Are High Refresh Rate Gaming Monitors Worth Buying?

High refresh rate gaming monitors are all the rage these days, but as great as they are it's not always worth getting one


These days, 60Hz is no longer enough. Or, at least, that's what everyone will try to tell you. From gamers to console and graphic cards manufacturers, as well as even developers, everyone will tell you about how great it is to get a high refresh rate gaming monitor.

Certain titles can run at 120fps on the PS5 and Xbox Series X on compatible displays, but the question is, are such gaming monitors worth it?

But, do you need one? Does everyone benefit from a higher refresh rate? Is refresh rate the only factor that you should consider when buying a monitor? What about the screen resolution or the type of panel or the color accuracy? Are those important? If so, why?

To help you better understand what to look for in a gaming monitor, we've taken the time to break down why people insist that high refresh rate gaming monitors are good, why they might not be for you, and other factors that you should consider when monitor shopping.

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Just how important is the monitor refresh rate for gaming?

Video games run better at higher refresh rates. It's just that anything monitors with support past 60Hz aren't always worth the added cost.

High refresh rate monitors are built for competitive gamers. For people who play video games for a living, a higher refresh rate is important for a better gameplay experience. This is especially the case in MOBA and FPS titles such as League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, respectively. The reason why is that high refresh rate monitors display more frames per second and therefore, more visual information that is capable of being displayed. This makes it easier to track the action in fast-paced games.

The problem ,when trying to discuss the benefits of higher frame rates, is that it becomes difficult to show the difference because most people use standard 60Hz displays. It's impossible to see the difference between 60fps and 70fps, let alone 120fps and 240fps if your monitor can't go above 60fps.

The refresh rate also isn't the only benefit of having high refresh rate monitors. These high-end monitors often have other features that help reduce input lag and minimize blurring, among other things. These are extremely important in competitive gaming. Input lag, for example, can mean the difference between landing a game-winning shot and missing it. However, competitive gaming scenarios are extreme examples and it's very unlikely if impossible for the average gamer to find themselves in similar positions.

In competitive gaming, every tiny advantage matters. This is why it makes sense for professionals and aspiring pros to invest in high-refresh-rate gaming monitors. But, if this isn't you, a high refresh rate might not be worth the added price.

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The added cost of getting a high refresh rate gaming monitor

You'll need to have a graphics card that can support high refresh rates, among other things.

If you're a casual gamer, a standard 60Hz gaming monitor will suit you just fine. Sure, there'll be a difference when using a high refresh rate gaming monitor for day-to-day usage, but the price of admission isn't worth it. You're better off getting a display monitor that has a higher resolution, bigger size or better image quality, if not all three combined. Not to mention, there is a hidden cost to getting a high refresh rate gaming monitor.

In addition to costing you a fair bit of money, you'll need to upgrade your gaming set-up as well to take advantage of high refresh rate gaming monitors.

In the case of consoles, you'll have to make sure that the game supports higher refresh rates, which not all of them do. Only a select few games have been designed to support up to 120Hz gameplay. Meanwhile, more games support high refresh rates on the PC, but your set-up has to be capable of supporting such titles. This means that you'll have to upgrade your graphics card, processor, and memory modules, which will not come cheap.

Is it worth buying a high refresh rate gaming monitor?

At the end of the day, the choice is up to you. So, make sure that you decide well.

It's great to have a high refresh rate monitor for gaming, and while it's not necessary, it helps. However, having a high refresh rate monitor doesn't translate to a smooth gaming experience immediately. There are several other factors involved as well.

For example, at the same price point as a 240Hz 24-inch monitor with a 1080p resolution, you can get a larger 27-inch monitor with a 1440p resolution or a 32-inch monitor with a 4K resolution. The 32-inch 4K resolution monitor would suit you better if you are a casual gamer or you play on consoles. As we've already mentioned, not all console games support high refresh rates, but most if not all support higher resolutions.

Playing video games on a 4K display hits different if you haven't tried it yet. If you have a PS5 or an Xbox Series X or even a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X, we recommend giving 4K monitors a try over high refresh rate gaming monitors. But, if you game on a PC, you might want to consider putting your money towards a better set-up instead. You're better off making sure that your graphics card and processor can keep your FPS up if you insist on getting a high refresh rate gaming monitor down the line.

Ultimately, we think that the ones who benefit the most from high refresh rate gaming displays are dedicated gamers, streamers, and professionals. If neither of the three applies to you, several other monitor features might suit your non-gaming needs better.

Ray Ampoloquio
Ray is based in the Philippines. He is a lifelong gamer and a PC hardware enthusiast. He builds and repairs laptops and computers for friends and family in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter.