4K resolution is gradually becoming the standard for televisions and monitors, primarily because the difference between 1080p and 4K is clearly noticeable. Additionally, as screens continue to grow in size, the days when 1080p guaranteed pixel-free visuals are long gone.
Regarding the refresh rate, 60 Hz is the conventional norm in the world of television. It was also a commonly encountered specification on smartphones. However, with smartphone users having experienced the smoother 120 Hz displays, there’s no turning back.
144 Hz has emerged as the industry norm for gaming monitors. Leading gaming smartphones also feature 144 Hz displays to entice gamers.
Both resolution and refresh rate significantly impact the user experience. It often involves a delicate balance between the two, prompting the question:
- What is the highest achievable refresh rate for a 4K panel?
- Does 4K at 240 Hz exist as a reality?
- Are there 4K monitors with at least 144 Hz?
In this article, you will find the answers. Keep reading to delve deeper into this topic.
Are there 4K monitors with 240 Hz?
No, there are currently no 4K monitors with a 240Hz refresh rate available. Likewise, there are no videos or games produced in 4K at 240 frames per second (fps).
The standard refresh rate for a 4K video is 60Hz, and achieving 4K at a 144Hz refresh rate is a rare accomplishment.
Why doesn’t 4K exist at 240 Hz?
It’s possible that monitor manufacturers believe the market for 4K at 240Hz displays isn’t ready yet, or the production costs may be too high for widespread adoption of compatible products.
Additionally, there are currently few GPUs (graphics processing units) that can power such configurations, and they tend to be both rare and expensive. Even spending more than $1,000 may not guarantee you a video card capable of supporting 4K at 240 Hz.
The lack of widespread use of interfaces like DisplayPort 2.0 or HDMI 2.1 in these devices is one factor contributing to the unavailability of powerful video cards. Similarly, monitors often do not come equipped with the latest HDMI and DisplayPort standard ports to support such high refresh rates.
Currently, GPUs do not have the necessary bandwidth to transmit 4K content at 240 Hz to connected monitors without the latest versions of the HDMI and DisplayPort standards.
However, it’s anticipated that in the future, both Nvidia and AMD, the top two video card manufacturers, will develop video cards capable of powering high-refresh-rate monitors. For example, AMD is expected to release an RDNA 3-powered Navi 31 video card with over 15,000 cores. Achieving such a high core count may involve a chiplet design or multi-chip module (MCM) physical structure.
Likewise, Nvidia may develop a GPU with a five-digit core configuration based on a 5nm process in the future. These advanced GPUs are not expected to be available until the end of 2022 or later.
Even when these powerful GPUs become available, they will require audio-video port interface standards that can transmit such high performance to external devices. The latest HDMI 2.1 standard, for instance, supports a maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz for 4K content. While it’s possible that HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 2.0 could eventually support 4K at 240Hz, official confirmation from the HDMI Forum is awaited.
Please note that 4K at 240Hz is not widely used currently, which might be why the HDMI Forum has not yet mentioned support for this configuration.
Is it possible to find 4K 144 Hz monitors?
Yes, 4K monitors with a 144Hz refresh rate do exist, although they are not as common as 1080p or 2K monitors with high refresh rates. Some examples of monitors with a 4K resolution and 144Hz refresh rate include:
If you’re willing to compromise on the refresh rate and go for 240 Hz, you may need to lower the video resolution slightly. There are 2K monitors with 240 Hz refresh rates available, although they are relatively rare. Examples include:
- Samsung 27
- ASUS ROG Swift 27
- BenQ Zowie XL2546K 24.5
- Alienware 24.5
- AOC C27G2Z 27
- Acer Nitro XZ270 27
If you can accept a 144Hz refresh rate, you’ll find a wider range of 2K monitor options available.
Prioritize Display Quality Over Peak Refresh Rates
The transition from 1080p to 4K brought a noticeable improvement in display quality, but the jump from 4K to 8K wasn’t as significant since larger screens are required to fully appreciate 8K resolution content.
Similarly, a 60 Hz refresh rate provides smoother visuals compared to 30 Hz. While many YouTube videos are recorded at 30 frames per second (fps), those shot at 60 fps offer a notably smoother viewing experience.
As mentioned earlier, the shift from a 60 Hz to a 120 Hz refresh rate significantly enhanced the performance of smartphone screens. However, going from 120 Hz to 144 Hz may not seem like a substantial improvement.
Refresh rates beyond 144 Hz, such as 240 Hz or 360 Hz, represent more significant leaps that have yet to become mainstream.
While high refresh rates have their merits, they can also be somewhat overemphasized. Factors like accurate color reproduction, wide viewing angles, high contrast ratios, and flicker-free backlights are essential for creating excellent displays, or the foundations of a high-quality screen.
Even a panel with a 75 Hz refresh rate and minimal response time can satisfy most users, but a display that distorts colors could lead to dissatisfaction.
Companies often prioritize promoting refresh rates and video resolutions over color accuracy and contrast ratios because terms like “240 Hz” and “360 Hz” are more marketable than “color accuracy.”
Therefore, don’t be disheartened by the absence of 4K monitors with 240Hz refresh rates. Your 1080p monitor with a native 120 Hz refresh rate is more than sufficient and will remain so for several years.
