Microsoft adds variable refresh rate support to Windows 10

Nvidia and AMD had a heck of a time getting G-SYNC and FreeSync to work on Windows, but with Intel finally adopting the feature, variable refresh rate (VRR) appears to be well on its way to becoming a standard feature for Windows PCs. That means Microsoft needs to lurch to action, and it has: a post on the DirectX Developer Blog specifically highlights the new "Variable refresh rate" setting in Windows 10 version 1903.

Image: Microsoft

According to the blog post, the setting "enables VRR support for DX11 full-screen games that did not support VRR natively." That seems a little curious to this writer, given that historically it was DirectX 11 games running in exclusive full-screen mode that best-supported VRR, and they generally didn't need any game-specific support to do so. Whatever the case, if you'd like to enable the feature yourself, it's in the "Graphics Settings" panel of Windows Settings.

Unfortunately, I can't actually test the new feature because it isn't showing up for me. Microsoft says the toggle won't appear unless you have Windows version 1903 or later, a VRR-capable monitor, and a GPU with WDDM 2.6 (or above) drivers that also specifically support this new feature. I check two of those three boxes, so either GeForce driver version 430.64 doesn't support the new feature, or it's not available on my edition of Windows.

If you're worried about Microsoft's feature interfering with the already-quite-functional VRR implementations built into major graphics card drivers, you apparently needn't be. Microsoft says that this toggle "doesn't override any of the settings you've already configured." The company says this new OS support is merely intended to augment the existing technologies, not replace them. Having OS-specific support should really only improve the compatibility of VRR going forward, so it's nice to see Microsoft bringing this feature into the OS.

Comments closed
    • JustAnEngineer
    • 1 month ago

    I think it’s your dodgy drivers, Zak. It shows up just fine with Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.5.2. installed.

      • Klimax
      • 1 month ago

      No screenshot from GPU-Z, so we don’t know if driver has support for WDDM 2.6.

      • human_error
      • 1 month ago

      Seems to be an issue with Nvidia cards and gsync displays. I meet all the requirements (win 10 1903, latest drivers which are at WDDM 2.6, gsync screen with gsync enabled) and don’t get the option either. Searching seems to show other Nvidia users seeing the same issue.

    • anotherengineer
    • 1 month ago

    how good is win10 on ARM?

    [url<]https://www.techpowerup.com/256286/the-epi-announces-successful-first-steps-towards-a-made-in-europe-high-performance-microprocessor[/url<]

      • sweatshopking
      • 1 month ago

      Depends who you ask. The new snapdragon looks faster than an Intel 8250

        • bthylafh
        • 1 month ago

        You know you’re an old PC hand when… you read this comment and think “ah, *anything* is faster than an 8250. Those got, what, 4800 bps?”

          • Redocbew
          • 1 month ago

          +1 for nerd cred

          • demolition
          • 1 month ago

          Hey, don’t make them sad by saying they can only do 4800 bps. I have no problems running them at 19200 bps in my Amigas, which I still use from time to time. 🙂

    • jackbomb
    • 1 month ago

    THEY’D BETTER PORT THIS TO WINDOWS 7!

      • DancinJack
      • 1 month ago

      lol good one

      • kvndoom
      • 1 month ago

      I’m still waiting for my Edge port! Just for nostalgia’s sake I want to install it, use it to download Firefox, then uninstall it.

        • LostCat
        • 1 month ago

        I too install Firefox then uninstall it.

        • sweatshopking
        • 1 month ago

        Credge will work on windows 7 iirc

        • DoomGuy64
        • 1 month ago

        Didn’t MS drop Edge and switch to Chrome based Edge? At this point, I think they know how bad their browsers are. What they should have done was just open source the thing, and let everyone else fix their mess. Otherwise, there really isn’t any reason to use Edge over any other Chrome browser.

          • DeadOfKnight
          • 1 month ago

          Not yet, and I disagree. If Edge is based on Chrome, it doesn’t mean they can’t find ways to give it value. It’s just not there right now, and they likely have a lot of catching up to do rebooting the browser yet again. I think overall it’s a great thing for web developers, but it is concerning that one company, Google, will have nearly complete control over the internet from the client side in addition to what they already have.

          If you’ve got a problem with that, it might be time to give Firefox another chance. I switched over to Chrome a few years ago, and I’ve definitely enjoyed the level of convenience Google offers over many devices, even though it’s been a resource hog. Between that and the self-serving liberties Google has been taking with Chrome, without consulting its’ users, I’m seriously considering the switch back over to Firefox.

