As a tech enthusiast, I always look for the latest and greatest displays. And one of the most important aspects of a display’s performance is its refresh rate. You may have heard about 100Hz and 120Hz refresh rates, but you might not be sure what they mean or how they compare.
In this article, I’ll explain the differences and help you understand which might suit you.
What is Refresh Rate?
As I mentioned, the refresh rate is crucial to a display’s performance. But what exactly does it mean? Simply put, the refresh rate refers to how many times a display refreshes the image on the screen in a second.
For example, if a monitor has a refresh rate of 60Hz, it refreshes the image 60 times every second. The higher the refresh rate, the more times per second the image is refreshed, resulting in a smoother and more seamless experience.
But why does the refresh rate matter?
Well, it’s closely related to two key factors that impact our viewing experience: frame rate and motion blur.
Frame rate refers to the number of frames per second that are being displayed. The standard frame rate in movies is 24 frames per second, but in video games, frame rates can range from 30 to 240 frames per second.
When a display’s refresh rate is lower than the frame rate, it can result in “screen tearing.” This is when two different frames are displayed on the screen simultaneously, creating a visible split in the image. To combat this, displays with higher refresh rates can keep up with the frame rate more effectively, resulting in a smoother and more cohesive image.
Motion blur, on the other hand, is the blurring effect that a moving object can have on the screen. This happens because the image on the screen is being refreshed slower than the object is moving, resulting in a blurred image. Higher refresh rates can help to reduce this motion blur and create a sharper, more defined image.
So, why do we want higher refresh rates?
Well, the smoother and more seamless the image on the screen, the more immersive and enjoyable our viewing experience becomes. This is especially important in gaming and high-action content like sports and action movies where fast movement occurs on the screen.
However, it’s important to note that higher refresh rates may not always be necessary for everyone, and it largely depends on personal preference and use case.
For example, a lower refresh rate might work fine if you primarily use your computer for browsing and basic tasks. But for those who are more tech-savvy or use their devices for activities like gaming or graphic design, a higher refresh rate can make a significant difference in their experience.
The Difference Between 100Hz and 120Hz Refresh Rates
The main difference between 100Hz and 120Hz is the number of times the display refreshes the image on the screen per second.
As the numbers suggest, a display with a 100Hz refresh rate refreshes the image 100 times per second, while a display with a 120Hz refresh rate refreshes it 120 times per second.
While the number difference might seem small, it can significantly affect the viewing experience. A higher refresh rate means the image on the screen is refreshed more frequently, resulting in smoother and less choppy motion, less motion blur, and less screen tearing.
Comparison of Performance
So how do displays with 100Hz and 120Hz refresh rates compare in performance?
While it largely depends on the specific display and use case. Generally, a higher refresh rate display will provide a smoother and more seamless experience.
For example, a higher refresh rate can make a significant difference in the overall experience of gaming. With a 120Hz refresh rate, for example, we can see up to 20% more frames compared to a 100Hz refresh rate. This can result in more responsive, smoother motion and immersive gameplay.
In graphic design or video editing, a higher refresh rate can also make a noticeable difference in the overall productivity and creative process. Animations and transitions will appear smoother, and spotting details in complex graphics or video editing projects can be easier.
Advantages and Disadvantages of 100Hz vs 120Hz
As with every technology, there are advantages and disadvantages to both 100Hz and 120Hz refresh rates. Here are some of the key ones to consider:
Advantages of 100Hz
- Less expensive compared to 120Hz displays
- Still provides a smooth and seamless experience for most users
- Can be adequate for most use cases, including basic gaming, browsing, and video playback
Disadvantages of 100Hz
- A higher chance of screen tear and less smooth motion in high-action content
- May not be sufficient for more demanding use cases such as competitive gaming or graphic design
Advantages of 120Hz
- Provides an even smoother and more seamless experience compared to 100Hz
- Can result in more responsive and immersive gameplay
- Ideal for demanding tasks such as competitive gaming and graphic design
Disadvantages of 120Hz
- Often more expensive than 100Hz displays
- May not be noticeable or necessary for basic tasks such as browsing or video playback
When to Choose 100Hz
Basic Use Cases
If you primarily use your computer for basic tasks such as browsing, email, and video playback, a 100Hz refresh rate might be a good choice. While it may not provide the smoothest or most seamless experience, it can still be adequate for most basic use cases.
