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Why Does 60 FPS Look Bad on My 144Hz Monitor?

As an owner of a 144Hz monitor, I found myself frustrated when trying to get the most out of my gaming experience. I found that no matter what I did, I could never get the smooth, clear visuals I wanted. After doing some research and testing, I realized that the issue was that my computer was only outputting 60 frames per second (FPS) instead of the desired 144 FPS. In this blog post, I’ll explain why 60 FPS looks bad on your 144Hz monitor and I’ll also share some of the solutions I discovered that have helped me get the most out of my gaming experience.

144Hz monitors have a very high refresh rate. So, if your game’s frame rate can’t match the monitor’s speed, the image might turn out a bit choppy. This mainly happens because you don’t have adaptive sync on or the game’s FPS rate varies significantly.

60 FPS looks bad on 144Hz monitor1. Perceived smoothness difference
2. Adaptive sync is off
3. Outdated graphics card driver
4. Varying frame rate in games
1. No direct solution, as it’s a perception issue
2. Turn on adaptive sync in monitor settings
3. Update graphics card driver
4. Enable V-Sync in-game options

Does 60FPS on 144Hz Monitors Look Different?

FPS stands for “Frames Per Second”, which describes the number of frames that your GPU is capable of processing in one second. 

Since your graphics card and processor are the main hardware parts responsible for your FPS, 60 frames per second are inherently the same whether you’re playing on a 144Hz monitor, 60Hz monitor, or even 320 Hz monitor.

With that being said, the smoothness of video output is not only dependent on the frame rate of your GPU, but also on the monitor that displays it. 

When there’s a great mismatch between the refresh rate of a monitor and the frame rate of a GPU, effects like judder and chopping will start to show up.

Why Does 60FPS Look Bad on My 144Hz Monitor?

Now that you understand how a 60FPS would be the same on any monitor but will look different with various refresh rates, here are some aspects that can explain why this happens:

1. Perceived Smoothness

Let’s start with one of the simplest explanations for this phenomenon. Remember back in the day when all games were capped at 30 FPS?

Back then, most gamers didn’t feel that the image was choppy or laggy because that was the maximum level of smoothness our eyes have seen while playing.

However, as soon as 60 FPS and higher became the norm, 30 FPS gaming became simply unbearable to any of us!

Well, a similar thing happened when we moved from older 60 Hz screens to modern ones with higher refresh rates. 

The perceived smoothness of gaming at very high frame counts on 144 Hz monitors made 60 FPS look obsolete and laggy.

2. You Don’t Have Adaptive Sync On

Traditional monitors used to refresh their images at a constant rate, in that case, 144 times every second. However, when the GPU processes images at a noticeably different rate, problems start to happen. 

Higher frame rates with limited refresh rates lead to choppy images because the monitor can’t keep up with the changes. But in the case of 60 FPS and 144 Hz monitors, it’s quite the opposite.

Since the image refreshes much faster than no frames are processed, you might notice a bit of lagging, especially with high speed motion, and that’s where adaptive sync comes in handy!

Modern monitors come with advanced synchronization technology that allows the monitor to adjust its refresh rate in order to match the frame rate of the game. This offers much smoother gameplay, especially at relatively lower frame rates of 60 to 75 FPS.

If your monitor doesn’t have adaptive sync or you’ve turned it off from the monitor’s settings, 60 FPS would feel laggy.

3. You Need to Update Your Graphics Card Driver

In some cases, you might have your adaptive sync on but your GPU can’t communicate properly with your monitor. This happens if you have an outdated or unstable GPU driver version. 

Luckily, you can easily solve this problem by visiting the official driver website for your GPU provider and installing the latest version, whether you have an NVIDIA or AMD graphics card.

4. The Frame Rate Varies a Lot

As previously established, a 144Hz monitor can feel a bit laggy if the frame rate of the game isn’t high enough. 

However, even if your eyes adapt to the lower frame rate, it will only take a few moments of high frame rate gameplay to notice the difference again

This can happen while playing a game where the FPS count varies significantly from one spot to another.

Final Thoughts

This wraps up our guide about the laggy effect of 144Hz monitors when playing on 60 FPS. As you can see, this effect mainly happens due to the mismatched rates between the screen refresh rate and GPU’s frame rate output.

A good solution to this problem is to turn on adaptive sync on your monitor, which adjusts the monitor’s refresh rate to match the GPU’s frame rate. If your screen doesn’t have an adaptive sync, your next best option is to turn on V-Sync in the game options.