Image: Microsoft

Windows 11 will allow users to enable a new refresh rate option called Dynamic Refresh Rate. As explained by Microsoft’s Ana Marta on the DirectX Developer Blog, Dynamic Refresh Rate will automatically and seamlessly switch between a lower refresh rate and a higher refresh rate based on what the user is doing on their PC (e.g., 60 Hz for email and other basic productivity tasks, but 120 Hz for inking, scrolling, and other tasks that benefit from greater smoothness and fluidity). The primary purpose of Dynamic Refresh Rate is to reduce power usage in laptops and extend battery life. Microsoft points out that this feature doesn’t apply to games, nor is it supported yet by all apps.

  • Smoother inking: Microsoft Office, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Whiteboard, Microsoft Photos, Snip & Sketch, Drawboard PDF, Microsoft Sticky Notes, Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Illustrator, Microsoft To Do, Inkodo
  • Smoother scrolling: Microsoft Office

To use DRR, you’ll need a laptop with a display that supports Variable refresh rate (VRR) and a refresh rate of at least 120 Hz. Additionally, DRR requires a graphics driver (WDDM 3.0) that supports it (available through Windows Update). We’re working with our graphics display partners to bring updated graphics drivers that support DRR to the Windows Insiders Program.

Sources: Microsoft, Tom’s Hardware

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12 Comments

  1. This is interesting, and probably an improvement.

    I am curious what applications on the desktop really benefit from higher refresh rates though. I’ve always thought of that as a gaming feature.

  2. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 37008, member: 203″]
    This is interesting, and probably an improvement.

    I am curious what applications on the desktop really benefit from higher refresh rates though. I’ve always thought of that as a gaming feature.
    [/QUOTE]
    You can notice it just in mouse movement and window scrolling – but it isn’t terribly earth shattering.

    This would be a nice power saving move – I’ve always wondered why it hadn’t caught on with laptops as soon as VRR came out

  3. I bet it will wreak havoc with 3rd party video players perhaps even editors. another solution looking for a problem, heck more like creating one. Why would you need more than 60hz on desktop to begin with?

  4. [QUOTE=”MadMummy76, post: 37013, member: 1298″]
    I bet it will wreak havoc with 3rd party video players perhaps even editors. another solution looking for a problem, heck more like creating one. Why would you need more than 60hz on desktop to begin with?
    [/QUOTE]
    At least in my opinion, it isn’t so much so you can get 120+Hz on the desktop, it’s so that when its sitting there static, it can drop to ~0Hz and save a lot of power.

    ~edit~ although the way it reads, it just kind of switches between HI and LO and isn’t really “variable”

  5. This feature is stated as exclusive to laptop displays; just wanted to point that out as “desktop” was mentioned a few times in the post.

  6. [QUOTE=”AKBrian, post: 37023, member: 120″]
    This feature is stated as exclusive to laptop displays; just wanted to point that out as “desktop” was mentioned a few times in the post.
    [/QUOTE]
    Well. laptops have desktops too.

    … just gets confusing as to which is the metaphor and which is the entity.

  7. [QUOTE=”Brent_Justice, post: 37035, member: 3″]
    It’s for pen input
    [/QUOTE]
    Hadn’t thought of that, but makes perfect sense now that you bring it up.

  8. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 37048, member: 96″]
    Hadn’t thought of that, but makes perfect sense now that you bring it up.
    [/QUOTE]
    They call it ‘inking’ in the quote… but yeah, if the panel can keep up (ahem…), increasing the refresh rate does wonders for usability.

    Hard to explain what it’s like to have to ‘slow down’ for 60Hz displays to those that haven’t used anything faster 🙂

  9. [QUOTE=”LazyGamer, post: 37088, member: 1367″]
    Hard to explain what it’s like to have to ‘slow down’ for 60Hz displays to those that haven’t used anything faster 🙂
    [/QUOTE]

    Honestly, I think it is overstated.

    I have 120hz on my center screen, and 60hz on the side screen. I never feel like I have to slow down or am otherwise bothered by the difference.

  10. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 37096, member: 203″]
    Honestly, I think it is overstated.

    I have 120hz on my center screen, and 60hz on the side screen. I never feel like I have to slow down or am otherwise bothered by the difference.
    [/QUOTE]
    Hell it may very well just not bother you, and you’re not alone – my wife couldn’t give two sharts either 😉

    I notice it between my 120Hz ultra-wide (21:10) and my 75Hz secondary monitors even more so than when I had 16:9 monitors as primary myself.

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