60Hz vs. 120Hz vs. 240Hz – Refresh Rates on Monitors Explained

Gaming is all about experience. It depends on a lot of factors including the kind of monitor you use. The display is a very crucial part, in fact. No matter how strong the game, the graphics card, and all other features are. If your monitor is not able to render the visuals effectively, then nothing else counts. A high refresh monitor is what you need for a seamless gaming experience.

Refresh Rate

The refresh rate of a monitor is also known as the frame rate, horizontal scan rate, vertical frequency, or just frequency. It is the rate at which the frame is refreshed or the screen image is renewed. So, for a monitor with a refresh rate of 60 Hz, it means that the screen is redrawn 60 times in a second, or you get to see 60 frames in a second. What you see on the screen is a smooth running and constantly moving video. However, it is actually nothing but a series of still images. They change quickly to give you an impression that things are moving. Refreshing is not easily noticeable as it is too fast for the human eye.

So, now why is the refresh rate so important? The more often the monitor refreshes the screen, the smoother the visuals appear. It is done to make sure the refresh is not noticeable. A low refresh rate could often cause the screen to flicker. After long viewing this causes strain on the eyes. Moreover, when you are gaming, you need a high refresh rate to be able to render the visuals seamlessly. If the rate is inadequate, a slight blur is seen for fast moving objects on the screen.

60Hz vs. 120Hz vs. 240Hz

For screens using the LCD technology, the refresh rate is important. This is because of how the individual pixels in an LCD light are structured and the amount of time it takes to change it. Some people tend to be more sensitive to motion blurs than others. Increasing the refresh rate is the best way to combat such blurs. This is where the different kinds of refresh rate monitors come in to the picture.

Generally, videos are shot at 24, 30, or 60 frames per second. As such, the monitor you use needs to use some kind of software to create extra frames to get the required refresh rate. For a video at 30 FPS, a 60 Hz monitor would need to double the number of frames and a 120 Hz monitor would need to create 90 additional frames. For a 240 Hz monitor, it will be 210 additional frames.

Earlier monitors used to duplicate the frames to fill in for the missing ones. So, a 60 Hz monitor would show every frame twice for a 30 FPS video. Even though the human eye could not understand the duplication, it did not help the blurring much. Another option was to blank out the LCD backlight in between the frames. So, every alternate frame would be a blank rather than a duplicate frame in the above example. This needed to be done really quickly to avoid a flicker.

Interpolated Frames

These days, a new technology is used. The HDTVs and 4K monitors available now have really powerful processors. As such, the concept of interpolated frames came in to being. Here, software is built in to the monitor to compare back to back frames. After the comparison, it creates a frame to fit in between frames to evenly roll out any changes in the two compared frames. So, for a 30 FPS video on a 60Hz monitor, the software creates one extra frame which is the average of two back to back frames and fits it in between them.

For monitors refreshing at 120 z and 240 Hz, the interpolation technique is even more advanced. The 120 Hz monitor creates three frames for every pair of frames in the 30 FPS video and the 240 Hz monitor creates seven. This is an effective technique which helps the monitor perform much better.

Why Choose Gaming Monitors?

When it comes to gaming, whether you are a hard core gamer or a casual gamer, you will definitely want a monitor with a high refresh rate. That's where gaming monitors come into the scene. Here are some reasons why you should opt for a monitor with high refresh rates:

  • Better motion resolution

A higher refresh rate brings improved motion. This is perceived as how sharp the moving image seems. For lower rates, even though the brain puts together the different frames, detail is lost along the way leading to blurring. A higher refresh rate gives the brain more information and decreases the blur. Some people are more sensitive to this effect than others and could easily spot the difference. But the experience definitely is better for monitors with a higher refresh rate.

  • Reduced screen tearing

A difference between the refresh rate and the frame rate causes screen tearing in games. When the video card spits frames at a rate higher than what the refresh rate of the monitor is, the monitor is unable to handle it. As such, half frames are shown together on screen sometimes to cause a distracting problem that anyone could easily notice.

V-sync is a common solution to control tearing for 60 H displays. It works by capping the frame rate of the game to 60 Hz. However, it could cause an input lag and limit the potential of the PC. It affects performance.

  • Better responsiveness

The refresh rate of the monitor affects the input lag. It could be really irritating for hardcore gamers, or those who like their game to feel smooth. This specially affects people who are more sensitive to such visuals.

Which one to Choose?

The improvement when using a higher refresh monitor is not easily noticeable. However, it definitely gives a better experience. 120 Hz refresh rate monitors are generally suggested as they have a much higher image quality and processing capability. You could play your games easily without worrying about any strain to your eyes or any lag. A 240 Hz monitor is more about the market fluff. As for a 60 Hz monitor, it will not help you get in to the feel of gaming as you would want to.

Also check: Best 4K Gaming Monitors of 2017 – Reviews, Ratings and Comparisons

Eventually, it is all about the experience. It is better to invest and enjoy completely rather than regretting later on. Have a look at the monitor and its rendering capabilities before making a purchase.

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