HDR or High Dynamic Range is the technology that increases the brightness and color of a display in order to deliver high-quality images and videos to the user. Undoubtedly, playing a game on an HDR-capable monitor gives you the best gaming experience. If you have ever played a game on a non-HDR display, you might have experienced a situation where you have to adjust the brightness level of your display according to the dark and bright environments in a game. On an HDR display, you need not adjust the brightness and contrast levels again and again, provided you have calibrated it correctly. In his article, we will talk about how to configure the best HDR settings for gaming on Windows PC.
Hardware requirements for HDR gaming
Before we talk about how to configure the best HDR settings for gaming on a Windows PC, it is important to talk about the supported hardware for HDR gaming. To enjoy the HDR gaming on your Windows PC, you should have the following hardware and hardware components:
- An HDR-capable display
- An HDR-capable GPU
- A DP or an HDMI cable
Let’s see all these hardware requirements in detail.
1] An HDR-capable display
An HDR-capable display is a basic requirement for HDR gaming. To enjoy the HDR gaming experience, it is important that your display should support HDR technology. The brightness of the light is measured in nits. 1 nit is equal to 1 candela per square meter (1cd/m^2). While selecting an HDR display or gaming monitor, look for the one that can offer at least 400 or 600 nits. Though 400 and 600 nits displays are good for HDR gaming, if you can afford more, you should go for the display that can offer at least 1000 nits of brightness.
2] An HDR-capable GPU
Having an HDR-capable display is not enough for HDR gaming. Your GPU should be capable of producing HDR images. You should search online for the best graphics cards that come with HDR support.
3] A DP or an HDMI cable
The third requirement for HDR gaming is a cable capable of transferring data at the bandwidth required for HDR. You can use either DisplayPort cable or HDMI cable to connect your monitor with your computer for HDR gaming. Different versions of HDMI and DisplayPort cables are available in the market. HDR content requires a greater bandwidth. Therefore, if you are going to buy a DisplayPort cable, you should look for the one that supports DisplayPort 1.4 or higher. Similarly, the HDMI cables should support the HDMI 2.0 port or higher.
How to configure the best HDR settings for gaming on Windows PC
To enjoy the best HDR gaming experience on your Windows PC, it is important to calibrate it correctly. Here, we will talk about:
- How to enable HDR on Windows 11/10
- How to calibrate display for HDR gaming on Windows 11/10
1] How to enable HDR on Windows 11/10
If you want to experience HDR gaming on your Windows PC, first, you have to enable HDR. Below, we have explained the steps to enable HDR on Windows 11 and Windows 10 separately.
The following instructions will guide you on how to enable HDR in Windows 11:
- Press the Win + I keys to open Settings.
- Go to “System > Display.”
- If you have connected multiple displays to your Windows 11 computer, select the HDR capable display.
- Turn on the button next to the Use HDR and Play streaming HDR video options.
The following steps will help you enable HDR on your Windows 10 PC:
- Right-click on Start and select Settings.
- Go to “Settings > System > Display.”
- Select your HDR-capable display under the Rearrange your displays section.
- Turn on the Use HDR and Stream HDR Video buttons.
Windows 11 and Windows 10 also have a feature named Auto HDR. You can consider it an advanced HDR feature that is not supported by all the games and gaming consoles. If you enable this feature, it will display the Auto HDR-supported games with more defined and richer resolution than they were originally designed for. In addition to HDR, you can also turn on Auto HDR on Windows 11/10.
2] How to calibrate display for HDR gaming on Windows 11/10
Display calibration is an important step to configure the best HDR settings for gaming on a Windows PC. Once you turn on the HDR feature for your display on Windows PC, the next step is to calibrate that display. The steps to calibrate the display for the best HDR gaming experience are explained below for both Windows 11 and Windows 10 computers.
The following steps will help you calibrate your display for HDR content on Windows 11:
- Launch Windows 11 Settings app.
- Go to “System > Display.”
- Select your HDR-capable display and then select HDR.
- Now, click on the Display calibration for HDR video option.
- Click on the full-screen icon on the video to display it on full screen.
- Move the slider left or right to calibrate your display.
