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Whether you’re a casual gamer, or a professional streamer with a big following on Twitch, it’s a given that most gaming fanatics overclock their monitors at least once in their lifetime! It is somewhat of a controversial topic and yes, there is always a ton of discussion around it online. You overclock your monitor for the same reason you would overclock your CPU or GPU, to increase performance. However, unlike processors and graphic cards, overclocking a laptop screen and even an external monitor is actually very stable! Once you finish this process, you will notice that your screen has a much higher refresh rate. Most standard screens are at 60 Hz and pushing them up a notch to 75 Hz really isn’t that big of a deal. If you have a more advanced machine then you can actually go a lot higher, 144 Hz or more!
Also Read: How to Convert Laptop LCD to Desktop Monitor
Previously, adding customized refresh rates was not an option for anyone using Windows machines powered by Intel Graphics. However, in 2017 Intel released new drivers and now it is pretty easy to overclock your laptop’s monitor. Although this guide is catered towards laptops, the steps mentioned here will work the same for a desktop monitor as well. By applying the steps mentioned in this guide, we were able to drastically improve visual performance and achieve a magnified gaming experience!
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Advantages of Overclocking Your Laptop Screen
So, are there really any advantages of overclocking? To be honest, a fixed 60 Hz is pretty nice when playing games especially if they’re simpler games such as Sims, iRacing, or RuneScape, however, with some tweaks it could be a lot better. The higher your refresh rate, the better will be the action on your screen. The thing about overclocking is that every laptop screen is different. You can virtually overclock any of them, to what extent is pretty much the luck of the draw. Any laptop screen will go up to 75 – 80 Hz easily, anything beyond that depends on how lucky you are.
Is it Safe to Overclock your Laptop Monitor?
This is a hot topic that keeps popping up on gaming forums, and a lot of people worry that they will damage their screens for good. However, that is not the case.
Also Read: How Long Does a Gaming Laptop Last?
Gone are the days of analog devices, Laptop monitors are much more advanced now, most of them are okay with exceeding expectations to a certain extent. Before doing this, We put in a ton of research to see if there were really any cases where overclocking resulted in permanent damage to a modern laptop screen. We could not find a single reliable source! Worst-case scenario you are always welcome to reset your settings back to stock.
Is Overclocking My Laptop Monitor a Good Idea?
If you laptop screen is at 60 Hz and it can go somewhere north of 80 Hz, on a consistent basis, then you should definitely go for it! If you laptop is equipped with a strong processor and a GPU then you will be totally fine. Finally, this guide is great for someone with a high FPS, low refresh screen since it will help bring down screen tearing and improve overall performance.
PLEASE NOTE: make sure that your Intel chip is not an ivy Bridge or an older version. If that is the case, then do not go ahead with this guide since it will not be supported.
ALSO: If you are trying to fix ghosting, then read our guide on fixing ghosting gaming issues before attempting to overclock your monitor.
Also Read: How to Stream on a Laptop (Twitch)
Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Overclock Your Laptop Monitor
Step 1: Make sure that your Intel driver is up to date. Pay special attention if it is from 2017. The versions released earlier that year were not supported. If your machine is from 2017 and you have not updated your driver then this is the time to do so.
Also Read: How to Cool Laptop While Gaming
Step 2: You can download the CRU software here: https://www.monitortests.com/download/cru/old/cru-1.4.1.zip this is going to include a refresh profile which you can then access through the Intel graphics settings on Windows.
Step 3: Go ahead and extract all the files from the zip file that you downloaded earlier from monitortests.com. You’re going to see an executable file titled CRU.exe.
Go ahead and open that program, once you do, it will show you the current profiles already setup on your computer.
The one highlighted above is our current default setting. You can see on the left-hand side that my graphics card is already supporting a resolution of up to 75 Hz (red color). What this basically means is that on an 1080p resolution, we can bump up the refresh rate to 75 Hz.
Step 4: Go ahead and double-click on your current resolution. You are then going to see this window pop up on your screen.
Now hit the copy button highlighted in the picture above in yellow so you can copy your current settings. You can then CANCEL and go back to the main interface of the CRU program. You don’t really have to worry about what these numbers mean. They’re just resolution settings for your screen that you’re going to have to transfer over later.
Step 5: This is the step where you add the higher refresh rates for your screen.
Go ahead and press ADD (highlighted in yellow), then paste those settings that you had copied earlier in step 4.
You need to make the changes in the Frequency section above. Go ahead and update the refresh rate to a value above the 60 Hz (in my case). We would recommend increments of 3 – 5 Hz, don’t do a lot at once! Once you have entered the new refresh rate, just press OK.
Since our screen already supports 75 Hz at a lower resolution, we did increments of 60 > 65 > 70 > 75. That may have been a bit too aggressive. You could do increments of 2 or 3 to be on the safe side. Once you repeat this step you will have an entry for each resolution that you added. At this point you need to reboot your system.
Step 6: Once your computer powers back up, go ahead and open ‘Intel HD Graphics’, this may be labeled as something else on your computer. You can find this in the system tray
Alternatively, you can also right click on your desktop and choose the display settings from there.
Click the drop down menu and choose your new resolution. Again, over here you must go with gradual increases and test things out.
Hopefully it all goes well for you. When we did the first resolution change, we instantly got a blank screen. The changes went back to default in the next few seconds or so. We don’t really know why that happened but the solution to our problem was another reboot. Once we did that, we were able to change it without any issues.
Step 7: Finally, when you’re able to successfully reach a better refresh rate, just keep on doing small increments, you can bump it up to a level that your monitor is able to handle without having issues. If you experience problems, we would suggest you do some more tests and see what’s going on.
You can check your frame skipping issues here: https://www.testufo.com/frameskipping
This one here is for frame rates text: https://www.testufo.com/framerates-text
If Copying Default Settings Doesn’t Work
If you’re unable to make things work using these steps, even for small increments, then there’s another way you can approach this. Once you double click your current resolution in step 4, change the timing setting to ‘Automatic – LCD Reduced’.
By choosing the setting above, you won’t have to copy and paste your resolution settings manually. If this doesn’t work, then you may go with the Standard resolutions
You should know that every monitor is different, while adding the rates via the standard resolutions may have done the trick for you, it may not work for everyone. There are also instances where simply choosing higher refresh rates can help solve any problems you’re facing. For example, instead of going from 60 > 65, choose 60 > 70. It’s pretty rare for that to happen, however, you’re welcome to give it a shot and see if that goes well for you.
Once your screen isn’t blacking out, you can then gradually tinker with the settings manually to make things more stable and customized according to your laptop’s screen. What you need to do is set the horizontal pixels and vertical lines a bit lower. Don’t go for insane changes, if you go too low you could end up with a screen that is not stable, while going too high may cause other visual issues. The idea here is to stabilize the pixel clock and get the Mhz to a lower point without messing up your screen.
An important thing to note here is that whenever you are about to reboot, make sure to set the screen settings back to default, otherwise you risk coming back to an unstable screen. If you forget tihs step and run into an issue, you’re going to have to connect an external monitor to remove the CRU configuration.
Finally, if you’re a visual artist or if you use photoshop or any other similar programs then keep in mind that overclocking can have an impact on the color accuracy. If you’re doing any delicate work then go ahead and set your screen back to default settings.
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