Current State of Linux /w Multiple Displays & 144Hz?

Hey, I must say I’m really a Linux guy at heart. Last time I attempted to permanently switch over to Linux it was a living hell of broken dependencies, having to do workarounds for everything, no compositors that’ll support 144hz like kwin only does 100hz for some reason and Compton caused its own issues, though it was an outdated version of it.

My setup is this:

  • I have a 1080p 144hz monitor and a 1080p 120hz TV, I only use one of them at a time.

My issues:

  • On Windows, when I switch from one monitor to the other it somehow knows to also switch the sound ouput, it doesn’t do this on Linux. I had a janky setup with 4 hotkeys that I had to press to switch between the different audio outputs and displays. Janky.
  • I could never get a good working compositor that does 144hz, if I remember correctly, whilst using Compton the window effects wouldn’t work or something like that, and the alternative being like Kwin locked at 100hz for seemingly arbitrary reasons or other jank.
  • Broken dependencies.
  • The whole system slowly breaking apart over time.

I recently saw one of LTT’s videos about Linux and I gave Manjaro a try on my laptop, to my amazement it worked flawlessly out of the box, even all the games I tried except Quake Champions which didn’t work due to either switchable graphics or something else.

I were thinking about doing Qubes OS but I have too many questions in the air regarding compositor supporting 144hz and GPU passthrough. Otherwise I were thinking maybe giving Manjaro a shot, what y’all think? Which compositor supports 144hz flawlessly? I’ve read about Steam having a compositor that sounds like it’d be the perfect fit but no way on how to use it outside of Steam games and whatnot. Maybe I’m thinking about compositors wrong or something and that’s why I’ve had so much issues, not sure.

None of them support it flawlessly unfortunately. The best luck I had was on KDE. There was still tearing and it plain doesnt work with other lower framerate monitors plugged in. You might get the mouse to be 144hz but the rest is a no go. Games of course are fine.

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Yeah, especially Steam games were flawless else you could just disable the compositor altogether when playing games too. With KDE I only get 100hz with kwin and also I fucking hate KDE it’s the worst dependency hell I’ve ever put my foot in and it’s too unstable in general from my testing. I really did try every single desktop environment and the one that sucks the least is XFCE, but they all have their problems.

how did you get to that result ?

Which distro did you try it on ?

Also which GPU do you use ?

I am with kde and I am fine.

never happened to me but I am guessing it’s distro dependent.

I can only guess but maybe you should take a look at a more stable release distro or something else than manjaro.
So what does that mean. In general there are mainly two types to distribute software.

One is called Stable, where every software release is throughout tested and usually released once a year. Once released gets only security patches and minor improvements. This in general is the most stable linux you will find. Better stability than windows. The main problem with this one is if you are a guy who likes to always have the latest tech/software it’s not for you. However I recommend it for every beginner.

The other is called Rolling release, which means instead you get one release per year, you get continuous releases every time a new tech is available. Rolling release distro’s are also called Bleeding edge for that you are on the edge on tech but you will bleed for it. ( usually bleed time for fixing stuff for yourself ). I don’t recommend Rolling release distros to new people because some things might brake seemingly randomly and most people wont know how to fix them even if they are easy to fix.

I don’t exactly remember but I suspect I were using Xubuntu as the distro. Haven’t had any problems with Manjaro or really used Manjaro except installed Manjaro on my laptop, totally unrelated though.

You say you’re with KDE and you’re fine, what do you exactly mean by that? Are you implying that you got a 144hz monitor and it works out of the box for you?

Choosing an Ubuntu derivative was a good idea as Ubuntu in general is stable. I am interested did you try KDE on Xubuntu ( I believe Xubuntu by default is XFCE Desktop environment ) ?

Yeah, KDE on Xubuntu was terrible.

Do you have a 144hz monitor?

Yes I do it’s AOC G2460PF. Also I have a second monitor iiyama prolite (60 Hz).
So there are two main ( there are a lot more but those two are the “mainstream” ) desktop environment toolkits for development. One is Qt on which KDE ( the desktop is actually called Plasma, KDE is the community ) is based and the other is GTK. Usually KDE supports GTK apps pretty good but the other way around things are tough, with some things working perfectly and some things breaking, but in general things are ok.

The problem comes when you try to install a Qt based OS on GTK based OS most of the times the installers don’t pull all the dependency’s and when you log in the Qt based environment you end up with a broken desktop.

What I would recommend for trying out Plasma 5 (KDE) is to try an OS with that environment already installed.
Some examples -
KDE Neon
Manjaro ( with Plasma desktop )
Fedora ( with plasma desktop, the default one is GNOME )

But Kwin is giving you 144hz no problem on KDE Plasma?


A few weeks back I was trying to help @Adubs with his setup ( unfortunately I don’t have an nvidia card to test his specific case ). On my setup everything is smooth and fine, but while trying to help him I found out a tool called “show FPS” in the “desktop effects” menu. Which showed a constant 100fps and I thought that Plasma desktop was supporting only up to 100fps.

With some more digging I found out that the tool is actually pretty old and doesn’t report more than 100fps even if your desktop runs at a higher rate.
But I wasn’t convinced and made some test with my phone camera ( 240FPS ) and I can confirm my 144Hz monitor does run at 144FPS.

Also while testing I found out that some of the default animations are kinda bad and don’t look like they are rendered at 144fps.

Do you have multiple monitors with just one 144hz and mixed refresh rate other monitors, or just one 144hz monitor?

Both are connected to the same graphics card RX 480. Both running at the same time. One uses the display port the other uses the HDMI.

I have nvidia with mixed refresh rate and no problems. But also I’m not running something as high as 144hz

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Did you end up getting 144hz working?

Compiling Compton from source for 144hz compositing, run fullscreen applications w/o compositor for no v-sync (you need v-sync for desktop or tearing is unbearable), then finally make scripts for every scenario of screens and audio setups etc and bind to different numpad keys, that way you can change your screens and audio with a button press.

So you’re togging & untoggling gsync when switching between fullscreen and windows apps somehow? If a browser is fullscreen, then it would also benefit from gsync, though, right?

Thoughts on performance in Wayland vs Xorg? No problems in either @ higher refresh rates on the desktop & in browsers?

Plasma5 works quite well however freesync/gsync is strictly 1 monitor per xorg server, it can’t work in dual monitor configurations unless their on separate xorg servers which introduces a slew of other problems and sort of defeats the purpose of dual monitor config.

Not sure when that limitation will be fixed under Linux.

You should make a new thread.