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120Hz vs 240Hz Monitor Refresh Rates: Which Should You Choose?

When buying a new monitor, the refresh rate is one of the most important specifications to consider. This metric determines how many times per second your display updates with a new image. A higher refresh rate translates to smoother motion and less visual blur.

For gaming and fast-paced visual workloads, 120Hz and 240Hz monitors have become common choices to deliver a responsive, high performance experience. But which one is right for you? Let‘s compare 120Hz versus 240Hz refresh rates across critical categories.

What is Refresh Rate?

Before diving into 120Hz versus 240Hz, it‘s helpful to understand exactly what a monitor‘s refresh rate means.

The refresh rate determines how many images (or "frames") a display can show each second. It‘s measured in Hertz (Hz). A 60Hz screen updates 60 times per second, a 120Hz refreshes 120 times per second, and so on.

For gaming and video, a higher refresh rate translates to smoother motion transitions. It reduces motion blur, making fast movement look crisp. Higher refresh displays also decrease input lag, which is the delay between pressing a button and seeing the result on screen.

How Panel Type Impacts Refresh Rate

The monitor panel technology – usually TN, IPS or VA type LCDs – can limit refresh rate capabilities. While marketing materials may claim extremely high advertised refresh rates, real world performance depends on the pixel response times possible with the underlying panel.

TN (twisted nematic) panels offer the fastest response times, making them well suited for high refresh gaming. IPS (in-plane switching) panels provide better colors and viewing angles but slower response. VA (vertical alignment) offers a middle ground. Response time shortcomings on IPS and VA panels can lead to ghosting artifacts at high refresh rates.

That‘s why the most popular Esports gaming monitors utilize TN panel technology to enable minimal motion blur. However, continued panel innovations like OLED and newer IPS variants help address these constraints.

Overview of 120Hz Refresh Rate Monitors

For many years, 60Hz was the standard for monitors. A 120Hz refresh rate delivers major improvements in motion clarity and responsiveness. Instead of just 60 updates per second, a 120Hz panel refreshes twice as often.

Some benefits of 120Hz monitors include:

  • Smoother animation, scrolling, and transitions
  • Reduced motion blur during fast movement and action sequences
  • Decreased input lag for a more responsive feel
  • Enhanced gaming visuals and performance

Testing shows 120Hz displays decreasing input lag by an average of 8-10ms compared to 60Hz alternatives. While not a night and day difference alone, combined with the smoother visuals this responsiveness boost enhances most gaming experiences.

The faster refresh and lower latency make 120Hz a popular choice for gaming. It also provides a great experience for watching sports and action movies. Fast-paced titles and films with quick camera cuts see a big boost.

120Hz monitors are widely accessible and affordable today. On average they cost $100-150 more than a standard 60Hz display with similar features. Laptops also now commonly offer 120Hz refresh rate screen options in their lineup.

What is G-Sync and FreeSync?

Monitors with adaptive sync technology like Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync dynamically match the panel‘s refresh rate to the graphical frame rate output of the system. This prevents screen tearing and minimizes stuttering for smoother gameplay.

For example, if a game‘s performance drops to 100 fps, a G-Sync monitor will automatically shift refresh to 100Hz. V-Sync alternatively caps frame rate to your display‘s fixed refresh capability, often introducing lag or judder during fluctuations.

Utilizing DisplayPort or HDMI connections, G-Sync and FreeSync deliver their best experience when frame rates exceed the minimum refresh threshold. This makes 120Hz well suited to take advantage.

Overview of 240Hz Refresh Rate Monitors

Pushing refresh rates even higher, 240Hz monitors first hit the market around 2017. Top Esports professionals helped drive demand.

Quadrupling the baseline 60Hz speed, 240Hz displays update the image a staggering 240 times per second! This brings incredible improvements to motion clarity and system latency.

In testing, 240Hz monitors can lower input lag by an additional 2-3ms versus 120Hz alternatives. While not a major reduction alone, when paired with four times the refresh rate games feel lightning quick.

