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Can my GPU handle 120Hz?

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November 19, 2012 2:04:53 AM

Hey I've got a GTX 580 (1.5GB) and an i7 960 @ 3.2GHz, 6GB RAM.

I've been thinking of getting a BenQ XL2420T 120Hz monitor as I've been told 120Hz is the best way to go and once you go 120Hz you'll never go back.

Here are a few of my questions.

1. I'm wondering if I will see a difference from 60Hz? I've been told that you need a pretty damn good PC for you to be able to see the differences. Will my GTX 580 be capable of 120Hz?

2. Will my FPS drop if I'm using a 120Hz monitor?

3. I am a youtube partner and I make gaming videos and I'm wondering if you know if 120Hz will have an effect on recording in-game footage? Will it make it lag more or will it benefit recording?

4. I play DayZ quite a lot and I'm wondering if it will make that game look smoother at all?

5. Also, I'd be jumping from a 22" 1650 x 1020 monitor to a 24 1920 x 1080 (BenQ XL2420T) Will this resolution difference decrease my FPS by a HUGE ammount? I'm just dreading buying a 1080p 120Hz monitor and then when I get it my FPS is a lot lower and I am uncapable of recording game-footage.

All answers are appreciated, thanks ;) 

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a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
November 19, 2012 2:16:26 AM

What is your gaming like now? If you don't get over 60fps, you won't notice a different really with the 120hz. If you get 100fps in the games you play now, the little bit of resolution increase won't do a big difference to the fps but if the games you play now while recording game footage are only in the 40-50fps range, you probably won't notice a huge deal.
November 19, 2012 2:26:12 AM

getochkn said:
What is your gaming like now? If you don't get over 60fps, you won't notice a different really with the 120hz. If you get 100fps in the games you play now, the little bit of resolution increase won't do a big difference to the fps but if the games you play now while recording game footage are only in the 40-50fps range, you probably won't notice a huge deal.


I get more than 60 fps on most games that I play except for DayZ which seems to be poorly optimised and even people with GTX 680's seem to struggle on.
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a b U Graphics card
November 19, 2012 3:43:39 AM

The hz of the monitor doesnt matter, all it means is that now your monitor can actually display 120fps. For example, I have 2 60hz monitors. I dont cap my FPS, and any game I play I dont ever go below 60fps. So with that in mind even though I'm getting more than 60 FPS, my monitors can only display 60, as if I had a 120hz monitor it would be able to show 120fps. Which you wont see a difference in at all. Our eyes cant notice anything past 60fps. The only thing that would change FPS is the resolution. Yes playing at the 1080p resolution the benq has now, will decrease some FPS. Depending on what CPU and Graphical settings youll have will determine how much of a hit your FPS will take.
a c 216 U Graphics card
a c 128 C Monitor
November 19, 2012 4:00:11 AM

abCasPeRR said:
Our eyes cant notice anything past 60fps. The only thing that would change FPS is the resolution.

Why do people keep posting these "facts" about how our eyes only see at a specific FPS. We don't view the world in FPS, and we can, in fact, see differences well beyond 60 FPS.

We notice things the more contrast there is. If you are viewing something with little motion, you do not notice high FPS nearly as much, but if you are turning your view angle rapidly, you can tell a drastic difference between 60 FPS and 120 FPS (assuming a 120hz monitor).

Another aspect to the 120hz monitor is that it reduces latency between your actions and them being displayed on the monitor. This isn't simply a matter of response time, but also a matter of how long a frame sits in the frame buffer before it is sent to the monitor. A 120hz monitor updates the images twice as often as a 60hz monitor, reducing the time a frame sits there.

One of the most obvious things I can notice myself, as a result of the above, is that when I have 60 FPS, I will experience nausea after playing about 30-60mins. At 80+ FPS, the nausea goes away completely (at 30 FPS, I get nausea with in a couple mins). In general, high fps on a 120hz monitor makes your camera view feel like a direct extension of you arm. With lower FPS, it always feels a big sluggish. You may also notice that once you get used to high FPS on a 120hz monitor, lower FPS stand out more obvious than before.

