FPS and HZ may seem the same, but knowing how to tell them apart can be crucial for gamers. Following this short guide, you’ll learn all the essential information about these two parameters.

Smooth visuals are vital for all gamers, as any stutters or unresponsive gameplay can result in a drastic loss or lack of overall satisfaction. FPS (frames per second) and Hz (Refresh Rate) provide the best possible fluidity but in different ways.

How? And why should we even understand how they work? If you’re asking yourself these questions, check out the information below explaining whether FPS and Hz are the same thing.

Refresh Value

Hz (hertz, units of frequency, refresh value) indicates the frequency with which something happens in one second. In video games, it is responsible for the screen scan rate, which means how many times the display can update the image per second.

This specific value depends on your hardware and is unchangeable after purchase, so remember that the standard and acceptable screen rate is now 60 Hz.

However, gamers who prefer the smoothest possible image may consider purchasing monitors with higher Hz, up to 360 Hz, 165 Hz, or 144 Hz. For comparison, common devices like TVs offer 60 Hz to 120 Hz, smartphones between 60 Hz and 240 Hz, and Nintendo Switch no more than 60 Hz.

As you already know, the higher the scan rate, the better the motion quality. But there is a catch – your screen can’t refresh images at a higher frequency if the running program does not require it, and that factor depends on FPS (frames per second).

For example, YouTube videos support up to 60 FPS. A 60 Hz display can refresh this value per second, providing a perfectly smooth image. Netflix movies use between 23 and 60 FPS. But if you’re playing a game like Counter-Strike 2, you’ll need a much higher scan rate, ranging between 60 Hz and up.

If you’re asking yourself what rate you need, the answer is – it depends. The dissimilarity between 60 Hz and 120 Hz is not very noticeable. If you are not a gamer or play strategy or indie games, 60 Hz is ideal. If you work with animations or play fast-paced and recent AAA titles, a display with a higher rate may be necessary for a better visual experience.

The highest Hz values are crucial in competitive gaming, but in this job, every millisecond matters. If you are curious about the scan rate of your current screen, go to Settings -> Display -> Advanced Display -> Choose a Refresh Rate. From here, you can also lower this value to your preferred level.

Frames Per Second

FPS is the number of frames the graphics card can generate on the screen at the processor’s request. Like refresh value, FPS determines how smooth visuals you can enjoy while playing the game.

Their job is to deliver the most realistic motion possible – but values above 120 frames per second are rather subtle to distinguish. Experienced gamers may detect the dissimilarity due to the human eye only being able to see a range between 30-60 FPS.

Hz vs. FPS

So, do FPS and Hz values depend on each other at all? Yes! If your display has a high scan rate and your graphics card generates low FPS, the screen will not perform to its full potential. If the display has a low scan rate and the graphics card generates a high FPS number, it will limit the smoothness to its Hz maximum.

The second example is called bottleneck and can result in a problem known as screen tearing. It means the monitor cannot keep up with displaying the frames generated by the graphics card.

It is where sync technologies come to the rescue. V-Sync matches the number of generated frames to the screen frequency (input lag).

G-Sync (requiring an Nvidia graphics card) makes the display adapt to the number of frames generated by the graphics card. Lastly, FreeSync does the same as G-Sync, being compatible with AMD cards, some Nvidia graphics, and Xbox Series X/S consoles.

In an ideal scenario, your FPS should always match the refresh value, but this may depend on the game you plan to play. To increase the FPS level, you can lower the game’s graphics settings to trade some image quality for smoothness. In the case of a scan rate, you can always reduce this value in your computer settings, but an increase is impossible.

The average smartphone or computer user may not see the difference between FPS and Hz rates. But gamers are a whole different story, as many can notice subtle improvements in smoothness, even between 120 Hz and 240 Hz.


The difference between frames per second and refresh value boils down to two fundamental rules. First – select a screen with a higher Hz if you work with animations or play games and want the smoothest image. If not, 60 Hz will be just fine. Second – always try to match the FPS number to Hz. So, if you have a 120 Hz display, it will run the game perfectly at 120 FPS.

Also, you can always lower the Hz level and increase the FPS rate to balance the visual experience and avoid hitting the highest values every time. Many video games, software, and movies do not require very high results, as only experienced human eyes can notice the difference.