Benefits of 240Hz panels include:

  • Buttery smooth animation with extremely sharp transitions
  • Esports professionals can more easily track fast moving objects like crosshairs and targets
  • Near complete elimination of motion blur in action sequences
  • Extremely low input lag for ultra responsive controls

240Hz monitors excel for Esports titles where split second reaction times determine success. Fast-paced first person shooters (FPS), racing sims, fighting games, and rhythm games see the biggest boosts. Casual gamers may also appreciate the fluidity in adventure and role playing games.

Currently 240Hz displays cost around $300-500+ more than equivalent 120Hz options. The premium pricing combined with demanding hardware requirements limit wider mainstream adoption for now.

Direct Comparison: 120Hz vs 240Hz

Now let‘s directly compare some key performance and experience factors between 120Hz and 240Hz displays:

Visual Quality

  • At the same resolution and panel type, visual quality should appear identical in static images
  • In motion, 240Hz presents clearer transitions and less overall blur

Motion Clarity

  • 120Hz marks a major upgrade over 60Hz, removing a lot of motion smearing
  • 240Hz edges out 120Hz further with exceptionally smooth animation, unlocking sharper detail
  • High speed camera footage shows crisp vision of 240Hz test sequences even in extreme rapid motion

Input Lag

  • Both 120Hz and 240Hz lower input lag substantially from 60Hz
  • 240Hz has slightly faster response, with latency around 1-3ms quicker
  • Professional input lag testing equipment can accurately quantify differences between refresh rates in milliseconds


  • 240Hz panels achieve frame time measurements under 5ms for up to 240 fps sources
  • Frametime consistency improves substantially over 60/120Hz alternatives

Ideal Usage

  • 120Hz excels for gaming, sports, and action movies over 60Hz
  • 240Hz gives competitive gamers an edge; also great for Esports viewing


  • 120Hz is reasonably affordable for a performance upgrade
  • 240Hz costs significantly more money for bleeding edge speeds

System Requirements

  • 120Hz gaming requires a decent midrange GPU like an Nvidia 3060
  • 240Hz demands high end graphics power – an Nvidia 3080/3090 or better
  • Optimizing game settings to surpass your monitor‘s minimum refresh rate floor is key

Esports and Competitive Gaming Benefits

While visual and responsive gains appear across game genres, Esports and competitive titles with precision demand see the most substantial 240Hz upgrades.

Popular FPS games heavily represented in tournaments and cash prize circuits that benefit include:

  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  • Valorant
  • Rainbow Six Siege
  • Call of Duty
  • Overwatch
  • Apex Legends
  • Fortnite

Fighting games like Street Fighter and Super Smash Bros also value extremely quick reactions afforded by 240Hz speeds. Arena battle games like League of Legends additionally highlight the competitive visibility edge higher refresh rates provide.

Survey data of professional Esports players shows 78% utilizing 240Hz displays compared to 27% still on 1080p 144Hz and virtually none competing below that threshold.

Casual Gaming and Diminishing Returns

While 240Hz clearly provides some headroom even for slower paced titles, games requiring less urgent split second reactions see strongly diminishing returns. Slower adventure, roleplaying, simulation, and strategy games derive perfectly enjoyable experiences from more affordable 60Hz and 120Hz alternatives.

Additionally, outside competitive multiplayer circles, actually maintaining frame rates over 120 fps consistently challenges even high end hardware. So 240Hz refresh rates often outpace the delivered performance except in well optimized Esports fare.

Pushing your graphics card to its limits for high framerates draws more power, generates extra heat, and kicks up fan noise as necessary trade offs. Budget focused gamers need to weigh these factors when considering display upgrades.

Not Just Gaming – Video Production and CAD

While gaming remains the most discussed 240Hz monitor usage scenario, applications like video editing/animation and computer aided design also derive benefits from buttery smooth refresh rates.

Quickly navigating timelines in Premiere Pro or scrubbing animation sequences in Blender receives a uniquely fluid feel at 240Hz. Similarly, rapidly working across multiple documents and 3D views sees markedly slicker workflows.

Professionals requiring high visual acuity and response have additionally utilized such displays for data analysis, quantitative trading, and other applications as falling prices improve accessibility.

