August 30, 2002, 12:00 AM — Reader Rick N. submitted the following question:
"I would have liked to see a little more on selecting an ideal
refresh rate or why some higher refresh rates may cause problems.
Also, monitor manufacturers often want to obfuscate capabilities by
listing maximum refresh and maximum resolution in the same
Ok. The refresh rate is the number of new images that the monitor writes
in one second. Therefore, if you use a refresh rate of 60 Hz, the screen
is redrawn on the monitor 60 times per second.
When it comes to choosing a refresh rate, I suggest that you always use
a refresh rate of higher than 50 Hz. A 60 Hz refresh tends to cause a
flicker -- especially under fluorescent lights in the U. S. where 60 Hz
is the standard power line frequency. I usually use 85 Hz, but I can't
really see any flicker above 70 Hz. You may find that prolonged use at
lower refresh rates will cause headaches. For this reason, it's best to
use a higher rate.
Don't set your refresh rate to a higher value than your monitor can use.
This could possibly cause damage to the monitor. However, you can run at
your monitor's highest refresh rate. Doing this does not put any extra
strain on the monitor as far as I can determine.
The refresh rate is tied to the monitor resolution, which is why
manufacturers list the two together. For example, my monitor will run at
a refresh rate of 100 Hz when the resolution is set to 800 X 600.
However, if I set the resolution to 1280 X 1024, the highest refresh
rate is 60 Hz.