What is Refresh Rate | Is Higher Monitor Refresh Rate Better?

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Let’s assume a simple scenario. You have gone to buy a monitor or using a monitor at present. In there, you have seen jargon presented before you were about the refresh rate. And you just wonder. But please don’t worry. If you know nothing about the refresh rate or confused about it, I will clear it all and you will know everything that you need to know about it at the end of reading this article.


What is Refresh Rate?

The refresh rate of a monitor usually means exactly how many times per second the screen refreshes the image on it. Otherwise speaking, it is the maximum number of times the image can be drawn on the screen or refreshed, per second. High-end monitors often offer better rates for visual smoothness, like the G-Sync ones.

It is usually measured in hertz (Hz) and as it’s supposed to be, the higher the number the more times per second the monitor refreshes. For example, if a monitor has a refresh rate of 60 Hz, it actually means that the screen is going to redraw 75 times per second exactly.

It may be alternatively referred to as scan rate, frame rate, horizontal scan rate, frequency, or vertical frequency, etc.

The refresh rate for display depends on the monitor, video card, and graphics card setup that you have. You can always change the refresh rate whenever you want of the “display properties“. But keep it in your mind that if you change the refresh rate to such a setting that the display or video card doesn’t support, the display might go blank or the image may become distorted. So essentially it is recommended that before changing the settings, you should consult the display and video card manuals to determine the supported refresh rates.

As I said, you can alter your monitor’s refresh rates as they are adjustable now a day.

  • Have a right-click on the desktop, select display settings.select display settings
  • You may or may not see advanced display settings. If you see it, click on it; if not, find display adapter properties and click it.find display adapter properties
  • Then click on the monitor.click on the monitor
  • You’ll then see the following picture like things, a drop-down box that contains different values of refresh rates your monitor support.refresh rates your monitor supportrefresh rates your monitor support

Thus you can check the refresh rate of your monitor and may alter it also.

How a Monitor Refreshes

I think you have known by now that refresh rate is not a hard thing to understand. But, to understand refresh rate, you do have to realize that the image on a computer or on a television monitor screen is not a static image even though it appears that way.

Instead of this, the image is redrawn over and over again on the screen so quickly, maybe 60 or more times per second that the human eye perceives it as a static image, or maybe a smooth video, etc. kind of things. This defines the difference between a 60 Hz and 120 Hz monitor in a way, for example, the refresh rate of a 120 Hz monitor can create the image twice as fast as that of a 60 Hz monitor.

If you go in the inner structures, an electron gun sits just behind the glass of the monitor and repeatedly shoots light to produce an image. The gun usually starts at the top left corner of the screen and then does its job by filling it with the image very quickly, and continues it line by line across the face and gradually downward until it reaches the bottom-most part, after which the electron gun again moves back to the top left and repeats the whole process over again and again.

While the electron gun is creating an image in one place, the other portion of the screen may be blank as it has to wait for the new image. However, as our eyes are so deceptive and also for how fast the screen is refreshed with the light of the new image, we don’t see this.

But again, if the refresh rate of a monitor is too low, you might be able to notice or see the redrawing of the image, which sometimes we perceive as a flicker like a thing. I think, monitor flickering is an unwanted thing and very unpleasant to look at; and most, unfortunately, can quickly lead to problems like eye strain and headaches.

Normally screen flickering happens if the refresh rate is set below 60 Hz, but might also occur with higher refresh rates for some monitors due to various reasons.

How LCD Monitors Refresh

All LCD monitors support a definite range of refresh rate that is numerically over the threshold which normally causes flicker and they don’t go blank between refreshes typically.

Therefore, LCD monitors normally don’t need to have their refresh rate adjusted for preventing the flickering.

Almost all LCDs have some problems with motion resolution. It particularly means when there’s an object or scene in motion onscreen, the formed image blurs compared with when the object is stationary. In the first days of LCDs. There was some problem related to the response time or how fast the pixels could usually change from light to dark. Fortunately, with time it has changed; response times on the modern LCDs are quite good, and this isn’t a problem anymore.

The inner procedure happened in two ways in LCDs.

  • Backlight flashing or backlight scanning.
  • Frame insertion.

Backlight flashing is exactly what it sounds like. The basic version of backlight flashing is usually in between video frames the backlight going dark. This moment of darkness works similarly like a film projector: (alternatively an image and darkness), i. e, an image, then darkness, an image, then again darkness, and so on. If it’s done slowly, this may result in a flicker. But if it is being done fast enough, you wouldn’t notice it. Again there is also backlight scanning, a more advanced version, would dim the sections of the backlight in sequence with the video. In either case, the side effect is a loss of light output, as there are sections of time where the backlight is literally off.

There’s another method called frame insertion (with 120 and 240Hz displays). This method which is also referred to as frame interpolation usually creates entirely new frames of video to insert them in between the real frames of video. You might get high motion resolution, and also you maintain the light output of the display.

Most modern 120/240Hz TVs or LCD monitors have one or maybe both versions of this technology, and beneficially it’s completely selectable which to use.

Dynamic Refresh Rate

Like I said earlier that refresh-rate is defined by the number of images continuously redrawn or flashed on a display to simulate a moving image.

