The most popular refresh rate for gamers is currently 144 Hz. Higher refresh rates will create a smoother gaming experience, but monitors that refresh at 144 Hz are a good balance of performance and price.
In the rest of the article, we will learn what a refresh rate is, how it is measured, how refresh rates affect the gaming experience, and which components other than your screen can affect your final refresh rate. We will also look at some of the most common refresh rates and their uses.
- What Is Refresh Rate?
- How Does Refresh Rate Affect Gaming?
- What Other Components Limit Your Refresh Rate?
- Is 60 Hz a Good Refresh Rate for Gaming?
- Is 144 Hz a Good Refresh Rate for Gaming?
- Is 165 Hz a Good Refresh Rate for Gaming?
- Is 240 Hz a Good Refresh Rate for Gaming?
- Is 360 Hz a Good Refresh Rate for Gaming?
What Is Refresh Rate?
When we talk about a monitor’s refresh rate, we refer to the number of times it draws a new image on the screen. Because a monitor cannot create real movement, it creates an illusion of movement by displaying a series of still images quickly. The faster the refresh rate, the more like movement it will look.
Measuring Refresh Rate
Refresh rates are measured in hertz, written as “Hz.” Hertz is a measure of frequency, with the number representing the quantity of cycles per second. For example, if your monitor is 60 Hz, it can support rendering up to 60 still frames for each second of time.
How Does Refresh Rate Affect Gaming?
Assuming your refresh rate is not being further limited by your main hardware, the refresh rate of your monitor effectively delays what is going on in your computer from being made visible to you. If your screen is limited to 60 Hz, but the game you’re playing is running at 120 frames per second, you will be missing every other cycle since you won’t see them.
This might sound like an unimportant difference. For example, if you are playing a tile-matching game or a turn-based strategy, the refresh rate won’t harm your experience unless it drops very low.
On the other hand, if you’re playing a first-person shooter or any game based on fast reactions to what is going on around you, a good refresh rate can be crucial. The same is true if you are involved in competitive gaming, where split-second reactions can be the difference between victory and defeat.
What Other Components Limit Your Refresh Rate?
Before spending a significant sum of money on that 360 Hz monitor, you need to ensure that the rest of your hardware can run your games at that many frames per second. Your CPU and your graphics card’s GPU will be the primary predictors for frame rate, but your RAM and VRAM play a considerable part as well, especially if they’re only just meeting the requirements.
Because your monitor can only display what images your graphics card is sending, you will get no advantage from having a screen with a higher refresh rate than your system can manage to work with.
In other words, if your computer is struggling to run your game and is only managing 15 frames per second, your 60 Hz monitor won’t be able to compensate for it. In this scenario, this game would appear the same on a 30 Hz monitor.
The best way to determine what framerate your computer is capable of is to run benchmarks for the games that you play on it. Many games will have built-in benchmark tools accessible from the menu. For those that don’t, software like Fraps can show you your framerate at any given time while you are in a game.
Is 60 Hz a Good Refresh Rate for Gaming?
60 Hz is considered a minimum for a gaming computer. The good news is that very few monitors are sold with lower refresh rates than that these days, so they are very affordable.
At 60 Hz, you may still experience noticeable delays when, for example, involved in competitive gaming. A screen with this refresh rate is perfectly acceptable for casual gaming, where any deficits will be unlikely to damage your experience too much.
Is 144 Hz a Good Refresh Rate for Gaming?
144 Hz is the refresh rate that most gamers will opt for. You will experience the most significant advantage in rate jumps when you move from 60 Hz to 144 Hz. This refresh rate is also easy for mid-range computers to keep up with, making it a good option when balancing economics with high performance.
Is 165 Hz a Good Refresh Rate for Gaming?
Monitors that work at 165 Hz are a good compromise between the more standard 144 Hz and the much higher-performance screens that tend to command significantly higher prices. This refresh rate will also still fall within the capabilities of a portion of mid-range hardware, keeping it practical.
Is 240 Hz a Good Refresh Rate for Gaming?
If you are a serious competitive gamer, a 240 Hz monitor will give you the performance you need to excel at your sport. You will need high-performance hardware in the rest of your computer to manage framerates at this level, but if you already have them, a 240 Hz screen will give you crystal clear motion, keeping you ahead of all your opponents.
Is 360 Hz a Good Refresh Rate for Gaming?
360 Hz is one of the highest framerates you can get for a monitor. There is controversy over how much difference you will be able to perceive from the difference between 240 Hz and 360 Hz. These monitors are expensive, and so are the other components you need to run your games at these kinds of framerates.
Since the difference in performance is so tiny, and the increase in price so big, 360 Hz monitors are treated as a novelty. However, as technology continues to improve, we may see this becoming much more commonplace.
When looking at the best refresh rate for gaming, we’ve established that 144 Hz is the sweet spot between cost and performance, but we’ve also looked at some of the other refresh rates and where they might be suitable.