First things first: refresh rates and how many frames you get in game are related to one another but not quite the same thing. If you’re someone with a 75 Hz monitor (refresh rate) you can output 120 FPS (or more) depending on your setup. The only catch is that the end result may not be to your liking.
Getting right to the difference between refresh rates and frame rate…
60 Hz and 60 FPS (frames per second) are interrelated, but not the same thing. 60 Hz refers to the refresh rate of your display while 60 FPS is the number of frames per second rendered by your PC or console.
To put it another way, the frame rate determines how fluid any particular game is while the refresh rate of your monitor (or TV) will dictate how smooth a game will appear.
The authenticity and fidelity of Red Dead Redemption 2 blew me away on the PS4. I had never experienced anything quite like it. Interwoven systems, emergent gameplay, idyllic landscapes – it felt like next-generation gaming had come a little early. But going back to it now, after buying an Xbox Series X, puts into perspective something that was sorely lacking at times on the PS4 and Xbox One – performance.
Microsoft’s newest console has been an utter treat in this department. Games new and old are performant and look incredible. This standard was touched on with the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, but not nearly to the extent that the Xbox Series X|S have cleaned up performance.
Not all games have gotten the next-gen treatment. But by and large I’ve never had as great of a time diving into a back catalog as I have with my Xbox Series X. New titles have only upped the ante of performance and visuals.
Despite TV manufacturers catering to gamers, monitors largely remain a much better option in terms of faster response times. New TVs offer features like Auto Low Latency Mode and Variable Refresh Rate, but monitors have offered much better latency for over a decade.
While not important to all players, lower latency and higher fps means more fluid gameplay and a greater level of control. For those playing first-person shooters and fighting games, a better response time can mean a competitive advantage over those playing on laggy displays or lower specced machines.
Just how do monitors affect fps?
Technically, monitors only affect fps indirectly. They’re responsible for the visible frame rate that a player will see, and it’s the reason why those with powerful machines opt for 144Hz displays.
No matter the in game fps, a 60Hz display will only ever output 60 fps.