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Refresh rate vs Response time

Refresh rate vs Response time

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Refresh rate vs Response time

We know that the performance of a monitor is determined by the technical features it is packed with. While choosing a new monitor for your use, you will be highly inundated with a long list of technical specifications of the monitors. A good monitor is not only about higher resolutions and bigger screen sizes but a lot more than that. There are various features that make a monitor ideal for the purchase and both the refresh rate and response time play a vital role in it.

This article will enlighten you in detail about these two features in particular. So, let’s get straight into it.

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What is the Refresh rate?

When you think about a good monitor, the foremost thing that pops in your head is premium quality crisp images that are pleasing to the eyes and don’t cause strain due to blurriness. But, have you ever wondered about the mechanism that is responsible for sharp and clear images on the screen? It is the refresh rate. 

As suggested by the name, refresh rate simply means the number of times a monitor is able to redraw or refresh an image on the screen for a clearer vision. You see a solid and vibrant image on the screen but what is imperceptible to you is the incredible update of an image 240 times in a minute. 

Always remember, the higher the refresh rate, the better the visuals. However, different refresh rates are required for a different type of usage. For example, if you need a monitor for daily household use, you might not need very high refresh rates but, if you are a professional gamer or photographer/videographer, you cannot settle with a monitor having a lesser refresh rate.

Below are mentioned the different types of refresh rate and how they differ from one another. 

60 Hz Refresh Rate

As explained above, refresh rate determines the number of times a monitor updates an image and for a 60 Hz monitor, we understand that an image is redrawn on the screen 60 times in a second. 60 Hz refresh rate was a standard for Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitors a long time ago. However, a lot of users still opt for a monitor with a refresh rate of 60 Hz mostly because they clearly don’t need a monitor for technical work, in fact, they need it for casual assignments.

60 Hz monitor is currently the cheapest choice for a monitor but again if you don’t want it for heavy work. The good thing about these monitors is that you can find these in higher resolutions and greater color accuracy as well. The only drawback is the increased input lag of these monitors since an image is redrawn every 16th millisecond on the monitor screen. 

120 Hz Refresh Rate

Above 60 Hz is the 120 Hz refresh rate that refreshes an image 120 times per second hence is way faster than the 60 HZ monitors. Also, the input lag of monitors with a 120 Hz refresh rate is reduced to half as compared to that of 60 Hz as an image is produced every 8th millisecond on the monitor.

If you are a competitive gamer or professional videographer, we won’t really recommend you the 120 Hz refresh rates because going just 24 Hz up, you can get even better 144 Hz refresh rates that too with a minimal difference in price so why settle for less? This doesn’t in any way mean that 120 Hz is not good enough but, as mentioned above, the higher the refresh rate, the smoother the quality of visuals. But, if you are tight on a budget, then 120 Hz could be a great choice.

Also, monitors having a 120 Hz refresh rate are considered to be ideal if you are in search of one that causes less eye strain. 

144 Hz Refresh Rate

For a 144 Hz monitor, the image is refreshed 144 times each second, therefore, providing you with smoother visuals than the previous two refresh rates. The main reason why there is a negligible difference between a 120 Hz monitor and a 144 Hz monitor is due to the input lag. A new image is generated every 7th millisecond on the screen which is just 0.1 second greater than the 120 HZ monitor.

With a highly impressive quality of visuals, the monitors with a 144 Hz refresh rate have become the most famous among PC gamers who don’t want to compromise on the smoothness of their gameplay. You can determine the capability of 144 Hz monitors by learning the fact that a lot of gaming affiliated monitors companies are now manufacturing monitors with 144 Hz refresh rate for the best gaming experience ever. 

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240 Hz Refresh Rate

Lastly, the monitors with 240 Hz refresh rates are able to refresh an image 240 times in a second for incredibly smooth visuals with zero blurrings and flickering. For die-hard gaming enthusiasts, the 240 Hz refresh rate has become a compulsory feature. However, we would only recommend you to purchase a monitor with a 240 Hz refresh rate if you have a high-end computer with supreme specs that can run competitive games without any trouble.

Today, there are numerous 240 Hz monitors available in the market that you can get for your competitive gaming. The most common reasons why gamers rely on a 240 Hz refresh rate include the least input lag and almost no motion blur. Though it is a pretty expensive choice but, if budget is not an issue, none other could be a better choice for intense gaming than a 240 Hz monitor. 

What is the Response time?

Another very important spec that a lot of people overlook while buying a monitor is the response time. For extraordinary visuals with zero flickering and smooth transitions, you must look for the response time that a monitor exhibits.

