Will a 60Hz (or 75Hz) refresh rate monitor work for gaming? In this post, we cover whether or not 60Hz is good enough for gaming in 2022.
Looking at some of the best gaming monitors in 2022, 60Hz or 75Hz monitors might seem to be a thing of the past—in fact, any monitor with a refresh rate lower than 144Hz is unlikely to make the list.
But cheap low refresh rate monitors are still being produced, and they’re great options in some use cases.
It’s true that a 60Hz refresh rate is no longer the mainstream standard for a gaming monitor, thanks to the best graphics cards in 2022 being able to pump out countless frames per second.
But 60Hz monitors haven’t somehow gotten worse than they were back when 60Hz was the standard refresh rate, so they’re still a decent option in some use cases.
Perhaps more common than 60Hz monitors these days, though, are 75Hz ones. While a 15Hz difference isn’t the night-and-day contrast between a 60Hz monitor and a 144Hz one, it’s still noticeable. So, PC gamers deciding on a new monitor now have two low refresh rate options.
The question, however, is whether either of these low refresh rates are good for gaming in 2022.
What Does Refresh Rate Mean?
When you play a game, a certain number of frames are displayed on your screen each second to create the effect of a moving image. The number of frames that are displayed each second is a result of both your framerate and your refresh rate.
Framerate refers to how many frames are rendered by your graphics card each second. A more powerful graphics card will be able to render more frames per second than a less powerful one. However, how many frames you actually see on the display is limited by your monitor’s refresh rate.
Along with the GIF posted above, the website testufo.com is also a good way to see the differences between different refresh rates.
A monitor’s refresh rate is the number of times it ‘refreshes’ each second. When the monitor refreshes, it takes the most recent frame that the GPU has rendered and draws this to the display. So, even if your graphics card is rendering 200 frames per second, a 60Hz monitor will only display 60 frames per second—one new frame with each refresh.
Why Refresh Rate is Important
Some people think that our eyes’ limitations mean we can’t tell the difference between high framerates and refresh rates, but this isn’t true. Back before 60fps became the standard, people often said the same thing about 30fps: “Your eyes can’t see more than 30fps anyway.” This wasn’t a knockdown argument for 30fps, and it isn’t for 60fps or 120fps, either.
Eyes don’t work like monitors do; they’re much more complicated. Different parts of the brain and eyes work in different ways depending on what kind of thing you’re looking at—whether this is a peripheral flicker, a centred, stationary target, or something else. Since high refresh rates became more common and people have been able to test the difference for themselves, people have begun to recognise that high refresh rates are noticeably different to lower ones.
The long story short is that higher refresh rates are noticeably ‘smoother’ than lower ones—providing your GPU can render enough frames each second to keep up. This difference in smoothness diminishes the higher your refresh rate goes, though, so the difference between 60Hz and 120Hz is more noticeable than between 120Hz and 144Hz or 240Hz.
A higher refresh rate should give you a smoother and more enjoyable gaming experience and allow your eyes to treat the game scene more like real life—after all, there’s no framerate or refresh rate ‘cap’ in real life. Apart from this, the most obvious advantage to a high refresh rate is seen in competitive shooters. In such games, your eyes should be better able to quickly track your moving crosshair, increasing the likelihood that you’ll land it in the right place for a quick headshot. High refresh rates can only help rather than hinder your reaction time.
60Hz vs 120Hz
Comparing 60Hz to 120Hz is a good way to understand the difference between lower and higher refresh rates. The former refresh rate used to be standard for most gaming builds, and is still the standard for console gaming, and the latter is now more common—alongside 144Hz—in gaming PC builds.
At 60Hz—providing you’re getting over 60fps—games appear smooth enough that the refresh rate shouldn’t be a prominent annoyance, unlike at like 30fps where most gamers will notice that the game looks choppy. At 120Hz, however, you should notice a difference, especially when moving the camera view quickly or when watching objects move quickly in the game world. In these cases, your eyes should perceive the camera or object movement very smoothly, whereas at 60Hz you might notice a little choppiness.
This is often relative to your own experience, however. Many gamers report that they only noticed the choppiness of 60Hz gameplay after they’d experienced 120Hz gameplay. So, if you haven’t experienced a higher refresh rate than 60Hz you might not think that a 60Hz monitor is choppy at all.
Is 60Hz Good for Gaming?
Even though higher refresh rates should provide a better gaming experience than 60Hz in all use cases, 60Hz is still good for gaming. It should be reiterated: a game running at 60fps on a 60Hz monitor still gives just as smooth of a gaming experience as gamers have had for years before the shift to higher refresh rates.
In many games, in fact, the difference between 60Hz and a higher refresh rate like 120Hz or 144Hz isn’t very noticeable. For example, if you tend to play 3rd person games with a controller, sitting a little away from your desk, 60Hz should be enough.
The price differences between 60Hz and higher refresh rate monitors also can’t be ignored. If you’re on a budget, opting for a cheaper 60Hz monitor might leave you enough financial leeway to opt for more storage space or other internal upgrades, which might improve your quality of life more than a monitor upgrade.
You also need to consider your PC’s framerate capabilities. If your graphics card struggles to push above 60fps in games on the settings you want to play at, there’s no point getting a monitor with a refresh rate above 60Hz—unless you plan on upgrading your hardware soon, of course. This isn’t true just for low-end hardware, either. You might, for instance, have a high-end graphics card and want to play games at 4K resolution, which even a high-end GPU will struggle to achieve at over 60fps.
But, if you play shooters, game on a mouse and keyboard, and have a PC that can dish out high framerates at your chosen game settings, opting for a higher refresh rate should lead to a better gaming experience.
Is 75Hz Good for Gaming?
The answer to this question is much the same as above: 75Hz is good for gaming under the same kinds of circumstances. However, the difference between a 75Hz and 60Hz monitor is more noticeable than you might initially think, meaning 75Hz should be opted for over 60Hz whenever possible.
Monitors with a 75Hz refresh rate are quickly becoming just as common and inexpensive as 60Hz ones, so price is becoming less and less of a reason to opt for 60Hz over 75Hz. And, for this, you’re getting a monitor that feels noticeably smoother than a 60Hz one, making it a solid go-to option for budget, non-competitive, or high resolution gamers. 75Hz is even a formidable refresh rate for the more casual end of competitive gaming—pro gamers are unlikely to game at 75Hz, but casual gamers can play competitive games at this refresh rate without suffering too great a disadvantage.
What Refresh Rate Should I Choose?
Ultimately, whether 60Hz or 75Hz refresh rates are good enough depends on your own gaming needs. If you tend to play more casual games that don’t require fast movements and quickfire accuracy, or if your hardware struggles to break 100fps at your chosen game settings, a 60Hz or 75Hz monitor is a good choice. And, out of those two, a 75Hz monitor is noticeably better. But if you have a high enough framerate for it, and especially if you plan on gaming competitively, a monitor with a higher refresh rate is a good investment.
(Check out these affordable 144Hz gaming monitor options.)