You must have heard about the Refresh Rate while buying a gaming monitor, gaming laptop, or even TV. Every gadget with a screen comes with a certain refresh rate. Refresh rate plays a significant role in gaming and that is why brands show off the highest refresh rates in their gaming monitor, laptops, tv, and gaming smartphones use it to attract more and more customers.
But what exactly refresh rate is? Do you need to consider the Refresh rate while looking for a gaming laptop? What is the best refresh rate for a gaming monitor? Why do I need to consider the refresh rate while buying a TV?
You will learn everything about Refresh Rate here.
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What is the Refresh Rate?
In a very simple and layman’s language, a refresh rate is the ability of a display to process a new image every second. That means the number of times a new image appears on the display in one second is called the Refresh Rate. The more images per second, the smoother the video will look and vice-versa. The refresh rate is measured in Hertz (Hz).
So, if you are seeing a gaming monitor with a 240hz refresh rate, that means it can process 240 images per second. In other terms, that would be a 240FPS display. FPS here means, Frames Per Second.
Let’s see the refresh rate from another perspective. Have you ever played with a flipbook? The more pages will give you a smooth animation. Now consider pages as Frames and every flip in one second is the Refresh Rate of that flipbook.
By default, every monitor, TV, laptop, the smartphone has a refresh rate of 60hz. It is a basic refresh rate in every non-gaming office monitor and other non-gaming displays. But it increases as you move to the premium segment of displays, especially gaming displays. New smartphones are also offering 90hz and even 120hz display that gives smoother animations and gaming experience.
But what is the best refresh rate for gaming?
Refresh Rate in Gaming Monitor, Laptop, TV
Now you already have an idea about the refresh rate. You also know that more Frames per second gives you better & smoother gameplay. Gaming is all about smoother animations. No one likes laggy, slow animations in gaming. To get smooth gameplay with a smooth rendering of graphics, your gaming monitor must have a higher refresh rate.
Refresh Rate in Gaming Monitors
There are gaming monitors with 75hz, 120hz, 144hz, 240hz, and even 360hz refresh rate monitors but don’t get too excited here. A 240hz refresh rate gaming monitor doesn’t mean you will get 240FPS gameplay right away. There is a complex tech behind the high frame rates and how your gaming laptop or PC renders each frame. You need a GPU, CPU, and RAM that is capable of rendering graphics at 240FPS at a certain resolution.
For example, RTX 3080 GPU is best suited for high-quality gaming at 1440p resolution. For best gaming performance, you can pick the best gaming monitor for RTX 3080 that are capable of giving good frame rates at 1440p resolution. If you are using RTX 3060, you can check monitors for RTX 3060.
Similarly, the brand new RTX 4090 can run 4K games at 144hz or even 240hz but for that, you need DisplayPort 1.4a or HDMI 2.1a port with DSC. Even if you have the cables and the gaming rig, right now at the time of writing this, we don’t have a DisplayPort 1.4a equipped gaming monitor.
Although we have some of the best gaming monitor for RTX 4090 that can give you 4K 144hz or 1440p 240hz gaming performance but the market still needs some new gaming monitors with the latest ports to unleash the power of RTX 4090 and other RTX 40 series GPU.
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The resolution also plays a significant role here. You can achieve 240FPS or even 300+ FPS at Full HD 1920x1080p resolution but with that same hardware, you will not be able to get 240FPS at 4K resolution. Here is how Refresh rates affect your gameplay.
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To get rid of screen tearing, Nvidia came with G-Sync Technology and AMD came with FreeSync technology. A gaming monitor with G-Sync is slightly more expensive than FreeSync gaming monitors.
So, if a salesman is trying to sell a gaming monitor by boasting its refresh rate, wait and think if you have GPU and other hardware to render high FPS graphics. A high refresh rate gaming monitor alone will not be enough. A powerful rig is also required with a high refresh rate gaming monitor. If you are inclining towards 4K monitors, here is more if 4K monitor worth it for gaming?
Refresh Rate in Gaming Laptops
The gaming laptops these days also come with 120hz and 144hz displays which makes more sense as you already have the required GPU and CPU to render the graphics on a 144hz display. Most games like CSGO, Battlefield, Call of Duty, Overwatch, etc are capable of giving you 140+FPS at Full HD resolution with at least GeForce GTX 1650Ti GPU.
