One of the most popular topics for gamers nowadays is which refresh rate they should be gaming on. There are two different refresh rates: 60 and 75 Hz. The difference between them is not very dramatic, but there are some key differences that you need to know before you decide on what’s best for your setup.
We will discuss how each one affects gameplay and if we think it’s worth upgrading from 60Hz to 75Hz or vice versa in this blog post.
What is Refresh Rate?
The monitor’s refresh rate determines how many times per second the computer can send a new image to the display. This process happens so fast that it’s unperceivable by the human eye, which results in steady, seamless images without flickering.
The best way to comprehend this is by visualizing a movie. For example, let’s take an old silent movie with low frame rates (e.g., 12 or 16 frames per second (FPS)). The images will look choppy and static because there’s insufficient fluidity to suppress the flickering effect.
On the other hand, a movie filmed with modern high-frame rates (e.g., 60 FPS) will look very fluid and life-like because every frame is refreshed in time before the human eye can notice the difference.
This same effect also happens with computer games but much faster since movies are typically filmed at 24 FPS, while games run at 30 to 144 FPS (or more).
Of course, several factors affect the fluidity and performance of your in-game graphics, including the resolution, hardware specs, and rendering techniques. But we’ll keep it simple here by focusing on the refresh rate.
Why Is There a Difference Between 60Hz vs 75Hz?
Variable refresh rates are a welcome alternative to traditional fixed refresh rates. However, this article will not cover it because not all computer users can use it.
Nevertheless, you should know that Radeon graphic cards support variable refresh rates, while NVIDIA cards don’t look at this point.
The current standard refresh rate for modern LCD/LED monitors is 60Hz, which means the display refreshes its image at 60 times per second. But why did manufacturers limit the standard refresh rates to just 60Hz? Well, this has to do with limitations imposed by old CRT monitors.
Before LED displays were invented, all monitors were huge CRT (cathode ray tube) screens, which worked very similarly to the cathode ray tubes in old TVs. These CRTs can draw and refresh images faster, around 100 to 120 times per second, but one major downside is image flicker.
To produce the picture on a CRT screen, the electron beam must first scan to the left side and back again to the right side as many times as required.
Multiple horizontal “lines” are drawn to build up one complete image. This process happens so fast that your eyes can’t see it, but you may feel it (especially if you have a headache) when you move your head to the left and right very fast.
Refreshing the display faster means more lines will be drawn in that same amount of time, which is why refresh rates are measured by the number of lines or cycles per second (Hz).
The 75Hz monitor refreshes the image on-screen 75 times per second instead of 60Hz monitors, which only refresh 60 times in a second. With a higher Hz monitor, you get less motion blur and smooth gameplay.
So for CRT monitors to produce fluid images without flicker, they must limit their refresh rate to approximately 120 times per second. This is exactly what it was limited to back then (e.g., 75Hz (75 times per second), 80Hz, 85Hz, etc.).
Nowadays, LCD screens use completely different technologies than CRTs and can’t achieve anywhere near 100 Hz, so refresh rates have been standardized, limiting them to 60 Hz, which is fine for most users.
However, gamers have been pushing the boundaries since 60 FPS or even 30FPS wasn’t smooth enough, so the race to newer, higher refresh rates was on.
For a long time, 75Hz has been considered the ideal choice due to technological limitations and because it’s faster than 60Hz while not as fast as CRTs (which were limited to 120 Hz). But now, we’re seeing more options hitting the market, like 80Hz, 85Hz, 100Hz, 120Hz, and 144Hz.
So what makes these new higher refresh rates so special? Once again, we must consider how our eyes work. The human eye perceives flickering at around 55-60 FPS (or 50-75 times per second), so the difference between 60Hz and 75/80/85/120Hz is noticeable.
At 120Hz or even 144Hz, it becomes impossible for your eyes to see flickering, making this refresh rate ideal for action games.
What is a 60Hz Monitor?
A 60Hz monitor means your computer’s graphics card can only update the screen 60 times per second. This number refers to how many images or frames are shown on the screen every second.
