Computer monitors have a tremendous impact on our lives. We spend hours looking at monitors and display screens as we move through each day.
If you’re one of the millions of people that sit in front of a computer and display screen for the better part of every day, taking the time to learn about the different types of monitors that are available and determining which monitor will most appropriately meet your needs is important.
This applies whether you are using the computer for standard office work, video, and photo editing, or gaming.
Although we’ll be looking at certain features associated with monitors that can affect all of these activities, we will be focusing a lot of attention on the features of monitors that are more specifically associated with gaming and, more importantly, how to select the most appropriate monitor for gaming purposes.
If you’ve replaced your laptop, tablet or other computer components in the past few years but have not yet upgraded your monitor (or monitors), it might be time for you to consider this.
If you’ve considered replacing your monitor or buying a new monitor and glanced at the most popular monitors currently on the market, you know that there are a variety of features offered associated with monitors that may be confusing to try to sort through (brand, screen size, panel type, Hz refresh rate, FPS rate, etc.).
It may be easy for you to understand and quickly decide on some of these features (based on some of your other existing equipment and available space) but other features such as Hz refresh ratings and FPS can be a little more complicated. And, for gamers, Hz and FPS ratings are very important because these monitors need to be fast in order to provide a good experience to consumers.
The following information is intended to provide you with some general information about these features to help you choose the monitor that most appropriately meets your needs, and more specifically, which of the two most commonly marketed Hz refresh ratings for monitors today (the 75 Hz and the 144 Hz) is the best option for you.
Computer monitor technology has advanced significantly over the last several years. These advancements and innovations have been driven by the needs and demands of consumers. While 60Hz monitors have been the recent industry standard, the 75 Hz and 144 Hz monitors have grown in popularity recently with specific consumer groups. The 75 Hz monitors are typically purchased by consumers seeking monitors that are intended for normal desktop usage and the 144 Hz monitors are have been developed to meet the demands of consumers seeking optimal gaming experience.
To get the most enjoyment from the latest racing, sports, and other competitive and fast action games, you need a monitor that can display the action vividly and smoothly. When trying to decide which monitor is best for you, it might be helpful to understand a little more about the features of monitors and what they can do so that you know what specifications are important to achieve the best performance.
75 Hz Vs 144 Hz: What Each Monitor Has To Offer
Benefits of a 75 Hz Refresh Rate Monitor
Monitors with a 60 Hz refresh rate are still generally considered good quality monitors and these monitors provide a good viewing and user experience. Using monitors with refresh rate speeds of less than 60 present a noticeably lower quality experience.
When the 60 Hz monitors are compared with the 75 Hz rated monitors, the 75 Hz models will provide better color and improved viewing angels than the 60 Hz model. A 75 Hz monitor can also improve the responsiveness of your computer including cursor movement, dragging windows, scrolling and application launching.
When comparing the 75 Hz with the 144 Hz monitors, there are reasons that the 75 Hz may be a more appropriate choice for some consumers. The 75 Hz monitors offer improved quality of video and media viewing and a great number of additional benefits without the added cost associated with the 144 Hz monitors.
- If your system’s FPS rate is not higher than 75, there is no benefit to purchasing a monitor with an Hz rating of higher than 75
- There are no performance improvement benefits for a 144 Hz monitor over a 75 Hz monitor for general computer use activities such as web browsing and email communications
- The 75 Hz monitors work well for playing videos as their FPS rates are generally not higher than 60. Most movies and television programs are played at a rate of about 30 frames per second. Media quality for these is high using the 75 Hz monitors and, in fact, there would be no additional benefit at all for watching a movie using a monitor with a higher refresh rate
- Increasing the Hz rating to 144 Hz for any non-gaming activities will not make much of a difference in the overall media quality
- Although some games have been designed for peak performance using a 144 Hz monitor, they’ve been reported to also perform well using a monitor with a 75 Hz monitor
Just upgrading from a 60 Hz monitor to 75 Hz can improve gaming enjoyment and performance by providing:
- improved motion resolution
- reduced ghosting (motion blur) and screen tearing
- improved responsiveness
- Another benefit of a 75 Hz monitor over the 144 Hz is the price. The 75 Hz monitors are typically less expensive because the hardware itself in the makeup of the monitor is cheaper and manufacturers pass these savings on to consumers.
