This article will attempt to enlighten you a bit about the monitor property called hertz. And by hertz, I am not talking about the German translation which means “heart”, nor the car rental company, but the rate the monitor refreshes the image. Why does this property matter when you are getting a new monitor for your gaming rig? Is it worth spending your hard-earned cash on? I didn’t think it mattered, so I waited for a pretty long time before making an investment in a 144 hertz monitor.
What does the hertz mean?
Looking at the montor feature list, you will commonly see something called “Hz”, an abbreviation for hertz. It is named after a guy called Heinrich Hertz (some short facts about him below), and is a frequency unit that defines the number of cycles per second of a periodic phenomenon. When you apply this to a monitor, it means that 1 hertz = 1 frame per second. The higher the Hz, the more frames your monitor can output per second.
Who was Heinrich Rudolf Hertz?
- Born in Hamburg in 1857
- Son of Gustav Ferdinand Hertz and Anna Elisabeth Pfefferkorn
- Came from a prosperous and cultured Hanseatic family
- Studied science and languages, including Arabic and Sanskrit
- PhD from the University of Berlin
- Professor at the University of Karlsruhe
- Married Elisabeth Doll in 1886, two daughters
- Researched electromagnetic waves
- Died after illness in 1894, his latest work published posthumously
“The Principles of Mechanics Presented in a New Form”
How many of these hertz do you need?
This depends on your source. If you want to max out every frame, you need the same or more Hz than frames per second. This to ensure you don’t lose any frames during the rendering process.
Most of the movies and TV broadcasting companies do not display more than 30 frames per second. Normally your video game consoles, like the Sony PlayStation or Microsoft Xbox do not output more than 60 frames per second, and 60 hertz. For computers, that’s a different story. You should try to achieve the same or more hertz than frames per second when you play games. Not all of them, though, I’ll get to that in a bit.
What effect does it have on my games?
The Hz matters, because the higher the Hz – the smoother the rendering and less
blurring from image artifacts. This is especially important when playing
games where scenes and game-play are
fast action. The higher Hz and frames per second allows for smoother aiming,
tracking, and rendering so gameplay is enhanced and provides an
advantage over those with slower Hz and frames per second.
Will all types of games benefit from 144 hertz?
It will not be noticeable for all types of games, since they vary quite much in how fast they need to update the screen. Turn-based strategy games for example, does not have to update the screen so fast. It isn’t crucial for the gameplay or visuals. Take for instance Sid Meier’s Civilization. I’ve played this game a LOT throughout the years, and it doesn’t make a difference, I’ve played it on both 60 hertz and 144 hertz monitors. Fast-paced games, like fps shooters, racing games, and such will benefit from it.
But even with better frames per second and more hertz, you can still suck at playing first person shooters. :p
Well obviously you need that monitor with sweet hertz on it, but you also need a computer capable of running the games fast enough to have effect from this. Basically, a fast enough processor, a decent graphics card capable of outputting enough hz for your monitor, and the necessary cabling between your computer and the monitor. Often dual-link DVI cables. These often come supplied with the grapics card. Typically the graphics cards use processors from the two big industry giants NVIDIA and AMD. Personally I don’t own the latest and hottest, because they DO cost some serious money, but an AMD Ryzen 5 processor along with a NVIDIA 1070 card does a pretty decent job. At least up to 1920×1080 resolution. Above that it cannot cope properly.
Fun fact: the NVIDIA 1070 graphics processor consists of about 7.2 billion (!) transistors. How do they even fit them all into that little chip?
If money is no object for you, then the lastest 2080 cards from NVIDIA really rocks, with live raytracing. More about that in another article..
Also, the monitors have another feature as well, which is screen resolution. The higher resolution, the more data needs to be generated by your system and pushed to the monitor. A 4K monitor is much more demanding than a regular full-hd 1920×1080 monitor. Not to mention a dual screen option.
Are there any other options than 60 hertz and 144 hertz?
Yes, in the later years there have been much development regarding monitors
and refresh rates. You can now get monitors outputting 165, 180, 200 and
240 hertz. These do require more from your gaming rig, as mentioned above. It might give you an even better experience, but not so noticeable as going from the good old 60 hertz to 144 hertz.
Should I get a new monitor?
To sum it up, if you are fond of playing fast paced games like driving simulators, first person shooters (especially when battling agains other players online), it really gives you a smoother experience, and a greater chance to win in the shooters. By my own experience, playing Battlefield V really improved after switching to a 144 hertz monitor. The aiming was smoother, and gunning down enemies as they run past you is easier and more satisfying than earlier. It isn’t fun when you swear you had the infidel in your sights, but get gunned down because his/her aim and frames per second is better that yours, enabling the enemy to react a little bit faster. To most people, money IS an object, but if you can afford it, a fast monitor is recommended. It will help you, but as I said earlier, you can still suck at playing first person shooters. Practice makes perfect.
Maybe the German translation for hertz : heart, is quite good. You’ll love more hertz.
What is your experience with this topic? Leave a comment below.