Microsoft is developing improved controls for Windows 11 users, aiming to change how the operating system manages high refresh rate monitors. The latest Windows 11 preview build includes the ability to automatically adjust the refresh rate on multiple monitors based on what content is being displayed.
“We have improved refresh rate logic to allow different refresh rates on different monitors, depending on the refresh rate for each monitor and content shown on the screen. This will help most with refresh rate-dependent multitasking, like playing a game and watching a video at the same time,” said Microsoft’s Amanda Langowski and Brandon LeBlanc in a blog post announcing the new preview build.
For instance, during a gaming session, Windows could automatically set your primary monitor to the highest refresh rate, while your secondary monitor running Discord could run at standard 60Hz. This feature could definitely help lower power consumption, at the same time, put less load on your GPU.
As rightly pointed out by The Verge, Nvidia’s RTX 30 and RTX 40-series Founders Edition cards, as well as certain models from AIB partners, have a zero RPM mode. This means that the GPU cooling fans do not spin when you are watching a video on a single monitor. However, if you add a secondary display with a high refresh rate, it usually disables it meaning the GPU keeps its fans spinning if you have both monitors at high refresh rates.
In addition to the above, there is a new energy-saving feature that will prove beneficial for owners of Windows 11 devices that support Dynamic Refresh Rate, such as the Surface Pro 9. Microsoft has tuned the feature to consume less power when the device is running in battery saver mode. Essentially, once the user enables battery saver mode, Windows 11 automatically lowers the display refresh rate to conserve battery life. Notably this enhancement will not extend to high refresh rate-capable monitors, and will only be available on laptops and tablets that support Dynamic Refresh Rate.
Expect these features to release soon as a Windows 11 update in the coming months. However, if you are eager and willing to take risks, you can try these features today by downloading the latest Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 25915 on your supported devices.