When the topic of gaming comes about, terms like refresh rates and FPS are ones that most frequently pop up among avid players. Aside from consoles, which usually come with low caped frame rates, PC games can customize their setups and choose monitors ranging anywhere from 60 FPS to 240 FPS. But, what does it exactly mean, and does it affect your performance? Continue reading to find out.
What Does FPS Mean?
Frames Per Second, or FPS, is a common unit that measures display device performance. It is the number of times the featured image on the screen is refreshed in one second. The greater the FPS, the smoother the video motion appears, as images are refreshed more often. This is a topic well-known among gamers and revolves mostly around gaming monitors. FPS performance in monitors is measured in Hertz, and there are several basic Hertz ratings usually summed up in the following categories:
- 60Hz – Often regarded as the gaming sweet point among PC enthusiasts, 60 FPS is very achievable in most games by mid-range and even lower-tier computers. 60Hz monitors and TVs were the standards for many years. Some 60Hz panels also allow you to custom-boost the refresh numbers up to 75Hz, but most people can't recognize the 15Hz difference, so it doesn't make that much of a change.
- 144Hz – The biggest difference in overall smoothness and immersion can be seen when you make a switch from a 60Hz monitor to a 144Hz monitor. Needless to say that the latter is generally much more expensive and does demand higher system requirements. 144Hz monitors also come in a slightly lower refresh rate version, at 120Hz.
- 240Hz – The highest frame rate you can find on the market today. It also goes without saying that 240Hz monitors are by far the most expensive ones. Nevertheless, the difference between 144Hz and 240Hz monitors is almost indistinguishable, and still probably not worth the upgrade.
Is More FPS Always Better?
Without a doubt, most of us would opt for a higher refresh rate monitor if given the opportunity, but more FPS doesn't essentially have to mean a better gaming experience. Keep in mind that a high refresh rate monitor is only beneficial if you have a PC that can support it. If you're looking to buy a monitor with a 120Hz and better panel, you will need a high-performing GPU that can maintain high FPS in graphics-demanding games. Otherwise, you might experience screen tearing.
Response Time and Screen Resolution
Aside from refresh rate numbers, there are two other important aspects to keep in mind when picking a monitor – response time and screen resolution. The first one is especially important for competitive gamers, as it's proven that it can give them an edge. The latter is more for those who want to appreciate the games in as many visual details as possible.
Gamers know that by increasing screen resolution, you get sharper and better quality images. High resolution is the way to go if you prefer maximum detail and like to get immersed when gaming. Depending on your budget and preferences, you can choose a 1080p, 1440p, 4K or even an 8K screen. Having said that, we have to highlight overall gaming performance again. If you get a 4K monitor with a 144Hz+ refresh rate, you would need at least a 2080Ti graphics card to enjoy a smooth experience. If you're looking for a high frame rate monitor with 1440p or better resolution, it is best to find a middle ground because it will allow you to enjoy the most entertaining gaming experience overall.
Monitor Response Time
If you're looking for a monitor that will give you the best in-game performance in competitive matches, nothing can beat a high refresh rate monitor with fast response time. For professional gamers, every millisecond can make a big difference. This particularly applies to fast-paced shooter games. A millisecond can decide between landing a long-range shot or receiving one from a player who's gaming on a faster response time monitor. When it comes to monitor response time, any device with a 4ms or less numbers should do the job just fine.
The Bottom Line
Everything comes down to this – do you really need a high refresh rate monitor? In short, if you're playing games competitively against other gamers, you will benefit from a high-refresh monitor. You would want to find a monitor with 120Hz or 144Hz with a 1ms response time, as a quality monitor can help increase your in-game performance, especially when playing against players who are boasting with lower-quality monitors.
On the other hand, if you're not playing games professionally against other players, high refresh rates are much less important. In this case, the best way to go about picking a monitor would be to look for one that combines resolution and frame rate. If your PC has the power to run it, try getting a 1440p monitor with anywhere from 75Hz and 120Hz. You will see a significant improvement in graphics, while still maintaining a smooth gaming experience at stable frame rates.
Of course, a lot also depends on your monitor budget and gaming needs. Monitor prices range from less than $100 to more than $2000, so there's a lot of room to find one that meets all of your requirements.
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