You are a gamer, the ultimate exploiter of your computer, and no, you are never satisfied. You want more out of it. And what do you do when you want to squeeze better performance out of your PC components? Overclock it. We have already heard about overclocking our processors and graphics cards, but what’s surprising to some is that there is a way to safely overclock your monitor.
Most people immediately imagine their processing units and monitors catching fire and exploding when they hear a mention of overclocking. Worry not, if you follow my advice carefully, I promise your new ultimate gaming PC will be safe and sound throughout the whole process.
If you already own one of the best monitors for gaming, you might not need overclocking at all. In that case, I recommend skipping this article and browsing some of our other peripheral reviews.
Monitor Overclocking Explained
Monitor overclocking serves the same function as overclocking your CPU. It makes it faster, which in turn means better image quality and better performance. Your monitor is working under the stock setting refresh rate, which was set by the manufacturer. That rate is usually 60Hz, although newer and more expensive models are setting standards of 100Hz or 144Hz.
As Hz means frequency (repetitions per time unit), the refresh rate of 60Hz means that your monitor refreshes its screen 60 times per second. The human eye can see fluent motion anywhere above 24 or 25 refreshes per second. However, the differences in quality and performance between various refresh rates can be enormous.
Monitor Overclocking: Preparation
Before we jump right into overclocking our monitor there are some important things that need to be mentioned. All monitors are not created equal. Although all monitors serve the same basic function and we might not think that there is much to it, these monitors are different models, made by different manufacturers. That means that they have inherent differences.
Thus, know your monitor.
It is very important to research the model of your monitor and to find out what its supported refresh rates are. You should also check the panel specs because the manufacturer may have already overclocked it at the factory.
Cables matter too. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. The type of cable you use can influence the potential refresh rate of your monitor. If you use DisplayPort or dual-link DVI connectors you will have an easier time overclocking your monitor. Those have higher bandwidth than an HDMI cable. If you connect your monitor with single-link DVI or HDMI you will have to use the Pixel Clock Patch utility in order to successfully overclock your monitor.
Some adapters can degrade signal quality, so avoid using them unless they are of high quality and you have a good reason.
How to Overclock a Monitor: Safe Methods
There are different ways of overclocking a monitor. The method depends only on your graphics card and the type of software you have installed. If you are using a powerful AMD graphics card for gaming you may overclock your monitor via CRU (custom resolution utility) or by using the AMD Radeon settings panel.
For NVIDIA graphics cards there is always the NVIDIA control panel, but CRU can also be used. If you use integrated graphics there is an overclocking method as well. You can overclock your monitor through the Intel HD Graphics control panel. All of this software is free and the process itself isn’t really complicated as we will show in a minute.
Method 1: Using the CRU (Custom resolution utility)
This is the default method that people used before we had AMD and Nvidia manufacturer software. It’s a great thing to do if you’re looking to further your tech knowledge. However, if you’re a newbie at this, please skip to methods #1 and #2. Here it goes:
- Open the Custom Resolution Utility p
- Box #1 is for standard resolutions
- Box #2 is for detailed ones
- Under “Detailed Resolutions”, click add.
- Change the timing to “LCD Standard”
- Change your refresh rate
- Click OK.
- Now, restart your PC
Now, let’s see how to change the refresh rate and complete the monitor overclocking process:
- Right-click on your desktop
- Next, select “Display Settings”
- Pick Advanced
- Go to “Display Adapter Properties”
- Change to the “Monitor” menu
- Adjust your refresh rate
- Click OK
If the overclocking process was successful, your display will not change. If you changed the value to more than you should have and the new refresh rate is too much for your monitor to handle, the display will turn black and it will return to the original settings after 10-15 seconds.
Method 2: Using the AMD Radeon Settings Panel
- While on your desktop, right-click
- Now, select AMD Radeon settings
- Switch to the display menu
- On to the custom resolutions and then choose the create option
- Adjust the refresh rate to your liking
- Save the changes
After restarting your system, the changes should take effect!
Method 3; Using the NVIDIA Control Panel
- You guessed it – right-click on your desktop
- Next, select the NVIDIA control panel.
- Go to the display tab
- Choose “Change Resolution”
- Go for “Create Custom Resolution”
A great thing about NVidia’s control panel is that you can experiment with these changes in a safe environment. Once you’re satisfied, save the changes and reboot.
Method 4: Using Intel HD Graphics Control Panel
- Click search and type “Intel HD graphics control panel”
- Enter the program
- Go to the “Display” tab
- Choose the custom resolution option
- Enter your resolution and the refresh rate you wish for
- Select “Add”
In case your setting is too high the control panel will notify and you will be able to quit the process.
Did I Successfully Overclock My Monitor?
After the overclocking process is completed, you need to test it. You should test out your newly overclocked monitor with different games or videos. You’re looking for any form of unwanted behavior.
If you have skipped frames or blinking horizontal lines it means that the refresh rate you set is too high. To simplify the matter, there is a test specifically designed for monitor refresh rates. Here’s a free testing tool. Just follow the instructions on the screen and you will be able to test your monitor quickly and easily. The screen will show if there are any skipped frames, and you will be able to conclude the overclocking process.
How to Overclock a Monitor: Final Words
We can conclude that overclocking a monitor isn’t exactly rocket science, especially compared to complicated processes like RAM overclocking. Still, you always need to bear in mind that everything you do is at your own risk. As we’ve seen, there is no exact definition of how far you can go with your gaming hardware. Every monitor is different and many factors are involved.
You can explore, play around, and find what works best for you. Even though we’ve never heard of anyone actually burning out their monitor we advise you to be careful.
If you’re afraid of overclocking but don’t want to spend a fortune on a brand new monitor, check out our selection of the best budget monitors for gaming. You might find a solution that way.
- Kaelee Nelson, How to Overclock a Monitor for Gaming, HP Store