nVidia and AMD video card limits

Most monitors are limited to 60Hz or maybe 75Hz. This works fine most of the time, but higher refresh rates like 120Hz make things appear much smoother. If you watch the upcoming Hobbit, it was apparently filmed at 240Hz (240 times a second rather than 24 frames per second which is film standard), so it looks much smootther.
The problem is that the default is to lock the refresh rate to the monitors at 60Hz. If you have a new monitor that runs faster. 120Hz for instance, it is way smoother apparently (I haven’t tried it yet!) but hard to get it to work. In fact the current nVidia and AMD drivers artifically limit refresh rates. So you have to do two things:

  1. Burrow into the nVidia control panel and make sure Vsync is not set. Vsync means don’t go faster than the specs of the monitor.
  2. Run ToastyX’s utilities that go into the respective drivers and squash the artificial limits with a Pixel Clock Patcher. In the case of the nVidia that is a 330Mhz pixel clock which translates into a 84Hz limit and 400MHz in SLI mode.

Version 1.1 has been tested to work with 304.48 through 310.33 Beta (64-bit only). It is designed to work with future versions if the code doesn’t change.

  1. Run nvlddmkm-patcher.exe: http://www.monitortests.com/nvlddmkm-patcher-1.1.zip
  2. If all limits are found, click “Yes” to patch and sign. If a limit is not found or if multiple matches are found, the program needs to be updated.
  3. Enable test mode using testmode.exe if it isn’t already enabled.
  4. Reboot.

You can then add higher refresh rates using the NVIDIA Control Panel or Custom Resolution Utility.

To restore the previous file, run the program again and click “Yes” to restore from backup.

Known issues:

  • 500-series (Fermi) and older GPUs will not clock down when idle if the pixel clock is greater than 404 MHz. The Idle Screen Saver can be used as a workaround
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