Over the past couple of years, the enthusiast market for gaming has skyrocketed due to the rise of Esports. Passionate Gamers do everything they can to gain an advantage against the competition. All over the world, gamers take time out of their lives to learn how to overclock CPU, RAM, and GPU to get the best performance possible from a gaming rig. However, the gaming industry rarely talks about overclocking monitors. This leaves gamers wondering if overclocking a monitor can be done as well as whether it’s even worth the trouble to take up the endeavor.
The Benefits of Overclocking a Monitor
Every frame per second matters when a game can come down to lightning-like reflexes, and every gamer who’s gotten the taste of a more beautiful monitor knows how amazing the snappy experience feels. Overclocking a monitor causes games to feel like they run a lot more smoothly, and even scrolling through the web is more enjoyable. When you successfully overclock your monitor, you have the chance to increase your monitor’s refresh rate by about 15 Hertz. The improvement will make you feel like you were running on a completely different monitor.
Having a higher refresh rate will help avoid one of the most common and nagging issues in PC gaming. When a display with different refresh rates than mismatches the rest of the computer, games usually encounter screen tearing. Overclocking helps eliminate the drawbacks of having a more powerful computer rig than a display can handle. By increasing the frames per second, a monitor doesn’t need to work as hard to catch up to a PC’s power, and the result is a more smooth and snappy gaming experience.
Another benefit of overclocking a monitor is unleashing the real power of a GPU in a gaming rig. If a powerful PC is running at a faster rate than a monitor, excellent hardware ends up being nothing more than wasted power. Most gamers think the only way to fix this is by buying a more excellent monitor. However, buying a new display can be an expensive endeavor. Overclocking a cheaper monitor helps unleash a nicer GPU’s full potential without breaking the bank. While average monitors can’t entirely compete with the better displays on the market, overclocking an average monitor will help increase gaming performance without breaking the bank.
Another common way to increase refresh rates is to turn off VSync simply, but the boost in performance comes at a horrific price. Input lag is one of the biggest frustrations of being a gamer, and there’s almost worse than pushing a command into the keyboard only for it to take a split second to register. Overclocking will eliminate that annoying input lag that comes from not using VSync while creating at the very least a comparable frame rate.
The Drawbacks of Overclocking a Monitor
The biggest drawback of overclocking a monitor is that overclocking is frowned upon by manufacturers. There’s a reason displays run at the levels they do, and manufacturers believe that overclocking and monitor compromises the integrity of the screen. As a result, manufacturers clearly state that overclocking will void any warranties for a display.
Another major downside to overclocking is the risk of increasing the temperatures of the monitor. Optimizing a display will lead to better overall performance, but this improvement also causes the monitor to consume more power. As a result, the monitor will naturally operate at a higher temperature. Unfortunately for gamers, a monitor isn’t as easy to maintain as a GPU, CPU, or Ram. You can’t directly buy and install a better cooling system and place it inside of the monitor, so paying attention to the heat emissions of the display is more important.
Lastly, increased temperatures will cause a display to die more quickly than if it was running at factory standards. Pushing a monitor past its original specification limits will create frame skipping and even application crashing towards the end of the monitor’s life.
Is it Worth Overclocking a Monitor?
Many gamers want to figure out when it’s worth overclocking a monitor and when it’s best to avoid the process entirely. If you’re running at a rate faster than 75 frames per second, you are already running at a smooth level of play. You can still benefit from overclocking, but the difference will be less noticeable than overclocking a monitor with a lower standard refresh rate.
When contemplating overclocking a monitor, the most important thing to consider is how well your monitor is currently running and whether there’s still a warranty in place for the display unit. Overclocking a monitor comes with way less risk than overclocking a CPU or a graphics card. If you mess up the process, you’ll simply be stuck repeating the instructions over again in its entirety, but a single overclock will technically void the warranty. If you have a brand new monitor, it’s going to be best to stay away from overclocking the screen entirely. The simple reason for this is that you could run into unforeseen problems that would have otherwise been covered by your warranty. On the other hand, if your monitor is nearing the end of the warranty, it probably won’t start acting up any time soon.
