Generally, 30 FPS is roughly the lowest frame rate at which a game is still playable.
However, most gamers agree that 60 FPS is generally the ideal target since it’s more fluid and responsive.
Meanwhile, higher triple-digit frame rates are only truly relevant for competitive gamers, though some may like having the extra responsiveness even in their single-player games.
If there is anything that PC gamers love to argue about, it’s either graphics or frame rates, and it’s the latter that we’ll be discussing in this article. Namely, what is the best FPS for gaming – and is there even such a thing?
Of course, FPS will vary based on several factors: how powerful the hardware is, how demanding and how well-optimized the game is, etc.
Moreover, FPS requirements are ultimately very subjective, and different people will inevitably have different standards regarding what constitutes a “playable” or “ideal” framerate.
In this article, we’ll be going over some important FPS-related questions, and, hopefully, we’ll help you figure out what kind of framerate you should aim for!
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What Is FPS?
First and foremost, for those who are new to gaming – FPS is an acronym that stands for frames-per-second. Essentially, it represents how many frames the GPU can render each second.
For example, if a game were running at 1 frame per second, you would only be seeing one image every second. This is more akin to a slideshow than a real-time experience, and a game would be unplayable at 1 FPS.
So, basically, the more frames are rendered and displayed each second, the smoother and more responsive the gameplay experience will be.
When talking about framerates, there are usually four “brackets” of sorts that are usually used for generalization when talking about performance. These are:
- 30 FPS – The performance usually targeted by consoles and budget gaming PCs. Keep in mind, though, that significant stuttering is only really noticeable at less than 20 FPS, so anything above 20 FPS can be considered playable.
- 60 FPS – This is the target goal for most gaming PCs. On consoles, only the less demanding or better-optimized games can manage a stable 60 FPS, though the upcoming PS5 and the Xbox Series X will aim for 60 FPS in most games.
- 120 FPS – The kind of framerate that can only be displayed on monitors with 120-165 Hz refresh rates. Usually, it takes a powerful high-end gaming PCs to run demanding games with this kind of performance without any settings drops.
- 240 FPS – Can be displayed only by the fastest 240 Hz monitors, 240 FPS is as high as modern displays can go.
Keep in mind, however, that it’s easier to push triple-digit framerates in less demanding titles, which is precisely why monitors with high refresh rates are so popular in the eSports scene.
Moreover, we should note that there are some diminishing returns to consider when FPS is concerned. Namely, while it is easy to spot the difference between 30 FPS and 60 FPS, the difference between 120 FPS and 240 FPS is much harder to notice.
What Is The Best FPS for Gaming?
Here, we come to the main question. However, it is one that is impossible to answer.
Well, simply because there is no single best frame rate that is ideal for everyone and for every type of game. Personal preferences aside, it can be summarized as:
- 30 FPS – Good enough for a single-player, and it sometimes makes for a more cinematic experience.
- 60 FPS – The ideal frame rate for most people, as the extra fluidity makes games more responsive and can provide a more enjoyable experience overall. Also, good for games where reacting to animations is important.
- 120 FPS – Much more fluid and responsive than 60 FPS, it can provide an important edge when it comes to multiplayer games. However, some appreciate the extra responsiveness in single-player games, too, even if it means lowering some graphics settings.
- 240 FPS – Finally, going for 240 FPS is usually only worthwhile if you’re playing competitively and need every edge that you can get. Otherwise, getting a 240 Hz monitor might be a waste, as you could get similar responsiveness and, potentially, better visuals in some 144 Hz monitors.
Now that we have touched upon the subject, we should also mention a few more factors that you should consider before deciding on what kind of FPS you’re going to aim for.
First, there’s the monitor.
As mentioned above, the refresh rates vary, and so does the panel technology. For example, TN panels are usually cheaper and faster, but IPS panels offer better colors and viewing angles, all the while VA panels present a sort of balanced solution.
So, chances are you might end up having to choose between visuals and performance if you want something more budget-friendly. Whatever the case, if you’re shopping for a new monitor, best check out our monitor buying guide for some good picks.
Then, there’s the hardware.
Naturally, there’s no use investing in a 144 Hz monitor if you only intend on getting a budget GPU that can’t really do it justice. If you’re looking for a new graphics card, then best check out this article, where we offer a narrowed-down selection of the best graphics cards currently available.
Now, as mentioned previously, not all games are equally demanding on the hardware, so you should also keep in mind the games that you mostly play.
Hitting a triple-digit framerate in the latest AAA games isn’t easy, but the same can’t be said for eSports games such as CS: GO, Overwatch, Dota 2, etc. So, if you mainly play less demanding games and want to focus on performance without spending too much, then a combo of a 144 Hz display and a cheaper GPU might be a good choice.
On the other hand, if you play demanding AAA games and are more concerned with graphics than with performance, going for a 60 Hz monitor and a more powerful GPU would be better.
Of course, you could always have your cake and eat it, too, by going with a powerful high-end GPU and pairing it up with a 1440p 144 Hz monitor, but that would mean a more serious investment that not everyone is ready for.
So, in the end, the frame rate that you should target will depend mainly on your preferences and on your budget.
Even 30 FPS is quite playable and can actually make for a more cinematic experience (especially if a game has not-so-stellar animations) but most people will agree that 60 FPS is the ideal middle ground between responsiveness and cost-effectiveness.
Meanwhile, triple-digit frame rates are great for competitive multiplayer or just for people who prefer having extra responsiveness in their single-player games, even if it means dropping some graphics settings.
However, getting a 144 Hz or a 240 Hz monitor means that you might end up spending a bit more on a monitor than you would if it were a regular 60 Hz panel. While it might not necessarily be more expensive, you should only get one if you truly need and can make use of the extra responsiveness that they offer.
Otherwise, you’d either just end up needlessly spending more money or missing out on the visual fidelity that a similarly-priced 60 Hz variant could have offered.
Finally, as we have already mentioned, if you’re currently on the hunt for a new monitor, we would advise checking out our thorough guide on the best gaming monitors currently available, as you’re bound to find a good fit for your needs in that buying guide.