FPS vs Refresh Rate: What is the Difference


Both the terms FPS and Refresh Rates will be quite familiar especially when you are gaming as most of the games released by now needs high performances. And also the way how it shows up on your gaming monitor or how smooth your gameplay, completely depends on the FPS rate and the refresh rate of your system can provide. Another common misconception is both these two terms means the same and to get better performance you always need higher refresh rates and FPS inside the game. This article will point you out the major differences between the FPS vs Frame Rates, how it affects gaming and do you need to have the highest performances to have the best gaming experience.

Before understanding how these things deal with gaming, people must know how computer graphics work in real-time. The easiest explanation is that a video is a set of pictures of a specific scene that have a small difference in each picture or frame and when you are moving them fast enough the human eye recognizes it as a fluid motion or a nice animation with a constant flow. When the frames start moving even more faster, human eye even can’t recognize the latency in changing these frames and that how it creates a nice and plesent video.

The smooth quality of the video depends on how much frames that can be pushed and changed within a small amount of time and to make it nice and simple, the whole world made up a standard to use “one second” as the small amount of time. If you are still not clear about it just watch this animation and you are good to go.

What is FPS?

In gaming the FPS used in two ways either to indicate “First Person Shooter” or “Frames Per Second”. But here we are using it with the meaning of Frames Per Second. After understanding how a video was created in the first place, this isn’t that much hard to understand. FPS indicates how many frames that your graphics card rendered and upload to your monitor or whatever the display you are using in each second.

Remember the mechanism behind displaying on your screen is same as we explained above. For example, if your game is played at 60 FPS, that means each and every second, 60 static frames are getting rendered and getting uploaded to the display. It’s won’t seem to be different when playing a game with 60 FPS and 65 FPS but it can be figured out between 30FPS and 60 FPS.

FPS vs Refresh Rate
FPS vs Refresh Rate

Furthermore, the FPS rate mostly depends over the performance of the GPU because if it needs to be shown in 75 or even more FPS rate, all those frames must be rendered by the GPU at the first place. The Frame Rate can be increased even up to 240 but not only the GPU can do all the tasks. The monitor is also responsible about the number of frames showed up on the screen and that’s why the refresh rate is also important when comparing FPS vs refresh rates.

What is the Refresh Rate?

Even though the GPU can render and push thousands of frames in each and every second to the monitor, it’s not even necessary if the monitor can’t show all those frames on the screen. refresh Rate is indicating how many time that the screen refreshes in each second. The refresh rate of a monitor is measured by Hertz and most obvious refresh rate is 60Hz which means in each second the screen automatically refreshes 60 times.

But with the developing of technology, there are even more powerful monitors especially when it comes to gaming with 120Hz, 144Hz and with 240Hz refresh rates. Now you’ll know why people mix these two things up, both these terms refer to the same thing but in different parts of the computer.

If you are looking to have nice and smooth gameplay, you do need to check the refresh rate of the monitor as well. The GPU doesn’t have a specific limit in rendering frames and it performs as much as it’s capable of. But the monitors don’t have that facility and they are designed to perform to a maximum rate at the first place and this can cause its own problems.

Advertisement of a Monitor
Advertisement of a Monitor

For example, if your monitor can handle 60FPS but the GPU can only render 45 Frames Per Second, then the 45 is the maximum you’ll get. On the other hand, if the GPU is more powerful enough to push 100 frames or even more to your monitor but the monitor supports only up to 60 FPS, it makes the screen tearing. But luckily there are technologies such as G-Sync and FreeSync that can help you with that but it’s better to check before buying a monitor at the first place.

Read the full article about FreeSync and G-Sync from here

Moreover, there are some other special things that you might need to consider in this topic of FPS vs Refresh Rates. It’s true that having higher refresh rates improves the motion smoother but also it’s quite important if you are engaging in competitive gaming which can help you to see more much faster than using a normal monitor.

FPS vs Refresh Rates

When buying a monitor there are more choices with 60Hz, 75Hz, 120Hz, 144Hz, 200Hz and even with 240Hz. And you must invest more money if you tend to buy high-performance monitor but do you even need that much for gaming. Most of the normal applications doesn’t support more than 60 FPS, even you are playing an Ultra-smooth video online. In gaming, as it was mentioned earlier, up to 120FPS you will see much more difference between the output given by the video but 144Hz or more than that is just too far for gaming. Even the higher refresh rate monitors have the worst colours and viewing angles with the use of TN panels(Twisted Nematic) to get fast responses.

Monitor with TN Panel
Monitor with TN Panel

So make sure you even need that type of monitor before spending so much money on that. It will be better to upgrade your GPU or any other component rather than spending a ton of dollars just to buy something that doesn’t even give the best feelings to you. And that’s all you need to know on comparing FPS vs Refresh Rates and the differences between each one of them.

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