Monitors today are boasting higher refresh rates than ever. Marketing, geared towards gamers, boasts an edge up on the competition. If you’re wondering exactly what that advantage is or whether you need it, we’ll answer all of your questions below.
What is Refresh Rate?
Refresh rate is the number of times per second that a monitor draws or refreshes the image. Most modern monitors have a refresh rate of 60 Hertz or Hz. This means they can show 60 images per second. Gaming monitors may be available in 120Hz, 144Hz, or 240Hz varieties.
A high refresh rate along with a graphics card and CPU that can produce a high enough number of FPS will provide a smoother image by decreasing the perceived blur that our brain can see when there are too few frames.
How Does FPS Affect the Refresh Rate?
A frame is a single still image. When combined with other frames our brain sees a moving picture. FPS or frames per second is the number of times your computer can send the image to your monitor. This is typically controlled by the type of graphics card and CPU you have.
Ultimately, your FPS is completely controlled by the CPU and GPU and not the monitor. If, for example, your monitor has only 60 Hz and you’re getting 120 FPS in World of Warcraft, the monitor will effectively be capped at 60 frames.
When your PC is only sending 40 frames per second to your monitor, your monitor may then make up the gap
Screen tearing occurs when your PC is producing a different number FPS when compared to the refresh rate of your monitor. This could either be higher or lower. Technologies like VSync help to fix this problem by forcing your GPU to send a new frame only when the monitor is ready.
G-Sync and FreeSync, a more modern solution, also remedy this problem by communicating with the graphics card to allow the monitor to match the frame rate which your computer is producing.
What about Ghosting?
Ghosting is different than screen tearing and is represented by a trailing of a moving object across the screen by the original image. This is typically caused by slow pixel transition times where the pixel can’t transition quickly enough in order to correct the color. This problem can occasionally be solved by trying a new cable or turning off various motion blur options in games.
How Many Frames Per Second Can My Eyes See?
Technically your brain could process up to 1,000 frames per second. However, it’s around 250Hz where things really start to level out and we see what we’d consider a normal picture.
Whether or not you could notice the difference between something like a 120Hz and a 240Hz monitor is another matter altogether. Many people can’t. However, most people can tell the difference between something like a 60Hz monitor and a 120Hz monitor.
Will a Faster Refresh Rate Make You Better In Games?
Yes, although with diminishing returns. For example, going from 30 frames per second to 60 frames per second makes a huge difference. Going from 60 frames to 120Hz won’t feel like that; however, it does help to make it easier to read patterns and movements. Because of this, it also tends to help with reaction times.
Also, it should be noted that high refresh rate monitors typically have low input lag, the time delay between when you input a command from your mouse, keyboard, or other device and when it’s displayed on the screen. This can help a great deal as well.
Is 240Hz worth it vs 120Hz?
While I definitely think monitors up to 120Hz are worth it, is it worth it to pay for a 240Hz monitor? It depends. First of all, whether or not you can take advantage of the higher refresh rate depends upon your personal reaction time. The sharpness of the image is certainly perceptible, however, most average (not pro) gamers may only notice a slight improvement overall.
Plus, your GPU and CPU will have to be capable of the extra frames. Overall, you’ll have to decide whether or not the investment is worth it. Let us know what you think in the poll below.