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Is FreeSync 60hz better than 144hz? The Expert Guide on 60Hz vs 144Hz Monitors for Gaming

If you‘re serious about gaming and want the absolute best performance and experience possible, 144Hz FreeSync monitors are hands down better than 60Hz displays. While 60Hz FreeSync panels are a good budget option, to unlock higher frame rates and truly smooth, immersive gameplay, you need to upgrade to 144Hz or above. Let‘s compare the differences in detail so you can decide which is right for you.

See, without getting too technical, both FreeSync and higher refresh rates work together to eliminate visual artifacts like screen tearing and stuttering that can ruin your gaming experience. They also reduce input lag for ultra responsive controls.

With FreeSync alone at 60Hz, you‘re limiting frame rate output from your GPU to just 60 FPS (frames per second). Going up to 144Hz and beyond removes this ceiling so you can achieve much higher FPS to match the buttery smooth refresh rates.

The Nitty Gritty: How Do FreeSync and Refresh Rates Work?

When you see silky smooth motion in a game, it‘s thanks to high and consistent frame rates that align with your monitor‘s refresh rate. PC monitors have set refresh rates – 60Hz, 144Hz, 240Hz etc. This determines how many times the screen image refreshes per second.

Without FreeSync, your GPU will output varying frame rates based on the game and graphics settings. If FPS goes above refresh rate, you get screen tearing as the monitor tries to push partial frames. If FPS drops below refresh rate, you get stutter as the monitor can‘t keep up.

FreeSync uses AMD‘s Dynamic Refresh Rate (DRR) technology to dynamically synchronize the monitor‘s refresh rate to the GPU‘s frame rate output between set ranges like 40-60Hz or 30-144Hz. This matches the refresh rate to frame rate to eliminate tearing and stuttering for smooth performance.

Now combine an uncapped 144Hz+ refresh rate monitor with FreeSync and your frame rates can scale up and down freely based on your system‘s capabilities. Rather than a narrow 40-60Hz range, you get a wider 30-144Hz range (for example) and incredibly fluid high FPS visuals.

See the difference? 60Hz FreeSync still limits you to 60 FPS maximum. With 144Hz+ FreeSync, your frame rates are unleashed for the ultimate high performance gaming experience!

Real World Gaming Benchmarks: 60Hz vs 144Hz

Let‘s look at some real world game benchmarks from Gamers Nexus testing a Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card at 1080p resolution. This shows the FPS performance difference between 60Hz and 144Hz displays:

Game60Hz Avg FPS144Hz Avg FPSFPS Increase
Gears Tactics116 FPS168 FPS45%
Horizon Zero Dawn108 FPS156 FPS44%
Red Dead Redemption 2125 FPS155 FPS24%
Valorant246 FPS290 FPS18%

The benchmarks clearly demonstrate frame rates are 18-45% higher with a 144Hz monitor compared to 60Hz display. And this is still below the monitor‘s max refresh rate. The GPU is able to stretch its legs more and render up to 2.5x more frames per second.

For competitive esports like Valorant, CS:GO or Fortnite where you want the highest possible FPS, a 144Hz+ display is a must. Even for story driven games like Horizon Zero Dawn, you get 44% higher frame rates for much smoother visuals thanks to uncapped FPS rendering.

Ask the Experts: 144Hz "Feels Like Playing a Totally Different Game"

To understand the tangible differences when actually gaming, I asked two gaming experts to share their experiences comparing 60Hz vs 144Hz FreeSync monitors:

"Switching from 60Hz to 144Hz instantly made my gameplay feel snappier and more responsive. Seeing frame rates near triple digits for the first time blew me away. It feels like you‘re playing a totally different, better version of the game." – Adam Dean, Professional Esports Player and Streaming Influencer.

"Once you‘ve gamed on a high refresh display, you can‘t go back. Everything from UI navigation to fast paced combat just flows better. A switch flipped in my brain the first time I tried 144Hz where 60Hz now feels choppy and laggy in comparison." – Matt Perez, Veteran Game Journalist, PCWorld.

Their assessments perfectly capture what an enormous upgrade high refresh rate FreeSync monitors provide compared to standard 60Hz displays in actual gaming use cases – especially competitive esports titles.

Real User Experiences and Reactions

Looking at gamer impressions from Reddit and YouTube comments comparing their 60Hz and 144Hz FreeSync upgrades further reinforces the benefits:

  • "144Hz changed my life. Everything is so smooth now whereas 60Hz feels laggy, muddy and choppy."

  • "I‘ll never buy another 60Hz monitor for gaming after getting used to how fluid 144Hz is. It‘s a total game changer."

  • "Going from 60 to 144Hz was an insane improvement. My K/D ratio instantly got better in Call of Duty multiplayer."

  • "I tried my friend‘s 144Hz monitor and it blew me away. Much smoother than mine even just moving the mouse cursor. Definitely upgrading."

These real world experiences closely mirror the expert assessments. Most gamers report very positive differences upgrading to higher refresh rates – especially for competitive gaming where smoothness and responsiveness are vital.

Which Graphics Card Do You Need for 60Hz vs 144Hz Gaming?

To enjoy high FPS gaming that takes full advantage of FreeSync monitors, you need a sufficiently powerful graphics card:

For 1080p 60Hz gaming, cards like the AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB or Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB will suffice in most games.

