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When you’re deciding on a new gaming monitor, one of the most important things to consider is the refresh rate. Gone are the days where 60hz gaming is the norm. Now, 144hz monitors are becoming increasingly common and there are even 240hz monitors entering the market. But which refresh rate is best?
There are two likely situations you will find yourself. If you like to play fast-paced and competitive games, the best monitor refresh rate is as high as possible (as long as your PC can match it in frames-per-second). If you play more casual and immersive games, you will want to favor a higher resolution over refresh rate.
Different Refresh Rates & What They Mean
Monitors come in many refresh rates. 60hz, 144hz, and 240hz monitors are the most common but there are refresh rates in between these too.
But what does the refresh rate mean?
The refresh rate of a monitor is the frequency at which the screen is refreshed. This means monitors with higher refresh rates, refresh the image quicker and you end up with a smoother picture.
Although frames-per-second and refresh rate are linked, they are not the same thing. FPS is the number of frames-per-second your PC can render, whereas refresh rate refers to how many times per second a new frame can be displayed.
The GIF below shows the difference between 60FPS, 30FPS, and 15FPS. (You will need to view this on at least a 60hz device to see the difference.)
Monitors with higher refresh rates are able to display more FPS. For example, a 144hz monitor will be able to display 144FPS. (This is why you need at least a 60hz monitor to see the 60FPS object in the GIF above.)
Is a Higher Refresh Rate Always Better?
When you’re simply comparing refresh rates, then yes, higher is always better. The problem is there are other factors to consider when choosing a monitor. There are two main things to consider:
- Resolution vs. refresh rate – A monitors resolution refers to the number of pixels displayed on the screen. High resolution monitors have a sharper image, but they also require more computing power to run. This means, unless you have a beastly PC, you won’t be able to generate enough FPS to warrant a high refresh rate monitor if you’re running at a high resolution. You will likely have to decide between a high refresh rate or high resolution. If you like to play fast-paced games, I would favor a high refresh rate, if you like to play slow-paced and immersive games, I would favor a higher resolution.
- Your hardware & the games you play – The second thing you need to consider is your hardware and how capable it is of running the games you enjoy. (You can checkout GameDebate to get an idea of how well your PC can run different games). For example, if you really like to play highly demanding games like The Witcher 3 and you have a relatively weak PC, you might only be able to get 40FPS. In this case it wouldn’t be worth investing in a high refresh rate monitor (unless, of course, you plan on upgrading your components any time soon).
Is 240hz Worth It?
Although it might be true that with everything else being equal, higher refresh rates are always better, you might be wondering at what point does the difference become unnoticeable.
At the moment, 144hz monitors are probably the most popular (at least for fast-paced gaming), but there are quite a few 240hz monitors entering the market. But are the extra hz noticeable?
The video below does a great job of answering this question.
Basically, Bitwit found that going from 100hz to 240hz did feel slightly more fluid and visually better, and going back to 100hz, it felt quite sluggish.
So to answer the question “is 240hz worth it”, well, it depends. If you like to play fast-paced games competitively and want the smoothest experience possible, then yes, 240hz is worth it. If you’re a more casual gamer, then unless budget isn’t an issue for you, it probably isn’t worth it.
Before you consider a 240hz monitor, make sure your PC is capable of getting at least 200FPS in the games you play, otherwise you won’t really be making use of the full potential of the monitor.
Choosing The Best Refresh Rate for You
Now we’ve gone through what we mean by refresh rates and taken into account other considerations, let’s look at the situations where each of the different refresh rates are suited.
I know there are monitors with different refresh rates than the ones below, but these are the most common and this should at least give you a good idea of what will be best suited for you.
When to Get a 60hz Monitor
There are two circumstances where I would recommend a 60hz monitor.
The first is if your PC isn’t particularly powerful and you can only get 60FPS (or not much more) at 1080p. The good news is that you can pick up a 1080p 60hz monitor fairly cheap, like the ASUS VN248Q-P.
- Ideal for a multi screen solution with a super narrow frame; Flicker free
- Best for work and play with Full HD 1080p visual quality and 178 degree ultra wide viewing angle
- ASUS VividPixel Technology for crystal clear and detail oriented enjoyment
- Inputs of VGA, HDMI, Display Port. Compliance and Standards- Energy Star, BSMI, CB, CCC, CE, C-Tick, CU, EPEAT (Gold, Bronze)...
The second is if you play slower-paced, more immersive games like RPGs. If you fall into this category, I would recommend a 60hz monitor in either 1440p or 4K, depending on how powerful your PC is. If you like these sorts of games, you will appreciate better picture quality over smoothness.
If your PC is capable of running the games you play in 1440p at around 60FPS, the Dell UltraSharp U2715H is a great option.
If you have a high end PC that’s capable of running 4K at around 60FPS, and you like to play slower, more immersive games, you might want to consider the BenQ PD3200U
- Exclusive AQColor technology covers a wide variety of color spaces such as Adobe RGB, sRGB and Rec. 709 ensuring the colors...
- View files side-by-side with DualView. Easily compare photos and videos in specialized CAD/CAM, Darkroom or Animation display...
- Ergonomic features allows you to customize your viewing experience with a tilt, twist or turn. Adjust the screen height or...
- Keyboard Video Mouse (KVM) Switch allows users to display files, photos or videos from two different computers on a single...
When to Get a 144hz Monitor
144hz monitors are best suited to most people who like to play fast-paced and competitive games like CSGO. You will have to sacrifice picture quality to make use of those extra hz, but for fast-paced gaming, a smooth experience is much more important.
For mid-range PCs, you will probably want to go for a 1080p 144hz monitor. The ViewSonic XG2401 is an excellent monitor in this category.
- BE THE DIFFERENCE: Full HD resolution, ultra fast 1ms response time, and amazing 144Hz refresh rate give you the edge in all...
- SMOOTH GAMING: AMD FreeSync technology enables smooth frame rates to aid you in battle
- IN IT TO WIN IT: A fully adjustable ergonomic stand and blue light filter delivers the comfort you need for marathon gaming...
- GAME ON: An arsenal of pre set customizable visual modes keeps you ready for any FPS, RTS, eSports, or MOBA games
If you have a higher-end PC that’s capable of pushing 144FPS at 1440p, you will get the most out of a 1440p 144hz monitor. The Dell S2716DGR is a great monitor in this category. Some people have found that the default picture setting are not great on this monitor so you will probably want to look up some guides on setting it up.
- Built in Devices: USB 3.0 hub
- Aspect Ratio : Widescreen : 16:9
- Contrast Ratio: 1000:1
- Input Connectors: HDMI, Display Port
When to Get a 240hz Monitor
If your PC is powerful enough to get at least 200FPS in your favourite games, and budget isn’t a big issue for you, you might want to get a 240hz monitor. There won’t be a huge difference over 144hz, but it will be noticeable switching between them. If you decide a 240hz monitor is the best for you, check out the BenQ XL2540.
- Lightning-fast 240 Hz refresh rate performance for a smooth gaming experience
- 1ms response time (GTG) to eliminate ghosting and lag providing the optimal gaming experience
- Exclusive color vibrancy and black equalizer technology to enhance visual clarity and customized color settings giving...
- Removable Shield that helps players focus on the game by blocking outside distractions paired with our s-switch that allows...
When everything else is considered equal, the best refresh rate for gaming is as high as possible. However, you need to take into account other factors such as resolution and your PC specs to find the best monitor for you. If you play fast-paced and competitive games, go for a high refresh rate monitor over high resolution. If you play more casual and immersive games, go for high resolution over high refresh rate.
Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API