High Refresh Rate Monitor List & Guide

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Worried you might miss out on the high refresh rate monitor that’s perfect for you?

Worry no more! This is the ultimate list.

Always complete and up-to-date. It has the specs for all 144Hz, 160Hz, 165Hz, 180Hz, 200Hz, and 240Hz monitors in the world as of December 2020.

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Find and compare high refresh rate monitors

You can use our monitor finder tool below to search for monitors and compare them and find which one is just right for you. We manually go through and verify the monitor specs for the most possible accuracy.

What's the most popular right now?

Through our study, we found that high refresh rate monitors currently on the market are sold in either 24 or 27 inches and with a 1920×1080 (1080p) or 2560×1440 (1440p) resolution. There are a number of 3840×2160 (4K) monitors for those looking for the crispest and sharpest gaming experience possible. A few ultrawide 21:9 monitors that carry a 2560×1080 resolution also exist for you to completely immerse yourself.

Whichever you decide, be sure you know its pixel density (PPI) for the best image quality.

The majority of gaming monitors are equipped with VA or TN display panels with the TN panels being the most affordable. There’s also a number of IPS panels, but these are less common. Each panel technology has it’s own pros and cons.

Most also have adaptive sync technology from NVIDIA’s G-Sync or AMD’s FreeSync included in them and which you prefer will affect your budget. This technology prevents screen tearing and stuttering by synchronizing the monitor’s refresh rate with your graphics card’s frame rate.

What's the highest refresh rate monitor?

Currently the highest refresh rate that monitors have is 240Hz. All but the LG 27GN750 are equipped with TN displays.

What should I look for in a high refresh rate monitor?

When you’re searching for a gaming monitor there are many specs that you should be on the look out for as each spec has a role in answering what is a good gaming monitor.

You’ll need to beware that oftentimes the advertised number of a specification such as the response time, contrast ratio, and brightness that manufacturers throw out there are unreliable as their methods of testing are different and as a result vary wildly between them.

Refresh Rates

Simply put, the monitor refresh rate is how often your screen updates per second. This is measured in hertz (Hz).

Traditionally 60Hz has been the standard refresh rate of gaming monitors. With the rising popularity of gaming monitors this standard was increased to 120Hz and now the most common refresh rate for gaming monitors is 144Hz.

When it comes to 60Hz vs 144Hz there is simply no argument. Regardless though some new models are pushing this rate limit even further upwards of 240Hz!

Whichever refresh rate you opt to focus on you’ll want to make sure that your graphics card is capable of reaching the same amount of frames per second (FPS) otherwise you won’t be getting the full experience out of your new gaming monitor.

It’s worth pointing out that monitors can be overclocked to increase their refresh rates, indeed some like the Acer Predator XB241H advertise their ability to be overclocked as a selling point. Others do not openly endorse doing this and your warranty may be voided if you do so.

Resolution

The larger the resolution that a monitor has then the better the picture quality will be. As a rule, you’ll want to have your monitor increase both in size and in resolution. An increase in just the size will lower the pixel density and, as a result, you won’t have an optimal image quality.

Currently, the best size monitor for gaming is one with a 27-inch screen and the best resolution for gaming is 2560 x 1440 because together they offer the most optimal density with 109 pixels per inch (PPI). There are of course monitors with a much higher PPI due to their 4K resolutions and you might be asking where are the 144Hz 4K monitors?

The fact of the matter is that these have yet to offer high refresh rates because current graphics cards simply cannot output the number of frames necessary for high refresh rates to be beneficial at that resolution.

Comparison Of 1920 X 1080, 2560 X 1080, And 2560 X 1440 Resolutions.
Comparison of 1920 x 1080, 2560 x 1080, and 2560 x 1440 resolutions.

Pictured above are the three most common resolutions out there for gaming monitors: 1920 x 1080, 2560 x 1080, and 2560 x 1440. There are of course more out there and they can get confusing at times, but these are the ones that are mainly in use for high refresh rate monitors and ones that typically need to be kept in mind.