In summary, the 75 Hz monitors are great performers for non-gamers. Investing in a 144 Hz over a 75 Hz will not offer a dramatic difference in overall performance or offer significant added value. It may make general use of your computer seem slightly smoother when searching on the web (i.e., scrolling, etc.) but you probably won’t notice any substantial improvement. And, for casual gamers, a 75 Hz monitor is also a great choice for the price.
Benefits of a 144 Hz Refresh Rate Monitor
The following are some of the benefits that a 144 Hz monitor can provide when compared to a 75 Hz monitor:
- In many games, the frames per second can easily exceed 100 FPS. Using a 75 Hz monitor will only refresh the display 75 times per second so it will not be possible to fully benefit from the higher FPS rate and issues such as screen tearing may occur because the monitor will not be able to keep up with the rate the data is being sent to it. If you’re playing a game that can run at a rate of 100 frames per second, there is some benefit to playing that game on a monitor that can refresh the image at that same rate per second (will eliminate screen tearing).
- The primary advantage of the higher refresh rate provided by the 144 Hz monitors is the improvement to motion and gameplay in 3D gaming environments.
- When using a 144 Hz monitor for non-gaming activity, scrolling down pages while browsing on the web can appear more smooth. And, mouse movement can also feel a bit smoother, too.
- Increasing the image refresh rate enhances a user’s view panning capabilities and improves reaction time.
- A 144 Hz monitor facilitates competitive multiplayer games such as Counter-Stike, Overwatch, PUBG and Fortnite
- Many 144 Hz monitors also support 144 Hz over HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort which are connections that of lot of GPUs already have.
- Upgrading to a 144 Hz may require you to update your graphics card (at an additional cost) in order for you to realize and enjoy the features of the higher performing monitor
- Although the 144 Hz monitors were considered ‘cutting edge’ not long ago, popularity of the newer 240 Hz monitors is growing which is driving the price of the 144 Hz down making them more affordable. The newer 240 Hz make fast paced gaming incredibly smooth, however it does not really provide you with any competitive advantage or improve your playing ability. It will simply make playing the game more enjoyable. And, if your current system is getting over 144 FPS, there’s really no benefit at all to upgrade to the 240 Hz unless you intend to upgrade your pc, too.
- Adaptive Syncing – Consider looking for a monitor that offers this feature. It is intended to address the problem with screen tearing (again, this occurs when the FPS rate being pushed out by the GPU does not match the image refresh rate and the frames become combined). The monitor feature was created to adjust the FPS and refresh rate and is called ‘adaptive refresh technology.
- Resolution is another key feature of a monitor that measures the width and height of the monitor screen in terms of pixels (picture elements or the tiny individual illuminate points that make up an image). A higher resolution will increase the level of onscreen detail in videos, movies or games.
- Panel types – TN panels (or Twisted Nematic panels) are some of the most popular for gaming as they are the oldest LCD panel type with high refresh rates for high speed gaming and offer a fast response time when compared to IPS panels. They are also usually less expensive. (Other panel types include VA [Vertical Alignment] but these are considered to have slower response times, and IPS [In-Plane Switching])
- Monitor size – typically gamers prefer monitors in the 24 to 32 inch range
What Hz Refresh Rate Do You Need?
We’ve determined that one important step in determining what Hz rated monitor might be most suitable to your needs is to determine the FPS rate of your current system. To optimize your current system’s speed, you’ll want to have the same or more Hz than your existing FPS. You will also want to consider how you plan to use your system (i.e., for standard computer work, video and photo editing, watching movies, gaming, etc.) and then determine the FPS rates for these different applications.
Some examples of this are:
- Most movies and broadcasted television shows only display at a rate of about 30 frames per second (30 FPS).
- Console gaming systems like PlayStation and Xbox operate at a rate of about 60 FPS and 60 Hz.
- At the other end of the spectrum, for computers and laptops used to support competitive 3D gaming content, a minimum of 144 FPS and 144 Hz are recommended for optimal performance.
If you’re a casual computer gamer or use your computer and monitor primarily for work or watching videos, upgrading your equipment with the 144 Hz refresh rate monitor may not be something that is necessary or wise investment for you as the 75 Hz refresh rate will perform very well for you for these applications. However, if you’re a serious professional gamer, the increased speed & response rates provided with the 144 Hz refresh rate would likely be a better choice.
Selecting the monitor Hz refresh rate that best fits your needs is really based on how you intend to use it. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits offered with the 75 Hz and 144 Hz monitors.
