Input lag vs Refresh rate?


So if I had a monitor that has extremely low input lag but has a refresh rate of 60hz…would it be better than a monitor with a 120hz refresh rate with double the input lag for a fighting game?!




Lower input lag is best, but don’t confuse this with response time which is what manufacturers advertise. You’ll never see manufacturers listing input lag on the specifications.

Screens need time to both process an image they receive and display the image (response time). Both the processing and the response time result in your monitors input lag, but the processing part is usually the problem when a screen feels sluggish.

Response time is how long it takes the pixels to change from one color to another. Response time mainly affects ghosting.

Refresh rate is essentially how many images the monitor can display a second. A higher refresh rate than 60Hz will make your game play look more fluid as long as your system can output more than 60 frames per second (fps). If your system can output 150 fps you’ll only see 60 of those per second at 60Hz compared to 120 at 120Hz. However, a refresh rate greater than 60Hz will be wasted if your system can’t output more than 60 fps or a game is locked at 60 fps or lower.


95 to 99% of all HDTVs are made for TV Show, Sports and Movie watching where the Goal is getting you the best picture and not the least amount of input lag.
The TV industry does not care as much about gaming as we all wish they have. Despite this many TVs have a GAME mode or a PC Mode, these modes bypass some image post processing that takes place in the display.
Depending on the model, making a HDMI port as a PC Input can reduce latency.

As for the Frame rate thing (which has nothing to do with input lag), Often games will try to push more than 60hz or frames per second (fps) as when the frame rates drop in a busy and graphically intense screen you end up not dropping by that much below 60 fps. Say you have a game that runs at 60 fps, and there a 15 frame drop, you are now running that game at 45 fps and you notice the screen animation is not as fluid. Now if a game runs at 75 fps even though your display only shows 60 fps, when you have that 15 frame drop you are still getting your 60fps on screen. And we all know how it looks like when we lose 15 fps suddenly.
Frame rates above 60fps in a game is not a waste.


Most fighting games are locked to 60fps, so higher refresh rates wont help.


Its more so when you do have a performance drop, you don’t notice as much.
The output is locked at 60 fps as running a actual FPS higher than what the screen can handle creates some visual artifacts, like screen-tearing.

A Game running at 90 fps having a 30 fps drop isn’t noticeable as you are still at 60 fps, now your game only does 60 fps and it drops to 30 its extremely noticeable.
I do like having some headroom in my frame buffer to avoid the sudden lost of frames. To that the trade off.

Problem also is, when I search for the topic on most gaming forums, the topics are 5 or 6 years out of date.


You mean half the input lag… If the fighting game in question ran at 120 FPS, yes, but seeing as they run at 60 FPS, no.

In any case, you want a monitor with the least input lag you can get.


Input Lag and Refresh rate are two very different things.
Refresh rate is how quickly those pixels on your screen can change color.
Input lag is the delay from input (from your controller) to seeing the results on the screen.

The two have nothing to do with each other.

Also Your display’s Frame rate has nothing to do with Input Lag. Frame rate only matters to input lag when it comes to a game’s internal game engine (it’s programming) and nothing about the display.
As the Computer or console is tasked to do certain calculations on every frame or so. In The case of Street Fighter, the computer is tasked with checking for hit detection once every frame.
Other games to keep up performances will do checks every 4 frames or ten frames, depending on the game being played. Like Character AI is often programmed at the most often every 4 frames.

Frame rate is effected by refresh rate as how quickly those pixels can change sets the limit on how many times that screen can change in a second.

A 120hz (hertz = frames per second) screen has nothing to do with how your Street Fighter game checks for those hit detection as it’s fixed or capped at 60 frames per second and does not care what the screen dose.
In the case of a actual 120hz display it will just show every frame twice. Digital video standards always works on multiples of 25 or 30 anyways, so a video could be 30hz, 60hz, 120hz and so on. 60 is the NTSC standard and 50 is for PAL. Film(cinema) and Animation was done in the rule of 4th’s, so the standard is 24hz or fps, and why films done in 48fps have that weird Soap Opera effect.


I never said it was. Having a refresh rate higher than 60Hz when the there are 60 fps or less is pointless. High refresh rate screens are wasted on PS4 and Xbox One, for example, because they usually run games at or below 60 fps.

Refresh rate is not the same as response time. Refresh rate can be faster than the response time and this leads to motion blur or ghosting.


It was not directed to you, but if the shoe fits :coffee:


All fighting games are locked at 60fps though due to frame data and game logic (KI runs its logic at 90, but still only outputs 60fps), so the point is moot.


If the game ran at 120 FPS and checked for inputs every frame, there would be a benefit. This isn’t how things are done in fighting games, however.


Thanks for the responses guys.

The monitor in question does have an option within the custom settings that reduces input lag (specificially says thats what it does). Would there be any other settings in there make a difference to performance in fighting games regarding input lag?

Other Settings:

[] brightness
] contrast
[] Black eQualizer (Brings out the dark shade by increasing the brightness without changing those of the light shades)
] Gamma
[] Colour temperature (Normal/Bluish/Reddish/User Defined)
] Hue
[] Saturation
] AMA (Improves the gray level response time of the panel)
[*] Instant Mode (Adjusts the image processing to diminish input lag. You can have a real-time experience while playing games)

Thanks again for the help =)


Other than “Instant Mode”? You could try turning off that Black eQualizer, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Ideally you would only buy a monitor for which the average input lag measured by Leo Bodnar’s Input Lag Tester were no higher than… 17 ms. The monitor database at is there to help. :stuck_out_tongue:


The monitor I have is listed as 10ms on - tis a big part of why I got that monitor in question. However I had no idea if it needed specific settings to hit that 10ms number

(Also definitely thought I was replying to the thread i’d made about my monitor setup - luckily its still somewhat prevelant xD)


Ther Ben Q Monitor was probability tested in standard mode, probably with Insta Mode and AMA on.