Does monitor refresh rate matter?

LG gaming monitor.
LG gaming monitor. (Image credit: LG)

Does monitor refresh rate matter?

Best answer: Monitor refresh rate matters a lot for gamers, but it's less important for productivity, web browsing, or watching movies and TV. It can still be valuable in these situations, though.

What is refresh rate?

A monitor's refresh rate, measured in hertz (Hz), represents the number of times per second that the display is capable of refreshing and displaying a new frame. For example, a 144Hz monitor will be capable of displaying up to 144 individual frames per second.

Note that refresh rate is not the same thing as frame rate and frames per second (FPS), although the two are closely related. Frame rate refers to how many frames your system can render per second, while refresh rate refers to how many of those frames your monitor can actually display on screen.

Does refresh rate matter?

Refresh rate matters a lot if you're a gamer, as it's important to have a monitor that can support the frame rates your PC is capable of. If your rig can output 100+ frames while playing the games you enjoy, but your monitor only has a 60Hz refresh rate, you won't actually see those frames on your display. Therefore, you should aim for a high refresh rate monitor if you're a gamer. 120Hz and 144Hz is generally considered the sweet spot, though higher refresh rates in the 200Hz-300Hz range are good options for people who have some of the best gaming desktop PCs.

Refresh rate matters less for people who only care about web browsing, productivity work, or watching movies and TV, as supporting a high frame rate isn't that important for general computing, and most films are displayed at 24-30 FPS. However, high refresh rates do make the desktop and web browsing experience smoother, as your display will be able to display more frames while you're scrolling through programs and webpages. Overall, a high refresh rate is nice to have, but it's not crucial when browsing the web or getting work done.

If you're looking for a great monitor that has a high refresh rate, check out the 24-inch LG 24GL600F-B. It's got a great 144Hz refresh rate, 1080p HD resolution, a 1ms response time, and support for AMD FreeSync, which is a feature that automatically syncs up your monitor refresh rate with your system's in-game FPS. It only costs $200, too, which is a steal. If you're looking for something more advanced, have a look at our roundup of the best computer monitors available.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.