What is Hz on A Monitor? – A Ultimate Guide.
Having a lot of FPS in a game is great, but if the screen refresh rate doesn’t keep up, it’s not much use. Also called “refresh rate”, it is one of the most important features on a PC monitor, especially for gaming. However, too many things can remain unclear in this simple yet complex area.
That’s why we’re going to explain in more detail what the refresh rate is, how it works, what it’s used for and the technologies that revolve around it.
What is the Refresh Rate?
The refresh rate is a value expressed in hertz, which designates the frequency at which the screen image is updated. The number of hertz corresponds to the number of images that can be displayed per second. The higher the frequency of the screen, the more fluid the display will be.
Obviously, the main interest of a screen with a high refresh rate is to bring a video source going at the same speed. Therefore, the video experience is based on several points:
- Machine settings: This is a minor point, but still needs to be addressed. It all depends on your operating system, but if you are not careful, you can end up with the wrong settings enabled for your display. With, for example, a display set to 60 Hz on a 144 Hz screen, all without you realizing it. The vast majority of OSes natively accept refresh rates higher than 60 Hz, but there may be exceptions, so be careful with that!
- The power of the source machine: A display with a higher refresh rate requires more power from the machine (it’s almost like asking someone to suddenly run faster). Normally, any modern computer with a little bit of power can at least display refresh rates higher than 60 Hz (the current low standard) for office use. On the other hand, some areas are much more demanding, with video games in first place, which require much more power for a game in 144 Hz (so 144 FPS) than in 60 Hz (60 FPS).
- Ports and cable: Often forgotten, but so important, because if your ports or cable linked between the machine and the screen are not the right versions, you can risk to be caught there too! Each type and version of port/cable can support up to a certain display resolution, as well as up to a certain frequency.
- The displayed media: Whether it’s just the desktop, its anecdotal windows, a movie or a game, one may wonder if a higher refresh rate will necessarily give a better fluidity. One can think of movies, rarely shot above 24 FPS, or of games that are too greedy, which can’t go beyond 60 FPS. Well, the answer can be quite surprising…
Monitor Refresh Rate List
- 60 Hz, the minimum standard: 60 Hz is the most common refresh rate found on PC monitors today. This is sufficient for all purposes, including watching movies, series, office work, etc. And if 60 FPS is enough for games (or your computer limits you too much), then this frequency can be suitable, but it is better to aim higher for this domain.
- 75 Hz, an appreciable plus: Less and less present, but still existing, 75 Hz PC screens are an appreciable plus for games. The difference remains minimal at this stage.
- 144 Hz, the best performance/fluidity ratio: If you want to experience your games even better, 144 Hz PC monitors are perfect for that! As time goes on, they become more and more accessible on the market, and with today’s PC setups, it’s possible to get ones powerful enough to play a lot of games at 144 FPS or a bit below. Also, don’t forget that even on games with lower framerates, you can feel the difference!
- 240 Hz, for high level gaming: Here, we are on very very heavy! If for you, fluidity represents the top of the top in gaming, then a 240 Hz PC screen is perfect for you. However, you should know that these PC monitors are still quite expensive, and that given the power required to get close to 240 FPS, it is better to either have a titanic PC configuration, or greatly sacrifice the graphic quality of games.
Do Monitor Refresh Rates Matter?
Is a high refresh rate really useful or is it just a dispensable convenience? It all depends on your daily tasks!
Not surprisingly, the area where refresh rate has the most impact is obviously in video games. Some may think that the added fluidity to a game is no longer felt above 60 FPS. And that’s more or less the case, without a screen going beyond 60 Hz. But if you’ve ever tested higher frequencies, you probably know that over time, the comfort provided makes it impossible to go back.
However, apart from the comfort, high refresh rates have a real use for the performance in games, especially at a competitive level. And this is due to the reduction of input lag.
Simply put, input lag is the time between the moment an action takes place and the moment it is displayed on the screen. The higher the frequency, the greater the number of images that can be displayed on the screen and therefore the shorter the input lag between two images.
We are talking about milliseconds here, which are not necessarily useful for the average person, but much more so for esport players, especially in the field of FPS (shooters), where reflexes are optimized over these time proportions.
In the same way that it is difficult to predict an action with a jerky framerate, it is easier to become aware of it at the right moment with a high framerate, which can be used by sharp and trained eyes.
It’s also thanks to this whole principle that even content (especially games) that don’t reach the maximum frequency provided by the screen can still be enjoyed more fluidly. For example, with a 60 FPS game on a 144 Hz PC monitor.
What else should I look out for?
If you want to enjoy smooth gaming, in addition to a 144 Hz screen, you also make sure your games run at a high frame rate. This frame rate depends on the power of your video card. The more powerful the video card, the higher the frame rate. When writing this explanation, we recommend the new Nvidia RTX 2060, 2070 or 3080 video card for the gamer.
Related: Some Monitors for the RTX 3080
Cables and connections:
If you want to use an external (separate) monitor, you also need a video cable with one of the following specifications:
- DisplayPort 1.2 (supports 144 Hz in 1080p).
- DVI Dual-Link (supports 144 Hz in 2560 x 1600 resolution).
- HDMI 1.4 only transmits 1080p video signals at 120 Hz.
G-Sync is a technology that prevents tearing and stuttering. It’s based on adaptive synchronization, a technique that gives displays a variable refresh rate. This means that the display adjusts the refresh rate to that of the video card at any time. This allows you to enjoy a smooth gaming experience without jerky images. Useful during fast-paced action where you need to aim or dodge opponents.
I hope this tutorial “What is Hz on A Monitor?” has given you a better understanding of how refresh rate works on a computer monitor. To make it very simple, if you have a 144Hz monitor you see 144 distinct images in less than a second. Considering that the human eye can see up to 250 to 300 distinct images per second, it might be better to choose a monitor with a high refresh rate especially if you are a seasoned gamer.
See you soon, gamers! 🙂