When outfitting the high-end gaming computer of their dreams, gamers know they need to shell out for top of the line CPUs and graphics cards. But are expensive monitors necessary?
It turns out that there is a limit to the benefits that high end monitors can provide. It all depends on the rest of your equipment. If you don’t want to waste your money on unnecessary tech, you need to understand refresh rates.
One of the biggest selling points of monitors today is their high refresh rate. When looking for a monitor you will see them marketed as 60hz, 120hz, 144hz or even 240hz. This is the most confusing part when for customers when it comes to finding the perfect monitor.
Hz is the abbreviation for hertz, and is used to describe refresh rate, which is the number of times the display refreshes its image per second. Refresh rate is not to be confused with frame rate. Frame rate is the number of frames per second that the game itself is generating. If the game is generating frames at a faster pace than the monitor is refreshing, then you aren’t going to see those extra frames. And if the game is generating a lower frame rate than your monitor’s refresh rate, then increasing the refresh rate isn’t going to change anything.
If you are looking at 144hz you should make sure your computer can run a game at least 100 frames per second to justify getting a monitor with that high of a refresh rate, if your computer can play games at a high enough frame rate you will be able to the sharpness of the moving image and it won’t be as blurry as a lower refresh rate monitor.
Screen tearing, which is when two parts of the screen show different images, can occur when the graphics card is sending out frames faster than the refresh rate of the monitor.
Another issue to consider is input response. Basically, the higher refresh rate monitors will respond to your input faster, reducing lag. However, the differences are tiny and unlikely to be noticed by most gamers. For example, a 60hz monitor will lag by 16.67ms (because that is the amount of time it takes to refresh) whereas a 120hz display, refreshing twice as fast, reduces that to 8.33ms. If you are a highly competitive gamer, that 8 milliseconds might make a difference, otherwise, it may not even be noticeable.
So pay attention to the frame rates that your gaming PC is able to output on your games and ensure that the refresh rate of your monitor is just a little higher than that.