Another factor to consider when overclocking is whether or not your computer pushes a higher refresh rate than your monitor. If your GPU runs around the same speed as your monitor, there’s no need to overclock the display. On the other hand, if you’re GPU is stronger than your display, overclocking the display is well worth the trouble. While it won’t be a better solution than purchasing a better monitor, it will be the perfect way to boost overall performance while saving up for a new addition to the computer rig.
How to Overclock Your Monitor
Most modern monitors’ refresh rates can push past their listed specifications, and improving the refresh rate of a monitor is definitely worth its weight in gold. The best part of monitor overclocking is that the process for overclocking a monitor is easy to do. All it takes is following instructions and a little focus. However, fully optimizing a display will take a little more time and could spark a bit of irritation.
Download Custom Software
The first step to overclocking your monitor is to download the appropriate custom software for your display. The process for overclocking AMD and overclocking Nvidia is a little different, but the process is basically the same. If you’re running an AMD graphics card, you’re going to need to download the program called CRU. CRU, also known as Custom Resolution Utility, has been the authority figure for display lovers over the past couple of years. At this point, the program is fine-tuned so well that overclocking a display is almost as easy running the application.
It’s important to note that it’s best to always use the automated settings for CRU. Sticking to the basics avoids any subtle mistakes that could cause problems for newer enthusiasts. More advanced settings don’t create a significant impact on overclocking, and they can be hard to decipher. It’s best to let CRU do the heavy lifting so you can get back to gaming as quickly as possible.
If you’re running on an Nvidia based system, you can still run the CRU program. However, things will be a bit easier than the AMD setup. It’s also essential to have the GeForce display driver on hand. The display driver comes with every Nvidia graphics card, so all you have to do is locate it on your computer. Finding the display is as simple as navigating through the Nvidia control panel by clicking the change resolution tab. Right-click on the desktop and navigate towards the change resolution tab.
A Comprehensive Guide to Overclocking with Nvidia.
If you have an Nvidia PC, you’re in luck when it comes to overclocking a monitor. It’s simply easier to maximize the refresh rate of your PC because an NVIDIA driver is integrated with a PC’s graphics output before it’s shipped off to a customer. AMD, on the other hand, has less integration making it more of a hassle to upgrade.
First, you’re going to need to open the Nvidia Control Panel. You can do this by simply right-clicking on the desktop and navigating to the section that’s labeled Nvidia Control Panel. From there, you can click the select the change resolution tab. From this point, you’ll be able to see the resolution that is currently available on the PC, but even more importantly, you can see what power your graphics card is capable of pushing out. Lastly, you can see what the refresh rate your display is currently running. By clicking on the refresh rate tab, you can also see how high your refresh rate is capable of being while using native support.
Before you get started with changing any of your display settings, make sure you write down what the default resolution of your monitor is. It will be essential to hold on to you because you might not always want to run your monitor at an overclocked setting. Shifting your monitor back to factory settings will decrease the stress of the monitor over time, and as a result, the monitor will have a longer lifespan.
Once you have your standard resolution written down, you can click the custom resolutions tab. After the new window opens, hit the button called Create Custom Resolution. After you’ve done this, you’re going to see a window that lists your resolution, and more importantly, you’ll see that new refresh rate you’ve been hoping to achieve.
If your default resolution has a ‘p’ at the end of it, it means that your display uses a technology called progressive scan rendering. This is the most common rendering method on modern displays. If you have an older display, it will likely use an interlaced rendering technology that is labeled ‘i.’ Make sure your tab is set to the appropriate option for your new refresh rate. This helps the overclocking runs smoothly under the new refresh rate. It’s also important to ensure that the timer is turned to automatic in the future. At this point, you can adjust the refresh rate. The easiest way to improve your refresh rate is by improving it by a value of 10. For example, if you’re running a display that runs at 60 Hertz, the new setting should be 70 Hertz. Once you apply this setting, the screen will go dark, but only for a few seconds. Once your 144hz display pops back up, the new refresh rate for your monitor will be ready to rock. You can officially save the settings.
Two major problems can occur when you are applying a higher refresh rate, but the issues won’t do any damage to the monitor. The first problem happens when the monitor won’t turn back on after a couple of seconds. It’s important to know that if the monitor stays blank, there’s no need to panic. All you have to do is wait for a minute or two, and the display will automatically refresh. The display settings will simply be returned to the initial settings. The other situation that you can encounter is a signal error. When this occurs, all you need to do is wait around for a minute or so, and the display will be returned to the default resolution.
