What Is Refresh Rate, and Why Is It Important?

When it comes to buying monitors, there are so many technical specifications and jargon that you could quite easily feel out of your depth. Refresh rate is one such specification, but it’s actually important enough for you to take the time to understand it fully.


What Is Refresh Rate?

Refresh rate refers to how often a screen refreshes all its pixels. Pixels are refreshed from top-left going bottom-right then repeating this process over again until all pixels have been filled with new data at least once. Confused? Let’s use an analogy.


Imagine your screen as a piece of paper on which information is printed via ink or toner, much like what you’d find in a printer. Then horizontally writing each line of information from left-to-right, top to bottom. When a page is full of information it’s said to be ‘refreshed’.

Your monitor also refreshes its images in much the same way as a piece of paper does. Let’s say your monitor has 1920 pixels horizontally and 1080 pixels vertically. In order for the monitor to fill all these pixels with new information, it needs to refresh 1920 times every second. This is what we call Hz or Hertz – the number of times this refreshing process takes place per second. Standard monitors have been known to have a time taken of around 60Hz which means that they refresh 60 times per second, but monitors can reach refresh rates as high as 144Hz or even higher!


What Does Refresh Rate Mean For The User?

What is Refresh Rate

Well, the higher the refresh rate of your monitor, the better it’ll be able to keep up with fast-moving images. This is especially important for gamers as they’re using their monitors to compete against other players who are likely themselves using high refresh rate screens! There’s definitely a difference between playing on a 60Hz and 144Hz monitor though. At lower refresh rates, you may notice that your display refreshes once every 16ms, but on 120Hz or 144Hz displays, you may only see this display refreshing at 8ms intervals – which is quite a difference when it comes to performance.

Let’s consider two different scenarios where one player has a monitor with a 60 Hz refresh rate vs another player with a 144Hz refresh rate. The first player shoots an opponent but notices that they miss their enemy because there is a delay between shooting and the other player noticing they’ve been shot. This is likely to be very frustrating for the shooter as they’ve missed their target due to this delay, so it’s safe to say that higher refresh rates are better if you want good performance in games!

However, it should be noted at this point that high refresh rates don’t always equal benefit when it comes to competitive gaming. If your opponent has a monitor with 120 Hz or higher then all of a sudden you’re right back into being on equal footing once again.


How Can I Find Out My Current Refresh Rate?

How to find refresh rate

If you know what make and model your monitor is, you can use the specifications to find out what current refresh rate of it is. Alternatively, if you’re using either an Nvidia or AMD graphics card there are utilities that allow you to set up custom resolutions and display rates for monitors. This might be preferable if you want to set up a high-refresh-rate mode, but don’t have your monitor capable of reaching this level.

Having taken all these things into consideration, we at Best Gaming Tips hopefully think that now when you’re buying new hardware like graphics cards or even trying to decide between two different models of monitor, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision! You will no longer need to rely on guesswork when choosing products because instead, you’ll have important information about what makes one product better than another.