Monitor Refresh Rates – Choosing Luxury Visuals


Having worked at a workstation computer for many years, I know the importance of quality work equipment. Whether it’s the chair, desk, keyboard, mouse or monitor, an investment in your desktop pays dividends for years to come.

Today we’re looking specifically at monitors. With so many considerations, from size and resolution, to refresh rate and colour, it can be hard to understand what’s important when buying a new desktop monitor.

What is a high refresh rate monitor?

Typical desktop monitors will have a maximum refresh rate of 60. That is to say it will show a maximum of 60 different image every second.

A “high refresh rate” monitor is typically double this (anywhere from 100-144hz), and can be as high as 360Hz on the latest models.

Why is a high refresh rate important?

A higher refresh rate is easier for the eyes to look at for long durations, with a reduced perception of “motion blur”, making high refresh rate monitors ideal for use with work computers.

This is most beneficial if your work involves lots of moving elements, such as video, 3d and graphic design, however these benefits can also be felt in “typical” activities, where you’re using the mouse intensely, or moving many windows for example.

If you also use your computer for leisure and gaming, a high refresh rate monitor delivers smoother experiences which feel more responsive.

What refresh rate do I need?

144hz is generally considered the “standard” for high refresh rate monitors. If you’re used to 60hz displays, then this is a significant upgrade and the difference should be immediately apparent.

If you’d like to achieve even smoother visuals, 240hz is another option, and is becoming a much more common option on new monitors. To speak plainly, most people will not benefit from refresh rates which are this high. Instead 240hz and upwards is a great choice for those who have already seen benefits from previous upgrades, or are looking to reduce eye strain further with the smoothest possible experience.

Disadvantages of high refresh rate monitors?

A higher refresh rate requires a high frame rate in many circumstances, which will only be accessible with a good graphics-chip. For smaller laptops, they may not support higher refresh rates, so always check your devices’ abilities before buying a high refresh rate monitor.

Most desktop computers with dedicated graphics cards will be fine however, with the most powerful graphics cards offering the highest frame rates – delivering the smoothest possible visuals.

How do I enable higher refresh rates?

For Windows 10, navigate to Settings, System, Display, Advanced Display Settings, and finally Display Adapter Properties. Next go to the “Monitor” section and select your monitor’s highest available refresh rate from the “Refresh Rate” list.

For Nvidia users, user the Nvidia Control panel. Be sure to check if your device is listed as a “TV” or “Monitor”, as the available refresh rates can change depending on which is currently assigned.

If you’re using an Apple Mac device, navigation to Apple menu, then System Preferences, then select Displays. A pop-up should appear, allowing you to select a new refresh rate.

Conclusion

If like myself, you value a smooth and crisp experience while working, I would recommend upgrading to a high fresh rate monitor. Running a high fresh rate monitor in full 4k can be taxing however – consider if a 1440p monitor may be more suitable for your needs.