Upgrading to a 144Hz Monitor: Is There a Point?

If you are considering a monitor upgrade, you will be spoilt for choice. There are just so many options nowadays that it is difficult to cherry pick the features you need or want from the ones that you don’t. This includes everything from the resolution (FHD, FHD+, QHD, 4K, etc.) and the monitor’s size (19” – 49” or more) to the aspect ratio (16:9, 16:10, 21:9, etc.). While those figures can be quite confusing on their own, they are at least easy to understand.

How the refresh rate of a monitor matters is not as easy to understand, though, because there is literally a lot going on behind the screen than meets the eye. In this post, we will discuss refresh rates, how it correlates with user experience, and whether there is truly a point in getting a 144Hz monitor.

Refresh Rate: Definition

A monitor’s refresh rate is indicative of how many frames per second (fps) it can display at most. The average monitor comes with a refresh rate of 60Hz, which indicates that it can show 60 frames per second at best. If you buy a 144Hz gaming monitor, it will be capable of displaying 144 frames per second at most.

What Does the Phrase “Frames Per Second” Mean?

A video or animation of any kind is a collection of frames. Frames are single pictures/images that come together to make up a video, whether we are discussing camera captured media, a postproduction movie, or the animations we see while playing video games. The more frames there are in a second (frames per second), the smoother everything will look on screen.

Frames Per Second: Effect on Live Action Media

The fps count of a motion picture will vary widely, depending on what kind of content is in question. For example, most live action Hollywood movies are shot at 30fps – 40fps intentionally to preserve the cinematic effect. If they were shot at 60fps, it would create what is known as the infamous “Soap Opera Effect” that we often see being artificially incorporated in high end TV sets. One may argue that it makes everything on screen look smooth and almost realistic, most people are of the opinion that high frames in live action media breaks the 4th Wall.

Frames Per Second: Effect on Video Games and Animated Media

Animated motion films and video games benefit exponentially from higher frame rates. Animated media is often shot and/or rendered at 60fps+ because the smooth, realistic motions work towards making everything on screen look a lot better. The smooth, seamless transitions between frames look even more impressive while playing video games.

If your PC’s hardware is powerful enough, high fps gameplay on 144hz gaming monitors can make live gameplay look like an animated movie. However, there are two key differences between animated movies and video games in this regard:

  1. Animated movies are limited by the highest frame rate intended by filmmakers, while most PC games are not.
  2. Beyond just the visual appeal, online competitive shooters and other eSport games have a practical use for higher fps.

So, the bottom line is that if you are a gamer, you should most definitely upgrade to a 144Hz gaming monitor. This holds true for all gamers, irrespective of whether they are into competitive online games or not. Just make sure that you also have a PC powerful enough to render your favorite games at 90 – 100+ fps at 1080p resolution at least. If your current desktop hardware cannot achieve those numbers, it might be time to think about upgrading your PC components first.

diana

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