For example, if you’re a student who primarily uses your laptop to take notes, browse the internet, and watch occasional videos, a 100Hz display should be sufficient. You won’t need to spend extra money on a 120Hz display that won’t make a noticeable difference in your overall experience.
Another advantage of choosing a 100Hz display is that it is less expensive than a 120Hz display. This makes it a great option for those on a budget or looking to save some money.
If you’re building a budget gaming PC or looking to upgrade your display without breaking the bank, a 100Hz display is a great option. It still provides a smooth and engaging gaming experience without the higher price tag of a 120Hz display.
While a 100Hz refresh rate may not be suitable for every application, there are specific applications where it can shine.
For example, if you work from home and primarily use your computer for typing and productivity tasks, a 100Hz display can make long work sessions more comfortable. With less motion blur and less screen tearing, you can avoid eye strain and headaches, improving your productivity.
In addition, if you’re a casual gamer who primarily plays single-player or non-competitive games, a 100Hz display can be a great choice. You can enjoy a smooth and immersive gaming experience without the added expense of a 120Hz display.
If you’re interested in choosing a 100Hz display but aren’t sure which one to choose, here are a few recommendations:
- Acer Nitro XV272U: A 27-inch IPS monitor with a 1440p resolution and a 170Hz refresh rate. Great for gaming and productivity tasks.
- AOC C32G2: A 32-inch curved gaming monitor with a 1080p resolution and a 165Hz refresh rate. Great for immersive gaming experiences.
- LG 27GL83A-B: A 27-inch gaming monitor with a 1440p resolution and a 144Hz refresh rate. Great for those who want a higher-resolution display.
When to Choose 120Hz
If you’re an avid gamer who plays competitive games, a 120Hz refresh rate is worth considering. It can provide a noticeable advantage in fast-paced games like first-person shooters or racing games, where split-second reactions make all the difference.
You can enjoy a smoother, more responsive gaming experience with a faster refresh rate. Games will appear more detailed, and motion blur will be significantly reduced, providing a more immersive and engaging experience.
Graphic Design and Video Editing
If you work in graphic design, video editing, or any other visual media, a 120Hz refresh rate can significantly impact your productivity and creative process. Animations and transitions will be smoother, and you’ll be able to spot details more easily.
In addition, if you’re working with color-sensitive projects like print media, a 120Hz display can provide a more accurate representation of color. With more frames per second, you’ll have a more stable and consistent image, making color matching and adjustment more precise.
If you’re looking for a more immersive entertainment experience, a 120Hz refresh rate can provide just that. With less motion blur and less screen tearing, you can enjoy movies, TV shows, and streaming content with a sharper and more defined image.
In addition, a higher refresh rate can make a significant difference in the overall experience if you’re a sports fan or enjoy watching fast-paced action movies.
You’ll be able to see more detail in fast-paced scenes, providing a more engaging and immersive experience.
If you’re interested in choosing a 120Hz display but aren’t sure which one to choose, here are a few recommendations:
- ASUS ROG Swift PG279QM: A 27-inch gaming monitor with a 1440p resolution and a 240Hz refresh rate. Great for competitive gaming and immersive entertainment.
- Dell S2719DGF: A 27-inch gaming monitor with a 1440p resolution and a 155Hz refresh rate. Great for gamers who want a higher-resolution display but still want the advantages of a higher refresh rate.
- Predator X27: A 27-inch gaming monitor with a 4K resolution and a variable 120Hz to 144Hz refresh rate. Great for those who want the ultimate gaming experience with a higher resolution and the benefits of a higher refresh rate.
Choosing between a 100Hz and 120Hz refresh rate depends on your preference and use case. While a 100Hz display can be a great choice if you primarily use your computer for basic tasks and want a more affordable option, a 120Hz display provides a more seamless and engaging experience for demanding applications such as competitive gaming or graphic design.
Regardless of your choice, it’s essential to consider other factors such as resolution, response time, and panel type. These factors will also impact your overall experience and should be considered when choosing your next display.
It’s all about finding the right balance between performance, price, and personal preference. Both 100Hz and 120Hz refresh rates provide benefits and advantages, and it’s up to you to decide which one works best for your specific use case.
Whichever refresh rate you choose, invest in a high-quality display that lasts years. With a well-chosen display, you can enhance your productivity, creativity, and entertainment experience and get the most out of your device.