I've been reading up about higher framerate monitors and I've found that a lot of the 60Hz monitors can be slightly overclocked to show 65, 67, 70 or sometimes even 75 frames per second if you play around with custom display modes (people also seem to think this might damage your monitor, so beware and try at your own risk).

By increasing the framerate in Nvidia control panel I managed to get my 60Hz monitor to still show the image over HDMI connection up to 67Hz. And I have tested it in a couple games with unrestricted framerate and vsync disabled, but it doesn't show the actual visible framerate, and if I disable unrestricted framerate or turn vsync back on, it shows 60fps. So I couldn't figure out if it's really working, or it's a placebo effect and I'm just thinking it's slightly smoother.

I tried staring at the https://www.testufo.com/ animation, and the page says 67, but I don't know if it's just the browser thinking it's 67 and I can't count the frames without analyzing a video recorded with a high-speed camera. Some games are restricted to 60Hz or only show the closest supported graphics mode refresh rate, and again I couldn't determine with my bare eyes if it's true or not.

I tried using software like Fraps and Steam's in-game overlay FPS counter, and they either show uncapped game framerate (can be anything above 200fps) or 67, as the target framerate it gets from the OS display configuration. I also remembered that the monitor itself has its own OSD which shows display signal information. In my case, even though it's set to 67Hz in Nvidia control panel, the OSD shows 60Hz (68kHz horizontal) in some games (Dark Souls 3) and 67 (75kHz horizontal) outside any game.

These 2 tests (https://www.testufo.com/eyetracking and https://www.testufo.com/persistence) seem obvious enough to show what they're designed to show. Maybe there's a similar test to determine the exact displayed framerate?

Is there a way to make every updated frame per second obvious on the screen so that I could see it with my bare eyes? Maybe some optical illusion could be used or some special visual sequence of shapes, or a matrix of rectangles. I'm planning to buy a 120/144/165hz monitor sometime next year and I could use an answer to this question to determine if the monitor is truly displaying its advertised framerate.

  • For Steam games see this. Otherwise see this for Fraps, Dxtory, Razer Cortex, GeForce Experience / RadeonPro. – harrymc Jul 25 '18 at 17:36
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    Also testufo.com has more tests besides the animation, for example the Refresh Rate test. – harrymc Jul 25 '18 at 19:53
  • These tests show the numbers reported by the software, but I don't know if I actually see 67 frames per second on my display. This is kinda the point of my question. In-game FPS counters show the unlimited count which reaches upwards of 200+fps but I'm pretty sure there's no way my monitor is displaying frames at that speed. – user1306322 Jul 27 '18 at 10:32
  • If your NVIDIA card is recent enough to support ShadowPlay, you may enable the in-game FPS counter via NVIDIA GeForce Experience : Click Settings, Share section, click Overlays, FPS Counter, then choose quadrant for displaying the FPS counter. You may also try FRAPS : The FPS counter is enabled by default and pressing F12 will bring it up in the upper left corner of your screen. – harrymc Jul 27 '18 at 11:35
  • Those will still show what the software thinks it's outputting. I can't trust it because I have no way of verifying it. In this question I'm asking about ways to verify what these apps output on the screen. – user1306322 Jul 27 '18 at 13:10

Get a Highspeed camera and film your monitor, then just scroll trought the frames and do the math. If your camera let's say films about 4x the speed of the frames in your monitor you could easily see the transition beteween them. What you are asking is pretty hard to prove, because even if your monitor refresh at 60hz, other things like response time and even enviromental conditions could could make it look slower.

On thing though. In some games that can output high fps counts, which can't be reproduced by monitor screens, in the words of a friend "Works like quantum physics". This means that when you make a click, the shooting is going on through the in-game fps and not necesarilly on your monitor fps count. Those extra imperceptible frames, give you a higher chance of hitting your enemy, even if your targer is not on your crosshair in between frames.

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As mentioned in the comments, you would need to perform a hardware test. I'm not certain that any dedicated hardware exists to answer the exact question "What's the frequency of image changes on this monitor?" You might accomplish it by buying a very high speed camera, recording a fast-moving scene on the monitor, and compare frame by frame to see each time the frame changed. That's just speculation on my part; by all means make another answer if you find a better method or a purpose-made piece of hardware.

Tomshardware.com does tests of monitor equipment including a pixel response / input lag test : https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/display-monitor-tv-screen-test,3901-4.html

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It is correct to assume that the display adapter can generate frames faster then the monitor can display, especially a high-end one, and also the same bus and interface may be able to support faster monitors than yours measured in the hundreds of Hz.

For this reason, the monitor communicates its parameters to the device driver using protocols such as Extended Display Identification Data (EDID) and Display Data Channel (DDC) so that the driver will not exceed the monitor's capabilities and may adjust itself to such parameters as resolution and intensity. The display driver will normally query continuously the monitor for its parameters to monitor for any changes (although this can be disabled).

