What is the best refresh rate for gaming? You may have heard rumors of 240Hz monitors or perhaps a 120Hz monitor. What’s the difference and which should you get? To answer that question we’ll need to talk about monitors and refresh rates.
Cinema, Concerts, Theater. These are places where you are not only watching an action but also enjoying it. This enjoyment is made possible by refresh rate of the screen which is measured in Hertz (Hz). The refresh rate of a monitor determines how many times per second the monitor updates its display. This number also determines the maximum frame rate of the PC. We will be covering in this guide what are the best settings for gaming.
As you start to dig into the specifications of various build configurations, one item high on the list is refresh rate. This is a term that’s been tossed around quite often when it comes to building gaming PCs. But what is a refresh rate and how exactly does it affect your gaming experience?
So, What is Refresh rate and Why it is Important?
If you are a hardcore gamer, you probably already know about the refresh rate of your monitor. For the rest of you though, it may be something new and foreign. You need to know about it though because it will make a huge impact on how you view gaming and what refresh rate is ideal for you. Most gamers have never heard of the refresh rate of their monitor and that’s because its something that is not relevant until they tweak their settings to get a competitive advantage against other gamers.
The refresh rate of your monitor refers to how often per second that your video card can send new information to the monitor, which means in theory if the maximum refresh rate of your monitor was 60hz, then you could never move more than 60 frames per second on your screen at any given time. But most people do not game in this manner, instead opting for smooth motion that has little to no input lag (which is what causes strobing).
Refresh Rate Importance
These days, there are many components that affect your gaming performance. RAM speed, hard drive speed, processor speed, video card speed, monitor refresh rate and so on. No one wants to lag behind or feel like their computer isn’t performing well in comparison to others. Whether you’re looking to build a budget gaming PC or a full-blown rig with the most expensive graphics card available (ahem, Destiny players), there’s more to consider than just what’s best for WoW raiding.
Settling for a monitor with a refresh rate of 60 Hz is no big deal for most people. However, when gaming, the human eye can pick up the flaws in frame rates below 60 Hz far more easily. For those looking for a smooth gaming experience and are willing to shell out a significant amount of money for it, higher refresh rate monitors are recommended.
Why 60Hz is not recommended for High end gaming – When it comes to competitive gaming, there are a lot of things you need to consider when building your system. You want a reliable processor and plenty of RAM, but you also need a high-quality GPU and monitor. Every gaming PC needs the best refresh rate monitor in order to play games at their highest frame rates. At 60Hz, each frame is going to take about 16ms or less, meaning the screen acts as a shutter that can only open for such a short time. This limits how much information you can see on screen with each pass — which directly affects how well you can react.
Depending on your gaming setup, a higher refresh rate monitor might not be entirely necessary. You’ll pay a premium for a 27-inch 144Hz G-Sync or FreeSync monitor, and chances are you won’t play every game at 144 fps. However, if you have the budget for it and want to maximize your gaming performance and get the best visuals your monitor can display, picking out the right amount of Hz to get is crucial!
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After years of development and increasing demand, high refresh rate gaming monitors have steadily increased in price since their introduction to the market. Although marketed as a premium product, there are plenty of budget options available for those just getting into the world of high refresh rate monitors.
You should consider your budget when purchasing a monitor as some budget options lack basic features or may not include a stand. Regardless of your choice of monitor, you’ll need to set yourself up with a system that can support the higher refresh rate you’re looking for. This will ensure you’re getting the most out of your monitor and won’t run into any problems later down the line.
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Best refresh rate for high-tier competitive gaming
It is 240 to 360Hz
When it comes to competitive CS:GO, Overwatch, or TF2, high refresh rates are considered to be a must. Competitive gaming is one of the industries that helped push development of products such as the BenQ Zowie XL2411 and ASUS ROG Swift PG248Q which feature 240Hz panels.
Most competitive gamers are practically required to use a high refresh rate monitor in order to keep up with the other players. If you do not have an extremely powerful system, it is likely that any fps above 240 is out of your reach as a competitive gamer. This can put competitive gamers in a pickle because they have to decide between image quality versus frame rate in competitive games. The more frames per second you get the better your overall performance.
Best refresh rate for Mid-tier gaming
It is 165Hz
So, you’ve got your card, it can kick out more frames than 144 frames per second on an average. You don’t want to settle for anything under 240Hz but you don’t want to spend the extra $200 on the higher-tier gaming monitors in order to save a few bucks. If that is the case, then I recommend running a 165Hz monitor where you will be able to crank out up to 140+ frames without spending $400-$500 on a gaming monitor.
For high-end gaming, 164Hz monitors are the best when it comes down to smoothness and performance. This is why many of the major gaming brands like Asus, Acer, AOC as well as Samsung have unveiled a plethora of 164Hz monitors. The difference between 144Hz and 160Hz is not that huge for AAA titles, but for smoother gameplay in mid-tier games, 160Hz does its job well.
Best refresh rate for everyday gaming or Streaming on Twitch
It is 144Hz
A 144Hz refresh rate is an industry standard that proves you’re serious about gaming. It offers smooth gameplay, removes ghosting, and prevents screen tearing. By far, the moment you switch to a 144Hz monitor you’ll notice the difference immediately. The big name brands such as Asus, BenQ, Acer, Samsung, and more make great TN-based 144HZ monitors that start at $200.
These are also great options for gamers who are looking to play games above a typical difficulty level of normal because it eases the strain on your graphics card by freeing up some of its workload in delivering frames at a faster rate. However if you don’t have the money for a 144Hz monitor, go for a 120Hz or even better yet, a 60Hz-75Hz one — but only if you can’t afford anything higher than 60Hz.
Best refresh rate for casual gaming
60Hz gaming monitors have been at the top of the casual gaming monitor market for many years. If you’re a casual gamer, you may only play occasionally at night or weekends. In this case, high refresh rate monitors won’t be of the utmost importance. However, if you’re a mid to hardcore gamer who plays competitively and puts their skills to the test against other gamers, having a high refresh rate monitor can give you an edge.
Some thoughts on best refresh rate for gaming?
Depending on the hardware you will be running it becomes easier to notice differences. When comparing two 60Hz monitors, you won’t notice much difference until you go back and forth a couple times. You might notice aggressive mouse movement feels a bit smoother in games, but that doesn’t mean much. Jumping up to a 144Hz monitor is a different story.
Now it’s easy to see differences, as the extra frames really help make a bigger impact when it comes to reducing motion blur and input lag. 1440p at 144Hz can make the difference between high and low end gaming more noticeable. It takes powerful hardware (GTX 1070 / i7-7700K) to get close to 60FPS at 1440p, however, so don’t expect playable FPS numbers with just any PC. After that, the jump to 4K @ 144Hz is crazy impressive because even your most powerful graphics cards will have trouble pumping out enough FPS at 4K resolution. If you’ve got a high refresh rate display and want something to compliment it, Nvidia G-Sync or AMD FreeSync are both good options before spending money on something like Quantum Dot displays.