144hz vs 165hz: What Every Gamer Should Know About

If you are in the market for a new monitor, you have probably encountered a wide range of offers based on refresh rates, from as low as 60Hz to a whopping 360Hz. While 60Hz monitors will suffice for regular computer use and work, it is not adequate for gamers. Hence, when it comes to high refresh rate options for gaming, the most debated topic is which is better – 144Hz monitor or 165Hz monitor?

The Short Answer is – “When it comes to 144Hz vs 165Hz, the key difference between 144Hz and 165Hz is the 21Hz increase in refresh rate. In addition, 165Hz enables you to play at a maximum of 165 FPS, but 144Hz maxes out at 144FPS. However, 165Hz monitors are more expensive than 144Hz monitors.”

While that sums up the differences between 144Hz and 165Hz, there are other factors to consider as well. Hence, in this article, we will talk all about 144Hz vs 165Hz and what you can expect from the two refresh rates. But before that, let’s “refresh” our memories on some basic concepts of monitors. Yes, pun intended!

What Is Refresh Rate?

A monitor’s refresh rate refers to the number of times it can refresh its display or renew the displayed image every second. It is measured in Hertz or Hz. For example, if a monitor has a 165Hz refresh rate, it can redraw the screen 165 times per second.

Many people mistake the refresh rate for FPS, but they are not the same. FPS, or Frames Per Second, is the number of frames your GPU can render per second. It is ideal to match your monitor’s refresh rate with your GPU’s average FPS, so that you can use both at their full potential. The higher the FPS and refresh rate, the better graphics and game performance you can expect.

For example, if your GPU can render 120+ FPS, but you use a 60Hz monitor, you cannot enjoy more than 60 FPS. Similarly, if you use a 144Hz monitor but your GPU can render a max of 60 FPS, again, you cannot exceed 60 FPS during gameplay. 

Refresh Rate

The Differences Between 144Hz and 165Hz

As we have mentioned before, 165Hz monitors offer an extra 21 Hz refresh rate compared to 144Hz monitors. But can you tell the difference between 144Hz and 165Hz? Well, that depends on other hardware specs of your system, the games you play, and your visual sensitivity. In most cases, however, the difference is not significantly noticeable, especially if you do not play at high frame rates.

That said, the differences between 144 and 165Hz also lie in the associated costs and the maximum FPS and display quality they offer. Below, we have explained these factors.

Factors144Hz165Hz
Maximum FPS144 FPS165 FPS
Time taken to display a frame6.94 ms6.06 ms
CostComparatively lowerComparatively higher

Maximum Frames Per Second

A 144Hz monitor offers a maximum of 144 FPS and a 165Hz monitor offers a maximum of 165 FPS. As the latter offer more FPS, it offers a competitive advantage to gamers. 

A 165Hz monitor will display smoother frame transitions and, as a result, provide a better visual experience in games. Moreover, if you play fast-paced competitive games, you will gain an advantage over your opponents as you will have a better sense of movements and actions on a 165Hz monitor. However, this change in FPS may not always be noticeable. If you are more of a casual gamer, you will have no additional benefit if you switch from a 144Hz monitor to a 165Hz one. 

When it comes to the amount of time taken to display a frame, 165Hz is faster. A 144Hz monitor takes 6.94 milliseconds to display a frame, whereas a 165Hz monitor takes around 6.06 milliseconds. As you can see, although 165Hz takes less time, the difference is less than one millisecond, which is extremely hard to identify for most users. 

Therefore, the difference between 144Hz and 165Hz may be noticeable only when playing competitive or graphically demanding games at high FPS.

Image and Animation Quality

Both 165 and 144Hz offer impeccable visual quality. However, as higher refresh rates usually offer enhanced visuals, 165Hz monitors produce sharper images with more details and colors than 144Hz. Moreover, when playing games with high graphical presets, 165Hz can reduce motion blurring, tearing, and stutter much better than 144Hz does.

