Refresh Rate vs Resolution for Gaming

Competitive gaming requires a certain amount of specialization when it comes to the hardware you are using just like in any other professional sport. In this case though instead of buying sports equipment, you are buying gaming hardware and peripherals that will allow you to unlock your full potential in games.

One of the most important pieces of said gaming hardware is your gaming monitor and the capabilities it has. If you are completely new to the gaming industry, monitor specs might look a little bit daunting but today we will compare the two main aspects of a monitor and explain which one to prioritize – a battle between resolution and refresh rate.

The Importance of Refresh Rate for Gaming

The refresh rate of your monitor is the measure of how many times per second your display is able to render a new image and show it to you. The measurement used for this is Hertz (Hz) and usually, this is one of the main features of a gaming monitor.

setting up refresh rate

Currently, even budget gaming monitors are all at least 144 Hz while the recommendation for competitive gamers is 240 Hz monitors or better. The reason for this is the smoother image and the ability to react better to enemy movement on the screen.

This is extremely important in games like FPS because a higher refresh rate translates to better aim to a certain degree (the increase in Hz is not proportional to the percentage of the aim improvement).

Even outside of FPS games higher refresh rate offers higher clarity and generally a better desktop experience since your eyes see less stuttery images being displayed. Overall, the importance of high refresh rate monitors for gaming has been documented many times by multiple credible sources and there is no doubt that if you want an objectively better gaming experience you should invest in a monitor that is at least capable of 144 Hz.

The Importance of Resolution for Gaming

The resolution of your gaming monitor is expressed by the number of pixels it has in width and height. A standard gaming monitor with a resolution of 1920×1080 would then have a total of 2.073.600 pixels on the screen.

setting up resolution

In gaming or real-world applications, this number is a simple indicator of how clear and detailed the image rendered by your GPU will be or simply how much bigger your desktop size will be and how many more windows you could fit in there.

The main reason most gaming monitors are still 1920×1080 therefore on the lower side of resolution capabilities is because of the growing computational requirements once you scale up the resolutions. Playing your favorite game at 1080P (1920×1080) will be less computationally taxing for your GPU than playing your game on a 1440P monitor (2560×1440) since your GPU has to render fewer pixels.

There is a growing trend lately where more pro gamers will opt for a 1440P monitor instead of a 1080P for better visual clarity but that is because they have monstrous hardware (RTX 3090s) that allows them to do so.

Generally speaking, for gaming, the greater clarity that comes at the cost of higher FPS values is not a worthwhile trade and is generally taken by extremely casual gamers that simply do not care if they are actively hindering their gaming performance by delaying their in-game responses.


The conclusions here are pretty simple – the refresh rate of your monitor is a lot more important than the resolution of your monitor if your main focus is gaming. The main reasons for this are the better response times and higher fluidity of the images displayed on your monitor that will actively allow you to showcase your skill in a more natural fashion.

Meanwhile, a higher resolution will result in a prettier picture but will most likely actively hinder your performance by scoring you lower FPS in games and slowing down your in-game responses.

If you have the choice between a high refresh rate monitor and a high-resolution monitor for the same price, always choose the refresh rate option if your main requirement is gaming.

About The Author

Chris (vile_is_dead)

Custom Windows ISO enjoyer, FPS optimizer, and aim improvement enthusiast. Will disassemble all of his peripherals (and sometimes PC parts) to mod them even if all of them work perfectly fine. Discord/Twitter: vile_is_dead

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