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How do you enable 120 Hz mode on your Xbox Series X?

To get that smooth frame rate, you need to dig into the settings

xbox series s and series s on white background
Image: Microsoft

Both the new Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles support 120 Hz video output on compatible displays. That means smoother graphics, especially in motion, but it’s not enabled by default.

To get that smooth frame rate, you need to dig into the settings to enable it, then fire up any game that has 120 FPS support. Here’s how to get it running.

Why do I want 120 Hz mode?

xbox series x with a green glow
Image: KnowTechie

If you’ve never experienced the joy that a high refresh rate monitor on a PC brings, you’re in for a treat. See, most panels like your TV only refresh up to 60 times a second. That’s why last-gen’s consoles were capped at 60 FPS, but the current Xbox Series X and S can go up to 120 FPS.

That’s down to the extra power that the new AMD chips inside bring, and also because HDMI 2.1 can support 120 Hz at 4K resolution, something that the older HDMI 2.0 standard couldn’t. You’ll need a display that’s capable of 120 Hz, like a newer TV with HDMI 2.1, or a computer monitor with HDMI 2.0 if you don’t want to play at 4K.

Here’s how to check if 120 Hz is supported and how to enable it on Xbox Series X

Turn your Xbox on
Press the Xbox button on your controller, and use LB or RB to move to the Profile & System tab
Scroll down to Settings and enter
Scroll to General then to TV & Display Options
Select 4K TV Details on this screen. That’ll show a list of every mode that your TV supports that the Xbox can display. You’ll want to see Green tickmarks on every mode that describes 120 Hz
If your TV is supported, back out to the TV & Display Options menu
Select the drop-down menu under Refresh Rate and select 120 Hz
Wait for your TV to refresh. If you see the picture again, you’re golden. If it went to a black screen, your TV isn’t supported unfortunately and it’ll go back to 60 Hz if you wait a few seconds
On the same screen, select Video Fidelity & Overscan, then open the Color Depth drop-down
You want to select 30 bits per pixel (10-bit). Yes, your TV might be able to handle 12-bit, but the Xbox will only support 120 Hz at 4K when you’re set to 10-bit with full RGB (4:4:4).

Now your console is set up to enable 120 Hz, you’ll also have to figure out which games support it. Check out our list, and once you’re playing the game, check the Settings menu for things like Performance or High Frame Rate in the menus. That’ll set it up for higher frame rates, instead of higher quality graphics.

Enjoy the benefits of higher frame rates in your games, but know that you can turn it back to 60 Hz at any time, in case you prefer the higher-quality graphics for some Xbox Series X games.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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