Windows 11 Will Feature Dynamic Refresh Rate on the Desktop

Windows 11
(Image credit: Microsoft)

As detailed in a Microsoft Blog Post, dynamic refresh rate is new a feature coming to Windows 11 that will allow the operating system to dynamically change your screen's refresh rate to save power consumption.

This type of refresh rate manipulation is a bit different from the current variable refresh rate we have today in Windows 10. With dynamic refresh rate, the goal is to improve power consumption when using 2D applications on the desktop, like emails, web browsers, and word processors.

Let's say you're typing an email to somebody. The screen doesn't need to be refreshing at its maximum of 120Hz to keep up, as an example. When Windows 11 sees you aren't doing anything that requires a higher refresh rate, it will cut your monitor's refresh rate down to 60Hz automatically to save power. If you have an android smartphone with variable refresh rate, it's the same idea.

But the 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.

This feature will be most beneficial for laptops, but Microsoft doesn't say if this feature will be laptop exclusive. So we could see this feature being unlocked for both notebook and desktop computers.

To support the new dynamic refresh rate feature, you will need an adaptive refresh rate monitor, whether that be FreeSync or G-Sync of any kind, and it needs to support at least 120Hz or greater. (We're not sure why 100Hz or 75Hz panels won't work at this time.)

Plus, your graphics card will need to support the new WDDM 3.0 standard. This is a new update exclusive to Windows 11 that adds a few features like better graphical support for Linux apps and the ability to assign different apps to different GPUs simultaneously. Right now, it's not clear which GPUs are getting WDDM 3.0 support.

Microsoft has also noted that Dynamic refresh rate will need to be an app-supported feature to work. So if you fire up an app that doesn't support the feature, dynamic refresh rate will disable itself. For now, the only app that supports DRR is Microsoft Office.

Aaron Klotz
Freelance News Writer

Aaron Klotz is a freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering news topics related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.

  • ThatMouse
    GTX 1080 supports WDDM 2.7. No love for our repurposed PC's.
  • Bandock
    This almost sounds like AMD's Radeon Chill, but for desktop on Windows 11 instead and for controlling the refresh rate instead of just limiting the frame rate. Allowing both the monitor and GPU to use less power and possibly run cooler when it's idle.
  • salgado18
    monitor with at least 120 Hz refresh rate
    WDDM 3.0 GPU
    apps built with the tech in mind
    Sounds like almost nobody will use this for a long time
  • hotaru.hino
    The caveats are probably just growing pains for implementing a feature for the first time.
  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    WDDM 3.0

    I think we just found out what the real driving force behind Windows 11 will be.
  • cgilley
    Admin said:
    Windows 11 will be the first OS from Microsoft to support dynamic refresh rate, allowing a computer's screen to lower its refresh rate to save power.

    Windows 11 Will Feature Dynamic Refresh Rate on the Desktop : Read more
    stupid. Just an excuse to churn the users. In Windows 10, they added key features:
    power saving - turn off USB devices by default, don't tell anyone. Left engineers and developers ripping their hair out wondering why everything stopped working.
    Automatic reboots - left engineers and developers sticking needles in MS developers voodoo dolls, cursing their heritage.Now Windows 11 is on the horizon. Mandatory UEFI nope, no thanks. Messing with the refresh rate - that won't be annoying.

    Idea: fix your bugs. Fix your gaping security holes. Polish.