With manufacturers bumping refresh rates of their monitors every few years, you might be asking yourself if you are at any disadvantage if you still buy a 60Hz monitor. Worry not if the fear of missing out on the latest and greatest is bugging you. We will tell you everything you need to know to decide if 60Hz is still adequate for your gaming needs.
The short answer is that a 60Hz refresh rate is still an excellent choice for most gamers. The performance differences obtained by higher refresh rates are most suitably used in competitive shooter games.
Suppose you are a casual gamer or mostly play adventure or strategy games for which higher refresh rates do not provide a competitive advantage. In that case, a 60Hz monitor is sufficient for your gaming needs. Go with a higher refresh rate monitor only if you play competitive shooters and are good at them.
So, is 60 Hz good for gaming?
Well, 60 Hz is suitable in most scenarios but not all. This all comes down to personal preferences, budget for the PC, and of course what kind of games you plan to play. If you’re going after competitive gaming then a higher refresh rate monitor is preferred and vice versa. Also, everything that matters is discussed in detail below for better understanding.
What is a refresh rate?
As the name suggests, the refresh rate is the number of times your monitor refreshes. That is the number of images it can display every second. It means that if your computer has a refresh rate of 60Hz, it can display 60 unique images in one second.
The more images it can generate in a single second, the smoother everything will feel. As a result, games will feel twice as smooth on a 120Hz monitor than on a 60Hz one. However, the refresh rate is only part of it. There is another important related term, known as a frame rate or FPS, which we look into next.
Refresh rate vs Frame rate?
Frame rate refers to the number of images your video card can generate. These frames are then transferred to the monitor to be displayed. A lower-end graphics card like GT 710 would generate far fewer frames or images per second than a higher-end card like the GTX 1080. In games, both frame rate and refresh rate matter equally.
This means that no matter how high the refresh rate of your monitor if you have an underpowered card, your gameplay on a demanding game like GTA V is not going to be smooth (unless, of course, you play at a very low resolution). That is because the monitor cannot display any more frames than it is receiving from the graphics card in the first place.
Similarly, no matter how powerful your graphics card is, you will not get more frames than your monitor can display per second. For example, even if you have a powerful graphics card like the GTX 1080 coupled with a 60Hz monitor, you will not get a framerate higher than 60fps.
In other words, despite having a powerful graphics card, you do not have any hardware advantage in a shooter game like CSGO if you go with a 60Hz monitor.
Who needs higher refresh rates?
In a nutshell, people for whom gaming is more than a mere hobby. Often known as e-athletes, these individuals often game for a living and regularly play in esports tournaments.
For such players, even a few milliseconds can be the difference between winning money and losing their job. With such high mental pressure to not lose, these are the only users who are most likely to notice the difference between a 120Hz monitor and a 240Hz one and thus benefit from a high refresh rate.
Another point you should consider is that the hardware requirements of these games are not as demanding as those of typical AAA titles. Framerates on these games are often 200+ if you have a powerful graphics card. Therefore, even slightly less powerful graphics cards can do fine on these games if you are not competitive.
The point is that there is no point in spending a huge amount of money on hardware to play competitive shooters as a hobby because the hardware necessary to play them at their intended level is way more powerful than your gaming needs.
Advantages of 60 Hz for gaming
Everything has advantages and disadvantages and 60 Hz also has both of them. These are a few plus points that 60 Hz gaming holds in its possession.
Smooth performance in older and less demanding games
60 Hz provides a comparatively buttery smooth experience in gaming if it’s consistent. You can enjoy your old nostalgic games with higher fidelity and frame rates even if you do not have the most powerful hardware of the current generation. Most games used to run barely at 30 FPS, which now can be played at a constant 60 and would provide you with a much better gaming experience.
Affordable option for budget gaming setups
Another plus point for opting for 60 Hz gaming is that it’s cheaper than 120/144 Hz or higher refresh rate gaming. Games are becoming more hardware-demanding day by day so achieving those 100+ frames are really more expensive than you might think. 60 Hz is the bare minimum and can provide a satisfactory experience in story-based and less fast-paced gaming titles.
Disadvantages of 60 Hz for gaming
Just like I said, everything also has some disadvantages which you have to bear one way or another if you wish to opt for that specific thing.
Motion blur and screen tearing
If you’re a competitive gamer, then each frame counts for you. The higher the frame rate the better, however, if your monitor has a 60 Hz refresh rate then you wouldn’t see or feel more than 60 Hz even if you’re getting 100+ FPS in-game.
Furthermore, you will also face screen-tearing on your 60 Hz monitor if you keep the V-sync off to get maximum in-game FPS. Since you’re gaming on a 60 Hz monitor - motion blur will be another minus point that will hinder your competitive gaming experience.
Inability to keep up with high-end gaming hardware
If you own a high-end gaming setup except for the monitor, which has a 60 Hz refresh rate. Then your monitor will need help to keep up with your higher spec setup because of the much higher frames that your PC will be generating but your monitor will need to catch up in outputting those frames.
It will be limited to showing 60 frames per second when on the other side of the coin, the PC will be generating 100 or even more FPS. This wouldn’t let you enjoy the full out of your high-end gaming PC.
Limited for competitive and fast-paced games
As stated before, in competitive and fast-paced gaming, every frame matters to beat your opponent. And hence, this is why the 60 Hz isn’t ideal for these types of games as you will be restricted to seeing only 60 frames each second even if you’re seeing a 144+ reading on the FPS counter. This will give you a hard time keeping up with everyone else who is using a higher refresh rate monitor.
The verdict is that 60Hz is still an excellent option for gaming. These monitors are cheap, and for most high-end video games, a framerate of 60fps is still more than playable. If you intend to play games requiring higher refresh rates, you can opt for a 144Hz monitor.
We still would not recommend going for the 240Hz option, though. This is because, unless you game for a living, your skills will not be good enough to utilize the full advantage of a few milliseconds conferred by a 240Hz monitor.