Hz Refresh Rate and Frame Rate
The abbreviation Hz represents the term ‘hertz’ (named after Heinrich Hertz) which is a unit of frequency that is associated with the number of cycles per second that some phenomenon occurs. With regard to computer monitors, the Hz refresh rate is a measurement of how many times a monitor updates the image on the display screen in any one single second.
Our eyes can process ten to twelve images per second and perceive the images individually, however, images presented at rates higher than ten to twelve images per second are perceived by us as motion. Video is actually nothing more than a series of still images on a screen that are changing or being refreshed so rapidly that they give us the illusion of fluid movement or motion on the screen. Increasing the speed that the still images are updated on the screen increases the fluidity of the video. This rate of refreshing the images on a computer monitor’s screen is measured in hertz (Hz) and this rating directly indicates the number of times that the images on the monitor are refreshed in one single second. Therefore, the images on a monitor with a refresh rate of 60 Hz are being refreshed 60 times per second, 75 Hz are being refreshed 75 times per second, etc.
Another similar measurement of a monitor’s performance is the number of frames per second (or FPS). Although FPS is similar to Hz, they are not the same thing. The number of frames per second is the number of consecutive full-screen images that are displayed on a computer monitor’s screen in a single second (also referred to as ‘framerate’). Our framerate is an indicator of how smoothly a game can run on our pc. The higher the number of frames that can be pushed out in one second, the more fluid or smooth the on-screen motion will appear. Lower framerates will produce slow or choppy screen motion.
The difference between these two measurements is that the refresh rate or Hz is actually determined by the capability of the monitor itself whereas the frames per second or FPS is determined by the capability of the computer’s processors (the central processing unit [CPU] or the graphic processing unit [GPU]). This is an important point to understand because if you invest in a monitor with a specific Hz rating with the expectation for a given level of performance (i.e., 144 Hz refresh rate) but the FPS rating of your computer’s CPU / GPU hardware or processor is lower (i.e., 75 FPS), you may be disappointed in the resulting performance. In this case, although the monitor you purchased can refresh the image on the screen 144 times per second, your computer’s processor can only refresh the image on the screen at a rate of 75 times per second. In other words, your computer hardware’s FPS rate must be similar to the monitor’s Hz refresh rate to achieve the optimal refresh speed and video quality.
If one or the other is lower, the speed will be limited to that lower rate, Investing in a monitor with a high Hz rating without ensuring that your computer already has a similarly rated CPU or GPU would not be a good investment (unless you are also considering investing in a higher performing processing unit, too.)
The refresh rate and the frames per second rate have to be the same or similar or the slower of the two will control the image refresh rate (they have to ‘agree’ to what is shown on the screen). If the refresh rate and frames per second rate do not match, screen tearing (when a screen displays information from multiple frames on the same screen) can occur. This is caused by the computer’s processor sending more frames to the monitor than it can handle.
Consider Trying both a 75 Hz and a 144 Hz Monitor In Person
Because there are so many things to consider when selecting a monitor, it might be of benefit to actually visit a local retailer and try them out. Use the mouse to navigate around on the system, play a couple of games, etc. You can also look at other screen features such as color, viewing angles, etc. Try using a variety of models (75 Hz, 144 Hz, 240 Hz) to try to get a feel for any differences between them.
Based on the information above, you should also consider how you plan to use the monitor (standard office work, gaming, video and photo editing, etc.) and also determine the capabilities of your current CPU or GPU for compatibility.
Take the opportunity to reach out to the technical staff available at your local retailer, too, as they are usually happy to speak to customers about equipment. It would be helpful for you to bring all of the details of your current system with you and to try to prepare a list of questions you have in advance of the visit. The staff should be able to answer any questions you have and provide you with additional information and guidance regarding the different monitors available.
Other sources of information include online technical computer and gaming forums where you can will find an unlimited source of product reviews and recommendations.
In conclusion, although selection of a new monitor can be a challenge, it’s so important to take the time to consider not only your budget but what features are important to you based on how you are using your system. Computer equipment in general can be quite costly and as you’ve likely already made a significant investment in your computer, gaming accessories, etc. it’s just as important to invest wisely in your monitor as this is the one piece of equipment that generates the final resulting image created by these other investments.
For a gaming monitor specifically, determining what features are best will depend heavily on the type of equipment you’ve already purchased. As indicated above, the types of monitors available can be of great assistance to you in avoiding problems such as screen tearing or blurring but there are also many other features that can increase color depth, resolution, and navigation. Once you’ve had a chance to collect and sort through all of the information available, you should be able to easily decide what type of monitor is best for your needs.
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