            • kuraegomon
            • 1 month ago

            Firefox is _fast_ now. I use it side-by-side with Chrome at work (Chrome for all my work stuff, FF for everything else), and FF is definitely the resource management champion now. My, how the worm has turned.

            • DoomGuy64
            • 1 month ago

            Firefox is also rolling out that web render tech, maybe by the next official update or so, which should make it even faster.

            • Chrispy_
            • 1 month ago

            Chrome is damn convenient and I trust it to secure me against the rest of the internet, but I don’t trust Google.

            For the stuff I consider private, it’s firefox all the way.
            For the stuff where I need anonymity, it’s Opera’s VPN via my own VPN ([i<]Yarr, m' hearties![/i<])

            • moose17145
            • 1 month ago

            I ditched opera the instant the chinese bought it.

      • GTVic
      • 1 month ago

      I can write you an on/off button in 10 minutes. $$

    • Rand
    • 1 month ago

    Apparently it’s for early Windows Store\UWP software which wasn’t able to support VRR for awhile, and when it was supported it was developer opt in only.
    Doesn’t have any effect on Win32 software or any recent Windows Store apps.

      • Firestarter
      • 1 month ago

      so it’s irrelevant for about 99% of the people reading this?

      • Chrispy_
      • 1 month ago

      Before I read your comment I was just thinking, “hold up, AMD/Nvidia drivers have done what this toggle does for years already, what’s the point?”

      UWP: Microsoft trying to take control of a market they suck at, just like they did with the IE-is-part-of-the-operating-system shenanigans. If the Windows Store ever gets to be more than a joke, the DoJ will just smack them down like they did in 1998 because in a monopolised ecosystem like Windows, it’s illegally anti-competitive.

        • sweatshopking
        • 1 month ago

        Man, you really don’t seem to understand what uwp is.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 1 month ago

          I’m not sure that Microsoft has done a good job selling the world on UWP. It also seems to be less “universal” than Microsoft hoped it’d be in 2015 (RIP Win10 Phone).

            • DancinJack
            • 1 month ago

            Both Funk and SSK are correct here, IMO.

            • sweatshopking
            • 1 month ago

            Yeah, I agree with Ben too.
            Doesn’t change the fact that 99% of what people complain about uwp isn’t factual.

            • Redocbew
            • 1 month ago

            There have been plenty of valid complaints about UWP so far, and without them the API wouldn’t be what it is today. This just isn’t one of them.

          • Chrispy_
          • 1 month ago

          I suspect I’m biased against UWP and that’s okay, I’m entitled to that opinion – no matter how inaccurate it may now be.

          What surprises me is how forgiving, optimistic, and short term everyone’s memory of UWP’s launch seems to be.

          Microsoft pulled some really dick moves right off the bat, soiled the bedsheets and pissed on everyone (consumers, developers, competitors alike) for a good couple of years before dialling back their BS and acting seriously on the high volume of disdain, dislike and criticism.

          Now that they’ve stopped aggressively trying to push everyone in a direction nobody wanted to go in, changed the bedsheets and scrubbed the mattress, mopped all the piss off the floor and uttered their apologies, you can’t just treat them like a saint. They hit arch-nemesis/Antichrist status right at the start and they’re ON THEIR WAY to being neutral. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt when they don’t just undo their mistakes but actually offer something compelling and positive to gaming on Windows.

          Opinions on what “compelling and positive” will vary from person to person, but I haven’t seen it yet. I only see retraction of previous faux-pas and sins against PC gaming – which I’ll admit is positive, but only in the same way that, say, reducing the national defecit is positive. It doesn’t still change the fact that things have a long way to go.

            • Oem
            • 1 month ago

            You seem to a) think of corporations like individual people and b) hold intense, angry grudges. The organization headed by Nadella is obviously not the same organism as the one headed by Ballmer, but at lower levels there is constant turnover among all employees as well. “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he is not the same man.” i.e., Microsoft is just another Ship of Theseus, as are all organizations, public or private. Their “identity” in fact changes over time far more, and far faster, than any individual’s identity ever could. Certainly many of the people who made decisions you disagree with in the past are no longer there, or no longer in the same position of responsibility. The only thing that hasn’t changed at all is the legal fiction of the corporate entity itself (the word being derived from “corpus”, body). It’s easy to subconciously conflate these fictions with people and mistakenly treat them as such; dealing with other humans after all is something we’ve evolved to do over millions of years; thinking about corporations is a very recent phenomenon we have no instincts for. So it begs the question, what is the sense or utility of being angry at a dynamically changing organization today for supposed wrongs done years ago.

