what are they and why do they matter

The frames per second have become main value for measure performance of a computer or game console, in games. You all know that the higher the frame rate per second, the better the performance, and you know it’s always “better”, but not everyone knows exactly what they are and why more c ‘is better.

The frame rate per second is important, but also there are other keys that we must take into account when we talk about it, like the synchronization and correct generation of each frameand also the refresh rate of the monitor we use. All of these elements are deeply connected, and ultimately they are essential for us to enjoy a good experience in our favorite games.

In this article we will explain all you need to know about frames per second, refresh rate, and the various settings and technologies that can affect both. As always, if you have any questions, you can leave them in the comments and we’ll help you solve them. Without further ado, let’s get started.

What are frames per second and why are they important?

frames per second

When we talk about frames per second, we are referring to the number of frames generated in a game in one second. Normally, a frame is generated in a certain number of milliseconds, and depending on the time you need, it will be possible to reach a lower or higher figure. For instance, if a frame is generated in 33.33 milliseconds we will have a rate of 30 frames per secondbut if this is generated in 16.66 milliseconds, we will have a rate of 60 frames per second.

To Generate a Frame it is necessary for the CPU to provide the GPU with the basic information of the game scene, and that the latter performs a heavy workload (geometry, texturing and shading, etc.). The power of the two components will determine the maximum number of frames per second that our equipment is able to produce, although this can be affected by many factors, such as the requirement of the game, the resolution that we use and the technologies that we activated.

A higher frame rate per second is better because will make us perceive moving scenes with greater fluidity. On the contrary, a low frame rate will make us feel that the jerks of the game, and it can affect our ability to react and our performance in said game. Forget the myth that the human eye does not perceive more than 30 frames per second, in fact the reverse is true and going from 30 to 60 frames per second makes a huge difference.

Frame rates per second: minimum and optimal values

To enjoy a minimally acceptable experience in games, it is necessary to achieve a minimum frame rate per second which, according to individual requirements, must be between 25 and 30 FPS minimum. However, the ideal to enjoy an optimal experience is to have at least 60 frames per second.

Between the two extremes there is a series of intermediate levels which make a considerable difference, and which deserve a detailed analysis so that we are clear on the experience we can expect:

  • Less than 25 FPS: low fluidity and very marked jerks. We can’t enjoy the game properly.
  • Between 25 and 30 FPS: an acceptable fluidity and without jolts which seriously affect playability. You can really enjoy the game.
  • Between 40 and 50 FPS: very good fluidity and no jerks. Exceeding 40 FPS already makes a huge difference in terms of fluidity.
  • Average of 60 frames per second: This is the optimal level to play, and it makes a huge difference compared to playing at 30 FPS in terms of overall fluidity.
  • More than 60 FPS: It’s great for competitive gaming, though not a must-have for everyone.

What is refresh rate and why is it important?

refresh rate

The refresh rate indica the number of times the image is refreshed in one second, and it is a value deeply related to GPU and frame rate per second. A monitor that has a refresh rate of 30Hz will only refresh the image 30 times per second, while a monitor that hits 144Hz will be able to refresh the image 144 times per second. The difference is overwhelming and also affects the feeling of fluidity that we will have in games.

As we said, the refresh rate is important because it will allow us to view more new images in a second, and this not only will it improve the feeling of flow, but it will also help us avoid this feeling of eye fatigue this happens when we go below 60 Hz. However, we must bear in mind that to take advantage of a high refresh rate we need a high rate of frames per second.

By combining the two values, a high refresh rate and frames per second, we will have a greater amount of visual information in a second and we will take advantage of that greater fluidity that we have already mentioned, two keys that will obviously give us an important advantage. With lower refresh rate and high frame rate per second some of these will be “wasted”and we will miss important visual information.

Let’s see this with an example. If we have a 144Hz monitor but our computer can barely keep 30 frames per second you won’t notice any difference from the result you would get using a 60Hz monitor, since the monitor would not receive enough new images to update the image. On the other hand, if our equipment were able to generate 144 frames per second, the difference this monitor would make would be very large, since it could update the image 144 times in one second and use 144 totally new images. That would be ideal, no doubt.

Refresh rate: minimum and optimal values

In general, 30Hz monitors should be avoided, although these are fortunately “in danger of extinction”, and it is not normal to find models with such a low refresh rate. However, I remind you that it is still possible to find very cheap models with 4K resolution that have this refresh rate (hence their low price). From 60Hz we can enjoy a good experience, although with higher models it will improve considerably as long as our equipment is able to reach a high frame rate per second.

  • 30Hz Cup: This is a level to avoid, as we have already said.
  • 60Hz Cup: This is the minimum we should be looking for today.
  • 75Hz Cup: It is a level that does not make a big difference compared to the previous one. It is normally used in low-end gaming monitors.
  • 90Hz Cup: a level higher than the previous one, which already represents a considerable leap.
  • Frequency between 120 Hz and 144 Hz: this is the optimal level for those who want to enjoy a perfect gaming experience, as long as the equipment is up to scratch, as we said.
  • Refresh rate over 144Hz: These are monitors designed for competitive gaming, that is, for professional gamers. It’s been a while since we’ve been able to reach the 360hz.

Issues and technologies that can help us improve the experience

Screen tearing

As we have seen, the frame rate per second and the refresh rate are two deeply related values, and this is completely normal, since the monitor will use the images generated by the graphics card to renew the picture with each of them. Ideally, the two values ​​should be the same.but this is something that is very difficult to achieve naturally, i.e. let the computer and monitor run freely.

When a graphics card generates a higher frame rate per second than the monitor’s maximum refresh rate, what we call “tearing” or breaking of the image, characterized by the appearance of horizontal lines that “break” the image. To avoid this, we can use the vertical synchronization (V-Sync), which limits the FPS rate to specific values ​​(usually 60 FPS). It works, but has two problems:

  • If the FPS rate drops below 60 FPS in certain areas, there will be a very marked loss of fluidity.
  • This can impact overall computer performance.

Stuttering in Bloodborne. Take a look at the render latency located in the left graph. Image courtesy of Digital Foundry.

Another major issue that affects the frame rate per second is the “stuttering” or image stuttering. This occurs when there is a significant lack of coordination between the generation of a frame and its display on the screen, i.e. there is a failure in the synchronization of the GPU and the monitor . In these cases, the GPU renders an image a few milliseconds later than it should and results in abnormal rendering latency, causing micro-stuttering that can completely ruin the gaming experience.

Stuttering can be such a serious problem that a game running at 25-30 FPS with the right render latency can be perfectly enjoyable, while a game running at steady 30 FPS with the same issue can end up being a complete nightmare. . Bloodborne is one of the best examples of ordeal which may represent stuttering.

technologies NVIDIA G-Sync there AMD FreeSync They will completely free us from the problems of “tearing” and “stuttering”, and without us having to assume any impact on the performance of our favorite games. Both fulfill the same role, they synchronize the GPU and the monitor so that the generation of frames per second and the refresh of the image work in unison and offer a perfect result.

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