A 60Hz monitor is a standard display that has been around for years. The refresh rate on this type of monitor will never exceed 60 frames per second, meaning only the most basic games can be played in full detail and at their best with no problems.
The higher this number, the smoother things will look during gameplay and fast motion. On the other hand, a 60Hz monitor can sometimes look choppy and pixelated during any fast motion.
These monitors are typically very affordable, so they are good if you want to get into gaming and don’t have much money.
What is a 75Hz Monitor?
A 75Hz monitor means your computer’s graphics card can update the screen up to 75 times per second (75fps).
This number refers to how many images or frames are shown on the screen every second. The higher this number, the smoother things will look during gameplay and fast motion.
A 75Hz monitor has the same resolution as a 60Hz monitor, but it can handle more graphics on screen simultaneously without any problems. This means you can play some pretty intense games and have a fun experience while at it.
These types of monitors are typically more expensive than the 60Hz monitor. Still, they are worth the money if you want to get into gaming and don’t mind spending extra cash for better visual quality.
Benefits of Higher Refresh Rates
1. Better Fluid Motion in Fast-Paced Video Games
One of the most important benefits of higher refresh rates is a better fluid motion, meaning objects appear smoother when you play fast-paced games.
Let’s take a 60Hz monitor, for example: if a 60 FPS game renders 60 frames per second and the standard 60Hz monitor refreshes 60 times per second, all those frames will be displayed simultaneously, as shown in this animation.
However, if you have a 75 Hz monitor instead, it can show 75 FPS, meaning there are 60+15 additional frames to display between the 60 frames from a 60Hz monitor. With this higher frame rate, you will get 15 extra “in-between” and 60 new images. Higher frame rates give you smoother motion compared to standard 60 FPS.
2. Less Eye Strain/Fatigue
The other main benefit is less eye strain/fatigue, which was why 60Hz monitors used to be standard. As explained earlier, 60Hz screens are better for people who experience screen flicker because 60 frames will make up one second, and there is no time for your eyes to perceive flickering.
But now that panel technology has evolved, allowing manufacturers to build higher refresh rate displays (120Hz), you can eliminate this problem and enjoy much more comfortable gaming or working session.
3. Higher Responsiveness in Fast-Paced Games
Another big advantage of high refresh rates is higher responsiveness in fast-paced games where every millisecond counts. The 60Hz monitor will have to wait 16.6 milliseconds (ms) to refresh 60 times per second, which means that if the game is running at 60 FPS, it can only process 60 new images per second.
On the other hand, a 60+ Hz monitor will have enough time to render and display up to 120 new images in one second, which means that games and videos will look much more fluid and responsive on high refresh rate displays.
While 60 FPS might be enough for slower-paced video games, it doesn’t cut it for fast-paced games like CSGO or Starcraft, where you must be extra precise.
4. Reduced Input Lag
Input lag is the time it takes for your monitor to process your inputs and display them on the screen. Or rather, you can perceive it as the delay between pressing a button and seeing the result on-screen. This usually happens due to inefficient communication between the PC and the monitor.
For example, when you turn your head from one side to another, it takes approximately 0.01 seconds for signals to travel from your eyes to your brain and back again. So if there is any delay between the moment you press a key/button/flick a joystick and when you see the image change on-screen, your reflexes will not be able to take advantage of them in time.
This is typically not an issue for older fixed refresh rate monitors since they update their images at consistent rates (60 times per second). Still, as mentioned earlier, these fixed refresh rates are not ideal for gamers.
Computer monitors with higher refresh rates reduce input lag significantly. However, it’s important to note that they’re still not as fast as CRTs, so the difference is noticeable only when playing fast-paced games.
However, most gamers will agree that the reduced input lag is worth the slight decrease in FPS because your actions feel more fluid, and you become much better at reacting quickly to whatever happens onscreen.
5. Reduced Motion Blur
Previously we talked about how human eyes can perceive flickers at around 55 or 60 frames per second (FPS) and how this limit increases as we age, but did you know that some motion blur occurs even on refreshing displays above 75-80 FPS?
