What’s the Difference Between Resolution & Frame Rate?
If you’re starting out playing PC games or interested in purchasing your first custom built gaming PC then you may have seen arguments on FPS vs Resolution but, which one really matters?
That's tough to answer because it all depends on what you are looking for in your gaming experience. Both frame rate and resolution play a factor in the image produced by your computer, together creating a smooth moving image with crisp detail. Frame rate is responsible for the display's motion while the resolution corresponds to the amount of pixels displayed on a screen. Finding the correct visual settings can be difficult but understanding the difference between FPS and resolution in gaming is important to achieve the right configurations.
What’s Better; FPS or Resolution?
Frame Rate or FPS dictates how smooth a game runs, improving playability and frame speed. Resolution determines the number of pixels on screen, making a game more visually appealing. A higher FPS is better for competitive multiplayer games as they require faster reactions. That said, players who want their game to look as beautiful as possible may prioritize a higher resolution and works better for solo games.
When it comes to adjusting your game’s visual settings it's important to understand the differences between FPS vs resolution and what is more important to you and your gaming style. Higher frame rates make games more playable and a higher resolution makes a game more visually appealing but increasing one reduces the other.
Competitive games such as multiplayer shooters and fighters depend on quick moves. If you prioritize gameplay, speed and response, then it’s better to lower your resolution and increase your frame rates.
On the other hand, higher resolutions are better for those who prioritize breathtaking graphics and visuals in their gaming experience.
Frame Rate Explained
A frame is a single still image that gets displayed and multiple frames in rapid succession result in the smooth motion we see on screen. Frame rate is how often the video updates with a new frame and this gets measured in frames per second (FPS). This frame rate is dependent on your CPU and the capabilities of your graphics card and processor. Modern games have a standard frame rate of 30 FPS and can run up to 240 FPS but when it comes to competitive first person shooters or e-sports most players aim for 60 FPS.
You can increase the frame rate by decreasing the resolution in a game’s visual or graphics settings. Lowering the resolution can cause some games to look blurry or pixelated but higher FPS reduces input lag and can effectively reduce tearing and stutters. Having higher frame rates can give you a better advantage in competitive gaming.
Is Higher FPS Better?
A higher FPS is better for gameplay because having more frames per second means smoother on-screen animations. Low framerates can make gameplay laggy as the animations stutter. Generally speaking, you’ll want to aim for 60 FPS for modern gaming since any higher than that and you probably won’t be able to see a difference.
If you enjoy playing fast paced games such as first person shooters or racing games, having a high frame rate is going to lead to a more pleasant experience. With higher frames per second, you receive more data at the same time, allowing you to have a faster reaction time. Many competitive & e-sport gamers play on high FPS monitors to take fullest advantage of their PCs and to stay ahead of their competition. Higher frame rates will result in better overall motion quality.
The overall image quality of a game depends on its resolution. Resolution measures the width and height of a picture in pixels. These pixels on your monitor are responsible for constructing the image and determining how sharp and clear the image appears. High definition begins at 720p followed by 1080p, 1440p & 4K. A higher resolution results in a sharper and better looking image. A 1080p image contains more than twice the amount of pixels than 720p but the biggest difference becomes visible at 4K resolution which has 8.2 million pixels.
The standard image resolution for most modern games are 720p and 1080p. These games include stunning, detailed, and often realistic looking graphics that look best in higher resolutions. Although increasing the resolution improves picture quality, it can lower frame rate or even cause lagging while gaming. Most story-driven and single-player games are best experienced in higher resolution even if it means sacrificing a few frames.
Does Higher Resolution Lower FPS?
Playing games at a higher resolution does come at a tradeoff with lower frames per second. The lowering of frames per second occurs due to the additional generated pixels on screen. This additional need to draw more pixels requires more processing power & memory, thus lowering your frame rate. The alternative is also true, the lower resolution you choose to run, a greater amount of frames can run in the same time frame.
Why Not Both FPS and Resolution?
It can be confusing at first when you hear that both resolution and frame rate are important but you have to choose one. Ultimately, this comes down to your budget and how much money you have to build an optimized high performance machine. What’s more, sometimes meeting the minimum recommended PC specs is difficult on a budget, so deciding on which to prioritize ensures you get the gaming experience you’re looking for.
Apex Gaming PCs can run triple-A multiplayer games at full resolution with frame rates ranging from 56 FPS to 300+ FPS depending on the model and how you customize it. As most people have a spending limit then you will want to decide what is best for you when it comes to what you want to experience in gaming. The Apex Silver standard model can run games such as Apex Legends and Modern Warfare at 1080p with over 70 FPS, which is above the standard 60 FPS recommended for competitive gaming.
If you’re interested in gaming at 4K resolution with maximum frame rates then the Apex Xtreme with an NVidia GeForce RTX 3070 guarantees to run beautiful looking games without sacrificing frame rate. If the standard model is not enough, you can upgrade to an RTX 3090 that allows you to play with over 250 FPS at high resolutions. You also want to make sure that the image quality matches with your monitor’s capabilities and settings. The Asus Rog Swift is a great addition with any RTX GPU that allows for gaming at 4K.
If you are looking for something in between, you can customize all of the Apex Gaming PC standard models for better visual settings. As long as you have a well-built PC with a strong GPU, you won’t have to compromise your gaming experience.
Written By Ginni Correa
Edited By William Wilson