If you’re new to the gaming world, you might be confused with all terminology and not sure if you’re gaming at an optimal FPS. Well, you’ll be pleased to learn that this isn’t a very hard topic to grasp and that we’re going to explain everything in this guide.
First, let’s get our heads around what FPS actually is. This is an acronym that stands for Frames Per Second and is a measurement of how many images can be displayed in a single second. You should not confuse the Frames Per Second measurement with First Person Shooter which is a video game genre with the same acronym.
So, how important is FPS in gaming?
There are memes going back a decade regarding how many frames can human eye actually see where console players (then locked at 30 FPS) claimed that that is pretty much the limit of a human eye. The truth is somewhere in between. We can see only 10-12 frames in a second and properly distinguish them while everything is considered motion.
Still, there is a noticeable difference between, say 15 FPS, and 60 FPS, or even more jarringly, 120 FPS. The video below will give you a good look at how things look at these frame rates. In fact, the choppy 15 FPS will give the jumping ball the appearance of lagging behind other balls but they are all actually hitting the edges of the screen at the same time.
At this point you might be thinking that 120 FPS is the best frame rate for gaming and while you certainly won’t have a horrible experience playing at 120 FPS, you should still be aware of other things.
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Optimal Gaming FPS Depends On What You Want To Get Out Of It
For the longest period of time, gaming at 30 FPS was more than enough for anybody. But, as technology advances, we, as gamers, sought to get the most of it. And soon after, 60 FPS became a new standard. Then 120 showed up to the scene, followed closely by 240 FPS.
All this might make you think that the bigger is better and while you’re certainly have a smoother experience, that doesn’t necessarily means that it will be the best option for you.
Let’s break things down further.
The old standard of 30 FPS is still enough to have a game playable. Anything below that can often be unstable and most people will find it hard to enjoy their games at a lower frame rate. Although in modern cinematography and in animation the standard is 24 FPS, that is an experience that doesn’t involve human participation and thus our eyes are more relaxed and able to enjoy the movie at that frame rate.
The new standard of 60 FPS took a bit longer to get here for console gamers as only the newest console generation of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X have enabled native 60 FPS. The PC gamers however, are more than used to this frame rate having played their games at 60 FPS for over a decade.
For most people, 60 FPS is the best frame rate to play. The reason for this isn’t just the smoothness of the images displayed, but also that the 60Hz monitors are the most readily available ones. Furthermore, to get a GPU that can display things at 60 FPS is pretty easy nowadays as most GPUs won’t have a problem getting there, even on the modern games.
At 120 FPS, things look a bit differently. Of course, the picture is smoother than at 60 FPS, but most gamers still consider gaming at 120 FPS to be a little too much. Without trying to sound repetitive, many have a lot a harder time seeing the difference between 120 and 60 FPS which makes the case for wanting to game at 120 FPS a little harder.
As mentioned earlier, gaming at 120 FPS requires more expensive hardware, especially if you’re looking to run a graphical juggernaut like Control at that frame rate. First, you will need a really powerful GPU but depending on the game you’re playing, you might get away with something slightly cheaper. Then, you will have to find a monitor that supports not only 120 Hz, but also the one that can support a vertical synchronization technology that’s in line with your GPU.
If you’re looking to game with Nvidia’s cards, you might run into a slight cost increase due to its G-Sync technology needing a special license for the monitor manufacturer. For AMD, things are a little cheaper with its FreeSync tech, but then you run into a conundrum of Nvidia’s cards being better cards overall.
Naturally, if you’re willing to fork out as much cash as necessary to have the 120 FPS experience, you should go for it, but we still have to give you the biggest drawback to 120 FPS gaming. The truth is that the eye test can’t provide the wanted results of a price increase and that the only place you might notice it is when you’re playing an online game reliant on high FPS.
We’re primarily talking about shooter games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. In a game like that you will have a factual advantage over the opponent who plays at a lower frame rate as you’ll be able to notice them sooner. Still, we’re talking about milliseconds here which probably isn’t what most casual gamers would be able to take advantage of.
Competitive gamers on the other hand will be able to have a much better experience at 120 FPS, but the most elite eSports competitors will go even further, to 240 FPS or even 360 FPS. Those frame rates aren’t a standard yet, but will become in the years to come.
Below is a video showing the exact difference between these frame rates which will hopefully help you visualize the information we just gave you.