What is Refresh Rate?

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If you are searching for a monitor or any other kind of display hardware, there is going to be a lot of jargon to contend with, but one of your biggest questions is likely to be ‘what is refresh rate?’ As you continue your search, you are going to come across this particular terminology over and over again, and it is important to take the time to learn what it means and what it actually affects. 

Read on further to find out more about refresh rate. You can also explore ViewSonic’s monitors equipped with high refresh rates here. 

When reading about monitors or starting to compare the different options, refresh rate is something you are likely to come across quite often. But what is refresh rate and how important is it for determining your choice of display hardware? Does it impact the quality of your picture, and can a low refresh rate contribute to eye strain? 

In this article, we explore the answers to these questions and more. 

Defining Refresh Rate 

According to TechTarget, a basic definition of refresh rate is as follows: 

“The number of times a display’s image is repainted or refreshed per second. The refresh rate is expressed in hertz (Hz), so a refresh rate of 75 Hz means the image is refreshed 75 times in a second.” 

However, it is important to provide some additional information too. Refresh rate is produced by the monitor itself and not the processor or graphics card. In this sense, it differs from another similar term, which is that of frame rate. 

One way to think of it is that these two different performance metrics need to work in tandem. For peak performance, you need a monitor with a high refresh rate and a system that can produce a high frame rate too. If either is not up to standard, the quality of the display may be impacted, and you will not experience the full benefits. 

What is refresh rate?

What is the Ideal Refresh Rate? 

Until recently, 60 Hz was regarded as the standard refresh rate for a monitor, and for some users, that may still be sufficient. However, refresh rates of around 60 Hz are associated with a flicker effect that may contribute to issues like eye strain, making it uncomfortable to stare at the screen for long periods. For this reason, even for fairly basic uses, 75 Hz is now regarded as a better starting point for a computer monitor. 

Why You Need High Refresh Rates for Creative Work? 

Professional designers, especially those working in VFX, motion design, and 3D animation, deal with heavy workflows that require top speeds and high visual quality. While 60Hz or 75Hz will be sufficient for most jobs, people who develop and test multimedia content or graphics need at least 120Hz or 165Hz to do their creative tasks well, meaning finding a professional creative monitor can really make a difference to your workflow. 

The biggest improvement from a high refresh rate would be the motion resolution. No matter how fast the moving images are, higher refresh rates increase the sharpness of the picture quality and remove any image stuttering. This feature allows for almost zero loss of image detail and quality, which is crucial for video editors and animators. So, whether you’re cutting footage or checking a slow-motion B-Roll, every single frame is perfectly crisp and vivid. 

Effectively, if you do invest in a monitor with a refresh rate of around those levels, you need to ensure that your graphics card and processor can produce a high frame rate. Only then you can experience noticeable improvements to the picture quality and apparent smoothness of movement. ColorPro’s range of professional monitors are equipped with high refresh rates to ensure your work always looks its best.

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Why You Need High Refresh Rates for Gaming? 

For esports or high-definition gaming, you are going to want an even higher refresh rate and 120Hz may be considered a better starting point. As Digital Trends highlights, at this kind of refresh rate, assuming your frame rate is solid, you should even notice improvements in terms of how smooth mouse cursor movements feel. 

High refresh rates are critical for fast-paced games as they affect how clear and correct the visuals are onscreen. One key impact is reducing input lag. For the smoothest gameplay, a lag time of under 10.9ms would be ideal and a 120Hz monitor can deliver about 8.33ms. This can be a huge difference-maker, especially for serious gamers in competitive esports. 

A higher refresh rate also reduces monitor ghosting and screen tearing. Monitor ghosting is almost like a motion blur, where a previous image continues to appear onscreen on the next frame. And screen tears occur when the monitor shows two different frames simultaneously. In which case, having a high refresh rate of 120Hz will be able to support 120FPS to eliminate any possibility of ghosting and tearing. This means any graphics will appear more fluid on the screen. 

Final Thoughts 

Refresh rate is a crucial consideration when buying a computer monitor because it determines how often the display is refreshed. Unlike frame rate, which is produced by the system, the refresh rate is produced by the monitor itself. Nevertheless, the two concepts work side-by-side, and both need to be broadly in line with one another. 

It is even more important for those who work in the creative field or are serious gamers. A higher refresh rate eliminates image stutters, monitor ghosts, and screen, which makes for pictures that have higher contrasts and sharper details. Professional creators should look at monitors with at least 165Hz, and esports players will require 120Hz or more. 

Having a monitor with high refresh rates will mean nothing if your graphics card is not equipped with high frame rates. Read to find out what is the difference between the two in this article, or explore ViewSonic’s range of monitors equipped with high refresh rates.