            Secondly, even granting validity at the idea, what is the point of holding angry grudges against anyone or anything? Does it increase your happiness in some way? Does it solve any problems?

            Thirdly, the MS ecosystem is a service you may voluntarily participate in or not, there are at least two other alternatives. You’re angry at an organization’s changes to a product they created, that you apparently use, and apparently are quite invested in. Which implies you like it better than Apple’s or the Linux ecosystem and chose to buy it, use it, and stick with it. You’re free to leave the party at any time. Why scream at the host?

            • sweatshopking
            • 1 month ago

            Sounds like you’re pushing for appreciation of your alternative facts…

            • Redocbew
            • 1 month ago

            What facts? “Company X is untrustworthy and I hate them” isn’t really a testable hypothesis, and from the sounds of it Chrispy_ just doesn’t care.

            I’m ok with that. It’s not an entirely unjustified position, and a lot of smart people that I know of treated Samsung the same way after they released incendiary phones and projectile-creating washing machines. It can get tiresome after a while, but they’re not creating facts out of thin air by doing that, and being distrustful of the megacorps of the world isn’t really a bad idea.

            • sweatshopking
            • 1 month ago

            “I’m entitled to that opinion – no matter how inaccurate it may now be.”
            it isn’t accurate, but he’s sticking to it.

            i have little love for corporations generally, certainly radical in my views for reforming every system we use, but much of what he’s mad about never happened at all, never mind changed.

            • Redocbew
            • 1 month ago

            What exactly is it that didn’t happen? If you want to argue about Microsoft’s intentions behind all of this that’s fine. Creating a walled garden by acting in the interest of the business only is the most obvious explanation, but maybe some director or exec at Microsoft was a believer of astrology or numerology or something and they had their own reasons for making one decision instead of another. Stranger things have happened, and we’ll never know, so that is certainly open for debate.

            However, it’s ironic that you’re claiming “alternative facts” here when the only factual parts of this whole thread are the things which did spoil the first impressions of UWP. That’s a little bit like trying to tell the dude who brought his Note 7 on to a plane and watched it burn a hole in the floor that he doesn’t have a reason to distrust Samsung. That might be true at this point, but it doesn’t change what happened.

            • Redocbew
            • 1 month ago

            I have a limited amount of outrage to spend on things like this, so I’m afraid I can’t hate Microsoft forever just because I disagree with how they approached UWP from the start. Since this is the Internet and all I know that’s weird and uncommon, but I’m ok with being weird.

      • GrimDanfango
      • 1 month ago

      Ah, that explains it. I found myself thinking “But, fullscreen games is the one thing VRR *doesn’t* have a problem with”

      Seemed like nVidia managed to get hooks in and have borderless-window and windowed games working for a while, then Unity Engine keeps going out of their way to break it.

      The most fun new manifestation I’ve seen is the diagonal screen-tear, which cuts the screen into two triangles. That one seems hugely resiliant to g-sync or even regular v-sync when it occasionally crops up.

      • K-L-Waster
      • 1 month ago

      What, so people can now get VRR in Candy Crush?

        • Krogoth
        • 1 month ago

        Candy Crush?

        Patricians go VRR @240hz with Solitaire.

        • LostCat
        • 1 month ago

        The strongest use case for this seems to be Quantum Break, assuming what I’ve read is accurate. Rise of the Tomb Raider off the Store is also possible. Don’t know about Dead Rising 4.

    • DancinJack
    • 1 month ago

    I also don’t have the box, and thus unfortunately can’t test anything either. 🙁

    W10 x64 1903 18362.116
    GTX 1080 with 430.86
    ASUS PG279Q

      • tanker27
      • 1 month ago

      But what flavor of W10? I bet the difference in SKUs is the reason. Most of us run Pro/Business over Home (I’m assuming here).

      (I have the exact same setup, I’ll check when I get home)

      • tanker27
      • 1 month ago

      Just checked I do not have it also:

      W10 Pro N 1903 18362.113
      GTX 1080 w/ 430.86
      ASUS PG279Q

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 1 month ago

    I have a feeling that is more to tie in with it being added to the XBOne, which is based on the Win10 OS, IIRC.

      • LostCat
      • 1 month ago

      It was added to the X1 systems a long time ago (and UWP.)

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