Frame Rate(FPS) Vs Refresh Rate(Hz): What Is the Difference?

As an Amazon Associate, we earn commisions from qualifying purchases.

If you search for a monitor to buy, you will be amazed by the number of options available in the market. However, the more number of options sometimes means more difficulty choosing the perfect one that suits you best. On top of that, different monitors’ technical features make it even harder to make up the mind. 

One such technical concept people often come across while searching for a perfect display is the frame rate VS Refresh rate. While essentially not very different, both the terms depict a different aspect of the hardware.

If you want to learn about frame rate and refresh rate in detail and their key differences, keep reading.

Frame rates and refresh rate are terms that you will encounter if you are exploring monitors to buy. It’s pretty beneficial to know the details about frame rate VS Refresh rate and how they affect the viewing experience and, of course, the gaming experience if you intend to buy a gaming monitor.

This guide will briefly explain frame rate and refresh rate, the key difference between both terms, how they combine to produce the visuals displayed on the screen, and how they affect the overall quality of the visual output.

Table of Contents

What is Frame Rate?

Any movement on the screen is a series of still images shown consecutively at high speed. Each still image is called a frame. It’s the movement of the frames one after the other in high-speed that creates the illusion of motion on the screen. 

Frame Rate(FPS)

This case applies to all things moving on the screen, a movie, a video game, or anything depicting a motion. It’s the number of frames that appear per second on-screen is what’s called the frame rate or frames per second. Going by the definition, a higher frame rate means smoother and more responsive the experience will be.

What is Refresh Rate?

Refresh rate depicts the number of times an image is updated on the screen. It is measured in hertz, the unit of frequency. The image that forms on the screens is the result of hundreds of continuous refreshes. 

Refresh Rate(Hz)

Although barely perceivable to the human eyes, it has a major effect on the quality of the display. So what does a 60 Hz refresh rate mean? In simple terms, it means that the image is refreshed 60 times a second. By the very definition higher the refresh rate, the better the display quality.

A high refresh rate will usually point to the greater ability of the screen hardware to refresh screen content per second. Further, this results in smoother and brighter moving images, especially when fast movements are shown on the screen. Also, displays with high refresh rates will be more suitable for delivering visual output with a higher number of frames per second.

Frame Rate (FPS) Vs. Refresh Rate (Hz)

So, which higher value should you go for, frame rate or the refresh rate? As it is evident that the refresh rate is the property of the monitor, frame rate, on the other hand, is directly affected by the GPU. But they do not work individually in a gaming setup or in the case of a PC. Both frame rate and refresh rate combine to produce the output you see on your screen. So going for a higher value of one aspect only will be futile.

Understand it this way. You have a monitor with a very high refresh rate, but your GPU is not capable enough to produce frames with the same efficiency as the refresh rate. In this scenario, you won’t be able to benefit from the high refresh rate values. The same is the case with GPU. A higher frame rate GPU paired with a low refresh rate monitor will not have any significant effect on the quality of the visuals produced.

For example, if you have a 144Hz display and a 60 FPS video source. Your screen will refresh 144 times per second, but will only display 60 frames per second. That’s pretty much it!

Besides higher frame rates, the likes of 60 FPS are only relevant to fast-paced visuals, more importantly in gaming. Most of the media produced these days are of lower FPS and do not require a high refresh rate monitor.


When it comes to Frame Rate Vs. Refresh Rate, the major difference is the hardware behind each of the aspects. While the frame rate is rendered by the working of the GPU and the processor, the refresh rate is an inherent property of the monitor and denotes how effectively the display refreshes the images. 

That being said, there is no point in going for a single higher value. If you are up to buy a new monitor, go for a balance and make sure that the refresh rate can match the capability of the GPU you got. That’s all we have for you with the comparison of refresh rate and frame rate. We hope this guide helped you. 

Rohit is a software engineer. A pro lover of Technology and tech gadgets. I am a gamer too. Our team is here to help you find the best monitor products to decide which one is best for you.

Leave a Comment