The 1920 x 1080 resolution is typically referred to as 1080p and has a 16:9 aspect ratio while the 2560 x 1440 resolution is usually referred to as 1440p and also has a 16:9 aspect ratio. The 2560 x 1080 resolution is utilized in wide aspect 21:9 ratio monitors.

Keep in mind for example that a 1440p monitor will be more intense on your graphics card than a 1080p monitor would be. It’s a good idea to check benchmarks and make sure that your graphics card will be able to run your favorite games at the native resolution with a high frame rate to make a high refresh rate monitor fully worth it.

Also it’s worth noting that some graphics card support processing resolutions greater than the your monitor can display. AMD calls this feature Virtual Super Resolution while NVIDIA calls is Dynamic Super Resolution.

Panel Technology

At this time there are primarily two panel technologies in use for gaming monitors and for monitors in general: Vertical Alignment (VA) and Twisted Nematic (TN).

There also exist panel technologies that utilize In-Plane Switching (IPS) and Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED), but these are far less common; however, as with anything technological this may soon change.

With each different panel type there is a variety of advantages and disadvantages with the key distinguishing factors being the color reproduction, panel response time, viewing angles, and of course price.

IPS vs TN vs VA
 IPS monitorTN monitorVA monitor
Color ReproductionBestWorstAverage
Viewing AnglesBestWorstAverage
Response TimeWorse than TN, better than VALowestHighest
AffordabilityMost expensiveCheapestAverage
Best forProfessional useGamingGeneral use

Most gaming monitors out there are TN displays as they are the cheapest to produce. IPS panels follow after them and there are important differences between the two.

High response times can cause monitor ghosting and you most often see this on VA panels since they’re generally the slowest. TN panels usually have a lower response time over IPS brethren with a typical difference of 3ms, but IPS monitors are still good for gaming.

You may have noticed how vastly different monitors handle gradients. Some will show a very smooth transition while others will suffer from banding and show obvious steps in the change of color shade. This is because most TN panels are 6 bit meaning that they can display 262k colors while IPS panels are 8 bit and can display 16.7 million colors. As a result, IPS panels are better at color reproduction and are the preferred choice among professionals where accurate color use is very important.

Some TN panels use Frame Rate Control (FRC), or dithering, which enables them to use 16.2 million. How effective this is depends on the TN panel itself as they aren’t all created equal and the method is oftentimes inaccurate as it works by “mixing” color frames to output a color previously unavailable.

Adaptive Sync

Common in high refresh rate monitors is the incorporation of adaptive sync technology like NVIDIA’s G-Sync or AMD’s FreeSync.

The purpose of both is to remove the stuttering and juddering that a user would experience while gaming because the monitor refresh rate and the GPU frame rate are not equal.

Screen Tearing Example
An example of screen tearing. Notice how the door and mirrors aren't aligned and "tear".

Monitors that are equipped with G-Sync are more expensive because it requires a proprietary module be present in the monitor whereas FreeSync does not.

If you have a NVIDIA graphics card then be sure to make sure you have a get a G-Sync monitor. If you want to get a FreeSync monitor make sure you have an AMD graphics card. Otherwise, you will be unable to take advantage of the adaptive sync features.

You should note that the range at which FreeSync monitors can function varies while G-Sync monitors have a standardized operating range of 30Hz to the maximum Hz rate the monitor is capable of. To counter FreeSync’s possible limitations AMD has implemented Low Framerate Compensation (LFC) which effectively extends the range.

16-AMD-FreeSync-vs.-NVIDIA-G-Sync-2015-12-14.csv
 FreeSync MonitorG-Sync Monitor
Proprietary Module RequiredNoYes
Open StandardsYesNo
Licensing FeesNoYes
Supports DisplayPortYesYes
Supports HDMIYesNo
Usable with AMD cardYesNo
Usable with NVIDIA cardSomeYes

Contrast Ratio

The higher the monitor contrast ratio is then the better the image quality will be.

The contrast ratio of a gaming monitor will determine how strong black depth is and as a result how good it can display the difference between dark and light content.