Pros and Cons of 120Hz Monitors


  • Significantly smoother motion clarity than 60Hz
  • Great balance of improved visuals and responsiveness
  • Reduced blur during fast gaming movement and action scenes
  • Low input lag speeds up reactions
  • More affordable performance upgrade from 60Hz


  • Still some minor motion blur during extremely quick transitions
  • Visual clarity not quite as sharp as 240Hz in competitive scenarios
  • High framerate performance requires decent mid-range GPU

Pros and Cons of 240Hz Monitors


  • Extremely smooth animation, scrolling, and camera pans
  • Near complete elimination of motion blur
  • Maximal visual clarity for Esports and fast pace competitive gaming
  • Very low system latency for split second reactions
  • Sharpness from framerates up to 240+ fps


  • Much more expensive than 120Hz alternatives
  • Demanding on high end GPU hardware to hit 240+ fps
  • Diminishing returns in slower paced games
  • Potentially overkill speeds in non-competitive usage

Monitor Recommendations

Best 120Hz Gaming Monitors

  • Dell S2721DGF ($350) – 1440p IPS panel with vibrant colors and G-Sync
  • LG 27GL83A-B ($380) – Clean aesthetic and quick response time
  • ASUS VG279Q ($300) – Affordable 1080p model with rich contrast

Best 240Hz Gaming Monitors

  • Alienware AW2521HFL ($530) – Fast IPS panel keeps colors strong
  • ASUS ROG Swift PG259QN ($800) – Cutting edge 360Hz Esports speed
  • Acer Predator XB3 ($600) – Vibrant colors with Nvidia G-Sync

Which Refresh Rate Do You Need?

Casual Gamers

For most general computing and gaming, a 120Hz display hits the optimal sweet spot between improved visuals, response, and price. This strikes a great balance for casually playing popular titles, binging action movies, or just basic desktop usage.

Esports Players

Hardcore competitive gamers who main popular multiplayer shooters, battle arenas, racers, fighters, or rhythm games will see real advantages stepping up to 240Hz. The extremely quick and sharp motion clarity can provide a visibility and reaction edge. If you crave the absolute smoothest speeds, 240Hz delivers.

Aspiring Esports Streamers

Professionals live broadcasting Esports tournaments also benefit from 240Hz monitors. This allows both them and their viewers to clearly track the nuances of gameplay. For aspirational viewers, these lightning speeds showcase what‘s possible at the highest skill levels.

240Hz speeds can better convey intensity of competitive gaming for streaming audiences. Analysis shows live Esports broadcasts surging in popularity, with 2021 Championship viewership overtaking the NBA Finals.

Additional Monitor Buying Considerations

Refresh rate determines motion clarity and system responsiveness. But panel technology and resolution also hugely impact image quality:

Panel Type

  • Compare IPS vs. TN vs. VA – colors, viewing angles, pixel response vary


  • 1080p fits lower budget GPUs
  • 1440p sharpens detail; 4K demands high end graphics

Response Times

  • Look for low grey-to-grey (GtG) figures (1ms best for 240Hz)

Variable Refresh Rate

  • G-Sync and FreeSync prevent stuttering and tearing

HDR Support

  • HDR10 or DisplayHDR 400/600/1000 improve contrast/colors

Size and Aspect Ratio

  • 24" to 27" models common for gaming
  • Ultrawides suit multitasking and immerse gameplay

Competitive multiplayer favors speed, while creators value color quality and sharpness. Matchmonitor strengths to your usage needs for the best experience. Balance feature set against budget to avoid overspending.

Conclusion – Evaluating 120Hz vs 240Hz Monitors

Comparing 120Hz vs 240Hz shows key differences in smoothness, motion clarity, input lag, system demands, and affordability. 240Hz provides an unmatched fluid gaming experience but also costs a premium. Meanwhile 120Hz makes for a great combination of improved visuals, responsiveness, and value.

For hardcore competitive Esports players where every millisecond counts, the unmatched motion sharpness of 240Hz makes monitors worthwhile investments. More casual gamers enjoy excellent experiences from 120Hz while saving money.

When deciding, carefully consider your level of gaming commitment. Evaluate if your computer hardware can properly support extremely high frame rates. And choose features like resolution, panel technology, and connectivity that align with your priorities.

Understanding these Monitor refresh rate trade-offs helps ensure your display and PC build pair perfectly with your needs and budget! Let us know if you have any other questions.