Understanding Monitor Response Times

So, you’re in the market to buy a new screen for your PC, a second screen for the laptop or a better gaming screen. Last week we went over the refresh rates and what Hz means. For those who didn’t see the article, the Hz reading on displays refers to the number of times the screen refreshes in a second. For example, 60Hz screen refreshes 60 times per second, 144Hz refresh 144 times per second, and so on.

Now, we address the second biggest deciding factor when it comes to buying a new display. Of course, we’re talking about the response times. How long does it take your screen to display and react to the information sent to it? Is 5ms too slow or do you have to choose the 1ms filter and pay more?

Well, as with the refresh rate, there’s a lot to consider, but the fastest doesn’t always provide the best benefits. Some of the screens don’t even have a refresh rate fast enough to keep up with the response time. Sure, faster is better, but it’s certainly not a must. Keep in mind we’re talking about milliseconds and not seconds. One millisecond is a thousandth of a second. Therefore, if you buy the right screen for your needs, you won’t even need to worry about the response time.

Why Does Response Time Matter?

Response time is what determines how long it takes to get information to the display. However, keep in mind that the screen has to refresh to respond to the new information. So, if you have a lower refresh rate such as 60Hz, you won’t need a super-fast response time. The 60Hz screen appears utterly normal without any lag when the response time is below 16.67ms. So, whether you buy a 60Hz display with an 8ms response time or with a 1ms, chances are you won’t see any difference.

When you buy a screen with a faster refresh rate, it’s important to remember that it displayed new information faster as well. So, if you double to 120Hz, you need to understand that information now appears in hand the time. Therefore, you need a response time of below 8.33ms to see no lag. Of course, here it begins to make sense to choose the 4ms and 5ms screens when choosing the 144Hz monitors.

Finally, when you select a 240Hz screen, the information appears in half the time of the 120Hz display. Therefore, you need a response time of around 4.16ms or less. Here it would make sense to put in the extra cash and get the 2ms and 1ms displays. Before you go out and buy a screen based on Hz and response times, ensure that your computer can provide the frame rate you need. It’s pointless purchasing a display with all the features if your PC can’t afford the graphics you desire.