Response time is basically the time taken by a monitor to switch from one form of color to another. Generally, the response time is measured in milliseconds in terms of going from gray to gray or black to white to black. The standard response time of an LCD is always between 8 to 10 milliseconds (for black to white to black). But, you can also find monitors with an incredibly fast response time of only 1 ms. 

Note that, lesser the response time, the smoother the motion production. Response time surely makes a huge difference in the visuals especially when there is a lot of motion production or action going on the screen. 

There are two basic types of response times that are measured to determine the capability of a monitor such as, 

Black to White to Black

This is the standard measure of response time, which you will find, written on numerous monitor’s specifications. The black to white to black response time is calculated when the color is fully active i.e., white to inactive i.e., black and back again active i.e., white. With this entire calculation, it can easily be measured how long did the monitor take to switch from one color to another.

Usually, the black to white to black response time is measured at higher figures as they cannot shift at a fast pace. Considering the pace, these types of monitors are normally preferred and considered ideal for regular computer use.

Gray to Gray

Gray to Gray or also known as GtG response time is another way to measure the pixel speed. However, the way of functioning for GtG is slightly different as it works on middle gradation. The gray to gray in liquid crystal displays are nearly 256 gray gradations. Always remember that these response times are way faster than the black to white to black response time and the ranges between 4 ms to 6 ms only. Moreover, the gray to gray pixels never go completely inactive hence called middle gradation.

It is not possible to get a measurement of GtG response time directly therefore, multiple time sequences are selected and then an average value is taken out which is the time in milliseconds taken by a pixel to switch the color. GtG response times offer a fantastic gaming experience hence ideal for competitive gamers and professional photographers.

Why do you want a low response time?

The reason for wanting a low response time is simply because it’s better than others. Having a monitor with a low response time not only enhances the fluidity of your display but also reduces the ghosting and blurring of the images. Response time in other words is the swiftest imaginable performance your monitor can give.

Advantages of Low Response Time

Having a monitor with low response time delivers optimum results and foremost advantages. That being said, let us take a look at some of these advantages without any further ado;

Better Visual Quality

A low response time ensures an amazing quality of display and excellent visual quality. The lower the response time, the more amazing visual quality you will have. A monitor with a response time of 1 ms is ideal to have for an immersive gaming experience and negligible image ghosting.

No Delaying in Colors

For professional E-gaming players, lag or delay is intolerable and they would go to distance to remove this problem, hence they opt for monitors that have the lowest response time in order to eliminate the delaying of shifting colors.

Negligible Motion Blur

One of the most noted problems in monitors with high response time is the motion blur as pixels fail to load in time causing blurry images. In a low response time monitor, the pixels change color in the desired time to ensure a solid crisp display.

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What kind of monitor is the fastest? 

You may know that the fastest monitors to exist currently are either TN monitors, IPS monitors, or VA monitors. Since most of us wish to have an outstanding experience with the monitors while playing games, there are a few factors we never overlook while buying one. These factors include response time, color reproduction, viewing angles, price, and gaming suitability. 

To understand what makes these monitors fast and highly suitable for your gaming sessions, take a look at the following set of features present in each of these latest monitor panels:

TN Monitor:

The TN monitors are composed of TN panels (Twisted Nematic). This panel has gained immense recognition among gamers because of its fast response time and performance. Being cheaper than an IPS panel, this panel is most common among those who cannot compromise on speed and performance. 

TN monitor is the best choice when it comes to choosing fast refresh rates for your games but it can be a bit low on other features that count as well. Despite offering limited viewing angles along with ordinary color reproduction features, the monitor is a pretty good choice as its powerful 4K PC and 144Hz/240Hz of refresh rate are what makes it a unique choice for gamers. 

Response time

TN monitors surpass all other monitors when it comes to response time. Its whopping 1 ms response time allows the user to experience the most active gameplay of all time.

Viewing Angles

Unlike the other two monitors, the TN monitor does not offer wide viewing angles.

Color Production

The color production feature of the TN panels is also less impressive than the ones offered in the other two monitors.


The TN monitors exhibit a better contrast when compared to IPS panels. 


Because of its high response time and refresh rate, the TN monitor is considered to be the best monitor among all market competitive monitors. 


TN monitors are very affordable as compared to IPS and VA monitors and highly popular among gamers for less price and better performance. 

IPS Monitor:

The IPS monitors are composed of IPS panels (In-Plane Switching). Because of its sharp visual quality and impressive color details, this monitor has become the go-to monitor for professionals who serve in the area of media. From video/image editing to the creation of content or art, this monitor has got you covered all the way.

