What’s more important: Refresh Rate vs Resolution?

Response time is the time it takes for a pixel to change colour. Lower response times are better since they mean there’s less blurring during fast-paced games or videos. Response time is measured in milliseconds (ms), and you’ll want a monitor with as low of a response time as possible if you are into competitive and fast-paced games where a single frame can be the difference between winning and losing.

Why is Refresh Rate Important?

It is important to know the monitor response time because it can help you determine how fast a given monitor can refresh the image on the screen. Your GPU can output as many frames as it wants. Your screen however can only display as many frames as its refresh rate. So a 60Hz monitor will be able to display 60 fps, no matter how many frames your GPU can output.

A higher refresh rate, like 120Hz will be able to display 120fps, twice the frames of a 60Hz monitor. While that doesn’t improve your “reaction speed” directly, you will have a much better feel of the motion, as well as faster “update” of the visual data since you’re getting double the frames per second. As a result, you might be able to react faster.

Resolution vs Refresh Rate

Higher resolution increases the number of pixels that your graphics card needs to render and can therefore impact FPS (Frames per second). The priority when looking for a monitor has shifted over the past years. After high resolution monitors were introduced, having the highest resolution possible was seen as most desirable. This is due to the stark contrast between a 720p and 4K display, while an 8K display has 4 times the resolution of a 4K display, the difference is far less obvious. Therefore, a far greater importance has been placed on refresh rate. Modern games can run at frame rates of 100 FPS and sometimes even higher, but if your monitor can only refresh 60 times per second, it will not be able to update for each of the 100 frames. This can result in ‘Tearing’, where the frame rate and refresh rate are out of sync- you’ll see a horizontal split in the image on screen

Tips for Maximising Performance with Fast Response Times

  1. Make sure your monitor is properly calibrated. This will ensure that colours are accurately represented and that the image appears sharp.
  2. Use the best-suited display port or HDMI cable for the best connection possible between your monitor and computer.
  3. Increase the refresh rate of your monitor if possible. A faster refresh rate ensures that graphics are drawn more rapidly and cleanly, resulting in a better overall experience.
  4. Check for any loose connections and make sure that everything is properly plugged in before beginning to use your monitor.

Monitor response time is an important specification to consider when purchasing a monitor, however, it is very dependent on what you will be using it for. Lower response times are better for gaming and other activities where fast reactions are required, whereas, for a digital artist, a lower refresh rate is fine with higher resolution taking precedence.

The future of FPS and Resolution 

As technology continues to march on, the levels of graphical display will continue to grow. Gamers and developers are always demanding higher resolution and smoother frame rate for a more immersive experience. Refresh rates of up to 240Hz are becoming more prevalent, especially in competitive gaming where every millisecond matters.

Ray tracing technology is a modern concept that requires very high levels of processing power, but is expected to deliver even more realistic and detailed graphics moving forward. It allows for more accurate light reflection and shadows- resulting in a more immersive and realistic experience in gaming and other media forms. Hardware will need to further develop or evolve to accommodate the new technology.


In conclusion, it is up to you to decide what response time fits your needs. Most work style monitors will come with a higher response time than gaming monitors, which will focus more on performance, hence come with a lower response time. It is important to recognise the tradeoff between resolution and FPS, however with top of the line hardware both are accessible, it’s about finding the right balance for you.

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