120 vs 240 Refresh Rate – Do I Need More Than 120Hz?

Gaming Monitors have gone a long way in the last few years. There is a whole range of monitors at different prices, that look fairly similar. However, the specifications and features are not all the same and thus the prices are different too. In this guide, we will explain how important the Refresh Rate is and the difference between 120Hz vs 240Hz? Does it affect gaming performance or not? Does the refresh rate affect the ergonomics of the entire gaming station setup? And the most important question, do you really need a fast refresh rate? If you want the answers to these questions then read our guide to find out.

What is the Refresh Rate?

The Refresh Rate refers to the speed at which a monitor changes its images. Basically, a faster refresh rate means that the screen will update the image more frequently as a result, the image will look smoother. The Refresh rate is the frequency at which the image on the screen is refreshed, it is measured in Hertz (Hz).

Just to give you a perspective, in a regular cinema the movie runs at 24Hz, the normal Televisions run at 50Hz -60Hz and a typical laptop display or monitor has a refresh rate of 60Hz, and the latest gaming monitors come with 120Hz and 240Hz Refresh Rate.

120Hz vs 240Hz, what is the difference?

Nowadays, we note that many laptops and monitor manufacturers market their monitor’s refresh rate and charge extra dollars for 120Hz and 240Hz models. Most users don’t know the difference between the 120Hz Refresh rate and the 240Hz Refresh rate.

As we said above, the Refresh rate means the number of times per second a monitor updates its image. So if a monitor has a 120Hz refresh rate, it means it will update the image 120 times a second, Similarly, if we monitor have a 240Hz refresh rate then it means it updates the image 240 times a second.

Some people also confuse the Refresh Rate with the Frame Rate, which is totally wrong. The frame rate is an attribute of the information being sent to the monitor, whereas the refresh rate is the purely attribute of the Monitor. Improving the refresh rate won’t improve the frame rate and you will need good hardware to increase the frame rate. If you are interested in reading more about frame rate then check our guide to “Best frames per second for games”.

Benefits of a 120 vs 240 Refresh Rate Monitor

Conventional Gaming Monitors are very affordable as they start at around $100. But to get a monitor with 120Hz/240Hz Refresh rates you need to shell out a few more dollars. However, there are some benefits that you get with these expensive 120Hz/240Hz monitors.

  • Having a 120Hz/240Hz monitor means that you are getting a higher refresh rate which improves the motion resolution which can be perceived as the sharpness of a moving image. Now our brain constantly processes the set of frames displayed on the monitor and our brain blurs these sets of frames to create a sensible moving picture but it also lost some detail in the process. When gaming on a screen with a high refresh rate, the image appears more fluid without interruptions, thus fewer information gaps that our brain has to fill. The result is a reduction in blurring and the impression of a more realistic image with more detail.
  • Not all brains work at the same level, some people can instantly spot the difference between 60Hz and 120Hz but some people can’t. Similarly, the difference between the 120Hz and 240Hz is more subtle and it is even more difficult for an average human to the difference between them. However, it can help a lot the people who are professional gamers.
  • Refresh rate and frame rate are two different variables and we explained the difference between both of them in the above section. The screen tearing occurs where there is a difference between the refresh rate and frame rate. For example, if your system features a high-end GPU and you have a monitor with a low refresh rate. So now your GPU will send the frame to the monitor at a higher rate which your monitor can’t handle and your system will suffer the screen tearing. It is not a very prominent process but one can notice with little attention.
  • Having a 120Hz/240Hz monitor surely improves the responsiveness of the game and you have the edge over others who are without a monitor with high frame rates.

Compare 120HZ vs 240HZ

What are V-Sync and G-Sync?

V-Sync is the technology that was introduced to solve problems like screen tearing. So in this technology, the system limits the frame rate of a game at 60 FPS. However, there are some pros and cons of this technology. If you enable the V-Sync in your computer, it will surely reduce the screen tearing but it will also limit the potential performance of your system. If you disable the V-Sync, the system will suffer from screen tearing.

G-Sync is a groundbreaking display technology that offers a smooth gaming experience. Basically, this adaptive refresh rate technology limits the monitors to only refresh the frame when it is received from the video card which helps the system to achieve synchronization and no screen tearing. G-Sync is the technology by Nvidia where its arch-rival has the same technology known as FreeSync.

Do you really need a fast refresh rate?

After this explanation about the basic difference between the 120Hz and 240Hz refresh rates, it is now up to you to decide whether you really need a monitor with a super-fast refresh rate or not.

If you are a casual user who wants to relax and unwind in your gaming chair while playing regular games, it doesn’t matter whether you have a 120Hz monitor, a 240Hz monitor, or a 60Hz monitor.

However, if you are a hard-core competitive gamer with a high-end gaming rig, then a 120Hz monitor is what you want.  With enough hardware resources and the latest Nvidia graphics card then go for G-Sync enabled and FreeSync enabled monitors. But as I said above, if you are not a competitive gamer who relies on the latest hardware and who plays FPS games then you most probably don’t need a 240Hz gaming monitor. Better invest your dollars in getting a good monitor with good image quality or upgrade your hardware system first.

A tool to test your Refresh Rate