When looking for a new gaming monitor, something that comes up all the time is refresh rate. What is the best refresh rate for gaming really and should you care? Yes, you should care, as the refresh rate is one of the most important stats in a gaming monitor.
The technology has come a long way the last few years and today, we have a big market of gaming monitors and one of the bigger buzzwords is refresh rate. For gaming, the higher the refresh rate is better, so it’s understood why that is.
In this article, you’ll learn what refresh rate is and why it’s important. Find out the benefits of a high refresh rate monitor and the requirements to take advantage of the high refresh rate.
What Does Refresh Rate Mean?
As you are looking for ways you can better your gaming setup, a phrase you will hear often is “refresh rate.” Generally, you are going to hear this phrase most when you are searching for monitors.
The refresh rate of your monitor, in simple terms, can be described as the maximum frames per second that your monitor can handle. Even if the computer itself can easily provide 200+ fps, a 60Hz monitor is still only going to display things at 60 fps.
To put things in more technical terms, the refresh rate is the number of times your monitor updates its buffer in a second. This isn’t to be confused with frames per second though. The two are actually pretty different, from a technical standpoint.
The largest difference between the refresh rate and the frames per second is that refresh rate involves drawing identical frames, whereas frames per second measure how often a video source feeds a whole frame of new data to display.
For example, a 60Hz monitor is pretty standard for computers, excluding high-end gaming rigs. A 120Hz monitor is going to be exactly twice as fast at processing images, meaning that instead of a cap of 60 fps, you will now have a maximum of 120 fps displayed.
Something to consider is that you should get the most out of your gaming rig. Do some research on what your computer is capable of running, graphics-wise. Then find a monitor that will be able to display that in its full potential.
After all, there is no use wasting money on a powerful computer when your monitor can only display things at a best of 60 frames per second.
The Standard 60Hz
The standard of nearly every monitor out there, save for the high-end rigs, is 60Hz.
60Hz is generally what you are going to find when you search for a monitor without any specific parameters. If you have no interest in making images, gameplay, and videos appear smoothly, then a 60Hz monitor is probably the best for you.
The problems occur when you want to have a higher fps count on your monitor. If you are able to run a game at 120 frames per second, you are going to have some issues if you have a 60Hz monitor equipped.
If you end up doing this, the image on the screen will appear blurred, as your monitor will have to find a way to compensate for the discrepancy. If you are playing a game that has high attention to detail or requires you to have a crystal-clear image, you are going to be sorely disappointed.
That can be fixed with something called adaptive sync, which is a technique from the graphics cards’ manufacturers AMD and Nvidia. I’ve previously written an article about how that works and how it helps, which you can find by clicking here.
The Gaming Standard of 144Hz
With a 144Hz monitor, you can experience your games in smoothness and clarity that you would never be able to achieve with a 60Hz monitor.
In the world of gaming, particularly competitive gaming, a high refresh rate is expected. In fact, it has become standard that your monitor is around 144Hz, which is over double of the traditional standard of 60Hz.
If you have chosen to invest in a 144Hz monitor, then congratulations. You will be able to experience your games in a crisp 144 frames per second. With more frames displayed in a second, there will be a number of advantages.
Out of many advantages, there is one that more sensitive players might appreciate. Higher refresh rates will mean that images are crisper, which means that there will be far less motion blur caused by your monitor’s compensation. This means that there will be less motion sickness-inducing moments.
For instance, everything will be more responsive. With more frames being processed in a second, more data is being shown. This can give you that split-second edge over another person, which can easily be the winning or losing moment for your team.
In a game where a fraction of a second can, quite literally, determine the outcome of a game, a higher refresh rate is going to be paramount to success. If you have any interest in joining a competitive game, you should check out our best 144hz buying guide which you can find here.
The Ultimate Refresh Rate
Some people want to go even further beyond the gaming standard of 144Hz. With a 240Hz monitor, the differences will be astonishing.
240Hz is over 1.5 times better than a 144Hz monitor. This means that it is around four times better than a 60Hz monitor. If you placed a 240Hz monitor beside a 60Hz one, the difference would make you never look at a 60Hz monitor again.
If the difference from 60Hz to 144Hz is something that has changed the standards of gaming, then the change from 144Hz to 240Hz is a must for any gamer who wishes to take things to the next level.
The jump might not feel as drastic as the initial change to the 144Hz monitor, but many people who have switched say that the difference is still pretty noticeable. If you want to take competitive gaming to a stage where it can truly change the course of your life, then a 240Hz monitor should be the next thing you look at.
Game Genres That Benefit from a High Refresh Rate
If you have purchased a monitor with a high refresh rate, but are not too sure where you can put that potential to use, then don’t worry. Generally, a higher refresh rate is going to be the best refresh rate for gaming. There are a few different genres to consider.
With a higher refresh rate, you will be able to have an edge over players in fast-paced games. For instance, shooters and FPS (in this case, first-person shooters) games are common examples. You will need the crisp display to detect even the finest of movements from the opposing team.
Other games, such as MOBAs and MMOs, (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, and Massively Multiplayer Online, respectively) require you to be able to react to an enemy’s attack in your next heartbeat. Having a crisp monitor is going to make that a little bit easier, as the image won’t be clouded by motion blur.
A newer genre, battle royales, can also benefit from this. Combining aspects of shooters and MOBAs, battle royales require you to fight to the death on your own or with a team against large numbers of other people. A higher refresh rate is going to improve your response time, increasing the chances you win the tournament.
The best refresh rate for gaming is always the highest number. As PC gamers, we don’t want our monitors to hold us back, especially if we have invested in brutal gaming right with a high-end graphics card.
60Hz is possible to game on but there is a big need for adaptive sync technology, as that will help you remove the blur and ghosting that will appear if your PC outputs more than 60fps. The adaptive sync can also help with higher refresh rate monitors as well and today, most gaming monitors have some form of adaptive sync technology.
Nit a 240Hz monitor is the holy grail of gaming monitors if you are looking at the refresh rate. Today, the hardware in many gaming rigs can output 240+ fps in full HD (120×1080) without problems and it’s this type of monitor that can take advantage of it.
As a general rule, buy the monitor with 144Hz or more if you can afford it. The market is big and there is a lot to choose from. Take advantage of that.