Gamers have long struggled to find that one shred of competitive edge to give them the win. It could be an ultra-lightweight gaming mouse with insane DPI to land those hard-to-hit shots across the map. It could be a blistering fast rig with a water-cooled RTX 3090 to get every last frame. Companies have even pushed out crazy peripherals like gamer glasses, gloves, energy drinks, and so much more. Some enthusiasts will even go so far as to get a keyboard with the smoothest, fastest registering key switches to ensure that their moves are as precise as they can be.
One big factor that many gamers overlook is the monitor. Countless images have been posted to battle station threads online showcasing beastly PCs with old, dinky monitors. A good gaming rig needs an equally powerful monitor to get the most out of your system. But sheer image clarity isn’t the only deciding metric. Sure, a 1440p monitor may sound appealing, but that added image clarity won’t matter if it blurs and struggles to keep up in competitive titles. What matters in terms of competitive performance is the refresh rate of the monitor. Before diving into the exact difference between 1440p 144Hz vs 1080p 240Hz displays, let’s cover exactly what a Hz is and how it affects your gaming performance.
What Does Refresh Rate Mean and Why Does it Matter?
Essentially, the refresh rate of a monitor is equal to how many times that display can show an image in one second. So, a 60Hz display can show the same image 60 times every second while a 75Hz display can show an image 75 times every second. The higher the refresh rate, the more stable and clear that image becomes. Think back to older consoles and television where you could see flickering or horizontal bars. That flickering was the image refreshing, only much slower than what current displays are capable of. The quicker a monitor refreshes the smoother and less noticeable that flickering or tearing will be.
Casual users won’t find themselves needing higher refresh rates for regular productivity tasks. Many casual gamers may not even notice the subtle differences between the higher-end refresh rates. However, a higher refresh rate has been shown to give competitive gamers a slight edge over users with lower refresh rate monitors. Information is displayed smoother, which can make landing that tricky headshot all that much easier.
Resolution & Response Time
Before diving into the exact differences between 144Hz and 240Hz, it’s good to understand the differences in base resolutions first. 2560p x 1440p monitors are considered QHD, which stands for “Quad High Definition.” That means that a 2K display is 4 times sharper than base 720p HD. So, you can expect much more sharpness and clarity over a 1080p FHD (Full HD) display. The added clarity does not necessarily come with a boost in competitive gaming performance, but the difference in clarity will be quite noticeable. That added resolution will place more demand on your GPU, leading to a more expensive rig if one wishes to take full advantage of a 2K display.
As a quick side note, buyers should keep an eye out for the response time of a monitor in addition to resolution and refresh rate. While there is plenty of high refresh rate 1440p monitors on the market, many lag behind with 4-6 ms response times versus some of the quicker and cheaper 1 ms 1080p displays available. The lower the response time, the quicker and more accurate your reactions and inputs will be. 1 ms is a must for those looking to get every bit of competitive edge out of their display.
1440p 144Hz vs 1080p 240Hz
With all of those nitty-gritty details broken down, we can look at just how big of a difference these two options present. For sheer image quality, a 1440p QHD monitor is the clear winner between the two. In sight-seeing titles and story-based games, the 1440p 144Hz will be more than enough for gamers looking for a smooth and stylish gaming experience. A 1080p 240Hz display will be buttery smooth and deliver a stellar performance in terms of Esports titles and other competitive games.
But here is where things get a little tricky. The difference between a 60Hz display and a 144Hz is fairly noticeable. Menus are smoother. Movement looks cleaner. However, even competitive gamers may struggle to see a perceivable difference between 144Hz and 240Hz. It comes to a point of diminishing returns. The 240Hz display may slightly add to the performance of the highest level of competitive gamers out there, but the hefty price tag associated with that technology simply doesn’t make it a reasonable value option for even the most hardcore hobbyist gamers out there.
Additionally, the PC required to pump out frames that can even take advantage of that difference would have to be the best that the market can offer. One would need to constantly achieve a stable frame rate higher than 240 FPS to fully take advantage of the minute performance boost that a 240Hz display could offer.
A 1440p 144Hz monitor will be the sweet spot for the vast majority of casual and competitive gamers. It offers crisp and clear resolution and a buttery smooth refresh rate across at a reasonable price point. With displays getting cheaper and cheaper, many 1440p 144hz monitors are placed at or below what a similar 1080p display would have cost just a year ago. A good budget option would be a 1080p 144Hz display if you happen to be running older hardware or don’t care for the added clarity that 1440p offers. 240hz will be overkill for most gamers, even those in the competitive scene. The noticeable performance is simply too minor to justify the higher cost for most use cases.
1440 144Hz & 1080p 240Hz Recommendations
Best Enthusiast 1440p 144Hz Gaming Monitor – Asus ROG Strix XG279Q
The Asus ROG Strix XG279Q is a 27” monitor with a beautiful 1440p QHD display and a 144Hz refresh rate (170Hz achievable with overclocking). It comes packaged with HDR compatibility, a 1 ms response time, G-Sync compatibility, and low motion blur technology. The Asus ROG Strix XG279Q is currently the best 1440p gaming monitor that money can buy, and its high price tag of $549 drives that fact home. This is the ultimate option for enthusiasts looking for a no-compromise 1440p 144Hz gaming experience.
Best All-Rounder 1440p 144Hz Gaming Monitor – BenQ EX2780Q
BenQ has long been the leading name in high-quality, color-accurate displays. The BenQ EX2780Q is no exception. This 1440p 144Hz 27” display supports HDRi, FreeSync Premium, and has a low 5 ms response time. This display can meet the needs of professionals in need of a premium-grade accurate monitor that wants to game on it as well. This display delivers impressive performance metrics at the staggeringly low price of $449.
Best 1080p 240Hz Gaming Monitor – Samsung 27-Inch CRG5
With such a niche market, one 240Hz monitor rises above the rest. The Samsung 27-Inch CRG5 is a premium curved gaming monitor that offers a lot of bang for the buck. This 1080p display offers a 4 ms response time, G-Sync compatibility, and a 1500R curve for added immersion. With a competitive price point at just $350, this display is a great option for budget-focused gamers looking for the best performance that a high refresh rate 1080p can deliver.