When it comes to displays, two common terms that often cause confusion are frame rate (fps) and refresh rate (Hz). While they may sound similar, they actually refer to different aspects of a display’s performance. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between frame rate and refresh rate, and why they matter.
Frame Rate (fps)
Frame rate refers to the number of frames or images that can be rendered per second. It’s commonly measured in frames per second (fps), and the higher the frame rate, the smoother the motion appears on the screen. This is particularly important in applications that involve fast action or animation, such as video games and sports broadcasts.
For example, a video game with a low frame rate may appear choppy or stuttered, while a game with a high frame rate will appear much smoother and more fluid.
Refresh rate, on the other hand, refers to the number of times per second that a display can update the image on the screen. It’s measured in Hertz (Hz), and the higher the refresh rate, the more frequently the image is updated. This can result in a smoother, more responsive experience, particularly in fast-paced applications.
In practical terms, a higher refresh rate means that there is less time between when an input is received and when it is displayed on the screen. This can be especially important in applications such as gaming or virtual reality, where even a small delay can result in a noticeable lag between the player’s input and the display’s response.
Difference between Frame Rate and Refresh Rate
Frame rate determines how many images are displayed per second, while refresh rate determines how often the screen updates those images.
In general, a higher frame rate will result in smoother motion on the screen, while a higher refresh rate will result in a more responsive experience. However, it’s worth noting that the benefits of a high frame rate can be limited by other factors, such as the power of your GPU (graphics card) and how optimized the game is by the developers.
What is the relationship between frame rate (fps) and refresh rate (Hz)
Frame rate is the rate at which the graphics card outputs frames, while refresh rate is the rate at which the monitor can display those frames.
The refresh rate of a display is typically fixed, while the frame rate of a game can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the complexity of the graphics or the capabilities of the hardware. If the frame rate of the game matches the refresh rate of the display, the two are said to be synchronized, which can result in a smoother and more consistent image.
How do frame rate (fps) and refresh rate (Hz) affect gaming
When a game is played at a low frame rate, the action can appear choppy or stuttered, which can make it difficult to control the game and respond to fast-paced action. On the other hand, when a game is played at a high frame rate, the action appears much smoother and more fluid, which can make it easier to control the game and respond to what’s happening on the screen.
Similarly, a higher refresh rate can improve the gaming experience by reducing input lag and providing a more responsive experience.
Ultimately, your system must have the capability to generate the required frame rates to fully utilize the refresh rates of the display.
Why do movies shoot in 24fps?
Movies are traditionally shot in 24 frames per second (fps) due to technical and historical reasons.
Firstly, 24 fps was established as a standard frame rate for movies during the early days of cinema. The introduction of sound in movies in the late 1920s required a consistent frame rate to synchronize sound with visuals. The 24 fps rate was chosen as it was deemed the lowest frame rate that could still produce smooth motion without flicker.
Secondly, shooting at a higher frame rate, such as 30 or 60 fps, would require more film stock or digital storage, which would increase production costs. Shooting at 24 fps allowed filmmakers to achieve the desired motion while using the minimum amount of film.
Thirdly, 24 fps gives movies a distinct cinematic look and feel, which has become associated with the art form. The slight motion blur created by the slower frame rate can make images appear smoother and more natural, as well as give the film a more immersive quality.
While there have been attempts to shoot movies at higher frame rates in recent years, such as 48 or 60 fps, the 24 fps standard remains widely used and accepted in the film industry.
Adobe has a fantastic article talking about the history and importance of frame rate in filmmaking. Click here to read more.
What happens when a game runs on a higher frame rate (fps) than a display’s refresh rate?
When a game is running on a higher frame rate than the refresh rate of the display, it can lead to a phenomenon known as “screen tearing”. This occurs when the display is trying to render two or more frames at the same time, resulting in a visible horizontal line where the frames don’t align correctly.
Screen tearing can be distracting and can make it difficult to play games, as it can cause the image to appear split or distorted. To avoid screen tearing, it’s important to ensure that the frame rate of the game matches the refresh rate of the display. This can be achieved by using technologies like V-Sync, which synchronizes the frame rate of the game with the refresh rate of the display, or by using a display with a high refresh rate that can handle a wide range of frame rates.
However, it’s worth noting that while screen tearing can be distracting, it’s not always a major issue for all gamers. Some gamers may prefer to prioritize higher frame rates over a perfectly synchronized image, as a higher frame rate can provide a smoother and more responsive gaming experience.
Ultimately, whether or not screen tearing is an issue will depend on the individual gamer and their preferences. Some gamers may find it distracting and want to avoid it at all costs, while others may not mind it and prioritize a higher frame rate instead.
What happens when a game runs on a lower frame rate (fps) than a display’s refresh rate?
Nothing happens! If your monitor has a refresh rate of 144Hz, but your GPU is only capable of providing 30 frames per second, the high refresh rate of your monitor will not be utilized.
To ensure that your monitor can display an image with a high refresh rate, it’s essential to have a CPU and GPU that can complete the processing quickly. If the number of frames supplied by the CPU and GPU is insufficient, the monitor won’t be able to produce a high refresh rate image, regardless of its specifications.
Click the link to check out our article on the best high-refresh-rate laptops.