How to Overclock a Monitor

How to get a higher refresh rate on your monitor

What to Know

  • Use the driver software from your graphics card manufacturer to select a refresh rate higher than 60 Hz.
  • Use the Custom Resolution Utility to add a higher refresh rate to Window's Advanced Display Settings and then adjust your monitor using those settings.
  • You can not overclock a monitor manufactured with a maximum refresh rate of 60 Hz.

The standard refresh rate of most monitors today is 60 Hz. This refresh rate is adequate for most people, but for gamers, knowing how to overclock a monitor up to 75 Hz can create a more responsive and smooth gaming experience.

Is It Worth It to Overclock My Monitor?

The default refresh rate of 60 Hz means your monitor is refreshing the image on the screen at a rate of 60 times every second. If the image on your screen isn't changing rapidly, you won't notice a more rapid refresh rate.

However, when it comes to video games with lots of animated graphics moving across the screen quickly, even a 25% increase in refresh rate will be very noticeable.

Your display's refresh rate is controlled by the driver software controlling your graphics card. Most modern graphics cards can refresh faster than 60 Hz, but 60 Hz is the default setting. That means overclocking your monitor only requires a small change to its settings. How you change it depends on the brand of your graphics card.

How Do I Enable Overclocking My Monitor?

You'll need to check your graphics card model first. Once you have this in hand, use the appropriate steps below to increase the refresh rate for your display.

Increase Refresh Rate With Graphics Card Software

Nvidia, AMD, and other graphics cards often come with software to customize the graphics card settings. From here, you'll be able to overclock your monitor if you want to.

  1. Select the Start menu on your computer and type the model of your graphics card. You should see a Settings app appear in the menu of available apps. Select this Settings app to launch it.

    Windows Start menu with the AMD Radeon Settings app highlighted
  2. Your graphics card software should have a Display area to see and adjust display settings. Find the display you want to modify. In AMD Radeon settings software, there is a Custom Resolutions section where you can select Create to adjust that display's refresh rate.

    Custom resolution in AMD settings app with Create highlighted
  3. Find the Refresh Rate (Hz) setting and adjust this up to 75 Hz. Select Save when you're done for your new settings to take effect.

    Adjusting resolution in AMD settings app with Refresh Rate and Save highlighted

    Can you overclock a 60 Hz monitor to 120 Hz? Monitors are manufactured to handle a maximum refresh rate. You can determine this maximum by checking the manufacturer's website for the make and model of your display. If the display isn't capable of any refresh rate higher than 60 Hz, you can't overclock that monitor.

  4. Some graphics card software lets you customize display settings by applications. There is often even a gaming section where you select specific games to configure custom display settings. It means you can overclock your monitor only while you're playing particular games.

    Screenshot of game settings page in AMD Settings app

Increase Refresh Rate With Custom Resolution Utility

Another easy way to overclock your monitor and increase its refresh rate is using free software called Custom Resolution Utility (CRU). This utility will add your preferred higher refresh rate to Window's Advanced Display Settings so you can adjust the monitor to that higher setting.

  1. Once you've downloaded the CRU ZIP file, extract the contents to your PC. Open the extracted folder and run CRU.exe as administrator. When the app opens, use the dropdown at the top to select the display you want to overclock.

    Selecting your display in CRU with options highlighted
  2. Under the Standard resolutions pane, select the Add button. In the pop-up window, choose the resolution you want to overclock and adjust the Refresh rate field. Then select OK. Select OK on the main window to close CRU.exe.

    Adjusting resolution in CRU with options highlighted
  3. Back in the extracted files folder, right-click the appropriate Restart.exe file for your system (use Restart64.exe for 64-bit systems), and select Run as Administrator.

    Restarting graphics driver with Run as Administrator highlighted
  4. Your screens will blank out a few times. When they return, select the Start menu, type Settings, and select the Settings app. Select Display in the left menu and select Advanced display settings in the right pane. Select the display you want to overclock in the first dropdown, and then select the Refresh Rate dropdown to see what refresh rates that monitor is capable of. You should now see the refresh rate higher than 60 Hz that you added using the CRU app. Select this to overclock your monitor.

    Changing display to 75 hz with refresh rates highlighted
  • How do I overclock an Intel CPU?

    To overclock an Intel CPU, you'll need a CPU with a K in the model number and a chipset that supports overclocking. The easiest way is to download Intel Performance Maximizer, and then launch and run the software. You'll choose a drive on your computer, create a UEFI partition, and select Continue to begin performance testing your PC. When testing is complete, your computer will reboot, and you'll see a summary of the improvements made. 

  • How do I overclock RAM?

    To overclock RAM, use the freeware utility CPU-Z to check what processor, graphics card, and RAM you have and how fast each component is currently running. Find your motherboard manufacturer and model and do a Google search to see if it supports "Extreme Memory Profiles," meaning your RAM settings can be overclocked. Load into your BIOS, tweak your hardware functions, and enable the XMP option. Save and restart your computer to see if your changes took effect.

  • How do I overclock a GPU?

    To overclock a GPU, research your video graphics card and enter its information on the website to see if it can be overclocked. Ensure all your graphics card drivers are updated and use tools like MSI Afterburner and Unigine Heaven Benchmark to establish a baseline. Use MSI Afterburner to increase the Core Clock by 10 Mhz increments, checking each time that everything is stable. Make sure the Maximum GPU Temperature in MSI Afterburner’s monitoring window is at a safe level.

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