Windows 11 gets dynamic refresh rate to boost energy efficiency

Posted on Wednesday, Jun 30 2021 @ 11:30 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Microsoft announced Windows 11 will get support for dynamic refresh rates. This is different from the variable refresh rate (VRR) support that was introduced via Windows 10 May 2019 Update. While VRR is used to increase performance in videogames, dynamic refresh rate will be an energy-conserving feature.

The goal here is to reduce system power consumption under low loads. For example, when you're doing 2D work like typing an e-mail or browsing a webpage, Windows 11 will reduce the refresh rate of your screen. This feature will work dynamically, to ensure you retain a fluid desktop experience. It's similar to the variable refresh rate used on Android smartphones.
[T]he instant you start scrolling down a webpage or moving a window around, Windows will automatically boost the refresh rate back to 120Hz (or whatever your display supports), giving you a very fluid desktop experience. -- Tom's Hardware
The downside is that dynamic refresh rate has various requirements. You will need a screen with adaptive refresh rate support, like FreeSync or G-SYNC, an it needs to support at least 120Hz refresh rate. Furthermore, it will only work if your video card supports WDDM 3.0. Additionally, support needs to be added on a per-application basis, so it requires a lot of software work for broad support.

At the moment, it's unclear whether Microsoft will push this exclusively for laptops or whether it will also be rolled out for desktop PCs.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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