It’s important to note that not all contrast ratios are equal. Many times manufacturers choose to advertise a dynamic contrast ratio with an impressive looking number like 1,000,000:1 instead of the monitor’s static contrast ratio.

A good contrast ratio for monitors is around 1000:1 which is what we typically see.

Brightness

You’ll want a monitor with a decent maximum brightness.

Most monitors nowadays are between 300cd/m² and 350cd/m² which is suitable for most buyers.

The most important reason as to why you’d want to have a high maximum brightness is the fact that if the monitor includes motion blur reduction technology like ULMB with it then you will take a hit in brightness when turning it on.

For many monitors this drawback is simply too large because their maximum brightness was never that great to begin with and so the feature is not worth turning on.

Viewing Angle

This is important depending on how you plan on using your monitor.

If you’re planning on creating a multi-monitor gaming setup then you should definitely keep your eyes on this spec. 😆

Typically you’ll see TN panels with a 170/160 viewing angle while IPS panels usually have a 178/178 viewing angle. The wider the monitor’s viewing angle then the more range you will have to accurately view the onscreen images.

Since the viewing angles of a monitor will vary based on which panel technology is used you’ll want to see if a monitor with a TN panel has a tilt/swivel feature that will allow your eyes to be on the same level.

We encourage people to see if their local electronics store has their monitor that they’ve been looking forward to buying and testing them in person to see how they perform.

VESA Mounting Standard

Monitors With Vesa Mount
A sweet setup with two VESA mounts.

A monitor that’s VESA compatible let’s you easily replace the normal stand it came with for a better stand or a mounting arm by using a standardized hole pattern.

VESA mounts can be a good alternative if the default stand that comes with the monitor is lackluster.

Whether it’s because the monitor that you can’t enough tilt, turn, or rotate to your liking or just think the stand is ugly – a VESA mount is the answer.

This is incredibly useful in a multi-monitor setup in which case there are specialized multi-monitor stands.

Another added benefit is that if the VESA mount is wall or desk supported it will clear up your desk for that more minimalist look – if you’re into that sort thing.

If the monitor you’re checking out doesn’t have VESA support then you may be able to find a third-party VESA mount adapter bracket.

VESA Specifications
ClassificationPattern Size Max Weight SupportedScreen Size
VESA MIS D75x75, 100x100 mm30.8 lb12" to 23.9"
VESA MIS E200x100, 200x200 mm50 lb24" to 30.9"
VESA MIS F400x200, 400x400, 600x200, 600x400, 800x400 mm250.4 lb≥ 31"

Which cable should I use for a high refresh rate monitor?

DisplayPort was designed with computer monitors specifically in mind and it offers the largest bandwidth of all inputs.

It can deliver refresh rates of 144Hz or higher at 1080p and 1440p with ease and it allows you to use G-Sync or FreeSync if your monitor has it.

For the best gaming experience, we recommend that you use a DisplayPort whenever possible and have Dual-link DVI-D as a fallback.

HDMI was targeted toward HDTVs and as a result has been slow to adapt to high refresh rates. It can only handle 60Hz at 1080p. AMD has made it possible for FreeSync monitors to utilize HDMI.

We do not recommend using a VGA input.

DisplayPort

The most popular version of DisplayPort in use at the moment is version 1.2.

It is the preferred cable to use for high refresh monitors.

It has no problem pushing 1080p and 1440p at 144Hz. It supports video resolutions of up to 3840 x 2160 pixels (4K monitor) with a refresh rate of 60Hz which in bandwidth terms means that it can transfer 17.28 Gbps.

With each new version we’ve seen an improvement in the amount of bandwidth it can push to support high refresh rates at really high resolutions. DisplayPort 1.3 is able to display a 4K resolution at 120Hz and 1920 x 1080 and 2560 x 1440 resolutions at up to 240Hz.

If you’ve got a choice to make between regular DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort then go with the regular.

