What is the difference between fps and Hz?

When it comes to films, series and video games and the playback of these media on displays, monitors and televisions, the two abbreviations fps and Hz come together. These stand for frames per second and Hertz. At first inexperienced layperson's view, it could be the same thing. But if you look at the exact use of the terms and abbreviations, then the difference between fps and Hz clear. In this guide, I will explain to you what is used for what and how the respective values ​​are related to each other or are brought together. This is also about Vsync. 

What is the difference between frames per second (fps) and Hertz (Hz)? How are the values ​​related and how does Vsync help with rendering issues? You can find answers here!

What is the difference between frames per second (fps) and Hertz (Hz)? How are the values ​​related and how does Vsync help with rendering issues? You can find answers here!

What does fps / frames per second stand for?

Frames per second is the frame rate of a medium that is output by a graphics card / graphics processor. There are fixed values ​​for the frames per second - about 24, 30, 60 or 120 frames per second for films, series, videos and / or video games. In the case of the latter, they can also be dynamic depending on the utilization of the hardware. The more frames packed into one second, the smoother movements become. So the abbreviation fps is used for media that is output by a device's graphics card or graphics processing unit (GPU).

What does Hz / Hertz stand for?

Hertz refers to the refresh rate or frequency of an output device. Years ago, for example, values ​​of 60 or 100 Hz were considered very good for televisions. When buying a gaming monitor nowadays, you pay attention to values ​​such as 120 Hz or 144 Hz. Especially with fast game events, such as racing games or shooters, the monitor should have a high refresh rate in order to be able to handle the highest possible fps numbers. Because the images supplied by the graphics card are only displayed if the selected output device is designed for them.

Fast graphics card, slow monitor: fps > Hz

If the graphics card delivers too many frames per second (fps) because the value is greater than the maximum refresh rate of the monitor (Hz), this can lead to display problems. While one half of the image above shows one frame, the other half of the image below already shows the next frame - for example when a 120 Hz monitor is used for a medium with 60 fps. There is a solution Vsync, a graphics option that can be enabled in many modern games. This vertical synchronization holds back frames so that the correct number is delivered, depending on the monitor used. 

Slow graphics card, fast monitor: fps < Hz

The reverse case occurs z. For example, if the graphics card delivers 60 fps and the monitor is set to display at 120 Hz. However, this is less of a problem than the case presented above. Because the values ​​shown simply show the same image twice in a row. If a video, stream or video game is delivered by the graphics card at 120 fps on a 30 Hertz display, the individual images are simply displayed four times in a row. This is not visible to users and no special option needs to be selected to ensure smooth playback.

Sources: 1, 2

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