Do Monitors Refresh Rates Really Matter?

Have you ever heard of the term, ‘refresh rate’?

Refresh rate refer to the rate that the image on your screen refreshes. Basically, it’s “the number of times per second that an image displayed on a screen needs to be regenerated to prevent flicker when viewed by the human eye”, at least according to the dictionary definition. If the image refreshes in fewer seconds, that means the refresh rate is higher. If it takes a few more seconds, then that means the refresh rate is low.

In the world of PC monitors, ‘refresh rates’ are pretty much a typical everyday term. Higher refresh rate? Faster-looking PC monitor. Lower refresh rate? Well, tired eyes, pretty much. Refresh rate is tied to the flicker of the PC screen, which means that the lower the rate is, the more noticeable the flickering of your PC screen is. This means the more tired your eyes may get.

But the real question is, apart from the tired vs. refreshed eyes argument, does monitor refresh rate really matter? Does it actually have an effect on your PC’s performance, and should you actually care about it when you’re out shopping for the best buy computer monitor?

Factors That Affect PC Performance

There are many factors that affect PC performance. If we’re talking strictly about computer monitors, their relationship with the other components of the PC does have an effect. Since the whole thing is a system, all the parts and peripherals have to work together in order to make sure that everything is working flawlessly.

For example, you might think that if you replace your monitor with something better, your computer will automatically become better. However, you have to consider how the existing parts will react to an upgrade. A larger-sized, higher-resolution monitor may seem good, but your PC can become laggy if the CPU can’t support the hardware needed to run the monitor. Keep this in mind when you’re deciding on your new monitor.

Refresh Rate And PC Performance

Like many other aspects of your PC monitor, the refresh rate is actually easily adjustable. How far you can go depends on your PC though. You can do this by going to your PC’s settings > display settings > advanced settings > display adapter properties. Here you’ll see the option to change your PC’s refresh rate. The measurement used is Hertz (Hz), and the higher that number is, the better it is, supposedly.

If you’re a gamer, you’re going to benefit from a higher refresh rate, obviously. Higher refresh rate means that movement on the screen will look sharper, speedier, and more snappy. For gamers, this is extremely important. Their PC’s reaction time has to be fast enough to match their own, but if their PC’s refresh rate is low, that means the image may not be refreshing fast enough for them to respond with an appropriate action. If your own PC monitor can’t keep up with you, then this could mean bad things for a typical gameplay.

So generally, if you’re buying a monitor for a gaming rig, you should take a look at a refresh rate double that of 60Hz to benefit from a smoother, all-over better gaming experience. In fact, they can go up to 240Hz now, specifically for gaming builds.

On the other hand, if you’re not a gamer, you probably won’t notice the effect of refresh rates that much. After all, they’re only very noticeable when the movements on-screen are fast enough. If all you do in your computer is typing, reading, browsing online, or watching the occasional videos, you don’t really have to worry about refresh rates. Just don’t go under 60Hz and you should be fine.

Why 60Hz? Beyond that point, moving images can already look blurred. Ever seen an old monitor that has ‘ghost’ movements? In some old PC monitors, when you move your mouse, a trail is left behind– something that looks like the ‘ghost’ of your mouse cursor. That weird phenomenon is actually caused by a low refresh rate. Too low refresh rates can lead to slow-responding pixels, which can lead to that ‘ghosting’ effect.

Other than that, if you stay at the minimum 60Hz, you most likely wouldn’t even know what you’re missing because the change is that negligible.

Refresh Rate: Does It Matter?

To sum it up, there are many factors that affect PC performance, which does include your monitor’s refresh rate.

One can say that yes, it does have an effect on PC performance. But whether or not that effect is large enough to be a negotiable point when buying a PC monitor is a whole ‘nother story.

So do refresh rates really matter? Depending on who you’re talking to, probably yes, probably not. We’ll stay on the safe side here and say that it doesn’t if you don’t use your PC for gaming or performance demanding applications, as long as you’re not going under 60Hz!

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