How to check & change monitor refresh rate in Windows in 2023
What is a monitor refresh rate? Here's everything you need to know about refresh rates and how to change them in Windows
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Your monitor’s refresh rate is a very important factor to understand – especially if you like to play competitive esports games such as CS2 or Rainbow Six Siege, so – how to check & change a monitor refresh rate in Windows? The refresh rate of your monitor is measured in hertz (Hz) and lets us know how fast the monitor can refresh the image it’s displaying. For example, if you own a 144Hz monitor, it can refresh its display 144 times per second. Easy, right?
So, as a general rule of thumb, the faster the refresh rate, the smoother the video is going to be. Now, with that in mind, we must remember that, whilst the best gaming monitor might come with a 240Hz refresh rate, it doesn’t always come set to that right out the box. In this specific scenario, users will have to go into the monitor’s setting and change this manually. While this process isn’t exactly rocket science, it can still be a little tricky if you’ve never done it before. So, for that reason, we’ve created this easy-to-follow guide on exactly how to check and change a monitor’s refresh rate. Let’s waste no further time and dive straight into it!
How to change monitor refresh rate in Windows 11 video guide
What is a monitor refresh rate?
As we said earlier, the refresh rate of a monitor is a measure in hertz (Hz) of how many times (per second) the display refreshes the image on the screen. A refresh rate can sometimes be confused with FPS output from a game and while they both refer to the number of times a static image is displayed per second, FPS refers to the content, and refresh rate refers to the video signal or display.
A higher refresh rate will make motion look smoother and is extremely important for gaming – especially if you play competitive esports games. You may have heard the old “well the human eye cant detect such speeds” and while there is an argument for this, contrary to popular belief, the human eye is actually very good at detecting these changes.
Below is an example of how monitor refresh rate can affect your visual experience:
Obviously, this isn’t a 100% true representation of how your game will look at each refresh rate. However, it does give us an idea of how blurry a moving image can be when compared to higher refresh rates.
Buying a higher refresh rate monitor
There is no doubt a monitor with a higher refresh rate is going to make huge changes to your gaming experience, especially when going from 60Hz to 144Hz. That being said, there are a few things to know before you just go upgrading.
Firstly, you are going to want to make sure you can achieve the same amount of FPS (frames per second) as your monitor’s refresh rate when playing your favourite games. For example, if your current system can only manage 30-60FPS and you buy a 144Hz monitor, you may experience a visual artifact better known as screen tear. This is when your frame rate and your refresh rate aren’t synced properly – leading to two frames being showcased at the same time.
It’s also worth noting that monitors with higher refresh rates will become increasingly more expensive the higher you go. Also, when we get to the dizzy speeds of 240Hz and above, you will find that some manufacturers will start to compromise other features to accommodate this level of response – including color accuracy, viewing angles, and overall build quality.
Finally, high refresh rate monitors should only really be considered for gaming purposes only, as you are rarely going to see applications or video playback running higher than 60 FPS. The smoothness while browsing on a high refresh rate is nice, though. See a few guides below if you have a refresh rate in mind:
Panel technology and refresh rates
Anyone who has looked into buying a gaming monitor will have come across the different panel technologies on offer – whether you know what they mean or not. You will have most likely heard or seen TN (Twisted Nematic), VA (Vertically Aligned), and IPS (In-plane Switching).
TN: These types of panels have always featured the fastest refresh rates since CRTs were replaced back in the day. Competitive gamers who play fast-paced action titles usually will go for a TN panel. TN panels boast the highest refresh rates and until recently used to post the best response times too.
Of course, there is a compromise when going for TN and that is mostly color accuracy and poor viewing angles but these are negligible if you are buying a monitor for hardcore gaming.
VA: VA displays are often seen as something in-between TN and IPS, offering better viewing angles and response times all in one monitor. Like TN panels, VA is a cheaper alternative to IPS and will often feature higher refresh rates for less. Color accuracy can vary from model to model but VA panels are generally considered to be better than TN.
IPS: IPS panels have grown in popularity significantly over recent years, mainly thanks to the increased responsiveness that they now offer. Historically, the main benefits of an IPS panel were found in the color and picture quality departments. However, since many IPS panels can now boast 144Hz refresh rates and low 1ms response times, we’re seeing more and more individuals opt for the more expensive panel alternative.
