Does a higher refresh rate make you faster in sim racing?

Reading time: 2 minutes
Professional sim racers swear by their top-notch monitors with high refresh rate. But is it worth investing into a 144Hz display if you just race casually? We took a closer look at how a higher refresh rate can impact your performance.
Photo credit: OverTake / Kunos Simulazioni

A faster monitor means faster lap times, right? We took a closer look at the refresh rate of monitors and if they can actually affect your driving performance. For our newest video, our editor Joe had to show off his skills in Assetto Corsa Competizione with two different monitors to test the benefits of 144Hz.



What does a higher refresh rate even mean?



Before we jump into the experiments, let's take a look at the differences in 60Hz and 144Hz. The refresh rate refers to the number of times per second your monitor shows a new image. With 60Hz, your display updates the image 60 times per second; with 144Hz there are 144 images each second. The higher the refresh rate, the smoother is your picture.

This is especially important as your monitor needs to match the power of your graphics card. If your GPU renders 100 frames per second on average, but your monitor is only capable of 60Hz, then 40 images get simply lost.

Taking it to the test



The question is: can smoother visuals actually improve your performance, even if you're not a pro driver? We send our editor Joe for a few test laps in Suzuka with a higher refresh monitor.

Before the experiment, Joe participated in an 8 hour endurance race where he achieved an average time of 02:02.478. For the ultimate test, Joe completed 20 hot laps with a 60Hz monitor and 20 hot laps with a 144Hz. And the results were clear: the lap times suddenly improved with the different display.

Average lap time with 60HzAverage lap time with 144Hz
02:04.04102:03.315


The main improvement however is that with a higher refresh rate, Joe also made less mistakes and did not go off-track as much. He also got a better feeling of control. With potentially more than double the number of images, the driver receives more information and can therefore react quicker.

What other aspects of sim racing do you want us to investigate in? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!
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