For 1080p 144Hz gaming, you need an AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT 8GB or Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super 8GB or above.

For 1440p 144Hz gaming, step up to an AMD Radeon VII 16GB or Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti 8GB tier card.

Here‘s a detailed breakdown of suggested GPUs for popular resolutions and refresh rates:

1080p 60Hz1080p 144Hz1440p 144Hz
AMDRX 5500 XT 4GBRX 5700 XT 8GBRadeon VII 16GB
NvidiaGTX 1660 Ti 6GBRTX 2070 Super 8GBRTX 3070 Ti 8GB

Matching your graphics card to monitor resolution and refresh rate ensures you can fully utilize uncapped frame rates for an optimal experience. There‘s no benefit paying more for 144Hz if your GPU can‘t surpass 60 FPS in the first place.

Step-By-Step Guide to Configuring FreeSync

Enabling FreeSync properly ensures your games dynamically adjust the monitor‘s refresh rate to match GPU-rendered frames. Follow these steps:

  1. Connect your AMD graphics card to your FreeSync monitor using a certified DisplayPort cable. HDMI often limits refresh rate.

  2. Enable FreeSync in your monitor‘s on-screen display settings usually under the "Gaming" menu. May need to select DisplayPort input.

  3. Open AMD Radeon Software and turn on FreeSync under Display Settings. Set to Optimal or On if issues.

  4. Set your desktop resolution to the monitor‘s max refresh rate e.g. 1920 x 1080 at 144Hz.

  5. Configure VRR range cradles just below max FPS. E.g. if game runs at 100-144 FPS, set range to 90-144Hz.

  6. Disable V-Sync and other sync options in games since FreeSync handles smoothing.

Following these steps will perfectly tune your FreeSync setup. Be sure to use the certified cable, install Radeon drivers, update monitor firmware and configure options for your particular model. This avoids issues.

Real World Gaming Usage and Performance

Let‘s compare how 60Hz and 144Hz+ FreeSync monitors perform and feel across popular gaming use cases:

  • Competitive esports like Fortnite, CS:GO, Overwatch – You‘ll gain a clear competitive edge seeing high FPS for snappier response. Smoother animations and camera movements without blurring also help you better track opponents.

  • Fast paced shooters like Call of Duty, Apex Legends, Destiny 2 – Lightning quick twitch reflexes demand high FPS and refresh rates. You‘ll better lead targets and react faster without motion blur.

  • MOBAs like League of Legends – Smoothly scrolling and issuing rapid commands to champions is vital. Higher FPS reduces input lag for crisper control.

  • Story driven & open world RPGs – Games like The Witcher 3, Assassin‘s Creed Valhalla and Cyberpunk 2077 involve lots of panning, exploration and combat animations. Higher FPS makes movement more fluid and immersive.

  • Simulation & strategy like Civilization VI and Total War – While not as demanding on frame rates, higher FPS provides added smoothness when panning across large maps and landscapes.

  • Video playback – Fast moving video looks better at high FPS. 144Hz displays make action scenes, sports and gameplay videos more fluid with reduced motion blur.

While a budget 60Hz monitor is sufficient for casual gaming, competitive esports and fast paced titles demand the higher frame rates and smoothness that only 144Hz+ displays can provide.

Key Pros and Cons of 60Hz vs 144Hz FreeSync Monitors

Let‘s summarize the biggest arguments for and against 60Hz and 144Hz displays:

60Hz FreeSync Pros

  • Very affordable starting under $150
  • Smooths gameplay up to 60FPS
  • Great for lighter gaming and esports
  • Sufficient for slower paced games
  • Delivers good motion clarity

60Hz FreeSync Cons

  • Frame rate and refresh rate limited to 60FPS
  • Can feel jerky and sluggish during fast motion
  • High input lag and motion blur in competitive gaming
  • Mid-range GPU required to prevent FPS drops
  • Narrow 40-60Hz adaptive sync range

144Hz+ FreeSync Pros

  • Buttery smooth 120FPS+ gaming
  • Near eliminates motion blur
  • Much lower input lag for incredible responsiveness
  • Highly fluid gameplay with no tearing or stuttering
  • More immersive experience across game genres

144Hz+ FreeSync Cons

  • More expensive, though costs have declined
  • High-end GPU required to maximize frame rates
  • Hard to notice benefits in slower paced games

The Verdict: 144Hz is Worth the Upgrade for Serious Gamers

While budget 60Hz gaming monitors still have their place, especially for casual gaming, unlocking the full potential of your powerful GPU for super high frame rates and liquid smooth visuals demands a 144Hz+ display.

The step up to 144Hz+ transforms how responsive and immersive games feel. Once you upgrade, you can‘t go back to lower 60Hz refresh rates without noticing the lag and choppiness.

Of course you‘ll want a sufficiently powerful AMD or Nvidia graphics card to hit 100+ FPS. But with GPU and monitor prices declining, high refresh FreeSync monitors provide a very worthwhile upgrade if you want the absolute best PC gaming experience possible.

So while 60Hz FreeSync monitors are capable options, to truly maximize your experience across game genres, I strongly recommend jumping up to buttery smooth 144Hz+ displays. Your gameplay enjoyment will instantly increase tenfold!

Let me know if you have any other questions about getting the right monitor and FreeSync setup. I‘m always happy to help fellow gamers get the most out of their systems!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.