A 144Hz monitor is quickly becoming standard for the ideal gaming experience, but avid gamers, nowadays, have their eyes set on 165Hz monitors, which sit comfortably between the admirable 144Hz and the arguable overkill of 240Hz. As evident by its current sold-out status, the PlayStation 5 is in high demand, and while gamers wait for the console to restock, many are looking closely at the PS5’s specs, particularly regarding 165Hz refresh rate support, to ensure the investment is worthwhile.
Unfortunately, the PS5 does not support a 165Hz refresh rate. Instead, it is equipped to support 60 Hz or 120 Hz (meaning your paired screen will refresh 60 or 120 times per second) for 1080p or 4K resolutions. While these lower refresh rates impede or reduce elements of gameplay, they are chosen for reason.
In this article, we will discuss why Sony did not make the PS5 with 165Hz support, but opted for 60 and 120Hz instead, and how this affects the user’s gaming experience comparably. As you read, you’ll learn the importance of refresh rates, what would be required for the PS5 to support 165Hz, and how noticeable the difference is between 165Hz gaming and 60 and 120Hz.
Why the PS5 Does Not Support 165Hz
Because refresh rates are becoming increasingly prioritized, it might be surprising to hear that the PS5 does not support a refresh rate beyond 120Hz; and to be honest, even that is a stretch.
A fair amount of PS5s will struggle to even maintain 120Hz, even with the proper equipment and settings, due to the sheer size and scope of current popular games, especially those with competitive online modes. Instead, most PS5s will function optimally at 60Hz, which is far from ideal for most gamers. So, why is Sony consciously holding their new consoles back when it comes to this spec?
There are two overarching reasons why the PS5 does not support refresh rates above 120Hz. The most influential reason is that Sony has consciously opted to prioritize support for TVs over monitors. Because of this, the PS5 isn’t created with components capable of supporting refresh rates above 120Hz efficiently.
We’ve provided a more in-depth explanation of why prioritizing TVs over monitors matters for gaming, and what component changes Sony would have to make for the PS5 to support over 120Hz in this article, which focuses on 144Hz support.
A briefer explanation is that TVs are incapable of supporting refresh rates over 120Hz, and having a screen connected to your PS5 that can support your ideal refresh rate is key. Most TVs are built for 60Hz, but the amount that can handle 120Hz efficiently is increasing. However, TVs built to support 165Hz are far and few between.
Comparatively, monitors can support refresh rates across the spectrum, from 60Hz to 240Hz and beyond, making them ideal for gaming and contributing significantly to the rise in PC gaming over other popular consoles.
If you want 165Hz support, you will need to have a screen that is built for those refresh rates (or higher, if possible). Since most PS5s are more commonly paired with TVs and Sony has decided to prioritize these screens over monitors, they’ve tailored the PS5’s components to 60 and 120Hz support, so even if you were to connect it to a 165Hz monitor, bottlenecking and other issues would prevent the PS5 from providing 165Hz refresh rates.
60Hz vs. 120Hz vs. 165 Hz Support
In the world of gaming today, most people are shifting towards pairing their consoles with 144Hz monitors for their increased performance over 60Hz and 120Hz televisions and their overall affordability.
While 144Hz is a highly recommended option, competitive gamers are starting to consider the more uncommon 165Hz monitors for that slight 21Hz edge. Of course, when it comes to your PS5, that gap increases considerably between the 165Hz support you want and the 60Hz and 120Hz you’ll get, which drastically affects your gameplay.
The overarching differences between a refresh rate of 165Hz versus 60Hz and 120Hz include:
- Smoother gameplay visuals
- Reduction of lag and movement blur
- Faster response time
If you were to play the same game on three screens side by side, you would notice a profound difference between the 165Hz screen and the 60Hz and 120 Hz screen.
How Refresh Rate Affects Gameplay
Visually, you’d see that the 165Hz screen provides much clearer and crisper visuals, especially if you’re playing fast-paced games prone to screen ghosting.
In terms of gameplay, you’d notice your camera and character movements will feel smoother and faster with 165Hz than the other options, and the reason for this is the disparity in their refresh rates and FPS.
A TV or monitor’s refresh rate is indicative of the number of frames the screen can display per second. Although this is not always synonymous with your FPS, as this depends on various other factors, such as your system’s GPU and CPU, the game you’re playing, etc., the two are very closely linked.
If you were to break these refresh rates down to ms/frame, the gap between them becomes even more evident:
- 60Hz = 16.66ms/frame
- 120Hz= 8.33 ms/frame
- 165Hz = 6.06ms/frame
For every frame on a 60Hz screen, you get 2.0 frames for a 120Hz screen and 2.75 frames on a 165Hz screen, which means your feedback on the latter two is much more immediate. The result is increased responsivity and a reduction of input lag, which means visuals will appear on your screen sooner than on a 60Hz, and your gaming equipment will react to your input faster.
This can make all the difference in competitive games where speed is crucial, although it will be much more evident between a 60Hz screen and a 120Hz or 165Hz screen than between a 120Hz and 165Hz screen.
It’s unfortunate that Sony opted not to design the PS5 with 165Hz support, as this will likely drive competitive gamers to PC and other consoles that allow them to gain the significant edge that a faster refresh rate can permit.
While there will always be casual gamers content with pairing their PS5 with a 60Hz TV without issue, it would be wise for Sony to upgrade to at least 144Hz support for their next console considering the rate that video games are improving and requiring more high-powered components that support superior gameplay.