Is A 144Hz Monitor Worth It?

Quick Answer: 144Hz monitors and other 120Hz-plus monitors offer a vast improvement in viewing quality due to their superior refresh rates, lower input lag, better motion resolution, and protection from screen tearing. They give users a far better gaming experience and a competitive edge, as a result, they’re the preferred monitors of gamers.

Interested in getting a new computer monitor? Shopping for a new one can be difficult with all the numerous features (resolution, contrast ratio, size, aspect ratio, etc.) to factor into your buying decision. A monitor’s refresh rate is an often overlooked feature that is actually one of the most important. Indeed users that upgrade to a smoother 120Hz-plus monitor report it is difficult to go back to old ones because of the vast improvement in quality.

Superior monitor refresh rate

Simply put a monitor’s refresh rate is the number of times per second that it refreshes its screen. The refresh rate is measured in hertz (Hz) and has traditionally been limited to 60Hz. What this effectively means that no matter how many frames per second (FPS) a game is played at, it will always be visually limited by the Hz that the gaming monitor is capable of. With the release of 120Hz-plus technology an entire range of displays capable of taking advantage of the extra FPS is now available.

Better motion resolution

Amongst the great benefits provided by newer 120Hz-plus monitors is the increased motion resolution. The motion resolution determines how sharp a moving image will be. This is crucial when fast moving images occur. This can be watching an action film or playing an intense game with many things going such as a real-time strategy game like League of Legends. Having a better monitor resolution will enable the user to have more precision when it comes identifying things on-screen and as a result play better.

Less screen tearing

Screen tearing example in the game Dead Rising 2
Screen tearing happens when more frames per second are output than the monitor is capable of showing. For example, a 60Hz display with a game running at 120 frames per second will suffer from this as it producing far more FPS than the monitor can deliver.

A common solution for this issue is V-Sync (Vertical Synchronization) which limits the amount frames per second that the graphics card produces. Beware though that V-sync is not without its faults as it adds input lag and responsiveness suffers. If V-Sync is enabled in our earlier example then the game capped at 60 FPS, but that 60Hz monitor can still run into another problem which is stuttering. This occurs when the FPS dips even just by one frame down to 59 FPS. The most optimal solution is simply a gaming monitor with a higher refresh rate.

Lower input lag

Input lag can mean the difference between a win and a loss in gaming and this is especially true in games with fast moving images such as first person shooters like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. A monitor’s refresh rate is directly tied to the amount of input lag that it will have. For example, a traditional 60Hz monitor can never have an input lag less than 16ms due to the technological limitations. In stark contrast, a 120Hz monitor will have its input lag barrier at 8ms and a 144Hz monitor slightly lower at 7ms. Basically what this means is that you have a more up to date image on your monitor delivered at a faster rate which puts you at a tremendous advantage in gaming.

Beware that manufacturers don’t actually advertise the amount of input lag that a gaming monitor has. Rather they use the term “response time” and many people confuse this believing it is the input lag of a monitor. The response time of a display dictates how fast it can change the on-screen pixels from black-to-white or gray-to-gray. The response time is directly tied to how much ghosting it will have which is the amount of blur that occurs in fast moving images. Put in simpler terms, the better the response time, the higher the motion resolution, the less ghosting.

Conclusion

At 120Hz a monitor is doubling its refresh rate from traditional 60Hz monitors and is likewise cutting its input lag by half. A 144Hz monitor pushes this a bit further slightly increasing refresh rate and cutting off 1ms of extra input lag. All factors considered it is clear that 120Hz and 144Hz monitors have now set the new standard in the industry. They are a must have for any gamer as they offer a vast improvement in gaming experience and offer the best bang for your buck. This benefit is not limited only to gamers as they even provide regular users a better browsing and video viewing experience.