You cannot deny that higher frame rates look nicer when playing a game. That’s why gamers sometimes spend ludicrous amounts of cash on the latest GPUs and monitors to boost their FPS. However, Nvidia recently conducted a study showing that higher frame rates have a noticeable impact on how well you play. A higher frame rate can improve a player’s kill-to-death ratio by as much as 90 percent.
Unless you specifically shopped for a high-speed gaming display, you’re probably looking at a 60Hz screen all day. That means the panel refreshes 60 times per second. Depending on the game and your GPU, your computer might be able to produce more frames per second than that. When those rates don’t match, you can end up with effects like “tearing” that make action hard to follow. You can enable v-sync, which locks the GPU frames to your display refresh to eliminate tearing, but that can make games feel sluggish.
For the best experience, you want your display refresh rate and FPS to be at the same high level so you don’t even have to worry about tearing and v-sync. At high refresh rates, the scene rendered by your system looks smoother and more realistic. Ghosting, which is a feature of all LCDs, is also more pronounced at lower refresh rates. It can make it look like your target is smeared or blurry. Targets may even appear to be in the wrong place because of lower refresh rates — the latency of a 60Hz screen makes moving objects lag slightly behind where they actually are in a scene.
If you’re having trouble visualizing the effects of a high refresh rate, Nvidia has a handy demo video (above). It filmed several different monitors — 60, 144, and 240Hz — with a 1,000fps camera to show the difference. This isn’t just a visual improvement, though. Nvidia says gamers in Fortnite and PUBG average much better kill-to-death ratios with higher refresh displays.
Moving from 60fps to 80fps produces a 21 percent boost in gameplay performance. Going up to 100fps adds another 16 percent to the ratio. The improvement continues at roughly the same pace to 140fps, which shows a 76 percent improvement in K/D ratios. The advantage levels off a bit after that — 160fps is 85 percent higher than the baseline 60fps. 180fpsshows a 90 percent improvement. Nvidia, of course, ties this into its GeForce GPUs and G-Sync technology, which can produce smooth, high frame rate gaming. Based on the numbers, 144Hz seems like the best bang for your buck.
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