As gamers, we are constantly told about 4K or even 8K gaming. Still, in reality, the frame rate is far more important to have the best gaming experience possible, especially in multiplayer games like first-person shooters, where every frame matters. Is 120 FPS enough for gaming, or should you opt for a higher frame rate?
120 FPS is good enough for gaming, it is a huge plus in competitive games where a split-second action can make all the difference. The higher the refresh rate, the less input lag you have, and running games at a higher frame rate makes everything look smooth, with games looking cleaner overall.
60fps was considered the standard for a smooth gaming experience. Over the past few years, the increased availability of powerful graphics cards and the lower price point of gaming monitors with higher frame rates and better-optimized games have made achieving 120 frames per second constantly so much easier.
Let’s discuss why 120 FPS is the gold standard for a smooth gaming experience.
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Is 120 FPS the Best FPS for Gaming?
As a general rule 60FPS is the ideal frame rate for most people, but 120FPS has double the image shown per second than 60FPS resulting in a much more fluid and enjoyable experience than 60FPS. If you have the budget always go for the highest frame rate possible.
The difference between 24fps and 60fps is arguably the most noticeable, followed by the difference between 60 fps and 120fps.
Past this point is where the diminishing returns in smoothness start to kick in. This is also where higher frame rates become more of a personal preference and whether you can afford a gaming monitor and a graphics card that can go past 120fps consistently, to see if an RTX card is worth it please see our article.
120fps is the best fps for gaming, but only because it’s the most achievable without breaking the bank. many consider higher frame rates to only be necessary for competitive gaming, particularly for professional gamers who play first-person shooters (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Valorant) and multiplayer online battle arenas (Dota 2 and League of Legends).
For most people, 120fps is the best fps for gaming with frame rates beyond not making a huge difference.
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Does 120FPS make a difference?
As a whole, 120fps does make a difference. The higher the frame rates, the lower the in-game latency which reduces screen tearing and monitor ghosting, which results in a far more fluid and enjoyable gaming experience
One of the most pervasive myths surrounding fps is that the human eye can only perceive 60 frames per second. This is not true. In fact, numerous studies have proven that the human eye is much more advanced and can still perceive 75 frames per second quite comfortably.
In addition to this, in testing pilots for visual response time, the United States Air Force, used a simple test that showed that pilots could still identify a plane flashed on a screen in a dark room only for 1/220th of a second. This meant that the pilots could still perceive and identify at 220fps.
In terms of gaming, Nvidia conducted a study in 2019 that resulted in what’s irrefutable proof that higher frame rates make a difference. By plotting a player’s average FPS vs. their Kill/Death (K/D) ratios, Nvidia found out that there was a correlation between a gamer’s average FPS and their in-game performance.
According to the chart, players at 120 fps had a K/D ratio that was at least 59% better compared to players at 60 fps.
Of course, one could argue that one reason why players at higher fps performed better was because they spent more time playing. These players were willing to spend more money on monitors with higher refresh rates and more powerful graphics cards meant that they were much more invested than the average gamer. But you’ll probably have a better shot at making a case for minimal improvements past 120fps.
Increased FPS isn’t purely for multiplayer performance. I’ve noticed with the God Of War patch on my PS5, that the difference between an unlocked smooth FPS compared to the former 30FPS is night and day; with 120FPS, there are double the frames as 60FPS making the gameplay even smoother.
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Is 120hz the same as 120FPS?
120hz is not the same as 120fps. Hz or Hertz is defined as one cycle per second and refers to the rate at which a display redraws or refreshes images. Meanwhile, fps, or frames per second, indicate how many video frames can be seen in each second of a particular video or stream.
So, at 120Hz, the monitor redraws images at a rate of 120 cycles per second. On the other hand, at 120fps, there are 120 video frames per second of the video you’re watching or the game you are playing.
you must pay close attention to these two. If you want to play video games at 120fps, you’ll need to have a gaming display that’s capable of a high refresh rate of at least 120Hz as well as a set-up that can keep up. Otherwise, the fps might not match up with the monitor’s refresh rate, which results in what most refer to as screen tearing.
Of course, this isn’t as big of an issue these days due to numerous factors. For one, software developers and game engines have found ways to minimize screen tearing in games. In addition to this, screen tearing isn’t as noticeable at high refresh rates because the screen refreshes so fast.
Lastly, technologies such as Nvidia’s G-Sync and AMD’s FreeSync are both aimed at reducing the effects of the discrepancy between a display’s refresh rate and a game’s frame rate. For the best gaming experience get yourself an Nvidia G-Sync for a bargain on Amazon here.
Should You Game at 120FPS?
In total gaming at 120 FPS has a huge impact on gameplay and in competitive games and online play you will get an excellent gaming experience. 120fps displays far smoother animations and movement than 60FPS and it’s four times as smooth as 30FPS.
So, if you can game at 120fps, you should. It’s not necessarily the best FPS for gaming. That is more of a matter of preference and skill level. But, for most people, 120fps is more than enough. Any higher and the only tangible real-life benefit from playing games at higher fps is only evident and useful if you are a professional gamer.