Getting a 144hz for a rig is a situational scenario. The question of HDMI supporting 144hz itself is incomplete in today’s standard. The main concern should be getting the 144hz refresh rate at specific resolutions.
HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) technology can support a 144hz rate refresh at specific resolutions but under the right conditions. It all depends on HDMI input, output source, and the cable that connects these sources.
If you get all three components right, a 144hz refresh rate isn’t that hard to get. But If any one of these components doesn’t meet certain needed conditions stated below, the 144hz cannot be obtained.
It’s an easy concept once you get the ball rolling. let us delve into these three components. Once you get the hang of the concept, refresh rates won’t pose a problem.
Connection Between Refresh Rate & Resolution
Before we understand the conditions which allow a 144hz refresh rate, we need to understand what we are trying to get.
Every display will have a certain number of pixels as display resolutions. Eg: 1920*1080 pixels, 1280*720p etc.
In newer displays, we have options of getting 4K, 5K screens. The refresh rate refers to the rate at which new images are displayed through these pixels in one second. We often see companies advertise 4K Tvs at 60hz. So what does this mean?
This means their display can produce a maximum resolution of 4K (3840*2160 pixels) where at its peak resolution the display can refresh its pixels 60 times per second.
So, the concern isn’t just getting a 144hz but understanding how much refresh rate can be achieved at different resolutions.
That is why we see 4k monitors advertised to be 60-75hz. They are trying to tell as even at a high resolution of 3840*2160, the display can maintain a refresh rate of 60Hz.
So, let’s say we have a display of an Acer predator Helios 300 1660ti laptop. The maximum resolution of this display is 1920*1080 which is considered full HD. The display is a 144hz display.
This means that at its maximum resolution; the device still can maintain a 144hz refresh rate. If you join an external monitor to this laptop with 1920*1080 pixels resolution and 144hz display, the laptop will be able to maintain the refresh rate of the display.
So, is the display’s ability to use 144hz enough?
If you are using a Desktop or even joining an external monitor to your laptop for gaming, three components come into play.
The input source (graphics card), Output source (display), and the HDMI cable that connects these sources all need to work together to maintain a 144hz refresh rate. If one of these components fails or isn’t up to standards, the refresh rate will drop.
When does HDMI Support 144Hz?
Let’s focus on each component and understand the condition where the 144hz refresh rate is possible.
Check Graphics Card and Port (INPUT SOURCE)
Every graphics card will have a certain number of output ports that we can connect to monitors. There will be multiple types of ports that we can connect to but most of them will have an HDMI port.
The thing to understand is that HDMI ports have versions. The most current version right now is the HDMI 2.1. If we buy a graphics card today, we will probably get ones with either HDMI version 2.0 or 2.1.
For old laptops 5 to 7 years back, they might still use HDMI 1.4. We have not focused on versions previous than 1.4 because let’s face it, it’s outdated and people rarely use devices with these ports anymore.
The good news is that all three versions of HDMI support a 144HZ refresh rate. But the questions are at what resolution. Let’s look at the possibilities for these HDMI versions.
- HDMI 1.4 can support a 144HZ refresh rate in 1920*1080. Any resolution above that and refresh rates will drop. Any resolution below that, the refresh rate support might increase.
- HDMI 2.0 supports 144HZ at an increased resolution of 2560*1440 pixels which is also called 2K resolution. If you bump the resolution to 4k, the refresh rate will drop to 60Hz. If you reduce the resolution to 1920*1080, the HDMI 2.0 can support a refresh rate of more than 144Hz (generally around 240 Hz).
- HDMI 2.1 supports a 144hz refresh rate at 2560*1440 pixels easily. We get around 360 Hz for 2560 *1440. For resolutions below 2k, the refresh rate soars to 720 Hz in Full HD and even more at 720p (theoretically at 1500Hz).
Under normal circumstances, HDMI 2.1 can support 120 Hz in 4K without any streaming compression.
So, Identify the graphics card that you have and its HDMI port. If it supports the version stated above, we can get a 144hz refresh rate. It’s just a question of which resolution.
A quick way to identify your graphics card is via device manager. Once we know the name of our card, we can google its HDMI specs. E.g.: if your card is an NVIDIA 1660 ti, you will get a result of its HDMI port to be 2.0
Note, HDMI 2.1 standard is made assessing the future into account so it also supports 8K and even 10K, it’s just that the refresh rate will decrease drastically.
Remember these ports being of the versions stated above means 144Hz refresh rate can be regulated in these versions. We still must ensure that the display and cable fit the required conditions, else there is no point.
Check the Display (OUTPUT SOURCE)
We also need to use a display that can handle a 144hz rate at high resolutions. An easy way to confirm this is by checking your display settings.
- Right-click on desktop wallpaper and select display settings.
- Under display resolutions, we can confirm the maximum resolutions output of the display.
- Under advanced display settings, we can confirm the possible refresh rates the display is able to use.
- For an in-depth look, click the display adapter properties and choose List all modes. You will see all combinations of possible resolutions and the refresh rate of the display.
There are a couple of things we need to understand regarding displays. Let’s say we bought a monitor that can produce a maximum resolution of 1440 pixels which is 2k and the max refresh rate is shown in our display is 144Hz.
This means the display doesn’t support 4K or anything above 4k. We can however get 144hz at 2k provided the graphics card and cable both support it. The 144hz is the highest possible refresh rate for that display. We cannot increase the max refresh rates of displays.
An easy way to understand this is that a max 144Hz display can run at 60Hz but a max 60Hz display can’t run at 144Hz. Overclocking monitors to increase the refresh rate slightly has become a trend, but we do not recommend it as the chance of damaging the monitor is a real possibility.
Get the Right Cables (Mediator)
If both the graphics card and display support 144hz at a specific resolution. All that’s left to focus on is the HDMI cable that connects these two components.
We recommend investing in an Ultra-high-speed HDMI cable made for 2.1 HDMI. These cables have a bandwidth of 48 Gbps and are made for HDMI 2.1. Do not worry if you have previous ports, these cables are backward compatible. It’s just that the lower version’s specs will be used when connected.
Please make sure to check the Ultra High-Speed HDMI Certification Label on the packaging before buying and make sure the connector is compatible with your ports. You might find standard, micro, or mini connectors.
If all three components stated above work together in unity, the HDMI will support a 144hz refresh rate. Please make sure that all three components are in proper form to achieve these targets.
Get a display using a 144hz refresh rate with high resolutions, a graphics card that supports newer HDMI versions, and a cable that has enough bandwidth to transfer data from card to display monitor easily.