This is due to the persistence of your eyes, which continue to “see” what was on the screen before, even if new images appear due to higher refresh rates. This causes moving objects to look blurred because your eyes can’t see them updating as fast as they’re drawing, but it’s not noticeable in most cases unless you look closely.
Moving images that appear smeared and blurry due to low response times caused by traditional displays can be improved with higher refresh rates because they show a clearer image.
This is especially important in action games like first-person shooters, where you’re constantly moving your camera around.
6. Reduced Visual Artifacts
Visual artifacts happen when certain displays incorrectly interpret data sent from your computer and show incorrect colors or shapes, resulting in distorted picture quality.
Sometimes this results in screen tearing (an effect similar to watching TV through an old analog antenna), where parts of different objects appear separately because different images are being drawn simultaneously.
Higher refresh rates help because they result in renewed image data every second/every other frame. The graphics being sent are interpreted correctly more often, reducing noticeable visual artifacts significantly, especially on TVs.
7. Reduced Lag During FPS Games
Most first-person shooter (FPS) games require you to turn 180 degrees pretty quickly or aim directly at an enemy behind your back, and this requires extremely fast reaction times from your eyes, which send signals down to your brain, then back again so that you can move your gun/aim before the enemy shoots you.
The delay between seeing the enemy and reacting by moving/shooting is called “reaction time”. This limits how fast FPS players can turn around and how fast they can move, which is why many gamers use gaming monitors to gain a competitive advantage.
As mentioned above, older fixed refresh rate displays (60 Hz) refresh at a reasonably high frequency. Still, they are not ideal for FPS games because the images don’t update as often as required – so gamers turn to 120/144Hz monitors that update their image twice or four times per frame to gain this advantage.
This reduces the delay between seeing an enemy on screen and reacting by turning around or aiming quickly, giving you more time to act before he shoots you.
How Do Higher Refresh Rates Work?
Higher monitor refresh rates result in less motion blur, visual artifacts, and input lag reduction. This helps FPS gamers respond faster to what they see on the screen because their monitor updates fast enough to display the images as they’re drawn.
Higher refresh rates work by refreshing your monitor’s image more often than before, so even though an older 60 Hz display refreshes at 120 times per second (every 16.6 milliseconds), it can’t update half of that time. Therefore, each frame appears for 33.3 ms, which is too long compared to how quickly you move/react in games.
Unfortunately, this isn’t as simple as turning up the monitor’s refresh rate. You must also perform separate tasks like increasing output frequencies and adjusting V-Sync settings (which we’ll discuss in a moment).
So to get the most out of your 120 Hz monitor, you need to set your V-Sync to “On” and change two separate settings if you want a tear-free image.
Which is Better: 60 Hz or 75 Hz?
The difference between 60Hz and 75Hz is quite dramatic. If you have never experienced it before, you will notice a huge improvement in how smooth, fast-paced actions appear compared to lower refresh rates (which aren’t nearly as bad as some people make them out to be).
However, even if you upgrade your PC, monitor, and graphics card, you’re still limited to 60 FPS through a game’s built-in settings or the monitor itself.
Some 60 Hz monitors have a motion blur reduction feature. However, 60 Hz is too slow to reduce motion blur, and only a few monitors will work with ULMB at 60 Hz. This is why it’s best to purchase displays with 75 Hz or higher because they usually come with an integrated motion blur reduction feature.
Is 60Hz Good for Gaming?
The debate between 60Hz and higher refresh rates has been hotly contested in the gaming community for years. On the one hand, higher refresh rates should theoretically provide a smoother gaming experience.
On the other hand, some argue that 60Hz is still perfectly good for gaming and that the difference is negligible.
So, which is it?
The truth is that both sides are right. A game running at 60 FPS on a 60 Hz monitor will still look as smooth as it always has. However, there are some benefits to higher refresh rates, particularly when it comes to competitive gaming.
Higher refresh rates can help reduce input lag and screen tearing, giving gamers a slight edge over opponents. Additionally, higher refresh rates can help reduce eye strain, making for a more comfortable gaming experience overall.
So, while 60 Hz is still perfectly good for gaming, there are some definite benefits to higher refresh rates. If you’re looking for the best gaming experience possible, you’ll want to invest in a monitor with a high refresh rate.
