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Best Refresh Rate for Gaming | Just How Many FPS is Enough for a Smooth Gameplay?

While high refresh rate monitors support running more games without input lag than slower ones, how your game runs also depends on your gaming level and your game's complexity.

For instance, a 60 fps monitor may function fine in slow action. Given the affordability of the monitors at this refresh rate, it may be the best performance to get.

For a much smoother experience, you may consider a 240Hz gaming monitor (go to reviews) to enjoy all games without any image quality hustles.

So, what is the best refresh rate you should consider for gaming? Below is a walkthrough of what to expect depending on the frames per second a particular monitor can deliver.

What Is Hz?

Hertz(Hz) refers to the pictures your monitor displays per second. That means that 60Hz monitors refresh 60 images each second, whereas 120Hz monitors display (see here for the best buys) 120 pictures per second. 

A higher Hz number enables you to get more images each second, resulting in more fluid displays on the monitor. A high refresh rate (measured in Hz) provides smoother displays, critical during intense games.

two monitor on the working desk

What Impact Does the Refresh Rate Have on Gaming Experience?

Determining the refresh rate difference is not as easy for newbies and average users as it is for seasoned gamers. The minimal differences in refresh rates are integral for smooth gameplay in competitive titles, especially first-person shooter games like Valorant, Battlefield, and Overwatch.

Notably, the refresh rate does not affect the image quality but its smoothness. A 60Hz screen displays 60 unique pictures in a second, whereas a 120Hz monitor offers 120 images in the same time scale. In short, your monitor's refresh rate does not affect the game's graphics but only the fluidity of the images.

monitor under 200

What Is the Best Hz Rate for Gaming?

In a nutshell, 60Hz monitors are suitable for novice players. 75Hz monitors are a slight upgrade to 60Hz monitors, ideal for novice gamers in shooter games.

At a 144Hz refresh rate, you get more refined images ideal for experienced players. A 240Hz monitor for gaming is superb for competitive gamers and super-fast action addicts.

Is a Higher Refresh Rate Better for Gaming?

Gaming at a high refresh rate may immensely affect your gaming experience. These Xbox One X monitors we reviewed earlier are top examples. Fast refresh rates are particularly crucial in fast-paced action where each frame counts. However, simply getting 144Hz or 240 fps monitors is not enough to enjoy a swift performance.

Your system should have the capacity to handle these frame rates for you to exploit the higher refresh rates properly.

Is 60Hz Good for Gaming?

A 60Hz refresh rate monitor displays 60 images every second. Some gamers consider this frame rate as a suitable performance. A high-end video card is unnecessary for your gaming monitor (click here for the top 32'' gaming monitors) to deliver 60 frames per second in Full HD. For this reason, 60 Hz refresh rate monitors are okay for newbie gamers.

Simplistic titles like Minecraft with minimal moving characters run fine at 60 hertz. Moreover, adventure games like Red Dead Redemption and Batman: Arkham Asylum play smoothly at this rate.

boy playing games

Is 75Hz Good for Gaming?

Monitors operating at a 75Hz refresh rate are slightly faster than 60 hertz, as they offer 25% more images every second. When doing sim racing and playing shooting games, this difference might be what you need to outsmart your opponents.

Nevertheless, a seasoned enthusiast may notice some stuttering while a novice gamer is unlikely to detect the dissimilarity.

A screen delivering 75 frames per second is suitable for novice gamers that play shooter titles or if you want a better performance than 60 fps without overstretching your budget.

Should I Get a 120 Hz Monitor?

A 120Hz monitor displays 120 images each second, a superior and noticeable dissimilarity from the previous two refresh rates. This monitor displays an image about once each eighth millisecond.

Getting a 120Hz monitor is somewhat unreasonable and therefore unrecommended. While it feels silly to include 120Hz monitors, it is essential to note how much you pay for losing 24 frames. Though it seems tiny, you are likely to regret getting such a screen rather than a 144Hz one.

Besides, 120Hz gaming monitors are not readily available, and given the affordability of 144Hz monitors in recent years, it is unwise to lose out on the improved operation.

That said, we know some gamers might be unable to afford the 144Hz monitors, and opting for a 120Hz option is a considerably pleasant center ground to get a responsive operation at a more budget price.

nice room for a gamer

Is 144 Hz Good for Gaming?

A 144Hz display features smooth pictures. This performance is essential in shooter games and other fast-paced titles.

