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I got an Asus VG248 (refresh rate 144hz) monitor . I also have a dual link adapter.

On my Retina Macbook 15", I cannot set my monitor refresh rate to higher than 60 hz. Why is this? I have mountain lion.

It is the only option that is available. enter image description here

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My first guess, and guess it is, is that the Nvidia 650M in your macbook is simply incapable of driving both the internal retina display (at whatever it's refresh rate is) and the external monitor at 144Hz. Second guess is that the GPU cannot drive two displays at different refresh rates. Try using only the external monitor to see if that works by itself at 144hz. If it does, then you'd pretty much verify one of my two guesses. But they were guesses. I cannot find specific specs on these though I recall in the past having seen such for some nvidia GPUs. –  SuperMagic Mar 10 '13 at 19:00
    
I'd recommend contacting Apple support - because there is probability your notebook is just incapable of using higher refresh rate on external screen. –  mrówa Mar 12 '13 at 14:42
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted
+125

Basically it's a design limitation of the Macbook. I'll break it down a little.

60Hz is the standard refresh rate on many monitors (including the Macbook). The origins of this go back to syncing with power supplies which are also generated at 60hz, but that's perhaps a little off topic.

As the GPU is only designed to deal with the MBPr's screen, primarily it works with 60hz. I'd say as an adaption the display port will also maintain this "limitation", and given that most other devices out there are only capable of 60hz, 99% of the time it doesn't have a negative impact. Your particular monitor can of course go higher, but the macbook GPU won't be making extra frames for the higher refresh rate.

So the answer simply comes down to - right or wrong, that's how apple designed it.

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grrrr.... crApple! –  SnakeDoc Mar 14 '13 at 15:09
    
What's the point of a dual-link adapter if Apple limits the 60hz? By the way, I can get to 144hz on windows bootcamp... –  Alex Apr 10 '13 at 3:44
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