How to use your 120/144Hz Monitor successfully (1 or 2 PC setup)

Getting Windows to use your Monitor on its full refresh rate can sometimes be quite a pain. There are different utilities available to create your own Monitor drivers for example. Nvidia and ATI/AMD also try to help you get your Monitor up and running with its Control Panel Tools and options. Though this can sometimes still lead to problems. Best example, your Monitor can do 120Hz but as soon as you start a game or fullscreen application, Windows switches back to 60Hz because it sees this as the preferred Resolution/Hz combination.

The Custom Resolution Utility by ToastyX is ment to help you in this situation.custom_resolution_utility

Requirements:

  • Windows Vista or later (Windows XP does not support EDID overrides)
  • AMD/ATI or NVIDIA GPU (Intel’s driver does not support EDID overrides)
  • Display must report a usable EDID

Usage notes:

  • The first detailed resolution is considered the preferred or native resolution, so if you want games to use a higher refresh rate, define it there.
  • NVIDIA users may need to uncheck “Include extension block” to get custom resolutions to show up.
  • The video driver must be restarted for changes to take effect. The easiest way to do that is to reboot. * means an EDID override is in effect. To reset a display back to the default configuration, delete the display and reboot.

Known issues:

  • The “Interlaced” check box in the detailed resolution dialog sets the interlaced bit but does not adjust the values.

In easy words, the detailed resolutions area should only include your 120Hz resolutions. They will then be used whenever possible. Also you should not delete all Standard resolutions as this could lead to incompatibilities with older Software/Games. Adding custom resolutions is also possible, but please be aware, wrong values can damage your Monitor.

Another problem for 120/144hz Monitor-Users arises if you want to do a 2 PC-Setup using a capture-card. Any capture-card below ~500-1000$ will be limited to 60 or 30 hz input. A splitter is in this case no option as it would limit you to the 60hz for both the Monitor and the Capture-Card. Fortunately NVIDIA users can clone their desktop to two displays with different hz settings. Using the NVIDIA control panel you can first clone your main desktop so its being output to the Monitor and the Capture Card and then you should be able to configure the Monitor to use 120/144hz while your Capture Card should receive 60hz.

AMD/ATI, to this day and to my knowledge, cannot do this, or at least not without a lot of work and headaches. But luckily we can use Open Broadcaster Software in this case to “clone” our desktop to a secondary Monitor. This “Monitor” will be your connected capture card. You simply run OBS, move it to the CaptureCard Monitor (extend your desktop to this display in windows for example) and configure a Scene to either capture your whole Main Monitor or use game capture for games etc. The important point is to set OBS to “Disable encoding on preview” in the advanced settings, make sure this box is checked: disable_encoding
That way OBS will nearly use no CPU power at all while running the preview. Now last but not least you activate the preview in OBS and right-click it to open the menu, then select “Fullscreen Preview Mode”. (Again, make sure OBS is running on the Capture-Card Monitor, you can use the second PC and the Capture-Card to see what you are doing) That’s it, you now have a secondary Monitor at 60hz that shows the same output as your Main Monitor, that runs at 120 or 144hz. It is of course not the most simple way, but until AMD/ATI add a simple option to clone your display to two monitors with different hz settings, we will have to use such workarounds.

One thing that is pretty nice about this setup is the ability to still hide overlays and similar stuff from your stream although you use a Capture Card. For example if you use the game capture feature in OBS it will not capture the Steam Overlay or the FPS counter of DXTory and thus you will not see it on the secondary Monitor that is connected to your Capture Card. And you could of course use OBS on the main PC in combination with QuickSync or NVENC or VCE to also capture your game on the main PC, for example at full HD resolution for youtube, while on your secondary PC you output a 720p stream to twitch or hitbox.tv.

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