Windows 11 is getting multiple monitor refresh rate improvements

Photo by Becca Farsace / The Verge

Microsoft is making it a lot more convenient to use multiple high refresh rate monitors with Windows 11. The software giant has started testing a Windows 11 update that automatically adjusts refresh rates on multiple monitors depending on what content is being displayed, which should improve power usage and could even result in some GPUs spinning up their fans less often.

“We have improved refresh rate logic to allow different refresh rates on different monitors, depending on the refresh rate for each monitor and content shown on the screen,” explains Microsoft in a Windows Insider blog from last week, spotted by Neowin. “This will help most with refresh rate-dependent multitasking, like playing a game and watching a video at the same time.”

If you have multiple monitors that support high refresh rates then running them at their full potential often increases the power draw of your GPU. Nvidia RTX 30- and 40-series Founders Edition cards also have a zero RPM mode, which will keep the fans at zero even when you’re watching video content on a single monitor. If you add a second high refresh rate display, this often disables the zero RPM mode and means the GPU keeps its fans spinning if you have both monitors at high refresh rates.

Microsoft’s addition should mean that these particular GPUs will maintain zero RPM mode, only switching to higher refresh rates on different monitors depending on what content is being used or shown. The workaround right now to keep zero RPM mode on multiple monitors is to manually lower the secondary monitor’s refresh rate.

The latest Canary Channel builds of Windows 11 also include Dynamic Refresh Rate (DRR) improvements for laptops. If battery saver is enabled then Windows 11 will now lower the refresh rate of a laptop’s screen until the battery saver mode is disabled.

Microsoft is currently testing these refresh rate improvements in Windows 11 test builds, and they should be available to all Windows 11 users in the coming months.

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