Refresh rate and frames per second are crucial concepts in the PC gaming community, but there’s some misunderstanding about their relation to each other.
They both contribute to a smooth gameplay experience, but they are also quite different.
Does Hz Affect FPS?
Hz does not directly affect FPS. FPS depends entirely on components like your GPU, CPU, PC temperature, and game optimization. On the other hand, the refresh rate (Hz) depends on your monitor.
There’s a common misconception that your monitor refresh rate (measured in Hz) affects the FPS of your GPU. While this isn’t true, there is a relationship between the two.
Your FPS is dependent on your PC’s hardware. However, if your monitor’s refresh rate can’t keep up with the FPS your GPU is outputting, then you won’t get any benefit from the extra FPS.
Although your FPS is dependent on your PC’s components, how much of that FPS can be displayed is limited by the monitor’s refresh rate.
FPS is the rate at which frames are spit out by your computer, while Hz is simply how fast the monitor can display those images. Your monitor can only display a certain number of frames per second, regardless of your GPU’s output.
In other words, while your monitor doesn’t technically limit your GPU’s ability, it determines how much of the GPU’s frames are displayed.
For example, if you’re running a game at 120 FPS but your monitor has a 60Hz refresh rate, then the max frame rate you can see on your monitor is 60FPS.
This is because your monitor’s lower refresh rate is bottlenecking the FPS of your GPU. A monitor with a 60Hz refresh rate can display a maximum FPS of 60, regardless of your GPU’s output.
On the other hand, if you’re running a game at 80 FPS on a 120Hz monitor, you will see the full output of your GPU, because the FPS is not exceeding the Hz of your monitor.
Does Higher Hz Reduce FPS?
A higher Hz monitor will not reduce the FPS rate on a PC. On the contrary, a higher Hz monitor can display more frames per second, making better use of your GPU. While a high Hz monitor cannot boost the FPS of your PC, a higher Hz ensures your monitor will not bottleneck the output of your graphics card.
For example, if your PC outputs 120FPS, then upgrading from a 60Hz monitor to a 144Hz monitor will allow you to see the entire output of your PC.
It is important that you don’t confuse Hz with resolution. Hz simply refers to the rate at which your monitor can display new images. For example, a 60Hz monitor can display up to 60 images per second.
Resolution, on the other hand, describes the size of the image you see on your display. Unlike Hz, using a higher resolution display (for example 4K vs 1080P) may add additional stress to your graphics card and lower the FPS.
Can You Get 120 FPS on 60 Hz?
You can’t get 120 FPS on a 60 Hz display. A 60 Hz monitor can only display FPS up to its refresh rate, so it has a limit of 60FPS. This limit doesn’t mean that the GPU isn’t outputting 120 FPS. Rather, the monitor can’t display frames as fast as the GPU is sending them, causing a bottleneck.
The refresh rate on your monitor will always impose an upper limit on the FPS you are viewing while gaming.
Regardless of your GPU performance, your monitor can never display more than its refresh rate.
So even if your GPU is running a game at 600FPS, if your monitor has a 144Hz refresh rate then you will experience 144FPS on your display.
You should consider a decent monitor when planning your gaming rig so that you don’t end up bottlenecking the output of your GPU.
How Does Hz Affect Gaming?
Hz affects the number of frames your monitor can display on screen each second. Lower Hz means fewer frames can be displayed per second. Higher refresh rates give you a much smoother gaming experience, assuming your graphics card is capable of high FPS output.
A higher Hz monitor will not improve the FPS of your graphics card.
However, if your graphics card is currently outputting an FPS that exceeds the refresh rate (Hz) of your monitor, then upgrading your monitor will result in an improvement.
Opting for a monitor with a high refresh rate will help ensure that you are seeing the full output of your graphics card on screen.
Best Hz for Gaming?
The best monitor Hz for gaming is 144 Hz. While some monitors have higher refresh rates, up to 360 Hz, 144Hz represents the middle ground between performance and affordability. Many professional gamers and streamers use 144Hz monitors, and they are considered very reliable.
A 144 Hz rate is high enough to give you the best experience possible and won’t bottleneck any but the most high-end gaming setups. Many games don’t even support higher refresh rates, so a 240 Hz monitor might be overkill depending on what games you want to play.
Best Monitor for Gaming?
The best monitor for gaming is the ASUS ROG Strix from Amazon.com. This 27’ panel hits the 144 Hz sweet spot and has a 4k display for crisp visuals. It has a high dynamic range and is G-sync compatible.
That said, any 144 Hz monitor with good image quality will be a great monitor for gaming. Although your monitor’s refresh rate is the most crucial factor, you should also consider the resolution, contrast, and color accuracy.
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Eric streams 3 days a week on Twitch and uploads weekly to Youtube under the moniker, StreamersPlaybook. He loves gaming, PCs, and anything else related to tech. He’s the founder of the website StreamersPlaybook and loves helping people answer their streaming, gaming, and PC questions.