Can My Laptop Support an Ultrawide Monitor?

By Robert David Orr / Last updated: Jan 26, 2022

Looking for a solution to connect your ultrawide monitor to your laptop?

If your laptop computer can support HDMI 1.4 or later, then it shouldn’t have any problem handling a large 49-inch ultrawide monitor.

Super widescreen monitors typically require a resolution of at least 3,440 by 1,440. Since the most basic HDMI 1.4 can support 4K at 30Hz, it should handle wide monitors fine.

Real quick: before we get too far along here, if you want to get more great ideas for your gaming room or home office and connect with other home office hackers to make your space the best join my free private Facebook group, Home Office Hacks here.

How Do I Use My Ultrawide Monitor with My Laptop?

laptop computer beside curved monitor

You should be able to plug in your ultrawide monitor via HDMI cable into the back of your laptop, provided that you have a video card that can support ultrawide resolutions.

As long as your GPU (graphics processing unit) can display 1440p you should be fine.

How Do I Know If My GPU Can Display 1440p?

The wider the monitor, the higher the resolution. The higher the resolution, the more pixels contained onscreen. Depending on your graphics card, certain processes and games can get challenging.

If your laptop supports any of the GeForce 7xx series video cards you will be able to run at 1440p. You can see that the three GPUs below support 4K, though they have very different bandwidth memories

Graphics Card Maximum Resolution Recommended Gaming Resolution Memory Bandwidth
GTX 750 4K Up to 1600×900 80 Gbps
GTX 760 4K Up to 1600×900 192.2 Gbps
GTX 770 4K Up to 1600×900 224.3 Gbps

That said, you may also need some additional VRAM. Video RAM stores image data to ensure your graphics are displayed with the highest possible quality. Be sure to get the right size for your laptop.

If you want to play games, and you are on a budget, anything from a 950 to 970 should be good to power the screen.

You will need to make sure that you have the correct drivers installed on your laptop before connecting the two devices together. If you don’t know where to look for these drivers, check with the manufacturer of your laptop.

How Do I Change My Resolution to 3440×1440?

Modern Computer Set Up

Sometimes when you’re plugging in external monitors, you have to manually change the resolution on your computer. The native resolution on your laptop won’t be the 3440×1440 your ultrawide secondary monitor requires.

To change your resolution on Windows 10, follow these steps:

  • Right-click on the desktop and find “Display Settings.”
  • Find “Advanced display settings” at the bottom of the screen that opens.
  • Choose the 3440×1440 resolution from the available drop-down menu.

If you are using a Mac, follow these steps to change your resolution:

  • Click “System Preferences.”
  • Choose “Displays.”
  • The native resolution will likely be set to “Default for display.” Change this to “Scaled” and select the 3440×1440 resolution option.

Changing your resolution to accommodate an ultrawide display is easy.

Different HDMI Versions

Your HDMI cable will affect the resolution your monitor can achieve. Below is a table outlining all HDMI categories and their resolutions, including the first HDMI cables made available.

HDMI Type Supported Maximum Resolution Bandwidth Capacity Use and Features
Category 1: Standard 1080i or 720p Up to 5 Gbps HDTV broadcasts
Category 2: High Speed 1080p or 4K at 30Hz Up to 10 Gbps 3D and Deep Color support
Category 3: Premium High Speed (4K) 4K at 60Hz 18 Gbps UltraHD and expanded color range
Category 3: Ultra High Speed (8K) 8K at 60Hz or 4K at 120Hz 48 Gbps Supports HDR and is less susceptible to electromagnetic interference

Keep in mind, though, that in 2021, HDMI terminology has gotten much simpler. You will be hard-pressed to find HDMI cables that don’t support 4K resolution. All the below HDMI cables are backward compatible with every previous generation of HDMI port.

