How to Test the Resolution & Refresh Rate of Computer Screens

How to Test the Resolution & Refresh Rate of Computer Screens
Image Credit: Hero Images/Hero Images/GettyImages

If you've been in the market for a computer monitor recently, you may have noticed the prominent role display resolutions and refresh rates play in advertising these products. The reason for this is relatively simple. With the extraordinary growth of the media industry, technology providers are compelled to improve and refine the hardware they sell to give their consumers the best experience possible.

Given the fact that your monitor's resolution and refresh rate can significantly influence its overall performance, you need to understand precisely how to test these parameters. Fortunately, you can do a refresh rate test or resolution overview using a few simple steps.


Testing your computer monitor's resolution and refresh rate does not require any advanced skills. You can achieve both goals by accessing your monitor's display settings and locating the appropriate menu items.

Basics of Resolution and Refresh Rates

Resolution and refresh rates have different definitions. The resolution of your monitor is a measure of the precise number of pixels that fill the screen both horizontally and vertically. As the number of pixels increases, the degree to which precision and clarity can be achieved increases. If, for example, your monitor has a display resolution of 1600 x 1200, this means that it is currently showing 1600 pixels horizontally and 1200 vertically.

A refresh rate is defined as the specific number of times per second your monitor recreates the images on screen. Your monitor's refresh rate is measured in hertz. As an example, if your monitor has a refresh rate of 76 Hz, the image on the screen is repainted 76 times per second. The video card included with your computer is primarily responsible for determining the refresh rate. However, the monitor's refresh rate indicates there is a limit to which this rate can be increased, after which your monitor can no longer support image processing.

Modern monitors typically feature a refresh rate between 75 and 85 Hz, which is a significant improvement over earlier standards of 65 Hz, a speed at which monitor images could occasionally flicker. Users often reported increased levels of eyestrain when using these devices.

Testing Your Monitor's Resolution

If you are ready to test the resolution of your monitor, the easiest method is to visit the display settings inside your operating system. On a Windows computer, these controls are accessed by visiting the Control Panel, selecting the Appearance and Personalization option and then clicking Adjust screen resolution. At this point, you see a variety of options, including the current setting, for adjusting your monitor resolution as needed.

Completing a Refresh Rate Test

Testing your monitor's refresh rate is as simple as finding the correct menu in your computer. On a Windows computer, right-click the desktop and select Display Settings from the menu that appears. In the settings menu, click Display adapter properties to open a new window. Here, click the Monitor tab and locate the monitor refresh rate configuration tools from the Monitor Settings tab.

At this point, you can change the refresh rate as needed. Keep in mind that if you raise the refresh rate too high for your monitor to accommodate, you may distort the on-screen images or cause them to disappear entirely.