The speed of the monitor is called the hardware Refresh rate and is distinct from the software Frame rate.

This does not mean that your frame rate is limited by your screen’s refresh rate, as they are two separate things. While FPS is how many frames your gaming computer is producing or drawing, the refresh rate is how many times the monitor is refreshing the image on the screen. The refresh rate (Hz) of your monitor does not affect the frame rate (FPS) your GPU will be outputting. If your FPS is higher than your refresh rate, your display will not be able to display all of the frames your computer is producing. So although the refresh rate doesn’t technically limit the frame rate, it does effectively set a cap.

It’s also important to remember that even if your gaming PC is capable of generating 90 FPS in your favorite game at your preferred settings, and even if your monitor supports 90Hz, 120Hz or more, you could still be capped by the lower refresh rate capabilities of the ports on your graphics card and display.

If the frame rate your computer is producing is different than the refresh rate of your monitor, you may experience a glitch known as screen tearing, where information from two or more frames is shown in a single screen draw.

Also, in an LCD it is necessary to avoid modifying graphics data except during the retrace phase, to prevent tearing from an image that is rendered faster than the display operates/refreshes. Therefore the driver cannot continuously send data to the monitor, doing so only at predetermined times.

The conclusion is that you are right in doubting the frame-rate numbers reported by your game software, since they may exceed the speed of the monitor. The monitor's speed is dictated by one parameter only - the refresh rate.

Thus, if you have set your HDMI connection to 67 Hz, then this is indeed the speed of your display. Setting your game to higher speeds will not change the quality of the display, and may even cause minor glitches.

It is possible to verify that the monitor does truly work at the rate of 67 Hz by using a high-speed camera and alternating black/white frames, as does Tom's Hardware in its testing. But this equipment is costly. The usual case is that when the refresh rate is set to higher than the monitor's capability, then this will be visible by the misbehavior of the image.

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The worst problems, input lag, tearing and blur, are obvious without testing software or hardware.

Is there a way to make every updated frame per second obvious on the screen so that I could see it with my bare eyes? Maybe some optical illusion could be used or some special visual sequence of shapes, or a matrix of rectangles. I'm planning to buy a 120/144/165hz monitor sometime next year and I could use an answer to this question to determine if the monitor is truly displaying its advertised framerate.

The problem is that when something is off it's updated on the next frame, and certainly either fixed or located elsewhere. There's no pattern that can immediately direct your eyes to the problem location and communicate to you here's this problem.

What Ryan Shrout of PCPer ended up doing, as explained in his article: "Frame Rating: A New Graphics Performance Metric", was buy a Capture Card and record gameplay on another computer.

The cheapest solution for you will be to wait for multiple reviews and determine if they are in agreement with a monitor that is within your price range. It's impractical to test different monitors as an individual using a quick fix easy solution.

Basically, if a PC gamer invests in a good GPU for smoother gameplay, they would also need to invest in a monitor with adaptive sync technology in order to actually have that smoother gameplay – otherwise they’ll be dealing with screen tearing, input lag, or both.

Free-Sync is AMD, G-Sync is Nvidia and Intel iGPU supports DisplayPort™ Adaptive-Sync (as do AMD and Nvidia). Free-Sync is the cheaper solution but monitors only support adaptive sync within a specified frame-rate range: 48Hz to 75Hz in the case of many low-cost models, though it can use HDMI ports. G-Sync is more expensive, but provides better results. They are not cross compatible.

Absolutely the best results will cost over $1K, even if you could perform a simple test it would make sense to look at reviews done by people whom have more money and experience; you could simply read enough reviews and take their word for it, saving you the time and uncertainty of your own results.

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  • Capture card seems to process the input signal from the GPU, but I'm asking about verifying the display panel, after that signal has been received by the monitor's decoding hardware. I'm not trying to figure out which monitors are reviewed by other people as updating at advertised rate, I'm trying to find a way to verify that any monitor in my possession can display at a rate it says on its OSD or in the custom display configuration. It's not that I don't trust other reviewers, it's that high refresh rate monitors have been faked before, and I think it's useful to be able to determine that too – user1306322 Jul 31 '18 at 6:18

Here's a free Nvidia tool that I believe will give you much more detailed information on the actual monitor refresh rate your graphics card is pushing out. No expensive camera equipment required!


From the product description:

Measuring performance as it’s delivered on a monitor, FCAT identifies dropped frames, runt frames, micro-stuttering, and other problems that reduce the visible smoothness of the action on-screen, even when running at sixty frames per second and above as reported by FRAPS.

Unfortunately I'm unable to test if this is actually what you're looking for - I have an AMD card.


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