The age-old question still plagues many prospective monitor owners today: Is 60hz good enough for gaming? In the past, 60hz was considered the golden standard for monitors. Even today, you’ll find a lot of peoples’ gaming rigs paired with a 60hz monitor. But is it good enough, or should you opt for a higher refresh rate monitor?
What is refresh rate?
Before we get too deep into why a 60hz monitor is or isn’t good for gaming, it’s important to understand refresh rate. It seems likely that some people reading this will already know what refresh rate is and how it works. If that’s you, feel free to skip to the next section.
Refresh rate is, in its most basic sense, the amount of times your screen refreshes the on-screen picture per second. If a monitor has a frequency of 60hz, it refreshes 60 times in a second.
Refresh Rate vs FPS
While refresh rate is not the same thing as FPS (frames per second), the two metrics are very closely intertwined. If you have a 60hz monitor and your computer can generate 100FPS in a game, you’ll still only see 60 frames per second, since your monitor is only refreshing 60 times in that time period.
On the other hand, if you have a computer that pushes 30FPS paired with a 60hz monitor, you’ll only see 30 frames per second, resulting in lower visual smoothness than 60FPS. In other words, the frames per second you see are limited by both your monitor and your hardware, with the lowest threshold between the two being what you see displayed on-screen. It’s much like the concept of a GPU or CPU bottleneck in this regard.
Because of this, a higher refresh rate monitor feels much smoother, as long as your hardware can push the frames to match it. This is the advantage of higher refresh rates such as 120hz, 144hz, 165hz, 240hz, or 365hz.
What are the advantages of 60hz?
Compared to their higher refresh rate counterparts, 60hz monitors only have one advantage: in general, they cost less. An 144hz monitor is objectively better than a 60hz one, but it costs more.
The cheapest 144hz monitor on Amazon costs $139.99 at the time of writing, while even a lot of name-brand 60hz monitors cost less than $100. Other than price, there is no benefit to having a lower refresh rate monitor.
Is 60hz good for gaming?
We must return to the original question, then. If it’s not better than a higher refresh rate in any way aside from cost, is 60hz good for gaming at all? In our opinion, 60hz/60FPS is perfectly playable, especially in certain types of games.
Any title that’s primarily story-driven, single-player, or otherwise non-competitive is ideal for running on a 60hz display. The main advantage of faster refresh rates is enhanced precision, which is ideal for shooters and other competitive games like CS:GO, VALORANT, Fortnite, Call of Duty, or Rocket League, and is less necessary for slower-paced games.
Additionally, many users will prefer to play at higher resolutions and graphical settings for enhanced picture quality, at the cost of lower framerates. 1440p or 4K 60hz monitors allow intricate graphics and more realistic gameplay, and are thus popular in this subset of players.
If you’re on a tight budget and have a PC that gets roughly 60FPS on the games and settings that you play, there’s little reason to upgrade to an 144hz monitor. It’s worth noting, however, that you’ll be able to get 144FPS outside of games, where demand on your hardware is lower, so if you want the extra smoothness you’ll reap the benefits when navigating through your OS.
If, however, you have hardware that can push 144FPS, you ought to take advantage of those extra frames by purchasing a faster monitor. 60hz is alright, but if you’ve already spent the money on a high-quality CPU and graphics card, settling for less is an inefficient use of resources. It’s definitely worth the extra money to enjoy years of faster refresh rates.
If you’re one of the console elite and opt for a gaming monitor rather than a television screen, props to you. You’ll reap the benefits of lower input delay and faster response times, and will probably beat your friends or carry the team on a regular basis.
On console, 60hz is certainly the golden standard. Most last-gen consoles including the PS4, PS4 Pro, and Xbox One are capped at 60FPS. If you have one of these, we’d certainly recommend a cheaper 60hz monitor in favor of one with a higher refresh rate.
If, however, you’re one of the lucky few that was able to snag an XBox Series S, XBox Series X, XBox One X, XBox One S, or PlayStation 5, some titles can be played at 120FPS. If you fall into this category, we recommend researching the games you enjoy and seeing if they’re available at framerates higher than 60FPS on your console (some aren’t). If so, it’s worth considering an 120hz or 144hz monitor.
If 60hz is just alright, what’s the best refresh rate?
For gaming, 144hz is the golden standard for the vast majority of players. 240hz monitors are slowly becoming more affordable, but even now the cheaper ones hover around the $260 price point. 360hz monitors are still outrageously expensive, and they offer very little tangible benefit over 240hz, if any. Every step up offers diminishing returns in smoothness; 240hz is better than 144hz, but only by a little bit, whereas 144hz is noticeably quicker than 60hz.
The sweet spot between price and performance right now is definitely 144hz. Even high-end 144hz monitors are available for less than $200, with name-brand monitors going for as low as $160. If you opt for an even higher refresh rate, such as 240hz, you may notice that it’s a little faster/smoother than 144hz, but not very noticeably so.
If you’re on a very tight budget and don’t plan to upgrade your hardware for a long while, you’ll be perfectly fine with 60hz. Up until a few years ago it was considered excellent. Standards inevitably rise over time, so 144hz may be considered obsolete within 10 years. For now, play with what you have. Upgrade if you can, but don’t worry about it too much if you can’t. Prices will continue to decrease for higher refresh rate monitors as technology develops.
What are the best 60hz gaming monitors?
If you’ve decided to go with a 60hz cap you’ll still need to pick a specific screen. Here we’ll take a look at some of the best ones. We’re primarily concerned with low response time and an affordable price, with bonus points for height and tilt adjustability and larger screen size.
Asus VS228H-P | Check Price
This 1920×1080 monitor is relatively bare-bones but gets the job done at a good price. As an added bonus it supports refresh rates of up to 75hz (although you’ll need to use a DisplayPort cable to grab these extra 15 refreshes per second). Its 21.5″ screen is big enough for most, and if desired it’s VESA-mountable. Lastly, its 5ms response time means you should feel virtually no delay, unlike many traditional screens.
Scepter E248W-19203R | Check Price
Another 75hz-capable monitor (it seems that most 60hz monitors these days are actually equipped with this marginally higher refresh rate), Sceptre’s 24″ offering is another excellent budget offering with a larger display and built-in speakers, although we’d highly recommend using a headset anyway.
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