How to check & change monitor refresh rate in Windows – step by step guide
Right-click on the desktop and click Display Settings
Right-clicking will open up a drop-down menu on the desktop, allowing you to access the display settings.
NOTE: If you are running Windows 7 or perhaps Windows XP, you could click on the Control Panel from the Start Menu
Find And Select The ‘Advanced Display Settings’ Tab
Once inside the ‘Display Settings’ window, scroll down and select the ‘Advanced Display Settings’ option.
NOTE: For Windows 7 users: In the Control Panel, Under the Appearance and Personalization options, click on the Adjust Screen Resolution
Click On Display Adapter Properties
This will be a text link that will take you to the advanced settings of the monitor.
NOTE: If you have a dual monitor setup enabled, you’ll have to remember to select the correct monitor from the drop-down menu at the top.
Click The Monitor Tab
This is usually located in between the ‘Adapter’ and ‘Color management’ tabs at the top.
NOTE: For Windows 7 users: click on the Advanced settings to open up a new Window
Choose your desired refresh rate and click on Apply and then OK
See from the Monitor Settings the option to choose and adjust your monitor refresh rate, respectively
It really is not that hard to check and change your monitor’s refresh rate in Windows. Follow these steps and you should be able to confirm and adjust your monitor accordingly
How to change monitor refresh rate FAQs
What is a good refresh rate for a monitor?
Whether a monitor’s refresh rate is good or not is determined by the computational application you have in mind. For instance, modern gaming requires quite beefy refresh rates in order to keep the action smooth and seamless. On the other hand, if you’re only using your computer to write up a few documents, a high refresh rate isn’t necessary.
A 60Hz refresh rate is considered the bare minimum for modern gaming, but ideally, you’ll want to push it to 75Hz to give yourself a little bit of a buffer zone. Even so, 75Hz isn’t considered a “good” refresh rate.
If you want to create an immersive gaming experience, you’re best off saving for a monitor with an even higher refresh rate. As long as your graphics card can keep up, 120Hz is considered good for gaming
120-144Hz are also good refresh rates to aim for if you do any visual design on your computer such as 3D animation.
Is 120Hz or 60Hz better?
Again, whether a 120Hz or 60Hz refresh rate is better depends on the task at hand. Technically speaking, 120Hz is better, because it’s faster, which means the picture will be smoother.
You can think of refresh rate as the frames per second of a video camera. The higher the frames per second, the less stop-start the picture will appear.
A smooth picture is exactly what you want for gaming, watching videos, and visual design, but if all you’re doing is checking your emails, browsing the web, viewing spreadsheets, and writing the odd document, 60Hz is all you’ll need.
You should also consider your other hardware when deciding which refresh rate is best. For example, if your graphics card can push out 100fps, pairing it with a 60Hz monitor will cause screen tearing. The same is true if you flip it and pair a weak 30-60fps graphics card with a 120Hz monitor.
How do I find my monitor’s refresh rate?
The exact chain of commands may vary from operating system to operating system, but generally speaking, you’ll be able to find your monitor’s refresh rate somewhere in the “Display” or “Advanced display settings” menu.
For Windows 10, you can locate this menu by clicking Start > Settings > Display > Advanced Display Settings.
Your current refresh rate will be detailed on this menu. Whether you can change it depends on your monitor, your graphics card, and your resolution. To give it a go, simply click the “Refresh rate” dropdown menu and see what’s available.
On Apple operating systems, you can locate your refresh rate by navigating to the Apple Menu > System Preferences > Display. This menu should display your current refresh rate and provide a similar dropdown menu to assess your other options.
Alternatively, you could check your monitor’s user manual, as that will either state the default refresh rate or guide you on how to find the appropriate menu in certain operating systems.
So, there you have it guys, our easy-to-follow guide on how to check and change your monitor’s refresh rate. We hope this guide has answered any and all questions you might have on the subject. Turns out it’s a piece of cake. So now you can get to enjoying games in the smoothest way possible with a high refresh rate monitor.