The "refresh rate" for computer monitors refers to the speed at which the display refreshes the picture. This is measured in "Hertz," or "Hz" for short. For example, a standard flat-screen monitor has a 60Hz refresh rate, meaning that it can change the image 60 times per second.
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A 120Hz monitor can, theoretically, refresh the image on the monitor twice as fast as a monitor with a 60Hz refresh rate. Because a 120Hz monitor can refresh the image faster, this theoretically means that a movie or video game will run smoother. This, however, also depends very much on the quality and type of media that you are using and, in the case of video games, the graphics card.
In many cases, higher numbers are just a marketing ploy. Many consumers automatically assume that a 120Hz monitor will give them a better user experience than a 60Hz monitor. Because of this, manufacturers often bump the prices up, meaning 120Hz computer monitors are considerably more expensive than standard 60Hz monitors.
There is one major advantage of 120Hz monitors. If you have an nVidia 3D Vision kit, which allows you to enjoy three-dimensional movies and gaming, a 120Hz monitor is actually required.
While 120Hz monitors claim to help eliminate juddering and make for smoother playback, in reality most users will notice little or no difference.
In video games, frame rate refers to the amount of time the image is refreshed per second. It is generally considered that a game should be running at least 25 frames per second for it to be comfortably playable. On higher-spec systems, some games may run at four or five times this or even more. However, what you actually see on your monitor will be only what the monitor can display. For example, if your game is running at 80 frames per second, you will see only 60 frames per second on a 60Hz monitor. In reality, however, this is not really an issue, since the human eye cannot even perceive much more than this.
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