However, if you’re looking for a solid gaming experience comparable to what you’ve been used to, then 60Hz is perfectly fine.
Is 75Hz Good for Gaming?
In the past, gamers looking for a budget-friendly option often chose a 60Hz monitor. However, 75Hz monitors are now just as common and inexpensive, making them a great choice for gamers on a tight budget.
In addition, 75Hz monitors offer a noticeably smoother gaming experience than their 60Hz counterparts. Even for more casual gamers, 75Hz is a viable refresh rate for competitive gaming.
For pro gamers, however, 75Hz is likely not fast enough to give them the necessary advantage. Ultimately, choosing a 60Hz or 75Hz monitor will come down to your preferences and budget.
How Can I Achieve Higher Refresh Rates?
You have two ways of achieving faster monitor refresh rates:
1) By Upgrading Your Display
The simplest way to increase your monitor’s refresh rate is by purchasing a new model that has a faster response time and supports at least 240Hz (if not more).
It’s important that the display you choose is compatible with your graphics card and has all the features required for smooth gaming performance, as we mentioned above, such as Adaptive-Sync/FreeSync.
2) By Adjusting Your In-Game Settings
One way to increase your monitor’s refresh rate is by enabling VSync and the display’s maximum refresh rate (most monitors now support up to 240 Hz). This doesn’t mean you can enable only VSync. Otherwise, things will get ugly because this forces the monitor to refresh at a fixed frequency of 60 times per second which causes tearing on fast-moving objects.
This is why Nvidia GTX users should choose G-Sync over V-Sync, as it syncs with the monitor’s refresh rate, doubling its response time and providing tear-free images.
However, it requires an additional proprietary hardware module on your graphics card to function properly, which isn’t compatible with AMD cards (unless you purchase a G-Sync monitor).
Older monitors with fixed refresh rates (60 Hz) work well in games as they update on the same frequency set by the user.
Unfortunately, newer models (120+Hz) don’t allow you to choose your refresh rate – whether it’s 60, 75, 120, or 144 Hz and still be able to turn up/down V-Sync settings in games since a majority of games need to match this set with their game’s frame rate so that there is no screen tearing issues.
So if your FPS drops below your monitor’s VSync threshold, you will see noticeable screen tearing – but turning on ULMB might help achieve smoother images. We recommend using NVIDIA cards for gamers who want tear-free images, as the ULMB mode works with G-Sync, doubling its response time.
What is ULMB?
Ultra Low Motion Blur (ULMB) is a motion blur reduction feature available on some monitors and was made popular by NVIDIA’s Lightboost technology.
It essentially limits the monitor’s refresh rate to refresh rates higher than 85 Hz to display sharper images during fast-paced games – but this can get rather costly because you cannot use this feature along with FreeSync/G-SYNC or any other monitor overclocking tech (unless your monitor supports both).
How Does ULMB Work?
As mentioned above, ULMB limits your monitor’s maximum refresh rate to 85 Hz. The higher the monitor’s refresh rate, the less motion blur you would see while playing fast-paced games (such as racing or first-person shooters). Since your graphics card must produce at least 85 FPS for ULMB, this feature isn’t available in 60 Hz monitors.
ULMB is a great addition to G-Sync and FreeSync monitors as it further reduces motion blur. Still, there will be noticeable flicker which some users might find distracting (which can be adjusted to reduce eye fatigue) – think of it as CRT flickering that was eliminated by LCDs in the first place.
Fortunately, most gamers don’t find flicker distracting enough to stop using ULMB, so we consider it a worthy trade-off between clarity and flicker.
All in all, speed isn’t everything, especially if you’re looking for the best 60 Hz or 75+Hz monitor that can display beautiful images without screen tearing and motion blur – but then again, we will always recommend buying a new display instead of spending countless hours trying to fix your current one.
When shopping for your next 60 Hz vs. 75 Hz monitor, remember that these monitors differ in response time and vary greatly regarding input lag (which is why some gamers prefer 60 Hz displays), color accuracy, and image clarity.
We hope this article was useful and until next time.