If you’re stuck choosing between a higher resolution and a higher refresh rate, the choice boils down to what type of games you play and what kind of PC hardware you have.
For undemanding eSports titles, 144Hz will provide you with better performance, while 1440p provides better visuals for more graphically-oriented games.
The good news is that, nowadays, you can get a gaming monitor with both 1440p and 144Hz at an affordable price.
Want to upgrade your old 1080p 60Hz display?
Not sure if you should go with a higher resolution or a higher refresh rate – or both?
Here’s what you need to know in order to make a proper decision.
60Hz vs 144Hz
First, you should decide whether or not you need a monitor with a high refresh rate.
If you mostly play undemanding competitive games, such as CS: GO and Overwatch, a higher refresh rate will provide you with a smoother and more enjoyable gaming experience – provided that you can maintain a high frame rate (FPS) too!
It will also provide you with a slight advantage against other players with regular 60Hz screens.
But, it’s not only competitive and FPS games that benefit from a high refresh rate.
All video games will run smoother at higher refresh rates (unless the game itself is FPS-locked to 30FPS or 60FPS, for instance), it’s just that the difference between 60Hz and 144Hz is most noticeable with fast-moving objects.
On the other hand, if you’re mainly playing more graphically-oriented games and want the best visuals, go for a 1440p monitor instead.
In order to run ~144FPS at 1080p in most eSports titles with decent settings, we recommend something along the lines of the GTX 1060.
For ~60FPS at 1440p and decent settings in newer graphically-demanding games, you will need something a bit stronger, such as the GTX 1070, at least.
What About 240Hz And 360Hz?
The difference between 240Hz and 144Hz is less noticeable than the difference between 60Hz and 144Hz. So, we only recommend getting a 240Hz display if you’re a really competitive gamer and want every millisecond of advantage you can get.
360Hz is considerably smoother than 144Hz, but only slightly smoother than 240Hz. These displays are also more expensive and mainly suited for professional gamers.
Keep in mind that in order to take full advantage of 240Hz or 360Hz, you also need to maintain appropriately high FPS.
1080p vs 1440p
So, what are you gaining by opting for 1440p instead of 1080p?
The higher the resolution, the more pixels there are in the image; however, the plain number of pixels doesn’t determine the picture quality alone.
This is where pixel density, or pixel-per-inch ratio, comes into play.
For instance, a 24″ 1080p monitor has a pixel per inch (PPI) ratio of 93, which results in a decent amount of screen space and details.
That same resolution on a 27″ monitor will have a lower pixel density of 81 PPI, which makes for less screen real estate and detail clarity – the picture gets more pixelated as it is easier to distinguish the individual pixels.
1440p allows you to have a bigger screen and still keep a high pixel density.
For instance, a 27″ 1440p monitor has a pixel density of 108.79 PPI, which is the sweet spot for many gamers as you get plenty of screen space and crisp details without any scaling necessary.
On a 32″ 1440p monitor, you get the same pixel density as that of 24″ 1080p displays (93 PPI), and so forth.
4K & UltraWide Resolutions
4K UHD resolution is quite demanding, and you will need a very powerful PC system to maintain steady 60FPS in most AAA titles.
That’s why we still recommend going with 1440p 144Hz instead of 4K for PC gaming.
The difference in performance fluidity between 1440p and 4K will be much greater than the difference in image quality between the two.
Ultrawide monitors are a great in-between alternative. A 3440×1440 gaming monitor is a bit more demanding to drive than 2560×1440, but it offers a more immersive viewing experience thanks to its ultrawide format for an extended field of view.
Price & System Requirements
Nowadays, 1440p 60Hz models go for as high as some 1440p 144Hz monitors, so we recommend just going with 1440p 144Hz. In fact, low refresh rate 1440p displays are quite rare and are mostly available as professional and office-use monitors.
Additionally, you will have to ensure that your PC system will be able to handle the desired frame rate at the resolution you’ve picked.
To do so, look for benchmarks of your GPU for video games you intend to play.