Every professional player utilizes on a minimum a 1ms 144Hz monitor. Why?
The standard for every professional tournament is to have monitors which are capable of 144Hz. In fact, every professional players home monitor is capable of at least 120Hz or 144Hz. Some players, like those in Ninjas in Pajamas for example, have the ability to play on 240Hz. Why? The higher refresh rate your monitor has enables you to quickly react to ever-changing environments and scenarios within the game. In fact, going from the standard 60Hz to the more advance 120Hz, allows you to double your reaction time within the game.
In order to understand how this works, we must first explain FPS.
FPS: One of the most common benchmarks for measuring performance in a video game is the game’s frame rate or its frames per second (FPS). The frame rate is how often an image in the game is drawn to produce or give the impression of motion. If you’re having trouble processing this think of a flip book. If you flip the book slowly (low FPS), you can see each of the pages distinctly from one another. However, if you flip the book a bit faster (high FPS), the flip book appears as a movie in motion.
There are a number of factors which affect a video games frame rate, including;
- Graphics Card
- Processor (Central Processing Unit / CPU)
- Memory (RAM)
Graphic settings within the game; and,
How well the game is designed.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a CPU intensive game. In other words, the CPU has the biggest impact on frame rate. Most professional players have frame rates well into the 300s, and we would argue that if you want to take CS:GO seriously as a competitive game, you need to have at least 200 consistent FPS.
*You should IMMEDIATELY upgrade your PC if you are getting below 150 FPS.
So, what is Refresh Rate?
Refresh rate is the number of times per second your monitor draws the screen. The refresh rate is purely a function of your monitor and it is completely distinct from your frame rate. A typical refresh rate is measured in the frequency one cycle per second (hertz or abbreviated, Hz).
In other words,
- A 60Hz monitor can draw 60 images per second.
- A 120Hz monitor can draw 120 images per second.
- A 144Hz monitor can draw 144 images per second.
The standard for most monitors is 60 Hz, which comes from the point at which our brain no longer sees “blinking” or “refreshing” in the monitor.
Now that you know FPS and Refresh Rate, how do the two influence each other? Does FPS affect Refresh Rate, for example?
If your FPS is less than your refresh rate, the same frame will simply be redrawn several times by the monitor.
For example, if you get 25FPS and are on a 60Hz monitor, you are limited by your FPS and will only see 25 frames.
If your FPS is higher than your refresh rate at any time, your monitor will not actually be able to display all of the additional frames.
For example, if you get 120 FPS and are on a 60Hz monitor, you are limited by your refresh rate and will only see 60 frames.
Some of you of may be asking what is the point of having high frames within the game, if your monitor limits what you can see? The direct answer is having higher frames makes your computer more resilient against performance drops. If you sit comfortably at 200 FPS with a 120Hz monitor, and during large battles you drop to 100 FPS, you will still be able to see the choppiness and stuttering within the game.
Sometimes when your FPS is higher than your refresh rate, you encounter a graphical glitch called, ‘screen tearing.’ Screen tearing occurs when your monitor is refreshing two or more drawn images in a single screen draw. In order to prevent screen tearing, most games have the option of enabling ‘Vertical Synchronization,’ also known as VSync. VSync works by synchronizing your FPS with your refresh rate. In other words, it caps your FPS at your refresh rate.
So, what is the difference between 60Hz vs 144Hz?
The best way to measure the difference between refresh rates is through response time.
- At 60Hz, the monitors screen is being refreshed at a rate of 60 cycles a second. Mathematically, that comes out to the screen being refreshed every 1/60th of a second or 16.67 milliseconds.
- At 120Hz, the monitors screen is being refreshed at a rate of 120 cycles every 60 seconds. This comes out to 1/120 of a second or every 8.3 milliseconds.
- At 144Hz, the monitors screen is being refreshed at a rate of 144 cycles every 60 seconds. This comes out to 1/144 of a second, or every 6.9 milliseconds.
Therefore, with a 144Hz monitor you get a new image every 7th millisecond, with a 120Hz monitor every 8th ms, and a 60Hz monitor every 16th ms. From 60 to 120 you double the rate, and from 120 to 144 you increase it by 1.2.
Why should you buy a 144Hz monitor?
If it doesn’t seem already obvious, the most important reason for buying a 144Hz monitor is to keep you on the same playing field as everyone else. If the average player is reacting nearly twice as fast as you are because of your gear, that is a pretty big impact. This is especially important in first person shooters like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, where gun battles happen within milliseconds and enemies can peak around the corner and see you usually faster than you can see them.