Gaming Console 101

Xbox Series X 1440P 120Hz Not Working – Causes Explained

Gaming has evolved to a point where we can now talk about resolutions beyond 1080P and frame rates beyond 60FPS and of course, the new gaming consoles are making these new graphics trends more mainstream.

However, with things advancing so fast, and with all the bells and whistles involved in understanding how the entire setup of a gaming console and its peripherals work together, you are bound to run into one problem or the other.

One such problem is Xbox Series X 1440P 120Hz not working on a shiny new QHD monitor that you just bought. This can be the most disappointing issue you can come across given that it actually does cost a fortune to get your hands on a 1440P monitor that too which works at 120Hz refresh rate.

Unfortunately, there are many reasons that can cause this issue. choice home warranty george foreman You could be using the wrong HDMI cable, or perhaps you do not have the right settings enabled in Xbox Series X or your monitor SIMPLY does not support 120Hz refresh rate at all – which can be a huge bummer.

Things were simpler back with the older generation of consoles. Now you have different graphics modes i.e. performance and quality modes. You have different gaming consoles i.e. Series S and Series X and even different versions of HDMI ports and cables that you need to be aware of in order for your equipment to work properly.

In the following text, I will shed more light on all the possible reasons for your Xbox Series X not working on 1440 @ 120Hz on your new monitor.

So What Can Cause Xbox Series X 1440P 120Hz Not Working?

There are three possible reasons for your Xbox Series X to not work at 120Hz refresh rate on your new 1440P monitor:

  1. You are Using an Incorrect HDMI Cable
  2. You Do Not Have the Right Settings Enabled
  3. Your Monitor Simply Does Not Support the 120Hz Refresh Rate

Let me discuss each of these in detail:

1. You are Using an Incorrect HDMI Cable

One of the most important characteristics of display connectivity you need to understand for this generation of consoles is that there are different versions of HDMI ports.

With each newer version of HDMI, the bandwidth or the data that can be transmitted increases. The higher the bandwidth the higher the resolution and the refresh rate supported.

HDMI VersionMax ResolutionRefresh RateHDR
1.21440P1080P = 60Hz
1440P = 30Hz
1.3-1.44K (4096 x 2160)1080P = 120Hz
1440P = 60Hz
4K = 30Hz
2.04K (4096 x 2160)1080P = 240Hz
1440P = 144Hz
4K = 60Hz
2.18K (7680 x 4320)1440P = 240Hz
4K = 144Hz
4K = 240Hz (DSC)
8K = 120Hz (DSC)

The following table explains this better. The vast majority of us are familiar with HDMI 1.4 as this is still the most common interface for devices rated at FHD resolution.

A QHD (1440P) monitor with a 120 – 144Hz refresh rate has AT LEAST an HDMI 2.0 port.

Now in order to cater to the high bandwidth of the more advanced ports i.e. HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 2.1, you need to have the right HDMI cable.

And yes, just as there are different versions of HDMI ports, there are different versions of HDMI cables too.

The following table explains the different HDMI cables catering to different interface versions.

HDMI Cable CertificationSupported SpecsIntended HDMI
Port Version
Standard1080P @ 60Hz1.0-1.3
High SpeedFHD @ 144Hz
QHD @ 60Hz
4K @ 30hz
Premium High SpeedFHD @ 240Hz
QHD @ 144Hz
4K @ 60Hz
Ultra High SpeedFHD @ > 240Hz
1440P @ > 240Hz
4K @ 144Hz (240Hz with DSC)
8K @ 120Hz (DSC)
10K @ 120Hz (DSC)

As you can see, you need to have at least a Premium HDMI cable, aka HDMI 2.0 cable, in order for a 1440P monitor to work at a 120-144Hz refresh rate.

If you were to use an HDMI 1.4 or the High-Speed HDMI cables (the most common ones you see lying around), then your 1440P monitor will ONLY work at a maximum of 60Hz.

Fortunately, Xbox Series X comes with an Ultra High-Speed cable since it has an HDMI 2.1 output port. But if you using a replacement, be mindful of the cable version.

2. You Do Not Have the Right Settings Enabled

Xbox Series X is supposed to automatically adjust the refresh rate to 120Hz if your TV or your monitor supports it.

However, there are times when you may have to set the refresh rate to 120Hz manually.

For this head over to:

  1. Settings from the Home menu
  2. From the General Tab on the Left, select “TV and Display Options
  3. Under the Display heading, select “Refresh Rate” and change it to 120Hz, if you see the option.

Xbox Series X 1440P 120Hz Not Working

If you DO NOT see 120Hz refresh rate, and you have made sure that you are using the right cable, then you can dig a bit more into the settings.

  1. Go to “Video Modes” under the Advanced heading
  2. Leave the “Allow 4K” checkbox unchecked
  3. In the same window, make sure that the “Allow Variable Refresh Rate” is checked.

For more details, you can follow the advice in this youtube video:

If this solution does not work for you, then the issue could be monitor/console related as discussed below:

3. Your Monitor Simply Does Not Support the 120Hz Refresh Rate

This is perhaps the most dreaded conclusion we can come to in case if your 1440P monitor does not support 120Hz even after making sure that the cable is correct and that the settings are properly configured.

There are two issues here:

  1. The monitor does not have a 120Hz mode at all – this is a monitor issue
  2. The monitor does not have the right timings – this is a console issue

And in both cases, there is nothing you can do other than exchanging the monitor or settling for 60Hz Refresh Rate.

120Hz Mode Not Supported

Gamers often make the mistake of believing that if a certain montior is rated at 1t 144Hz or 165Hz refresh rate, then it will be able to support all the other refresh rates that or lower by default.

That is hardly the case though. You may end getting your hands on a monitor that in fact does not have a 120Hz mode at all DESPITE being a 144Hz or a higher refresh rate monitor.

Dell S2719DGF display modes

Take for instance the display modes of Dell S2719DGF 144Hz gaming monitor above. You can see here that despite being a 144Hz monitor, it DOES NOT have support for 120Hz mode at all.

As such, it only works at the maximum refresh rate of 60Hz.

The Issue of Monitor Timing

This issue was highlighted by an Xbox Ambassador on the Microsoft official forum.

He said:

This is a very, very common issue, and at the moment, there isn’t a lot you can do about it. The problem is, the Xbox expects to see certain timings from the display, but many PC monitors have custom timings.

He goes on to say that the console wants to see the timings rated at 119.98Hz, but if the monitor is rated at a different timing such as 119.88 Hz, then 120Hz will simply not work.

Since 1440P monitors are more catered towards the PC community, having different timings is not much of an issue, but since Xbox Series X is stringent with its display modes, it wants to see specific timings.

He also says that this is an issue with the console and not the fault of the monitor and again, there is nothing you can do about it.

The only way around this problem is to replace your monitor for a 1440P 120Hz monitor that is KNOWN to work at 120FPS with Xbox Series X.

Atif Qazi

Atif Qazi is the founder of and a huge gaming nerd. Thanks to the vast gaming experience under his belt, you can often find him writing detailed pieces of content on gaming hardware and console. But in all honesty, nothing gives him more pleasure than 'one-shotting' everyone as a stealth archer in ESO: Skyrim.

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