What truly matters is the quality of the display panel. It’s safe to say that refresh rates as high as 240 Hz or 360 Hz are not necessary for most users.
Should You Prioritize Video Resolution or Refresh Rate?
As previously mentioned, achieving a 240Hz refresh rate is possible if you lower the resolution below 4K, such as opting for 1080p at 240Hz. If you desire a resolution higher than Full HD, you may need to compromise on refresh rate, settling for 2K at 144Hz.
Therefore, should you favor one criteria over the other, and how much should you let go of each?
While GPUs and digital AV interfaces have made 240 Hz and even 360 Hz refresh rates a reality, 60 Hz remains the standard. For gamers, 144 Hz is generally considered an ideal choice.
If you’re not a gamer, you don’t necessarily need 240 Hz or even 144 Hz. A 4K monitor at 60 Hz should be more than sufficient for productivity tasks or media consumption.
Since 4K monitors are positioned in the upper echelons, they typically offer superior color accuracy and detail. This becomes particularly important for activities like photo or video editing and movie watching.
While 4K represents a significant leap from 1080p, 2K resolution (also known as 1440p) still provides an excellent balance for gamers. In other words, a 2K monitor at 144Hz strikes a good compromise.
If you’re on a budget, a 1080p panel with a native 144Hz refresh rate can still provide a solid gaming experience compared to a 4K monitor at 60Hz.
If you’re inclined to prioritize refresh rate, even achieving 360 Hz at 1080p is possible, though monitor options in this category are somewhat limited. Here are some recommendations:
- ASUS ROG Swift 360Hz PG259QN 24.5” Full HD Gaming Monitor
- MSI Oculux NXG253R Full HD 360Hz Gaming Monitor
If you’re willing to compromise slightly on refresh rate while still aiming for something greater than 240Hz, consider the Acer Predator XB253Q 24.5” 280Hz Full HD Gaming Monitor.
Can you overclock your monitor’s refresh rate?
You can overclock your monitor’s refresh rate, for example, by pushing 60 Hz to run at 75 Hz.
While this increase may seem modest on paper, it can lead to significantly more responsive and smoother gaming performance. Competitive shooter titles, in particular, benefit from the higher frames per second.
The ability to overclock the refresh rate depends on the type of display (IPS, TN, etc.) and the screen’s native resolution.
How Can Refresh Rate Be Overclocked?
You have the option to change a monitor’s refresh rate either by using the CRU (Custom Resolution Utility) or by accessing the GPU’s control panel. The CRU is a set of web-based tools created specifically for this purpose.
To adjust the refresh rate within the GPU’s control panel, follow these instructions:
- Right-click on your desktop and select the video card’s control panel option.
- Look for the “refresh rate” option and set it to 60 Hz if that’s your monitor’s default setting.
- Change it to 75 Hz and click the “test” button; the screen may briefly turn black and then resume normal display.
- If everything looks fine, click “OK” to confirm the changes. If it doesn’t work, try lowering the resolution slightly and test again.
If this doesn’t succeed, consider reducing the resolution slightly and retesting. You might be able to achieve a higher refresh rate by lowering the video resolution a notch.
Using Custom Resolution Utility (CRU):
To overclock the refresh rate using CRU, follow these steps:
- Download the zipped application and extract it.
- Open the downloaded folder and run the CRU application to explore the officially supported refresh rates.
- Click on “Add” in the “Detailed resolutions” box to add your desired video resolution and refresh rate combination. Once completed, click “OK” to apply the changes and restart your device.
- The screen may go black for a few seconds and then reappear with the chosen resolution and refresh rate. If it doesn’t and returns to the previous settings, you may have pushed it too far. Try lowering it to 70 or even 65 Hz.
Here’s the next phase of the process:
- After confirming that your chosen refresh rate works and you’ve restarted the device, go to “Display Settings” and choose “Advanced Display Settings.”
- Under the “Monitor” tab, your custom-set refresh rate will appear in the drop-down menu.
- Select your custom refresh rate and click “OK.”
It’s essential to note that there is a limit to how much you can overclock your monitor’s refresh rate. For instance, you can push a native 144Hz display up to around 165Hz, but overclocking it to 240Hz is not feasible.
Additionally, there is some debate about whether overclocking the refresh rate could potentially harm the monitor over time. If you choose to overclock, it’s advisable to do so under the guidance of an expert or with caution.
Can I run 4K at 240 Hz?
Running 4K at 240 Hz is not possible. Even achieving 240 Hz on many 2K monitors is a rare occurrence. Attempting to push displays to 240 Hz through overclocking, if feasible, may not only be excessive but could also potentially harm the monitor or place undue strain on it.
4K monitors with a 240Hz refresh rate are not currently available. While they may become a reality in the future, it’s unlikely to happen in the next year or two.
However, this isn’t necessarily bad news. The situation is similar to the concept of diminishing returns, where the gains in performance diminish as refresh rates increase.
If you prioritize refresh rate and own a 4K monitor with a native 60 Hz refresh rate, you can overclock the vertical scan rate and potentially reduce the video resolution to 2K. While dropping from native 4K to 1080p isn’t recommended for work or gaming, it may be worthwhile for certain first-person shooter titles.
Ultimately, the quality of your display panel matters more than chasing extremely high refresh rates, and for most users, a 60 Hz or 144 Hz monitor at a suitable resolution will provide an excellent experience.