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. Is 60Hz still good enough for gaming? If the fear of missing out on the latest and greatest is bugging you, worry not. We will tell you everything you need to know to decide if 60Hz is still adequate for your gaming needs.

The TLDR answer

The short answer is that a 60Hz refresh rate is still an excellent choice for the vast majority of gamers. The performance differences obtained by higher refresh rates are most suitably used in competitive shooter games. If you are a casual gamer or mostly play adventure or strategy games for which higher refresh rates do not provide a competitive advantage, a 60Hz monitor is more than sufficient for your gaming needs. Go with a higher refresh rate monitor only if you play competitive shooters and are good at them.

What is the refresh rate?

As the name suggests, refresh rate is the number of times your monitor refreshes. That is to say, the number of images it is capable of displaying every second.

This means that if your computer has a refresh rate of 60Hz, it is capable of displaying 60 unique images in one second. 

Obviously, the more images it can generate in a single second, the smoother everything would feel. As a result, games will feel twice as smooth on a 120Hz monitor than on a 60Hz one.

However, refresh rate is not everything. There is another important related term, known as frame rate or FPS, which we look into next.

What is frame rate?

Frame rate refers to the number of images that your video card is capable of generating. 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.

Both frame rate and refresh rate equally matter.

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, you are not going to get more frames than those that your monitor is capable of displaying per second. As an example, even if you have a powerful graphics card like the GTX 1080 coupled with a 60Hz monitor, you are not going to get a framerate higher than 60fps. In other words, you do not have any hardware advantage in a shooter game like CS:GO if you go with a 60Hz monitor, despite having a powerful graphics card.

So, is 60Hz good for gaming?

For most users, the answer is going to be a resounding yes. A lot of AAA titles in the market don’t even allow very high frame rates in the first place, no matter how powerful your hardware. These include games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and CyberPunk 2077. Peak frame rates rarely cross 100 fps in these games at 4K settings. So, for such games, at best you are going to be needing a 120Hz monitor.

You might get higher frame rates if you lower your in-game resolution to 1080p. But that defeats the entire purpose of playing these games. The almost life-like open world environment in such games is meant to be discovered. These games do not require very fast reaction times.

Therefore, there is little point in paying extra for a capability that you do not need in the first place. If all this sounds like you, go with a 60Hz monitor.

Of course, we do realize that gaming preferences are not set in stone. You may actually play a competitive multiplayer shooter and realize that you enjoy it more than the aforementioned titles, you can always upgrade your monitor to a higher refresh rate. Even so, only make the leap if you feel that you have become a player good enough at Fortnite and CS:GO and are only limited by the capabilities of your monitor.

The key thing to keep in mind is that just as more expensive shoes are not going to make you a better footballer, a more capable monitor is not going to automatically make you a more competitive gamer. Until you become one, it is better to save that money and use it to buy a more powerful CPU or GPU instead, if possible.

Who needs higher refresh rates?

In a nutshell, people for whom gaming is more than a mere hobby. Often known as e-athletes, these are individuals who often game for a living and regularly play in esports tournaments.

For such players, a difference of 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 also 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 might want to 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 also do just fine on these games if you are not a competitive player.

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.

Final Remarks

The verdict is that 60Hz is still an excellent option for gaming. These monitors are quite cheap and for most high-end video games, a framerate of 60fps is still more than playable. If, however, you intend to play games that require higher refresh rates, you can opt for a 120Hz or 144Hz monitor. We still would not recommend going for the 240Hz option, though. This is because, unless you game for a living, your skills are simply not going to be good enough to utilize the full advantage of a few milliseconds conferred by a 240Hz monitor.

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Umar Farooq
Umar Farooq

Umar Farooq has developed a passion for computers ever since the time his father brought home the first family computer in 2002, a time when broadband internet was still in its infancy and almost every PC component was at least an order of a magnitude less powerful than the typical ones available today. Recently, he decided to start writing on this website to help tech rookies not be too enticed by overly hyped marketing terms they barely understand and get the best deal for their money.

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