While the image will be produced by the display at intervals of 24Hz or 30Hz or 60Hz in order to ensure consistency, might it be a console or PC, the hardware of each specific configuration would remain variable often which means that the frame-rates can fluctuate and display images at different time intervals which are ultimately not standard to the display. It will be dependent on the performance level of its hardware how well a given configuration will produce a consistent moving image at a given frame-rate.

Elaborately, a video file contains 25 or 30 frames per second roughly. In your device, basically, your HTPC has a video card that produces a signal to your monitor. This signal theoretically can be anything from 24-75 or maybe even 100Hz. Here 60Hz means the signal is refreshed 60 times per second.  This is most likely to be visible as judder in the video if there is some mismatch in the FPS from your media file and the Hz signal to your monitor.

Dynamic Refresh Rate Changer technology attempts to address this mainly by synchronizing the output of the video with the rate of the monitor.

Basically dynamic refresh-Rate Technology works in a way that provides direct communication between the hardware with a processor built into the display. Where conventional monitors will produce moving images at fixed intervals, Dynamic Refresh-Rate Technology easily allows for variable and synchronized intervals which allow the monitor to display the images as and when they’ve been processed by the PC.

The technology is basically two types.

  • Nvidia G-Sync.
  • AMD FreeSync

G-Sync is exclusive to GeForce GTX GPUs. But fortunately, AMD FreeSync is free for display manufacturers to implement; and also universally compatible mostly with any model of the graphics card, Nvidia doesn’t allow free sync support. The reason behind the Nvidia chooses to avoid development with FreeSync technology is that the amount of control and improvements already made so far within G-Sync technology.

Dynamic Refresh-Rate Technology mainly adds an entirely new experience to the gaming sector.

Is Higher Refresh Rate Better Always?

Normally, the higher refresh rate is better than lower refresh rates. But like most other situations in the world, there is a big but here.

It isn’t always the case that the highest possible refresh rate is necessarily better. Sometimes intentionally or maybe casually, setting the refresh rate over 120 Hz, which some video cards may support, can have an adverse effect on your eyes. The refresh rate of a monitor which is being kept set at 60 Hz to 90 Hz is the best for most.

Attempting to change or adjust a CRT monitor’s refresh rate to one that’s far higher than the specifications of the monitor that it supports may result in an Out of Frequency error and maybe you only see a blank screen. If this kind of thing really happens, try to change the monitor refresh rate setting to something more appropriate and to the range of your supported specifications.

The maximum refresh rate is determined mainly by the three factors:

  • The monitor’s resolution. The lower resolutions typically support higher refresh rates.
  • The video card’s max refresh rate
  • The monitor’s max refresh rate.

So keep it in your mind that higher refresh rates are not always better, as it depends on your hardware specifications.

What Refresh Rate is Good for Gaming?

If you aren’t a gamer, actually none of this matters to you. You can buy a monitor of the right size, resolution, and price for you. 60 Hz refresh rate would be enough for you.

Again if you are a gamer with a monster rig and also with three high-end graphics cards, I personally think that you probably don’t need a G-Sync monitor and should not care for any of these, because of the reason that you’ll be always above the maximum refresh rate for your monitor.

But if you’re a regular gamer, you will probably want a high refresh rate and a low response time as well.  Besides, you should consider a monitor with G-Sync or FreeSync strongly, at least I would recommend that, because more time you keep it, the more demanding new games will become, and consequently the more you’ll feel the benefit of using it.

I think refresh rate of 120 or above and response time of 1 ms is enough for your gaming.

Best Monitor Refresh Rate for TV

There are many frame rates that literally are publicized in TV spec sheets, starts from 60 Hz to 120 Hz to 240 Hz and may be higher. Usually, at its most modesty, averagely priced LCD sets have an actual refresh rate of 60 Hz; and those which are more expensive models generally have an actual refresh rate of 120 Hz.

The best refresh rate, it turns out, is ranged from 60-120 Hz. The Focus group research has shown that on average, the majority of viewers see a major improvement in picture quality comfortably at this refresh rate range.

The average source footage is 60 Hz, without a few exceptions.  And you can’t add extra detail beyond what is in the source footage already. You can buy a monitor with a 60 Hz refresh rate. It’s enough for you to watch TV without any trouble.

However, the refresh rate of 120 Hz, in this case, refers to such a video in which it’s created 120 different images per second. In other words, the original content needs to be shot at 120 frames per second, and as a matter of fact, at the moment there is no such content available for viewing.

It’s important to keep in mind that you’ll often detect artifacts or some shadow of objects, that briefly disappears, which is a consequence of where the TV is trying to create the extra images on its own. Conversely, Effects like frame interpolation can make a scene look flat and artificial sometimes.

So don’t stay in such an illusion that only higher refresh rates are better. 60 Hz refresh rate enough for your TV monitor. But if you insist on increasing it, you may buy a 120 HZ refresh rate TV, not more than that.

Summing Up

What is refresh rate? If someone asks you the question, I hope that you can make him understand even the family of refresh rate. The refresh rate is an important factor in order to choose a monitor. But make sure that it’s not more or not less to your hardware specification. For, both lower and higher than necessary refresh rates create some kind of problems. So you should always select the optimized one. We also want you to know about the cable connectors of your monitor like DVI, IPOD, HDMI, etc. I hope you have got your answer and have found whatever you came here for.

That’s all for now. Thank you.

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