In both of these cases, the error means that your monitor doesn’t have the ability to run at the refresh rate you entered.
If your monitor successfully updates, you’ll have a new refresh rate. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can increase your refresh rate by another 10 Hertz to see how high you can get the refresh rate. After a couple of successful attempts, you’re bound to hit the overclocking limit for your monitor. Once the screen goes blank for a minute or encounters that pesky error signal, you’ve discovered the upper limit for your display’s refresh rate. If you’re hoping to maximize the refresh rate even further, all you have to do is upgrade the refresh rate 5 Hertz higher than the previous setting instead of 10. While a couple of frames per second won’t make a massive difference in overall performance, every frame can help games feel more fluid.
Overclocking a monitor should help the display hit 75 Hertz, which is what most gamers consider a smooth experience. However, even the smallest upgrade to a 60 Hertz monitor will help the screen feel more snappy.
Overclocking With AMD
You can overclock a display with AMD by downloading and opening up CRU. First, delete all the monitors that are listed other than the monitor you plan on overclocking. If you’re running multiple displays on your PC, make sure you disconnect the displays that you aren’t currently overclocking. You can only overclock one monitor at a time, so there is no point in having all of your displays active. Once you have the monitor you want to set up as the only active monitor, navigate to the Detail Resolutions tab. Once you click on the tab, hit the Add Prompt button to bring up a new window. Once you arrive at the window, you’re going to have to make sure you have the Automatic LCD selected. This ensures that your monitor is set up to its native resolution. Once you have the Automatic LCD chosen, you’re ready to go. The program will have Progressive Scan listed as a default. The only time you’ll need to change that is when you’re upgrading an interlaced monitor. You can find the values for the horizontal and vertical resolutions listed under the parameters. While looking at the parameters, you’ll find the monitor’s default refresh rate under frequencies. Directly under the default refresh rate, you can create a new one that is 10 Hertz higher. You can even add in a second and third rate to save some time. It’s recommended to make the three rates 10 Hertz, 15 Hertz, and 20 Hertz higher than the default setting.
Once you’re done setting up the custom frequencies, save the new settings, and go back to the previous tab. After you’ve made sure the settings are good to go, you can restart your computer. Once the PC restarts, navigate to the Display Setting tab. You’ll see your custom resolutions ready to test. First, click on the lowest Hertz improvement in your setting. The display will go black for a few seconds and then turn back on. Once the display pops back up, you’ll get a prompt to save the new settings.
If you run into a refresh rate your display can’t handle, you’ll encounter the same errors as a PC that’s running on Nvidia. The first error will turn your screen black for a minute or two. The display will pop back up, and the previous settings for the display will be restored. The other error will simply bring up an input error display screen. The display will automatically be restored to its previous settings after a minute.
If your first refresh rate goes successfully, you can keep pushing the refresh rates up to the next highest display settings. Once you encounter an error, you’ve discovered the upper threshold for the display’s frames per second.
Testing After Overclocking
After successfully overclocking your computer monitor, it’s time to run a few tests to make sure everything is still running smoothly. All monitors have a default refresh rate for a reason, and pushing the display past its standard can mess with a few things.
First, navigate to the website www.testufo.com. Make sure you maximize the tab to cover the entire display. After a couple of seconds, you’ll see a bar at the bottom of your screen. If the bar is green, that means your monitor frame rate matches the refresh rate. If your refresh rate is higher than your frame rate, you’ll see a yellow box declaring a warning. If you’re encountering a yellow box, you can decrease the display by 5 Hertz. Slightly reducing the frames per second will help games run as smoothly as possible.
Lastly, overclocking a monitor can slightly adjust the color. You can find the display’s default colors by checking the manufacturing page. Make sure the color settings on the current display match the default color settings of the monitor.
Once you’ve run these two tests, your overclocking is complete!
How to Handle Overheating
If you’re overclocking your monitor, your display will be overheating more than usual. The first few days after you overclock the display, check the heat emissions of the monitor in between games or quests to make sure you’re not putting too much stress on the monitor. If you get worried about the display becoming too hot, you can dial down the settings just a bit to prevent the monitor from overworking.