@OP:
1) You should expect FPS to be 20% lower than now. If those FPS take you over 80 FPS, you'll probably enjoy a 120hz monitor. You can turn settings down to achieve those FPS as well. I personally find added FPS often out way the extra visual qualities that keep my FPS low.

2) A 120hz monitor won't change your FPS without v-sync on, and it can improve FPS when v-sync is on.

The rest of the questions I don't know, or the first 2 already answered them.
a c 85 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
November 19, 2012 4:28:56 AM

aydee said:
1. I'm wondering if I will see a difference from 60Hz? I've been told that you need a pretty damn good PC for you to be able to see the differences. Will my GTX 580 be capable of 120Hz?
You don't need a good PC to SEE the differences, but you need one to get 120fps. *(Slightly different from Hz, which is the refresh rate of the monitor - meaning your monitor can display UP TO 120 frames per second.) That being said, my 670, depending on the game, can struggle to get 120fps on ultra. You're going to have to turn settings down, depending on the game. (But if you're smart with the settings, such as shadows, you won't ever notice it.)

aydee said:
2. Will my FPS drop if I'm using a 120Hz monitor?
Not one bit. 120Hz just means it has a higher refresh rate - 120 refreshes per second as opposed to 60. If anything, your FPS will go up a fair bit, in any game in which you're generating more than 60 a second, because your monitor will be able to display them all.

aydee said:
3. I am a youtube partner and I make gaming videos and I'm wondering if you know if 120Hz will have an effect on recording in-game footage? Will it make it lag more or will it benefit recording?
It will do neither, because most recordings don't come from the screen, they come from a selection of frames produced. If you use any common recording software, and don't change settings, it'll look exactly the same.

aydee said:
4. I play DayZ quite a lot and I'm wondering if it will make that game look smoother at all?
Of course! That's the biggest advantage of a 120Hz monitor - it makes everything smoother and more fluid, because there are more frames to be shown. That being said, this is only provided you're producing 100+ frames a second. If you're only putting out 60, there isn't any point in being able to display twice that number.

aydee said:
5. Also, I'd be jumping from a 22" 1650 x 1020 monitor to a 24 1920 x 1080 (BenQ XL2420T) Will this resolution difference decrease my FPS by a HUGE ammount? I'm just dreading buying a 1080p 120Hz monitor and then when I get it my FPS is a lot lower and I am uncapable of recording game-footage.
It will make a fair difference - not HUGE, but between 5-10 fps, I'm guessing. It shouldn't bother your recording, as that's more dependent on the CPU, which works the same amount (roughly) no matter the resolution.


Last piece of advice: Remember to set refresh rate at 120 in both the nvidia control panel, windows, and the game. I did that at first and was really confused, till I figured that out.
November 19, 2012 4:00:46 PM

bystander said:
Why do people keep posting these "facts" about how our eyes only see at a specific FPS. We don't view the world in FPS, and we can, in fact, see differences well beyond 60 FPS.

We notice things the more contrast there is. If you are viewing something with little motion, you do not notice high FPS nearly as much, but if you are turning your view angle rapidly, you can tell a drastic difference between 60 FPS and 120 FPS (assuming a 120hz monitor).

Another aspect to the 120hz monitor is that it reduces latency between your actions and them being displayed on the monitor. This isn't simply a matter of response time, but also a matter of how long a frame sits in the frame buffer before it is sent to the monitor. A 120hz monitor updates the images twice as often as a 60hz monitor, reducing the time a frame sits there.

One of the most obvious things I can notice myself, as a result of the above, is that when I have 60 FPS, I will experience nausea after playing about 30-60mins. At 80+ FPS, the nausea goes away completely (at 30 FPS, I get nausea with in a couple mins). In general, high fps on a 120hz monitor makes your camera view feel like a direct extension of you arm. With lower FPS, it always feels a big sluggish. You may also notice that once you get used to high FPS on a 120hz monitor, lower FPS stand out more obvious than before.