- When you are done, exit the full-screen mode. After that, Windows will apply changes to your display automatically.
- To reset the settings, click on the Reset calibration button on the HDR video calibration screen.
Follow the steps written below to calibrate your display for HDR content on Windows 10:
- Launch Windows 10 Settings app.
- Go to “Apps > Video playback > Windows HD color settings.”
- Select your HDR-capable display under the Choose display section.
- Now, click Change calibration settings.
- The HDR Calibration Screen will appear. Hover over the sample video and click on the full-screen icon.
- Move the slider left or right to calibrate your display. While moving the slider, you have to set a good balance between the darker and brighter parts of the scene.
- When you are done, exit the full-screen, and Windows will apply the changes to your display automatically.
- If you do not like the changes, you can reset the changes by clicking on the Reset calibration button available on the HDR video calibration screen. After resetting the calibration, you can recalibrate your display.
Related: Best TV settings for HDR gaming on Xbox
Some common issues with HDR on Windows
You may experience some common issues with the HDR feature on your Windows 11/10 device. Let’s see what these problems are and what you should do to resolve these issues. Before we begin, check if your HDMI or DP cable is working properly. Also, make sure that your graphics card drivers are up to date. Open the Device Manager and update your graphics card driver from there.
- The display is not showing HDR
- The Use HDR toggle button is greyed out
- Colors are not appearing correctly on the built-in HDR-capable display of a laptop
- Colors appear oversaturated when the night light is turned on
1] The display is not showing HDR
This problem occurs due to one of the following reasons:
- When the HDR option on your HDR-capable display is turned off.
- When your computer hardware does not support HDR technology.
2] The Use HDR toggle button is greyed out
This problem usually occurs on laptops that support HDR technology. To fix this problem, you have to allow Windows 11/10 to play HDR content when running on battery. To do so, first, plug in your laptop and then open Windows 11/10 Settings.
- In Windows 11, go to “System > Display > Use HDR.” Now, select Battery options and then select the following two options:
- Allow HDR games, videos, and apps on battery.
- Allow streaming HDR video on battery.
- In Windows 10, go to “System > Display > Windows HD color settings.”Under the Battery options section, deselect the Don’t allow HDR games and apps on battery checkbox.
3] Colors are not appearing correctly on the built-in HDR-capable display of a laptop
Such an issue occurs when the default power settings on a Windows 11/10 device turn off the HDR option when the laptop runs on battery. To fix this problem, you have to allow Windows to play HDR content when the laptop is running on battery. We have already talked about how to enable HDR on battery in Windows 11/10.
4] Colors appear oversaturated when the night light is turned on
When the night light is turned on, you may see a red tint after enabling the HDR feature. To fix this problem, either decrease the strength of the night light by moving the slider to the left or turn off the night light.
Read: GPU Scaling vs Display Scaling explained.
How do I use HDR on my PC for gaming?
To use HDR for gaming on your PC, you should have an HDR-capable display. If you do not have an external display, your laptop’s built-in display should support HDR. Apart from that, your PC hardware should be capable of playing the HDR content. If you have an HDR-supported display and PC, first, turn on HDR in Windows settings. After that, turn on the HDR mode on your display. Now, the last step is to calibrate the display for HDR gaming. After calibrating the display successfully, you will be able to use HDR on your PC for gaming.
How can I make my Windows HDR look better?
In order to make your Windows HDR look better, you have to calibrate it correctly. The incorrect calibration of an HDR display will not deliver you the best quality videos and images.
Is HDR setting good for gaming?
High Dynamic Range (HDR) is one of the graphics enhancements that affect a user’s gaming experience in multiple ways. Playing a game on an HDR-supported computer with an HDR-capable display provides the gamers with a wide color gamut, deeper saturation levels, Brighter and more detailed highlights and shadows, more diverse contrast, etc. These advantages of HDR technology in gaming definitely boost the users’ gaming experience.
Can DisplayPort 1.2 do HDR?
No, the DisplayPort 1.2 does not support HDR content. To view the HDR content on your display, it should have the DisplayPort 1.4 or higher.
Read next: How to check If HDR is supported on a Windows 11 PC.