Is 120 FPS Good for Gaming? A Brief Exploration

Last Updated: April 13, 2023By
Close up of hand on gaming keyboard

In the world of gaming, frame rate is a crucial factor that can make or break the overall experience. As technology advances, gamers are constantly on the lookout for ways to enhance their gaming experience, and one such aspect that has gained immense popularity is the 120 frames per second (FPS) frame rate.

But is 120 FPS truly the sweet spot for gaming, or is it more hype than substance? This blog aims to dive deep into the advantages and disadvantages of 120 FPS in gaming, helping you make an informed decision on whether this frame rate is the right choice for you.

Understanding Frame Rates

To explore whether 120 FPS is good for gaming, it’s important to first understand what frame rates are and how they impact the gaming experience. In this section, we’ll provide an overview of frame rates, common frame rates in gaming, and the difference between frame rate and refresh rate.

What Are Frame Rates?

Frame rates, measured in frames per second (FPS), refer to the number of individual images (frames) displayed on the screen within one second.

In gaming, a higher frame rate typically results in smoother motion and increased visual clarity, contributing to a more enjoyable and immersive experience. Frame rates play a significant role in determining the overall performance and responsiveness of a game.

Common Frame Rates in Gaming: A Quick Overview

There are three primary frame rates that gamers often consider:

  • 30 FPS: This frame rate is commonly found in console gaming and is considered the baseline for a playable experience. However, some gamers may find it less responsive and less fluid compared to higher frame rates.
  • 60 FPS: This frame rate is widely regarded as the sweet spot for most gamers, providing a balance between smooth visuals and acceptable hardware requirements. Many PC games and some console games target 60 FPS for an optimal gaming experience.
  • 120 FPS: This frame rate delivers extremely smooth motion and enhanced responsiveness, particularly beneficial for competitive gaming. However, it also demands more powerful hardware and a high-refresh-rate monitor.

Frame Rate vs. Refresh Rate

While frame rate and refresh rate are related, they are not the same thing. The frame rate pertains to the number of frames generated by the game’s software (per second), whereas the refresh rate is the frequency at which the display refreshes the image (measured in Hertz or Hz).

To fully enjoy a higher frame rate like 120 FPS, you need a monitor with a refresh rate capable of displaying the additional frames, such as 120 Hz or higher.

The Human Eye and Frame Rate Perception

A common misconception is that the human eye can only perceive up to 30 FPS. In reality, the human eye does not perceive the world in frames; instead, it continuously processes visual information.

As a result, most people can perceive the difference between various frame rates, with some even noticing improvements beyond 120 FPS. However, the extent to which a person can distinguish between frame rates varies, and the benefits may diminish as the frame rate increases.

Benefits of 120 FPS in Gaming

120 FPS is a high frame rate that can offer several benefits for gaming. In this section, we’ll explore the advantages of 120 FPS in gaming.

Enhanced Smoothness and Motion Clarity

One of the most noticeable benefits of 120 FPS in gaming is the increased smoothness of animations and motion. At higher frame rates, the gap between individual frames is reduced, resulting in more fluid movement and greater visual clarity.

This can be particularly advantageous in fast-paced games, where precise movement and split-second decisions are crucial.

Reduced Input Lag and Improved Responsiveness

Input lag refers to the delay between when you input a command (e.g., pressing a button) and when the corresponding action appears on-screen.

A higher frame rate, like 120 FPS, can help minimize input lag, leading to a more responsive gaming experience. This improvement can make games feel more “in sync” with your inputs, providing a greater sense of control and immersion.

Competitive Advantage in Fast-Paced Games

For competitive gamers, every millisecond counts. The enhanced smoothness and reduced input lag provided by 120 FPS can offer a tangible advantage in fast-paced, reaction-based games, such as first-person shooters or racing games.

The improved responsiveness and motion clarity can make it easier to track moving targets, react to sudden changes, and execute precise movements.

Immersive Gaming Experience

The increased visual fidelity and responsiveness of 120 FPS can contribute to a more immersive gaming experience. As games become more visually complex and lifelike, higher frame rates can help maintain the illusion of reality by ensuring that the on-screen action is as smooth and fluid as possible.

