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Response Time VS Refresh Rate:For Monitors (COMPARED!)

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Monitors have become a significant part of our daily lives, but most people don’t understand the difference between response time and refresh rate.

Monitors come in all shapes and sizes and can have different technologies for screen refresh response time.

While the refresh rate can easily be an overused marketing term, the response time and the actual speed of the monitor are more important for a monitor. 

Why Should you Trust Me? Hi, I am Anirban Saha, an Engineer with a Specialization in Electronics and Communication Engineering. I have experience in Smart TVs, Electronics circuits, and Computer peripherals.

refresh rate vs response time

Let’s get started!

Response Time vs Refresh Rate

While the technical details may seem confusing, determining the difference between response time and refresh rate involves only a few basic principles.

Response time is the time it takes your monitor to change the pixels on the screen. This generally happens in fractions of a millisecond. The refresh rate on the other hand is the rate at which the screen can change the pixels. Although technically similar, response time and refresh rate are often used incorrectly when discussing monitors.

In short, refresh rate determines how many times per second a refresh is sent to the monitor, whereas response time determines how quickly the pixels update.

What Is the Response Time in A Monitor?

Response time for a monitor is the time it takes for a pixel to change colors.

Response time is commonly measured in milliseconds (or ms). A typical response time is about 8-9 ms. 

A response time of less than 8 ms is considered very good and is mostly the territory of high-performance computer monitors. 

Monitors with a response time of 16 ms are considered as good. But some rare monitors can go as low as 4 ms.

You can Read More Related to Monitor’s Response Time:

  1. 1ms vs 3ms
  2. 1ms vs 4ms
  3. 1ms vs 5ms
  4. 4ms vs 5ms

These would help you to know more about the different response times available and the comparison between them.

What Is the Refresh Rate of A Monitor?

The refresh rate (or refresh frequency) of a monitor or display is the number of times a display hardware updates its image in one second.

It is also called vertical refresh rate, scan frequency, or frame rate.

You can measure it in Hz (Hertz), which is also called “cps” (counts per second).

A monitor or display with a faster refresh rate produces smoother graphics and video playback.

It is a crucial element for gamers who need to have a quick reaction time.

Manufacturers often advertise the refresh rate of their monitors or displays in a range of values. 

However, a display can only support a single refresh rate. It can’t alternate between different refresh rates. 

The operating system, graphics card, and display driver control the refresh rate.

You cannot change the refresh rate without a change in these settings. Many monitors have a default refresh rate.

However, it is possible to change the refresh rate to a different value.

Here are more related to Refresh Rates:

Which Is More Important, Between Refresh Rate and Response Time?

Like many other things in life, refresh rate and response time are important factors that create a great product. They also happen to be two different things.

A study on gamers found that competitive players who possess a certain skill level can benefit from a high refresh rate.

It can also positively affect the experience of some gamers as a visual effect is perceived as a Smoother movement. (Source: Huhti JP. The Effect Of High Monitor Refresh Rate On Game Experience

Refresh rate is the number of times per second that a display refreshes the image, measured in “hertz” (Hz). 

Related: Does monitor Response Time matter?

Response time is the amount of time a pixel takes to change from one color to another.

If you’re a gamer, you’ve likely heard the term response time or refresh rate. 

They’re used interchangeably by many, but they’re very different.

Refresh rate is an essential thing in gaming, so most gamers look for a high refresh rate. 

But response time is also necessary, and it’s more important for other uses.

Does Response Time Change with Refresh Rate?

The popularity of gaming monitors has made refresh rate a household term.

It’s hard to find a monitor today that doesn’t advertise its “high refresh rate.” But that’s not the only factor to consider when looking for a gaming monitor.

Response time is also essential. It’s especially crucial when playing fast-paced video games.

When you play a video game with a high refresh rate, the higher the monitor’s response time, the more likely it is that the display will produce a double image. 

It’s also crucial to a user’s experience with a monitor.

For instance, a monitor with a fast response time can eliminate motion blur and trailing. With a slower response time, the blur and trailing are more noticeable.

Why Does Refresh Rate Matter?

Without a high refresh rate, a good monitor will look blurry and low.

You can’t expect a gaming monitor with a panel that has a low refresh rate to deliver an immersive gaming experience.

If you want an excellent gaming monitor then you have to make sure it has a high refresh rate.

Here is why refresh rate matters:

  • The higher the refresh rate, the more frames per second (FPS) are sent to the display, boosting motion resolution and overall clarity.
  • High refresh rate monitors usually offer better motion handling than standard 60Hz monitors, resulting in a smoother gaming experience. Hence, more enjoyable gaming, video, and other fast-moving content.

Does Refresh Rate Matter For Gaming?

A question that has come up in the last few years is whether or not refresh rate matters for gaming. 

While it was believed that refresh rate did not matter as much in the past, it has since been discovered that refresh rate can significantly impact how immersive a game is.

It is now known that the refresh rate should be as high as possible. 

A high refresh rate can help reduce motion blur and make a game feel more vibrant.

While the effects are hard to notice, content creators can help to make a game feel more immersive through their editing and storytelling. 

A high refresh rate monitor can help with this, but most monitors do not have high refresh rates.

Which Is a Better Response Time for Monitor High or Low?

The response time of the monitor is one of the critical criteria when buying one.

Higher response means more time lag while working with graphics or video. If you are looking for a fast, smooth gaming experience, you will want to ensure that you find a monitor with a low response time.

The response time of the monitor is measured in milliseconds (ms). It is the time lag of a screen to refresh after getting new input or command.

The response time of a monitor ranges from 1ms to 30ms.

The fastest response time for a monitor is 0.5 ms which is exceptional. Anything below 5ms response time is good.

Fastest Response Time Monitor (+ High Refresh Rate)

A fast refresh rate monitor works smoothly when coupled with a very low response time.

Here are some of the fastest response times with high refresh rate monitors for you:

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Last update on 2023-04-02 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Response Time Vs Refresh Rate FAQs

Q: Does having a 144Hz refresh rate with a 1ms response monitor worth it?

This is like the gold standard for a gaming monitor. The refresh rate of 144Hz goes well with a 1ms response time. These specs are worth going for when choosing a gaming monitor.

Q: Is 0.5 ms better than 1ms?

0.5ms is better than 1ms but it is not noticeable to our eyes.

Q: Is a 60Hz Refresh Rate Good For Gaming?

60Hz Refresh Rate is good for casual gamers. However, if you are an advanced gamer you need to choose a higher refresh rate monitor.

Q: Is 4ms Response Time Good for Gaming?

A 4ms response time monitor is great to have even for competitive gaming.

Q: What does a lower Response time signify?

A Lower response time on a gaming monitor signifies that it has less image blurring.


Let’s conclude the comparison of the refresh rate vs response time of a monitor.

Though you will look into the response time, and refresh rate, it is advisable to look into other aspects like the panel used in the monitor.

I hope you liked the post.

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