There is a defined dissimilarity between a 60-hertz monitor and one at 144Hz. While your screen noticeably tears at 60Hz, a monitor at 144Hz barely shows motion blur.

Although you'll spend slightly more to acquire a 144Hz monitor than lower refresh rates, you'll have better graphics at this performance, essential in easing your subject detection.

Should I Get a 240Hz Refresh Rate?

A 240Hz refresh rate offers a more realistic image quality with a smoother motion than the previous refresh rates. However, you may find it challenging to notice the difference between a 24oHz monitor and one putting out 144 frames per second if you don't engage in e-sports tournaments or are a die-hard lover.

A 240 fps monitor delivers sharper images for tear-free gaming and updates your gaming environment much faster than lower refresh rates. If you envision competitive gaming, such a high refresh rate should be of time consideration.

two excellent monitors

FreeSync and G-Sync

If you have a 144Hz monitor running with a graphics card that delivers a 144 frame rate, you should get precise, smooth images. The frame rate your video card offers changes each second. In effect, your monitor experiences irregularities like screen tearing.

The incorporation of G-Sync or FreeSync technologies allows your gaming monitor to circumvent these instances. Adaptive sync ensures your monitor runs in tandem with your graphic card's frame rate to eliminate the stuttering.

Hardware Requirements for Your Gaming Monitor

A high refresh rate demands a powerful graphics card. As a result, you require a better video card for a 144Hz monitor than for one operating at 60Hz.

The resolution also impacts the quality of your monitor image and the type of hardware you need. A monitor with 4K resolution requires a more powerful graphics card than a gaming monitor with Full HD quality.

graphic card

Can 60Hz Run 120fps?

Such a monitor takes 60 frames from the buffer. If precisely 60 frames are available at the needed clock speed, you will get 60 frames.

If 120 frames of data get pushed, some will merge. While your buffer adjusts at 120 fps, the monitor reads at 60. Your monitor registers data from a single frame and tries to display it. Before it fully renders the frame, it gets replaced with another frame. Consequently, the frame data gets lost. The next section of the screen rendered will then come from the following frame resulting in tearing.

To avoid stuttering, your GPU FPS should be stable at 60.

What Refresh Rate is Perceivable to the Human Eye

TV shows and videos typically display content at 30 to 24 frames per second. Gaming monitors have a much higher refresh rate than this, affecting what you see and how the game flows.

When using a gaming computer with a 60 fps operation, the brain processes your gaming monitor's light as a single steady stream instead of a sequence of flickering lights. Higher refresh rates usually mean less flicker.

In the past, researchers maintained that the majority of individuals could only perceive flicker rate up to about 50 to 90Hz, or the optimal frames every second perceivable by the human eye picked at 60.

According to studies, our eyes can detect higher levels of flicker rate than what experts previously thought.

Is understanding your gaming computer's flicker rate essential? Whether watching movies or playing games, it is pretty distracting to see flickering displays instead of a smooth stream of pictures and light.

gaming setup

So, what extent of refresh rate is discernible to your eyes?

You may wonder what occurs when gaming at fast frame rates. Can your eyes detect all those frames that roll out? After all, your eyes don't move as swiftly as 30 images each second.

You may not consciously detect these frames, although your brain and eyes can perceive them.

Conclusion: What Are the Best Refresh Rates for Gaming?

So, what refresh rate is suitable for gaming? A 240Hz screen offers you the versatility to try different games and have smooth, tear-free images. Regardless, some games display excellently at only 60 frames a second.

While 240Hz monitors are best in any situation, a 60Hz screen might be your best option if you play undemanding games. At this level, you can still get smooth displays while slicing your budget.

If you are going for higher refresh rates, remember to use graphics cards that allow your gaming computer to take advantage of the higher frame rate.

About Lawrence Jung

Lawrence graduated cum laude from Boston University with a B.S. in Journalism. He then started working with The New York Times for 3 years as an editor. Upon their acquisition of online review website the Wire Cutter he became exposed to the digital world of review-style articles and digital content. He was a writer for many tech review products where he developed his expertise in the electronic and PC peripheral space. He quickly got promoted to managing a writing team where he was responsible for training and managing a team of over a dozen writers. After being there for another 3.5 years, Lawrence left in late 2019 to help Dusan create VSS Monitoring, where he could help design and contribute to the site’s content and website’s architecture to develop what he wants to become THE top tech resource online.

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