Gaming monitors clocked at 144Hz liberate your hardware from the old 60Hz limiter to deliver smoother action and quicker response. If those are your priorities, there’s no reason to pick a slower display.
If there ever was a case of more is better, then gaming monitor refresh rate is it. It might set you back a few more dollars, but if you can swing it, the ability to run more frames per second has no downside. So the TL;DR here is very simple: you need a higher refresh rate because it can make your content display smoother and will improve your viewing experience.
To put matters into a more focused perspective, more frames per second on your monitor has clear advantages in terms of lower input lag and better response when playing reflex-based games, although every genre and even regular desktop use benefits from a higher refresh rate. Going from 60Hz to 144Hz feels instantly smoother and more responsive. Going from 144Hz to 240Hz may not be as noticeable, but again, there’s no downside unless you happen to be one of the few people who get motion sickness when viewing high refresh displays. That could happen, though it’s rare, and you can always set the monitor to a lower rate in display settings. Let’s take a quick look at what makes higher refresh rates better.
For one, a 144Hz screen allows modern GPUs to fully flex their muscles. A 60Hz panel limits most current graphics cards, especially in 1080p and 1440p, and increasingly in 2160p. If you want sleek 1080p performance, then a 60Hz display is a true bottleneck, as any GPU released in the last four years with gaming in mind can push 1080p beyond 100 frames per second. If you have such a GPU but are confined to 60 FPS, you’re just wasting computer power.
In gaming, faster is more responsive. To begin with, a 144Hz monitor has less than half the input lag of a 60Hz display. Then, games running at 144 frames per second offer fluidity of the type 60 frames per second simply can’t match. Sure, for a lot of folks that may not be a big issue, and some gamers may even prefer things at a more leisurely pace. Again, it’s no big deal to set a frame limiter in-game or just clock a 144Hz monitor to 60Hz in settings if you REALLY enjoy the slowness.
But otherwise, a 144Hz gaming monitor offers the kind of rapid, on the dot response that a 60Hz monitor has no chance in hell of matching, and speaking of hell, DOOM Eternal would be a good example of this. Between scrambling to generate ammo, create health, and prioritize targets, 144Hz is miles ahead of 60Hz in every way for such a game, except for 4K gaming in ultra settings, though even that has changed in the last six months with the arrival of new hardware.
If you answered yes, then why are you reading this on a 60Hz monitor? You need 144Hz as a baseline for esports or even non-pro multiplayer these days. If you play any major game online on a 60Hz display on PC, you can assume a big chunk of the people playing against you are on faster monitors. Even with internet-induced lag, they still have an edge over you. If the person you’re sighting is on 144Hz and you’re on 60Hz, in theory they have an 84 frame advantage over you. That’s over 10ms just for those frames. Sure, as we said the internet and unavoidable distance latency will negate some of that, but they’re very likely to hit you first no matter how responsive you are in your own mind.
An often overlooked benefit of a higher refresh rate monitor is a more responsive desktop. You know how sometimes it feels like the DPI selector on your mouse isn’t doing anything? Like 1600 and 3200 DPI feel the same? That’s because a 60Hz panel only has that much fluidity to offer. Try the same with a 144Hz display and you’ll realize that your mouse cursor finally looks like it’s really moving, and that there’s none of that split-second delay between clicking and something happening. While obviously beneficial in gaming, high refresh rate monitors create superior desktop experiences and since you’re likely to do very important things on your desktop, like working on personal documents or finishing up work projects, a responsive desktop is nothing to laugh about.
In 2020, unless you have some particular reason, you should not be on a 60Hz monitor if you can afford something faster. Graphics cards and games have moved beyond 60 FPS and are not looking back. Operating system desktops with app multitasking also gain so much from higher refresh rates. A 60Hz screen is just a limiter at this point, unless you just want nice looking 4K at ultra settings. But even that will soon go beyond 60Hz as hardware gets better. Keep all of that in mind when buying your next monitor.