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4K HDMI Cable 2 Pack 6ft, JSAUX 18Gbps High Speed HDMI 2.0 Braided Cord, 4K 60Hz HDR, 2K 1440P 144Hz, 1080p, HDCP 2.2, 3D, ARC, Dolby, Ethernet Compatible for Monitor Smart TV PC PS5 PS4 Blu-ray -Red
4K HDMI Cable 6.6 ft, iVANKY High Speed 18Gbps HDMI 2.0 Cable, 4K HDR, 3D, 2160P, 1080P, Ethernet - Braided HDMI Cord 32AWG, Audio Return(ARC) Compatible MacBook Pro 2021, UHD TV, Blu-ray, Projector
8K HDMI 2.1 Cable 6ft 48Gbps, Stouchi (Certified) Ultra High Speed HDMI Cables, 8K60Hz 4K120Hz 144Hz eARC HDCP 2.2&2.3 SBTM HDR10+ Dolby Compatible with PS5/PlayStation 5/Xbox Series X/Apple TV 4K
Title
4K HDMI Cable 2 Pack 6ft, JSAUX 18Gbps High Speed HDMI 2.0 Braided Cord, 4K 60Hz HDR, 2K 1440P 144Hz, 1080p, HDCP 2.2, 3D, ARC, Dolby, Ethernet Compatible for Monitor Smart TV PC PS5 PS4 Blu-ray -Red
4K HDMI Cable 6.6 ft, iVANKY High Speed 18Gbps HDMI 2.0 Cable, 4K HDR, 3D, 2160P, 1080P, Ethernet - Braided HDMI Cord 32AWG, Audio Return(ARC) Compatible MacBook Pro 2021, UHD TV, Blu-ray, Projector
8K HDMI 2.1 Cable 6ft 48Gbps, Stouchi (Certified) Ultra High Speed HDMI Cables, 8K60Hz 4K120Hz 144Hz eARC HDCP 2.2&2.3 SBTM HDR10+ Dolby Compatible with PS5/PlayStation 5/Xbox Series X/Apple TV 4K
Price
$9.99
$8.99
$10.18
Rating
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4K HDMI Cable 2 Pack 6ft, JSAUX 18Gbps High Speed HDMI 2.0 Braided Cord, 4K 60Hz HDR, 2K 1440P 144Hz, 1080p, HDCP 2.2, 3D, ARC, Dolby, Ethernet Compatible for Monitor Smart TV PC PS5 PS4 Blu-ray -Red
Title
4K HDMI Cable 2 Pack 6ft, JSAUX 18Gbps High Speed HDMI 2.0 Braided Cord, 4K 60Hz HDR, 2K 1440P 144Hz, 1080p, HDCP 2.2, 3D, ARC, Dolby, Ethernet Compatible for Monitor Smart TV PC PS5 PS4 Blu-ray -Red
Price
$9.99
Rating
Thumbnail
4K HDMI Cable 6.6 ft, iVANKY High Speed 18Gbps HDMI 2.0 Cable, 4K HDR, 3D, 2160P, 1080P, Ethernet - Braided HDMI Cord 32AWG, Audio Return(ARC) Compatible MacBook Pro 2021, UHD TV, Blu-ray, Projector
Title
4K HDMI Cable 6.6 ft, iVANKY High Speed 18Gbps HDMI 2.0 Cable, 4K HDR, 3D, 2160P, 1080P, Ethernet - Braided HDMI Cord 32AWG, Audio Return(ARC) Compatible MacBook Pro 2021, UHD TV, Blu-ray, Projector
Price
$8.99
Rating
Thumbnail
8K HDMI 2.1 Cable 6ft 48Gbps, Stouchi (Certified) Ultra High Speed HDMI Cables, 8K60Hz 4K120Hz 144Hz eARC HDCP 2.2&2.3 SBTM HDR10+ Dolby Compatible with PS5/PlayStation 5/Xbox Series X/Apple TV 4K
Title
8K HDMI 2.1 Cable 6ft 48Gbps, Stouchi (Certified) Ultra High Speed HDMI Cables, 8K60Hz 4K120Hz 144Hz eARC HDCP 2.2&2.3 SBTM HDR10+ Dolby Compatible with PS5/PlayStation 5/Xbox Series X/Apple TV 4K
Price
$10.18
Rating


Currently, there isn’t much 8K content on the market yet. However, the HDMI 2.1 cables aren’t that much more expensive than the 2.0, so it makes sense to buy them if you’re in need of HDMI cables since they are backward compatible.

tilt shift lens photography of black laptop computer

Pros of Ultrawide Monitor

There are so many advantages to using an ultrawide monitor. If you have a setup with multiple monitors, you’ll find that an ultrawide monitor can give you an even more immersive experience.

Large Screen Space

The larger the screen size, the more space available for viewing content. This is especially important when watching movies or playing games.

If you are looking for a new laptop, consider buying one with a high-resolution display. A 3440×1440 resolution has been shown to be the ideal resolution for gaming.

Better Viewing Angle

Curved ultrawides offer better viewing angles than traditional 16:9 displays. The wide viewing angle and curve make them perfect for creating an immersive gaming experience.

