Caution

Don't set the refresh rate lines randomly or to values that you guess. If you set the rates incorrectly—particularly to values that are too high—XFree86 may try to run your monitor at too high a refresh rate. Most modern monitors are designed to ignore such signals, but some models—particularly older ones—can be damaged if you try to use a too-high refresh rate.

You do not directly set the overall refresh rate in XF86Config. Instead, XFree86 uses the horizontal and vertical refresh rates, in conjunction with your desired resolution and modelines (described shortly) to determine the maximum refresh rate your hardware can handle. XFree86 then uses that refresh rate automatically. This indirect method of setting the screen's refresh rate can be confusing at first, but XFree86's configuration method gives you an unusual degree of control over your video display, if you're inclined to modify the configuration.

If you've replaced a monitor with a more capable model, you might need do nothing more than adjust the horizontal and vertical scan rates in XF86Config. When you restart X, it will use the new values, and will adjust the overall refresh rate as appropriate. If you want to use a higher resolution with your new monitor, you should adjust the Modes line in the appropriate Screen section to list your new resolution first at the color depth you use, as well as adjusting the scan frequency lines.

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