@OP:
1) You should expect FPS to be 20% lower than now. If those FPS take you over 80 FPS, you'll probably enjoy a 120hz monitor. You can turn settings down to achieve those FPS as well. I personally find added FPS often out way the extra visual qualities that keep my FPS low.

2) A 120hz monitor won't change your FPS without v-sync on, and it can improve FPS when v-sync is on.

The rest of the questions I don't know, or the first 2 already answered them.


20% lower due to the fact of the higher resolution? Any other reason for this to drop?

Thanks very much to all of the above posts also, helped me out a lot ;) 
a c 216 U Graphics card
a c 128 C Monitor
November 19, 2012 4:17:01 PM

aydee said:
20% lower due to the fact of the higher resolution? Any other reason for this to drop?

Thanks very much to all of the above posts also, helped me out a lot ;) 


No other reason.
November 19, 2012 4:33:01 PM

By my calculations, jumping from 1650X1020 to 1920x1080 will be a 17.3% increase in the number of pixels per frame. This won't be exact, but I think it is more fair to expect a 15-20% decrease in FPS just by increasing that resolution. So, if you were getting 100 FPS before, expect 80-85 FPS. Of course, with memory bandwidth and other factors, this isn't a linear function, but I think my estimation is a bit more accurate then just saying "5 or so FPS loss".

And the above statements about 120Hz are correct, you won't enjoy it unless you actually go above 60.
a c 85 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
November 19, 2012 5:24:50 PM

^Sure it's more accurate, but there's no need to be dismissive of other posters. I was giving the OP a ballpark number, and attempting to show that it wouldn't be a HUGE decrease in frames per second.

OP, the decision is up to you, but I'll leave you with to things to think about.

1) I play at 120 FPS. When friends come over, after an hour I'll turn down the settings to 60, but they can't notice a change, because they aren't used to 120. For me, it's fairly drastic, but it took a while to get used to it.

2) Going from your resolution to 1080p in of itself will make things look better - and that WILL be significant from the start.
a c 216 U Graphics card
a c 128 C Monitor
November 19, 2012 5:26:44 PM

Your friends, where they playing on the 120 FPS/hz system, or watching? I find that visually, the difference is less noticeable than how it feels while playing. You don't notice the latency difference as a bystander.
a c 85 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
November 19, 2012 5:29:04 PM

^It was while he was playing, but he was playing a game that was completely new to him and wasn't used to my system. He spent most of the time cursing over the fact that my keyboard is blank. :p 
a c 216 U Graphics card
a c 128 C Monitor
November 19, 2012 5:34:53 PM

DarkSable said:
^It was while he was playing, but he was playing a game that was completely new to him and wasn't used to my system. He spent most of the time cursing over the fact that my keyboard is blank. :p 


Lol :lol: 

When I first moved to 120hz, I didn't immediately notice the smoothness improvement either, but I did notice it when I'd test turning rapidly. What really jumped out at me, or at least, what I came to realize a few days later, is I no longer got nauseated when playing first person games where I controlled the view with the mouse.

After using it a while, I immediately notice when my FPS drops below 60, or my monitor failed to go into 120hz in game (I've had some games that will not stay in 120hz without a little force, and sometimes v-sync drops it to 60 without some work-a-rounds.) My 2nd card died last week (replacement from EVGA should arrive today), and I definitely notice the loss of FPS visually now.
a c 85 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
November 19, 2012 5:43:04 PM

Yup. It DOES make a big difference, as soon as you get used to it. The downside is that movies look blurry to me now.
November 19, 2012 5:56:27 PM

If you're confused about how FPS and Hz tie into one another, think of it this way. Every frame you get is a tennis ball, and there's a machine pumping out 120 tennis balls every second. Then we have the catchers, in an unreal scenario, Bob and James. Bob can only catch 60 balls a second, he is our 60hz monitor. James on the other hand can catch all 120 balls, he is the 120hz monitor. Regardless of the catcher, the throwing machine still pumps out a solid 120 balls a second. Hope this made sense :) 
November 20, 2012 4:12:26 AM

@ DarkSable

I wasn't trying to be dismissive of other posters, I was actually supporting where they got some of their numbers from. Just trying to help :) 
!