Overclocking our ASUS PB278Q monitor, 2560x1440 at 85Hz

Overclocking... a monitor? Yes, it can be done, and we do it to our ASUS PB278Q display.


I recently purchased an ASUS PB278Q monitor for my daily use, and it's gorgeous. It's 2560x1440 resolution provides plenty of desktop real estate, but it only arrives with a 60Hz refresh rate. I feel like I'm substituting resolution for refresh rate, which I am, but the resolution really is worth it.

I posted my unboxing video last week, and we had a reader tell me to "just overclock it," so, I did.

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I did some Google searching, and found the tools required, which are a little different depending on your setup. It comes down to your GPU, whether you're running an AMD Radeon or NVIDIA GeForce GPU. I'm running a Sapphire Radeon HD 7770 FleX Edition GPU right now in our TweakTown Prodigy PC.

So first off, we'll provide a list of things you'll need to complete this process. ToastyX has provided some great links on 120Hz.net. You will have to do some light reading before you get into it, as drivers and GPUs are constantly changing. What you read below might not be current in 3, 6 or 12 months time.

AMD owners:

NVIDIA owners:

Before we begin, remember that this is all at your own risk. We can't be held accountable for destroying any of your devices, and anything this guide tells you could do that. I had no issues with my journey except for some black screens for 15 seconds because my monitor couldn't handle the refresh rate I was trying to push it to, but other than that it was smooth sailing.

Ok, deep breath - ready? Let's do this.

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Firstly, you'll need to download the Pixel Clock Patcher for your respective GPU. Once you've downloaded it, extract it into a folder. There will be two executables, one for the patcher, one for testmode. You'll need to run the patcher first and "Patch found values."

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Once this is done, run the testmode executable and "Enable test mode." After this step, reboot.

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The next step is to run the Custom Resolution Utility, or CRU. When you open it, you'll be greeted with the screen, above. Once you've opened CRU, you can start playing around with the resolutions. There are 8 standard resolutions of which you can tweak.

You can have a maximum of 4 detailed resolutions, but we're only going to concentrate on one: 2560x1440. Select your detailed resolution and click "Edit."

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As you can see, you'll have some serious specs you probably never knew about on your display listed. We have the resolution, refresh rate, and much more. We're only going to be touching the Refresh rate, which is down the bottom.

By default, our ASUS PB278Q has a native resolution of 2560x1440 and a refresh rate of just 60Hz. For me, this isn't good enough, and I want to push it as high as I can go. I've read that the PLS-based panels, of which the ASUS PB278Q is based on, can have their refresh rate pushed up much higher than default.

I was hoping for 100Hz, but would've been happy with something like 75Hz. At first, I cranked it to 100Hz, and was greeted with a black screen saying my monitor couldn't display that resolution and refresh rate. I waited 15 seconds, and it went back to the default refresh rate of 60Hz.

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I clicked it down to 85Hz, crossed my fingers, and clicked OK. It worked! I rebooted to let all the settings adjust, and we were in business. 2560x1440 at 85Hz - great results!

Pushing the refresh rate further didn't help at all, as we were limited to 85Hz. The difference in Windows between 60Hz and 85Hz is huge, it feels much smoother. Not as smooth as my previous 120Hz-based panel, but it's a great compromise. 2560x1440 at 85Hz is great, and I can't complain about that.

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You can play around with your monitor, but lower quality panels won't enjoy their refresh rates being pushed way out from their norm. Please do be careful, but when you do it, you'll enjoy it - the higher refresh rates are worth the minimal risk.

Last updated: Nov 3, 2020 at 08:12 pm CST

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