In a nutshell: Did you know that higher refresh rates can give you a competitive edge during heated gaming sessions? That may seem like common sense to most avid PC gamers, but Nvidia has published a lengthy, in-depth article to hammer this point home even further.
The GPU maker covers quite a bit of ground in its post, but we’d like to focus on some of the more interesting points here. First, let’s talk about the relationship between framerates and refresh rates.
As Nvidia points out, the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but they describe two different things: your framerate is the rate at which your GPU can draw frames for a game or piece of software, and your refresh rate effectively measures how well your monitor can keep up. If your GPU is putting out 144 frames per second, but you’re gaming on a 60Hz display, you’re going to see a not-insignificant amount of screen tearing as your monitor fails to match your video card’s speed.
This is why many gamers with lower-end displays prefer to lock their in-game framerates to around 60 with third-party tools like MSI Afterburner or Rivatuner Statistics Server. As Nvidia states, for optimal results and minimal “ghosting” (the trail that gets left behind by moving images on LCD displays), you generally want both your FPS and refresh rate to be high.
But how high is high enough? For most PC gamers, 60 FPS gaming is the holy grail; the target to pursue and maintain with settings tweaks and hardware upgrades. And that’s a perfectly reasonable standard. It’s impossible to deny that there is a massive difference in smoothness and playability between 30 and 60 FPS, and most eSports pros will tell you that the latter is the bare minimum you want to achieve before playing games like Overwatch in a competitive capacity.
And then there’s 144 FPS gaming: another very noticeable improvement from 60 FPS…