4k resolution is the big trendy thing in video games and other sorts of media at the moment… you may have heard about how the next gen consoles (particularly the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X) can play all their latest games in 4k resolution.
4k resolution is basically 4 times the resolution of 1080p, or more specifically 4 times the pixels which a 1080p picture would show. As you can tell, this is a HUGE improvement in picture quality, and will make the final image look very crystal clear and crisp.
However, there is something else related to the overall image of video games alongside resolution which I feel needs to be taken into consideration when talking about video games on both consoles and the PC platform… refresh rates.
What Is a Refresh Rate and What Problems Can They Have?
To put it simply, a refresh rate is the maximum amount of frames a monitor or television can show on the screen in a single second. 2 of the most popular refresh rates available for PC monitors is 60hz and 144hz. Sadly, only PC monitors are able to have insanely high refresh rates… but some people usually play their console games on PC monitors, incidently…
So, you may be wondering what happens if not enough frames are able to be shown on the monitor during your gameplay?
Nothing… nothing at all…
Anti-climatic, I know, but it’s true… the frames will still be shown with no hassle at all as long as they stay below the monitor’s refresh rate.
So, how about if your game pumps out more frames than what your monitor’s refresh rate allows? What happens then? Well, this is where things get a little bit more problematic…
The picture will still show on the monitor, but if you look very carefully you will see that the screen appears to “tear” with each movement that either your character or the video game world makes… this is called “screen tearing” and it can be very annoying if you’re somebody who can easily notice it.
Thankfully, there’s a wonderful setting called V-Sync (Vertical Synchronization) that many games have which matches up the frame rate with your monitor’s refresh rate which prevents the nuisance that is screen tearing.
While this sounds great, it also introduces input lag with can throw some off people with their gameplay, especially if it requires pin-point precision. As such, some people prefer to leave V-Sync off and endure the pesky screen tearing.
There are technologies in the making, more famously Nvidia’s G-Sync and AMD’s Freesync, which limits the frame rate to prevent screen tearing, but also brings the input lag down immensely… however monitors with this technology are expensive, so you will need to have the right amount of funds if you want less input lag with your tear-less image.
Why Do Refresh Rates Matter?
While me talking to you about refresh rates and what can happen if your PC pumps out a few too many for your monitor to handle, why exactly do refresh rates matter, and is there a difference between going high and going low with your monitor of choice?
Well, having a higher refresh rate means that your monitor will be able to show more frames without any annoying screen tearing, but this also means that you yourself will see more frames in your games… and more frames makes a huge difference to your games… and I know this personally as I’m currently rocking a 144hz monitor… 😉
Basically, your gameplay will be far more smoother and cleaner looking which each movement your character or the world makes than if you were using a monitor with a lower refresh rate… you will notice how much more sluggish and blurry looking your movements will be.
This is why I must warn you if you’re planning to make a move to a monitor with a higher refresh rate than your previous one… you will not want to go back once you see the difference between the two.
I must also warn you, however, that you will need hardware powerful enough to run the frames that your 144hz refresh rate monitor will see… it wouldn’t be worth it at all if all your hardware could pull was just over 60 frames per second… then only a 60hz monitor would suffice for you.
Are 60hz and 144hz the Only Refresh Rates Available?
While there are different variants of refresh rates, 60hz and 144hz are the most common. Other refresh rates include 75hz, 120hz and even 240hz, which is an insane refresh rate… I couldn’t imagine how amazingly smooth gameplay would look on those kinds of monitors…
Of course, as the refresh rate of monitors increase, do does not only the price of the monitor but also the amount of power required in your hardware also…
If you want to go higher in refresh rate and have a more smoother game experience, you will need to make sure you have the right funds and hardware power to do so.
So, Which Refresh Rate Is the Better One to Play Video Games At?
So, we finally answer the question that’s probably been on your lips the entire time… which refresh rate out of 60hz and 144hz is the better one to play video games at?
Well, the answer isn’t quite simple because although I personally believe a higher refresh rate is always better, some people (and you might be included alongside them) don’t see a difference between the two and would only deem 60hz the necessary refresh rate for monitors alike.
I can’t fix what people agree on and believe me I really wish I could, but I can however say that if you want your gameplay to look smoother and maybe even help you out with top precision-required games like first person shooters, then maybe opt for a higher refresh rate monitor… as long as you have the right hardware and funds to do so. 😉
Refresh rates matter a lot when it comes to video games, and there are many things you will need to take into consideration if you’re planning to make the move to a higher refresh rate than the one you’re currently rocking with.
Such things include the price of the monitors with the higher refresh rates, and if you have hardware powerful enough inside your PC to run games at the frames matching that of your monitor’s refresh rates.
If you have any questions about refresh rates, please don’t be afraid to jot a comment down below in the comments section. 😉
Jamie – the PC Gaming Nerd