However, in terms of response time and performance, IPS panels do not deliver the same speed or performance as the TN monitors but when compared to other monitors, the IPS panel is still believed to have a better response time and overall performance.

Response time

The response time offered by IPS panels is between 5 to 8 ms response time. The difference is the variation is because different brands are manufactured differently, hence the difference in response time.

Viewing Angles

IPS panels offer the best viewing angles for users. The uniform color display on the screen enables the user to enjoy a great experience while watching movies, playing games, or even working on their projects.

Color Production

The color production feature of the IPS panels is very impressive as its color accuracy and precision deliver the best display results on the screen.


The TN monitors exhibit a lower contrast level when compared to TN panels. 


IPS monitor is the best choice for your gaming purposes if you are willing to make a heavy purchase for your gaming sessions. With almost the same response time and refresh rates, you can avail the same performance from buying an IPS panel.


TN monitors are less affordable as compared to TN as their wide viewing angles and other advanced features make them a little more expensive than other monitors in the market.


VA Monitor:

VA Panels stand for Vertical Alignment and are made from the combination of both TN and IPS panels. The best features taken from both of these panels are integrated into the VA panel to allow users to enjoy mixed capabilities on the middle ground.

The difference between VA monitors and the other two monitors are very minuscule but with all the features present in the VA monitor, it is safe to say that it is still a good choice where gaming is considered.

 Response time

The response time offered by VA panels is 5 ms. 

Viewing Angles

VA panels offer better viewing angles for users than TN monitors. The uniform color display on the screen does not shift and delivers a high-quality display. 

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Color Production

The color production feature of the VA panels is very impressive as its color accuracy and precision deliver the best display results on the screen.


VA monitors surpass all other monitors when it comes to contrast levels as it exhibits excellent contrast level when compared to TN panels. This makes them the best choice for movies. 


VA monitors are a very impressive choice for gaming purposes as their response time is lesser than the TN monitors and greater than IPS monitors makes it an acceptable choice for serious gamers. 


VA monitors are not budget-friendly unlike TN monitors so if money is not an object, you can definitely opt for this particular monitor to improve your gameplay. 



What are the downsides of a fast response time?

While people believe that a fast response time is all you need to excel at gaming sessions, there are also a few factors that must be considered before making such a huge investment. When we set the response time to its fastest, the computer naturally adjusts its features to ensure balanced image processing while playing. 

Since response time is defined as the time between the shifting of one color to another on-screen, this feature only matters a lot when you are a serious gamer. Gamers highly recommend this monitor to achieve excellent gameplay but with this feature, you are also going to experience reduced brightness and even dull colors.

Should you buy a monitor with a low response time?

The answer to this question simply depends on your choices and requirements. If you are an office worker who has to spend hours on the monitor screen, then it is preferred to choose the monitor with average response times. However; If you are a competitive Esports player, casual gamer or very much into photography and videography, then yes, you should definitely go for a monitor that has an overall low response time as it eliminates the ghosting of images and delivers smooth results.

Best response time for Gamers

For competitive gamers, anything under 5 milliseconds is considered to be perfect enough for optimum gaming. Ideally, the overall difference between 5 ms and lower is not that extensive to be noticed by the naked eye. However, there is no harm in going lower for a response time.

Best response time for Videos

For videography, anything under 10 ms is more than enough for a fluid motion of video. Other factors such as the accuracy of colors and type of panels are also important factors when it comes to videography and photography.

Is a higher refresh rate better for your eyes?

Working in front of the screen for hours can be daunting and very stressful for the eyes. To prevent that a high refresh rate monitor is the best solution for your eyes. When we look at the display screen of the monitor, it shows an image refreshed numerous times in a second. If we look at the older monitors that have a refreshing rate of 60Hz, we may observe some flickering as the max refresh rate that a human eye can notice is around 60Hz. 

For gaming, users prefer high-class monitors with a refreshing rate of 144Hz or 240Hz but that can be stressful for the eyes. That being said, the refresh rate of 120Hz is ideal for your eyes as it’s the perfect blend between the refreshing rates of high and low-end monitors.

Is 9 ms response time good for gaming?

For casual gamers, a response time of 10ms can also work. However, the response time of 9ms is considered to be mediocre and average for competitive gaming as you will be facing issues with image ghosting and blur display. For an immersive gaming experience, the response time should be 5ms or less to ensure there is no delay or ghosting during the gameplay. The lower your response time, the better your experience for gaming would be. 

This Article is Updated.

Robert Smith
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Robert Smith

Robert Smith is a technology lover and loves to write about laptops, monitors, printers, tablets, Apple products and anything that's related to computers and games. He is passionate enough that he maintains this blog regarding tech updates on a daily basis.