DisplayPort Specifications
VersionMax BandwidthMax Resolution and Hz
DisplayPort 1.0, 1.1, 1.1a10.8 Gbps1920 x 1800 / 120Hz
2560 x 1440 / 75Hz
3840 x 2160 (4K) / 30 Hz
DisplayPort 1.2/1.2a21.6 Gbps1920 x 1800 / 240Hz
2560 x 1440 / 165Hz
3840 x 2160 (4K) / 75Hz
5120 x 2880 (5K) / 30Hz
DisplayPort 1.3/1.4/1.4a32.4 Gbps1920 x 1800 / 240Hz
2560 x 1440 / 240Hz
3840 x 2160 (4K) / 120Hz
5120 x 2880 (5K) / 60Hz
7680 x 4320 (8K) / 30Hz
DisplayPort 2.080 Gbps1920 x 1800 / 240Hz
2560 x 1440 / 240Hz
3840 x 2160 (4K) / 240Hz
5120 x 2880 (5K) / 180Hz
7680 x 4320 (8K) / 85Hz

HDMI

HDMI is the preferred input used on TVs and consoles.

The latest version of HDMI is version 2.1. It supports outputting a 4K at 120hz, 8K at 60Hz and even 10K at 30hz.

In 2016, AMD made it possible to use FreeSync over HDMI. To date NVIDIA has yet to make a similar announcement for G-Sync.

HDMI Specifications
VersionMax BandwidthMax Resolution and Hz
HDMI 2.018 Gbps1920 × 1080 / 240Hz
2560 × 1440 / 144Hz
4096 × 2160 (4K) / 60Hz
5120 × 2880 (5K) / 30Hz
HDMI 2.148 Gbps1920 × 1080 / 240Hz
2560 × 1440 / 240Hz
4096 × 2160 (4K) / 144Hz
5120 × 2880 (5K) / 60Hz
7680 × 4320 (8K) / 30Hz

DVI

DVI has been around since 1999, but it can still be used for outputting 144Hz. 

Beware though that in order to do 144Hz you’ll need Dual-link DVI as single link simply doesn’t cut it.

Whether you use a DVI-D or DVI-I will depend on what your monitor is equipped with.

How do I setup my high refresh rate monitor?

You’d think that setting up a gaming monitor would be as easy as putting it on your desk and plugging it… and for the most part it is!

The thing is that Windows will by default have the monitor run at a 60Hz refresh rate.

A lot of people never bother checking if their high refresh rate monitor is actually running at the right refresh rate until they find out months later by chance that they were gaming at 60Hz the whole time!

Change Monitor Refresh Rate To quickly address this go to your desktop, right-click and select the “Display settings” option, click “Advanced display settings”, click “Display adapter settings” and then the “Monitor” tab.

Here you will know at what screen refresh rate the monitor is running at.

You can double check this by going to your graphics card settings:

NVIDIA: Right click on your desktop, select the NVIDIA Control Panel, and then select the “Change resolution” option under the “Display” category.

AMD: Right click on your desktop and open Radeon settings. Select the “Display” menu, click “Additional settings”, and then select the monitor you want to check.

If you are still in doubt then you can perform a test for frame skipping within your browser.

For some games (instructions differ) you can force it to run at a high frame rate via the settings, console, or launch options.

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Dan Alder
Dan Alder
Dan's logged far too many hours in CS 1.6 and reminisces about LAN parties back in the good ol' days. He's also an engineer that's interested in anything to do with tech.
Dan Alder
Dan Alder
Dan's logged far too many hours in CS 1.6 and reminisces about LAN parties back in the good ol' days. He's also an engineer that's interested in anything to do with tech.

11 Comments

  1. Seems like you’ve missed Acer Predator XB241H that beat ASUS to 180Hz (has been out for couple of months or so) and is likely based on the same panel that’s going into the ASUS one. I would have went for that one if I didn’t knew that ASUS was also coming up with theirs as seen first time on CES in January (back then was just being mentioned as “possibly going to be locked into 165Hz” and now it is 180Hz due to Acer’s XB241H). Anyway the foot on the Acer is ugly as ****, that’s one of the reasons I wanted to wait for ASUS as I like the ASUS ROG Swift design best of all monitors. EDIT: The ASUS ROG PG258Q 240Hz is 24.5″ to be exact.

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