This can lead to a more engaging and enjoyable gaming experience, particularly for those who value visual presentation and performance.

Drawbacks of 120 FPS in Gaming

Gaming PC setup 1

While 120 FPS can offer significant benefits for gaming, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider.

Hardware Requirements and Costs

  • Powerful GPUs and CPUs: To achieve a consistent 120 FPS in gaming, you will need a powerful graphics processing unit (GPU) and central processing unit (CPU) capable of handling the increased workload.

    This often means investing in high-end hardware components, which can be expensive, especially for those on a budget.
  • High-Refresh-Rate Monitors: In addition to a capable GPU and CPU, you will also need a monitor with a high refresh rate (120 Hz or higher) to fully benefit from the increased frame rate. High-refresh-rate monitors can be costly, further adding to the overall expense of a 120 FPS gaming setup.

Limited Game Support for Higher Frame Rates

Not all games are designed to support or benefit from higher frame rates like 120 FPS. Some titles may have frame rate caps, limiting the maximum achievable FPS, while others may experience graphical or performance issues at higher frame rates.

Additionally, certain game genres, such as turn-based strategy games or point-and-click adventures, may not benefit significantly from the increased smoothness and responsiveness of 120 FPS.

Diminishing Returns for Casual Gamers

While the benefits of 120 FPS in gaming are undeniable, they may not be as impactful for casual gamers who prioritize aspects like storyline, character development, or exploration over performance and visual fidelity.

In such cases, the added cost and hardware requirements of a 120 FPS setup may not provide a proportional increase in enjoyment, leading to diminishing returns.

Potential Battery Drain for Mobile Devices

For mobile gamers, the push for higher frame rates can have a significant impact on battery life. Running games at 120 FPS on a smartphone or tablet can cause the device to consume more power, leading to shorter battery life between charges.

This trade-off may not be ideal for those who value extended gaming sessions or longer periods of device usage without needing to recharge.

The Ideal Frame Rate for You

Ultimately, the ideal frame rate for gaming will depend on your individual needs and preferences.

Determining Your Gaming Needs

  • Casual Gaming vs. Competitive Gaming: Consider the type of gamer you are when selecting the ideal frame rate. Casual gamers who focus on enjoying the storyline and atmosphere of a game may not require the enhanced smoothness and responsiveness of 120 FPS.

    On the other hand, competitive gamers may find the increased performance crucial for success in fast-paced games.
  • Game Genres and Frame Rate Preferences: The genre of games you prefer can also influence your ideal frame rate. For example, action-packed games and first-person shooters benefit significantly from higher frame rates, while slower-paced games, such as strategy or puzzle games, may not see the same level of improvement.

Balancing Performance, Visuals, and Budget

Finding the right frame rate for you may involve striking a balance between performance, visual quality, and your budget. Weigh the benefits of 120 FPS against the costs of the required hardware upgrades, and decide whether the improvements justify the investment.

It is essential to assess your priorities and determine which aspects of gaming are most important to you.

Adapting to Evolving Technology and Gaming Trends

As technology advances, the standards for gaming performance and visual quality continue to evolve. It is crucial to stay informed about the latest developments and consider upgrading your gaming setup as needed.

Experimenting with various frame rates can help you find the best fit for your preferences and ensure that you continue to enjoy an optimal gaming experience as the industry progresses.


Throughout this blog, we have explored the advantages and disadvantages of 120 FPS in gaming. While the increased smoothness, responsiveness, and competitive edge provided by 120 FPS can significantly enhance the gaming experience, it is essential to consider the hardware requirements, costs, and potential diminishing returns for casual gamers.

Ultimately, the ideal frame rate for you will depend on your personal preferences, gaming habits, and budget. It is important to recognize that what works for one gamer may not work for another, and the perfect gaming experience is subjective.

By considering your unique priorities and preferences, you can create a gaming setup that best suits your needs and delivers the most enjoyment.

As you continue to evolve as a gamer, don’t be afraid to explore and experiment with different frame rates. Keep an open mind, and remember that the gaming industry is continuously advancing.

Stay informed about the latest trends and technologies, and be willing to adapt your setup as needed. By doing so, you can ensure that your gaming experience remains at its peak, providing endless hours of enjoyment and immersion.