They also expand your screen landscape to be able to use different regions of your ultrawide monitor for different purposes.

This is especially helpful if you assign different tasks to different places on your monitor setup.

For instance, I keep all my communication apps open on the far-left side of my monitor and keep all my active area work on the right.

They Look Amazing

Having one huge command center monitor that spans virtually the entire width of your desk, curved in on the edges to make sure you can see every square inch, and having enough room for all your apps is amazing.

No Bezels

If you’re used to using dual monitors for your setup, you know that the bezels of your monitors can be somewhat distracting to your visual flow. Monitor bezels split your visual experience right down the middle.

When you have an ultrawide monitor you don’t have that issue.

Cons of an Ultrawide Monitor

person holding black xbox one game controller

Why would I buy an ultrawide monitor instead of a normal monitor?

Because they’re big! They take up lots of desk space and are usually heavier than standard monitors. However, they’re worth every penny because they give you so much extra real estate.

They’re great for watching movies and TV shows. You’ll enjoy having all that extra space to spread out and relax.

Ultrawide Monitors Are Expensive

Most people think that ultrawide monitors are really expensive but it’s actually cheaper than getting multiple regular monitors.

Depending on the size you’re looking for you could spend $1,000 or more on a big ultrawide monitor.

Width Doesn’t Always Mean More Space

Sizes can be easily misunderstood. Just because you decide to go with an ultrawide monitor, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re adding a bunch of additional screen real estate.

Make sure you pay attention to the square inches (or square centimeters) on your new ultrawide and see how they compare to regular 16:9 monitors.

Ultrawide Flat Monitor vs. Ultrawide Curved Monitor

macbook pro on white table

Ultrawide monitors create more screen space for multitasking. So, how do you choose between a curved monitor and a flat one?

Experts agree that curved monitors are the way to go if you have to choose between flat and curved.

The ultrawide aspect means that you’ll have to turn your head from side to side when using your monitor. Curved monitors are the answer to this inconvenience.

Curved monitors create a more immersive visual experience while relieving the neck strain that comes with constant turning back and forth. The curve brings pixels on each side closer to the eye so you can move your eyes instead of your head.

Sceptre 35-Inch Curved Ultrawide Monitor: 21:9, QHD, 3440×1440, Frameless, HDMI and DisplayPort, up to 100Hz

AOC CQ34G2 34-Inch Super Curved Ultrawide Gaming Monitor: Full HD, 2560×1080, Frameless, HDMI and DisplayPort, 75Hz

Samsung CJ890 Series 49-Inch Ultrawide Computer Monitor: 32:9, QHD, 3840×1080, Ultra Curved, HDMI and DisplayPort, 144Hz

Do All PCs Support Ultrawide Monitors?

flat screen TV turned on beside white plastic pot

So, this question has two very important distinctions.

All PCs will support ultrawide monitors with the right cables and the right video card, yes. However, if you don’t have the right video card the image sent through the cables to the ultrawide monitor will stretch to meet the aspect ratio.

However, whether or not it’s going to look how it’s supposed to is another question entirely.

Certain media doesn’t support widescreen viewing. Older games, movies, etc. won’t rise to the ultrawide occasion. Since gaming is the primary use for an immersive ultrawide monitor, you better make sure your game supports it before you upgrade.

Additionally, if your GPU and VRAM can’t keep up with the demand of the high resolution and display, you’ll sacrifice visuals and experience lag.

It’s best to decide what you’re going to use your ultrawide monitor for and then ensure your PC has all the necessary hardware to get the most out of it.

Related Question: What are ultrawide monitors?

Ultrawide monitors are monitors that use a 21:9 aspect ratio. They are much wider than they are tall and present more screen space.

A standard monitor aspect ratio is 16:9. An ultrawide monitor offers a similar viewing experience to a movie theater screen. However, the best ultrawide monitors are curved.

Next Steps

Want to join others who are creating the most amazing home offices and get more tips, tricks and hacks on how to make your home office the best it can be?

Join my brand new free private Facebook group, Home Office Hacks to connect with other home office hackers to make your space the best!

Robert David Orr

I'm an award-winning web designer & developer, creator, an all-around digital marketing guy and, most importantly when it comes to this site, a long-time veteran of the working from home life. My work from home life spans more than 10 years, and I've experimented with just about everything you can think of when it comes to getting the most out of my home office, how to work from home without going crazy, and found solutions to the numerous challenges that those of us who work from home run into in this life.

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