While a high refresh rate can indeed work wonders for players, a higher volume is not better for everyone. Depending on where you use your computer, it may be a better idea to look at screen resolution, panel type, and color resolution. To help you know what to look for, we’ve broken down what a high refresh rate does, what it doesn’t do and why it’s important.
What does Hz really mean?
Hz means Hertz, which is a unit of frequency. Regardless of the context, 1 Hz corresponds to one cycle per second. So you might see a computer processor running at 4 GHz, which means it executes 4,000,000,000 instruction cycles per second. The same is true for displays, except that Hz measures something known as the refresh rate.
The refresh rate is the number of times per second that the screen refreshes the image. Because motion is reflected by the difference between the frames, the refresh rate sets the hard cap to the visible frame rate. However, the refresh rate is not the same as the frame rate. The refresh rate is an attribute of the display, while framerate is an attribute of the data sent to it. They have to agree on what is shown on the screen.
If you can play the game at 100 frames per second, you may see the tangible benefit of playing on a screen that can refresh so many times per second. But if you’re watching a movie at the classic 24 frames per second, a higher refresh rate display makes no difference.
If your computer can play the game at a frame rate high enough to match a 120 Hz or 240 Hz display, you will see a significant change in the perceived sharpness of the moving image. The blur is due to how the human brain processes the set of individual frames displayed on the screen. The brain shuffles the set of frames together to create a sensible moving image, but some detail is lost along the way.
A higher refresh rate helps reduce blur by giving our brain more information to function, which in turn reduces perceived blur. However, unlike computer hardware, our brains are not made for the same definition. Some people notice the difference between 60Hz and 120Hz right away, while others don’t see what everyone has done. The difference between 120Hz and 240Hz is even more subtle.
Again, it is very much dependent on what you do in your system. Players will notice a sharper image during fast action, and moving the mouse may feel smoother compared to the more typical 60 Hz display. Web browsing when you scroll down a page quickly can also look a little smoother, but when you watch online videos and reply to emails, you don’t see any benefit.
Tearing the screen
Because refresh rates and framerates are very different things, they can often be contradictory. That’s when something called tearing the screen can happen. It tends to occur when a computer’s video card spits frames at a rate that exceeds the refresh rate of the monitor connected to it. Because more frames are rendered than the screen can handle, half-frames are sometimes displayed on one screen, which manifests itself as an obvious division between two parts, neither of which appears to be in the correct order with the other. It’s a distracting problem that even the least sensitive viewers usually notice.
In games that are not particularly taxable, the frame rate can often exceed 100 frames per second. However, the 60 Hz display is updated only 60 times per second. This means that players have not fully benefited from the higher screen speed and may find it torn because the screen does not stay with the data entered. The 120 Hz screen updates twice as fast as the 60 Hz screen, so it can display up to 120 fps and the 240 Hz screen up to 240 fps. This eliminates tearing in most games.
While you always run the risk of the screen tearing at the screen above the refresh rate, it’s only to a certain point. In a game like Counterattack global attack, where the frame rate is often about 100 frames per second, there are more tears. One tear is easy to spot, but several minors do not register for most people.
Frame synchronization techniques such as V-Sync, Freesync and G-Sync also help prevent the screen from tearing, but they have their own drawbacks. V-Sync limits performance. Meanwhile, Freesync and G-Sync require special combinations of video card and display devices. These technologies are improving, but they still require some key choices about GPUs and monitors.
GPUs and refresh rate
Synchronization technologies are designed to work with graphics processors to help resolve screen tears, for example, but it is not far from the only role GPUs play in screen performance. If you want 120-144 Hz or higher performance, you also need a graphics card that can keep up with your game.
There is no perfect choice for getting a GPU that can produce at least 120 frames per second, but higher processing power and a larger amount of faster memory are always good signs. The latest generation of Nvidia RTX 3000 series graphics cards are excellent candidates, but they are not the only ones.
You can also play less detailed games or lower the game’s internal settings to get higher frame rates to make better use of the high-refresh rate display.
The screen refresh rate has an effect on the delay. For example, a 60 Hz display will never have a visible delay of less than 16.67 milliseconds because it is the time that elapses from one update to another. The 120 Hz display halves this time to 8.33 ms, and the 240 Hz display further reduces it to 4.16 ms.
Reducing the delay by less than 10 ms may not seem important, and for many people – even gamers – it is not. However, the delay may need to be eliminated for highly competitive gaming or for those who want the games to feel as smooth as possible. This is again something that some people notice more easily than others.
It is important to note that the refresh rate has nothing to do with the entry delay. Each time you click the mouse or enter the keyboard, your computer still receives and processes it at the same speed. The refresh rate is only related to how fast you see the result of the action on the screen, compromising the entire supply chain.
Do you really need a 120 Hz or 240 Hz display?
We believe players will see a more significant benefit from switching to a high refresh rate display than upgrading to 4K, as doing both can be quite expensive as well as taxing hardware. 120 Hz or 144 Hz displays offer smoother, non-tearable gaming with less delay. This improved performance is especially useful in games where fast bets are vital to winning, and in games where competing fighters or shooters, including Fortnite, Overwatch, Mortal Kombatand others in these genres.
You will probably be lucky enough to find a good display in a physical store rather than online.
The best way to get an idea of how this feature works is to physically witness business demos on real store screens. This will allow you to make a more informed decision to upgrade.
If you are not a player, higher refresh rates produce an almost imperceptible change in the overall efficiency of the system. It makes your desktop smoother when you surf the web, but you won’t see much improvement after that. Televisions are equipped with satellite channels 120Hz or 240Hz panels further improve the quality of motion with image processors that change input. Some may even add frames, which increases the frame rate of the content. In contrast, monitors usually do not have a processor, which minimizes the benefits of the panel when viewing video content. The improved refresh rate also does not guarantee ghost removal.
Ultimately, we believe that dedicated players will definitely benefit from upgrading their systems with high-refresh rate displays. If you’re not an avid gamer, there are plenty of features that will better meet the aspirations of non-players.