And as we have already discussed, 165Hz monitors display more fluid transitions between frames, giving you a crispier visual. Therefore, you will miss fewer frames on 165Hz monitors than on 144Hz monitors, which is a crucial factor to consider for competitive pro gamers. 

But is 165hz better than 144hz when it comes to image and animation quality? Well, that’s debatable. In most cases, the difference is not that noticeable. Furthermore, for most single-player RPGs, such as Skyrim and the Assassin’s Creed series, a 144 Hz monitor is more than good enough to enjoy decent graphics quality.

Image and Animation Quality

Cost 

The cost factor here is twofold. You have to consider both the monitor’s cost, as well as the cost of other hardware in your setup to enable the monitor to run at a high refresh rate.

144Hz and 165Hz, both refresh rates are comparatively higher than most conventional monitors on the market. In fact, such high refresh rates are mostly available on special gaming monitors. Therefore, both 144Hz and 165Hz monitors are more expensive than others. And it should come as no surprise that 165Hz monitors are more expensive than 144Hz monitors. Therefore, if you do not notice much difference between 144Hz and 165Hz on display, we recommend investing in a 144Hz monitor.

Now, as mentioned previously, your GPU needs to be capable of rendering enough frames per second so that you can enjoy the high refresh rates of your monitor. To run your games at a decent 1080p or 1440p resolution at 144Hz, you have to get a relatively high-end GPU, such as the RTX 2080. However, this GPU will not be enough for 165Hz. To run games at 165 FPS with 1440p resolution, you will need more powerful and expensive graphics cards like the RTX 3080 or AMD RX 6800 XT.

In addition, when it comes to the CPU, you will need at least an Intel Core i5-9400 or AMD Ryzen 5 2600x processor to enjoy 144 FPS at 144Hz. On the other hand, the minimum requirement for 165Hz is Intel Core i5-10600KF or AMD Ryzen 5 5600x. From this information, we can conclude that 165Hz requires more expensive processors.

As you can see, 165Hz is more expensive than 144Hz when you consider not only the monitors’ prices but also the additional hardware you will need to make it work. 

144hz vs 165hz: Which is the Best for Gaming?

So, is 165Hz better than 144Hz when it comes to gaming? Not necessarily. In fact, the majority of gamers find 144Hz to be satisfying enough to play even AAA titles like Fallout 4 or The Witcher 3. Moreover, 144Hz is enough for playing online multiplayer games that have lighter graphics. However, when you move your game camera, you may notice a slight delay in rendering.

On the other hand, such rendering of 3D environments is much faster and smoother at 165Hz. You can expect less blur or screen tearing at 165 Hz. This refresh rate is popular among avid and competitive gamers who play Counter-Strike or Call of Duty. Gamers using 165Hz monitors at 165 FPS enjoy the additional rendering speed and details in visuals that gamers with 144Hz monitors cannot. Moreover, single games with high spec requirements also run better at 165Hz.

144hz vs 165hz: Which is the Best for Gaming?

So, is 165Hz good for gaming? Absolutely. But 144Hz does not fall much behind. For most single-player games and competitive multiplayer games with light graphics, 144Hz will suffice. However, if you play fast-paced reflex-based competitive games as a pro gamer, switching to a 165Hz monitor will be better for your performance.

Is 165Hz Becoming More Popular Than 144Hz?

Not yet. 144Hz monitors are more affordable and suitable for most gamers. However, 165Hz is more popular among avid e-sports players as they prefer higher refresh rates and FPS for a competitive advantage. Except for that niche group, the difference between 144Hz and 165Hz doesn’t make a noticeable impact for most gamers and PC users. Therefore, 144Hz is still more popular than 165Hz.

However, it may not remain the same in the future. As manufacturers continuously work on improving refresh rates, even at levels like 360Hz and 480Hz, 144Hz will most likely become obsolete in the future. Furthermore, as the competitive gaming industry is gaining momentum now, 144Hz will eventually be replaced by higher refresh rates. 

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