A laptop with a 1080p output resolution can support 2k or higher; however, it should have the appropriate GPU and memory.

Otherwise, get yourself a high-end laptop with a higher native resolution.

Find out how many external monitors can your laptop support with the existing resolution.

Here are some best Laptops that support an ultrawide monitor.

LaptopsSpecificationsProduct Image
MSI GL75 Leopard 17.3" FHD 144Hz Gaming LaptopIntel 10th Gen Hexa Core i7-10750H Processor

Single Backlight with Anti-Ghosting Key + Silver Lining
MSI GL75 Leopard 17.3" FHD 144Hz Gaming Laptop
Acer Predator Triton 500 Thin & Light Gaming Laptop8th Generation Intel Core i7 8750H 6 Core Processor

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 overclock Graphics with Max Q design

best for heavy work and multiple monitors
Acer Predator Triton 500 Thin & Light Gaming Laptop
HP Pavilion Micro-EDGE LaptopHigh-grade Graphics and processing power

9th Generation intel(r) core(tm) i5-9300h Processor

Best for 3 to 4 monitors
HP Pavilion Gaming 15.6-Inch Micro-EDGE Laptop
Lenovo V330 Business LaptopAnti-Glare (1366x768) Display with Front Facing HD Webcam

Intel Quad Core i5-8265U 1.6 GHz

Best for multiple monitors
Lenovo V330 Business Laptop, 14" Full HD Widescreen
OMEN by HP 17-inch LaptopNVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060

144Hz FHD anti-glare display

Best for 4 monitors
OMEN by HP 17-inch Laptop

How to Connect an Ultrawide Monitor with a Laptop?

Using the ultra-wide monitor with your laptop is pretty simple, assuming it meets all the requirements.

Plugin the monitor into your laptop via an appropriate cable connection (HDMI, DisplayPort, or Thunderbolt) to run the device.

Some ultrawide monitors have built-in wireless connectivity, such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

If the laptop and the ultrawide monitor both support wireless connectivity, you can connect them wirelessly.

However, you must define the display resolution and type to start broadcasting the image from the laptop to the monitor.

1. Display Resolution

Most laptops automatically detect the monitor’s resolution and start broadcasting feed in 4K or more.

Otherwise, you would need to change the resolution in the setting manually. Follow these steps to change the resolution on Windows.

  1. Right-click on the desktop and find “Display Settings.”
  2. Choose the appropriate display from the given option (Choose 2 for an external monitor)
  3. Dual screen display
    Choose the dual-screen display from your settings.
  4. From the drop-down menu, scroll down to “Display Resolution” and choose the appropriate resolution, such as 2560 x 1080 or 3440 x 1440.

Mac users need to open “System Preferences” and choose “Display” to open the settings.

Next, change the native resolution from “Default for display” to “Scaled,” and choose the appropriate resolutions.

2. Display Type

Display type refers to mirroring the same display on the laptop screen or extending the image.

From the same “Display Settings,” scroll down to find the Multiple Displays section and choose the appropriate feature.

Extending or Duplicating the display
Go to display resolution and choose the required resolution

Voila! Your ultrawide monitor will start broadcasting images in UHD resolution at no time.

Pros and Cons of Using an Ultrawide Monitor

There are many advantages to using the ultrawide monitor for everyday use, such as work and gaming; however, they are not free of problems.

Here is a table describing both pros and cons of choosing an ultrawide monitor.

ProsCons
It offers increased screen space thanks to a high-resolution display.The large display screen takes up significant desk space.
Choose from a flat or curved display for a better viewing angle.Gaming or heavy work done on the monitor will take a toll on the laptop’s GPU.
It reduces flicker that contributes to eye strain.Large screen display consumes slightly more power or energy.
It is no longer expensive or inaccessible.It is still more expensive than budget LED monitors.

Best Ultrawide Monitors to Buy in 2023

Here are a few ultrawide monitor recommendations for you.

Best MonitorsSpecificationImage
Sceptre 35-Inch Curved Ultrawide MonitorThe 35" inch curved display with 3440 x 1440 QHD frameless AMD Free sync HDMI Display Port Up to 100Hz.
Dell Alienware AW3423DW34" display with 3440 x 1440 native resolution and 175 Hz max refresh rate
SAMSUNG CJ890 Ultra-wide MonitorThe 49” ultra-wide screen boasts 3840 x 1080 QHD with a 144Hz refresh rate.
Samsung Odyssey Neo G8 S32BG8532" display with 3840 x 2160 native resolution and 240 Hz max refresh rate
LG 29WN600-W21:9 ultra-wide monitor with 2560 x 1080 display and 3-side virtually borderless design
MSI Optix MAG342CQR21:9 ultra-wide monitor offers a 3440 x 1440 display at 144Hz
HP OMEN 27" QHD Curved Monitor27" display with 2560 x 1440 native resolution and 240 hz max refresh rate
Read more to discover best monitor size for gaming and regular office work.

Conclusion

Your laptop will support ultrawide monitors with the correct specifications, display ports, and cables.

All you need to do is get a laptop that meets the minimum requirement to run the high-resolution display demanded by the ultrawide screen.

However, keep your activity and available desk space in mind before purchasing one.

Related Article: Extend Monitor Setup with KVM Switch or Docking Station.

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