Obviously, there are games like GTA V, Microsoft Flight Simulator, etc. that need more computing power to render graphics at 140+ FPS. These games are hard to run because of high-end graphics and high CPU, RAM, and GPU resource consumption to run these games in high FPS.
Most gamers also like to have big screen 17 inch laptops for gaming that can give a better gaming experience and most of the gaming laptops with 17 inch displays will offer you a 144hz refresh rate.
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Refresh Rate in Gaming TV
The refresh rate doesn’t really matter if you are a casual TV watcher and you don’t need to play games on tv. But if you are a console gamer who is planning to get the latest PS5, Xbox Series X or already have a PS5, refresh rate matters a lot to you.
Most of the TV comes with a 60hz refresh rate but there are some TVs that now comes with a 120hz refresh rate. Because a lot of console gamers use TV as their gaming display. If you are confused between TV vs Monitor, here is more about TV vs Monitor comparison for gaming that will better guide you in picking one.
To get the advantage of PS5’s 120FPS gameplay at 4K resolution, you need a 4K TV with a 120hz refresh rate. Not just that, the TV must have an HDMI 2.1 port and your TV and PS5 are connected with an HDMI 2.1 cable. The market is already filled with HDMI 2.1 Gaming Monitor and TV but they still fall in the high-price segment.
Without HDMI 2.1 port, you will not be able to get 120FPS gameplay with PS5. A standard HDMI 2.0 port is capable of giving you 120FPS gameplay at 1440p resolution but if you are seeking gameplay at 4K resolution, make sure your TV has a 120hz refresh rate and is equipped with HDMI 2.1 port.
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Best Refresh Rate for Gaming
If you are seeking one answer to your Refresh Rate queries, let me tell you, there is no answer to this question. There is no single refresh rate that is good for gaming.
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What is satisfactory for me might not be enough for an eSports champion. For competitive gaming, each and every frame matters. They do need high refresh rate gaming monitors like 360hz monitor with top-notch hardware to render those graphics-intensive games but it is not required for a beginner who is just starting to play games and doesn’t want to invest much more into it.
For an average gamer, Full HD or QHD monitors with 120hz or 144hz refresh rates are good enough to enjoy the games at high FPS. For rendering 120hz and 144hz refresh rates, here is what you need.
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For 120hz at Full HD 1920x1080p Resolution:
- CPU: 5th Gen Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 8 core Processor
- RAM: 16GB Dual Channel DDR4 RAM
- GPU: GeForce GTX 1650Ti
- Display: Full HD 1920×1080, 120hz refresh rate, DisplayPort 1.2 or 1.4, HDMI 2.0 connectivity
This configuration is good enough to give you 120FPS gaming at Full HD resolution.
For 240hz at Full HD Resolution:
- CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 processor
- RAM: 16GB Dual Channel DDR4 RAM
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX Series
- Display: 1920x1080p Resolution, 240hz refresh rate, DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0 ports
For 120Hz at 4K Resolution:
- CPU: Intel Core i9 or AMD Ryzen 9 processor
- RAM: 32GB Dual Channel DDR4 RAM
- GPU: GeForce RTX 30 Series or above
- Display: 3840x2160p Resolution, 120hz refresh rate, DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.1 ports and 48GBPS HDMI 2.1 cable
If you are building a gaming PC from scratch, you better research before going for the false expectations of high FPS gaming on the basis of the monitor’s refresh rate. Your gaming monitor also plays a crucial role in providing high FPS gaming. Before connecting the laptop to the monitor, make sure you are connecting via DisplayPort and the monitor also supports 240hz, 144hz, 360hz or at least 120hz refresh rate.
You can also consider large screen tablets in the premium segment like iPad Pro, Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra etc for portable mobile gaming.
Refresh Rate Explained: Conclusion
So that is all about Refresh rates and how it affects your gameplay. Refresh Rate plays a crucial role when it comes to gaming. The more the refresh rate, the smoother would be the gameplay but you do need to take care of other hardware. A gaming laptop is something that comes as a complete bundle but if you are building a gaming PC, make sure it meets the basic requirements to run a high refresh rate.
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On the other hand, a refresh rate on TV doesn’t require much research. If you are planning to connect gaming consoles like Xbox Series X or PS5, make sure you are using the high bandwidth HDMI 2.1 cable and the TV must have HDMI 2.1 port with a 120hz refresh rate with VRR.
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