Will a high refresh rate monitor make you a better gamer?

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HUGON 75Hz Curved Gaming Monitor fo...
HUGON 75Hz Curved Gaming Monitor for PC Review – Best Priced Curved Monitor on the Market!
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High refresh rate games are more accessible than ever and bring some tangible benefits to multiplayer titles. But will these benefits be a game changer and improve your performance?

High Refresh Rate Games Explained

The refresh rate of a television or computer monitor describes how many times the screen is refreshed in a single second. Measured in Hertz (Hz), a 60Hz refresh rate is the baseline found on most “office” monitors designed for productivity and most TVs made up to a few years ago.

By contrast, a 240Hz high refresh rate monitor refreshes four times faster than a comparable 60Hz display. Many new TVs now include 120Hz panels, which refresh twice as often per second compared to older screens. If you can take advantage of the higher refresh rates, you could be seeing four (or more) times as many frames.

A PC gaming setup with a monitor, gaming chair, and LED lighting.
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Ultra-high-end computer monitors can achieve refresh rates of up to 360Hz, but this comes at a cost in resolution and screen size. To take advantage of high refresh rates, you’ll need a comparably high frame rate. There’s no point in investing in a 240Hz monitor if your computer can’t spit out 240 frames per second on your favorite games, so limiting the resolution (and overall image quality) is one way to do that.

Consoles like the Xbox Series X (or S) and PlayStation 5 are capable of 120Hz gaming, but these modes often require a downgrade in overall graphical fidelity. There may be a bit of frame rate jitter, but thankfully this isn’t that noticeable at the higher end of the spectrum, especially when using variable refresh rate technology.

There are also bandwidth considerations of the HDMI and DisplayPort connections to consider. For example: HDMI 2.0b supports a total bandwidth of 18 Gbps. A 1080p image with a color depth of 10 bits and a refresh rate of 240 Hz requires 17.92 Gbps. For higher resolutions you would need to use HDMI 2.1 or DisplayPort 1.4.

Competitive Advantages of Higher Refresh Rates

A noticeably sharper image and smoother motion. This may not help your performance, but it can make gaming a more enjoyable experience. This is comparable to a comfortable chair.

More frames, a more up-to-date view of what’s happening on the screen. Your monitor can display an on-screen event (such as an enemy spawning) up to four times faster than a competitor if you’re using 240Hz and they’re stuck at 60Hz

Reduced delay in translating your movements to on-screen updates, particularly useful when tracking targets in marksmen

There is some research on this, with an experiment conducted by Korea’s Hanyang University (on a limited sample size of 12 participants) showing a narrow 3 percent speed increase when using refresh rates higher than 144 Hz on compared to 60 Hz. The LinusTechTips YouTube channel demonstrated similar results in reaction times when comparing 60 Hz, 144 Hz, and 240 Hz monitors.

Research by Aiming.Pro, which describes itself as “the online aiming trainer” for first-person shooter enthusiasts, concluded that “players with 144Hz monitors scored 60% higher higher than those with 60Hz monitors. When comparing 240Hz to 60Hz, the performance gain jumped to 80%.”

But the article goes on to say, “Who do you think spends more money on high-end monitors: casual gamers or serious gamers?” This speaks to the idea that the most serious and invested gamers with higher skill levels are the ones who invest in high refresh rate monitors. So does hardware make a better gamer, or are serious gamers more likely to buy high-end tech?

While there’s some logic to the “frames win games” argument, it’s good to keep your expectations in check if you’re thinking of spending a lot of money on a high-end monitor.

don’t expect miracles

Skill level is not determined by how fast the monitor updates every second, but by how good you are at playing. Small gains in reaction time and accuracy will help, but they won’t transform you from a zero to a hero. Much more important is your level of experience, hand-to-eye coordination, and how well you understand the game.

High refresh rate monitors are preferred by esports fans who want to take advantage of every possible advantage. These are the same gamers who will sacrifice image quality in a bid for higher frame rates and smoother gameplay. This is the same crowd that spends heavily on peripherals like ultralight and high-poll rate mice, fancy mouse pads, expensive mechanical keyboards, and the best gaming headsets.

Ultralight Finalmouse 2

If you primarily play single-player games, you probably don’t have to worry about investing in a monitor with a ridiculously high refresh rate. The “higher” rates of 90 Hz and 120 Hz (or even 144 Hz) will provide a noticeably smoother and smoother experience, as long as your GPU can keep up. Even using the desktop, scrolling through web pages and moving windows will be a more pleasant experience.

Investing in a VRR-capable monitor to eliminate screen tearing and reap the benefits of features like low frame rate compensation is arguably more important to the overall experience (especially in single-player apps). Match your monitor’s FreeSync or G-SYNC capabilities to your setup. Monitors with a higher refresh rate use more power, so if you’re shopping for a laptop, be aware of the impact these displays can have on battery life.

AMD FreeSync Tiers
amd

High refresh rate monitors with “lower” resolutions (like 1080p) aren’t as expensive as they used to be, but if you want a monitor that can deliver high resolutions and high refresh rates, you’ll end up paying a lot of money. . If you’re on a tight budget, you’re better off asking yourself what your priorities are: graphical fidelity in single-player games, or go all-in on a high-refresh-rate display.

Many players can find the sweet spot that works for them and their setup. 144Hz refresh rates are now common, even on 1440p and 4K monitors. This can provide impressive single-player fidelity while also allowing you to reap some benefits in terms of reaction time and fluidity in fast-paced multiplayer titles like valorant either Counter Strike Global Offensive.

High refresh rates need high frame rates

Before you buy that high refresh rate monitor you’ve been eyeing, take a good look at its setup. To get the benefit of a screen that refreshes 144 or 240 times per second, make sure your graphics card can hit that frame rate. You can do this with an on-screen FPS counter, then tweak your graphics settings to see if the tradeoff is worth it.

Remember that if you’re doing this on a monitor with a standard 60Hz refresh rate, you won’t see the benefit because you’re limited by your monitor’s ability to produce only 60 updates in a second. This is a purely academic exercise for you to understand what benefits you could get from a better monitor.

You can then take a look at some of the best gaming monitors and match your target resolution to your budget. Understanding what to look for in a gaming monitor can help you understand the terminology and determine what features you need.