144hz VS 4k Monitors – What’s The Difference?

The main difference between a 144hz monitor and a 4K monitor is when you say 144hz, you are referring to the refresh rate of the monitor being 144 frames per second.

When you are talking about a 4k monitor, you are referring to the max resolution of the monitor.

Both terms are completely different, however, it is a valid question as there are very few 144hz 4k monitors, so people often have to choose between a 144hz monitor at 1080p/1440p, or a 4k monitor at 60hz.

Key Takeaways:

If you’re looking for more frames per second on your monitor, then a 144hz monitor is the way to go. If you enjoy watching movies and videos, or want to just more resolution, then go for a 4K monitor.

144hz and 4k explained

A side by side of 2 different monitors

A 144hz monitor as mentioned earlier is the refresh rate functionality within the monitor. Hz (Hertz) refers to the times per second the image refreshes on your monitor.

If you buy yourself a 144hz monitor it basically means that the image refreshes 144 times per second (versus regular monitors which tend to be 60hz).

A 4k monitor on the other hand just means that it can support a resolution of 4k which is 3840 x 2160 pixels. You can buy 4k monitors in 60hz, 1220hz, 144hz, or even 240hz if you really wanted to.

Is it necessary? No but nice to have. If you want to upgrade your setup with a flashy new monitor and have a lot of money to dish out, then why not get yourself a fancy one.

Personally, I would get a regular 144hz monitor because I find that the prices are too high for a decent 144hz that supports 4k as well.

Differences when gaming

A PC monitor with a shooter game playing

If your current monitor is 60hz, a brand new 144hz (or better) monitor will feel like you just entered a new world.

The difference in frames per second is so big that you will notice it instantly. Just make sure to test your framerate first using a site like TestUFO to ensure you have your setting right.

If you are not seeing the correct frames per second on TestUFO, be sure to check your monitor settings by right clicking on your desktop and selecting your display settings. If you don’t see 144hz as a selectable option, it could be that you need to buy yourself a newer HDMI cable.

Fans of fast paced games such as Call of Duty, PUBG, Fortnite, and even MOBA games would opt for more frames, whereas fans of slower paced games like World of Warcraft and other MMORPGs would enjoy higher resolutions more.

At the end of the day, the type of monitor you buy depends heavily on what you enjoy doing on your PC.

System requirements differences

An expensive Gigabyte graphics card with 3 fans

First of all, can your PC handle 4k? You want to make sure that your PC isn’t from the stone age and that you have at least a 3070 and 6700xt if you want to run modern games at 4k smoothly.

Non-gamers will have no problems running at 4k with any semi modern graphics card so you only need a decent card if you are actually gaming.

For 144hz, you just need to have a newer HDMI cable (HDMI 2.0 or 2.1). It’s actually quite difficult to differentiate which cable you are getting, so be sure to read reviews from real users before you guy one. I personally purchased one from Amazon which was listed as HDMI 2.1 but ended up being HDMI 1.4… Sad times.

Panel types and response times

The different types of panel types on monitors

There are 3 panel types that you need to keep an eye out for. VA, IPS, and TN are all different in their own way but they each have their own pros and cons.

VA is poor on response time (4-5ms), decent for color, great for contrast, and has a great 178/178 viewing angel.

IPS has a pretty good response time (1-2ms), fantastic color, decent contrast, and a great 178/178 viewing angle. Overall IPS is the best panel type to choose from.

TN on the other hand is amazing when it comes to response times (<1ms), but terrible with colors, decent with contrast, and the worst when it comes to the viewing angle (170/160).

Pro gamers that play shooters or fighting games virtually all opt for TN panels due to the response times.

Price differences

A woman holding up $1 bills

This is where it gets tricky. You can buy a 144hz monitor that supports 1440p for around $200-300. You can also buy a 4k monitor for $200-300, but it’s most likely capped at 60hz.

The next level up would be 4k monitors at 144hz, which immediately see a huge price jump to $600-1000.

Is this really worth it? For some people, yes but for most people, no.

Just consider what you like doing on your PC and then make a choice between one or the other. Don’t bother with getting both because in a few years prices will drop significantly anyway.

To make it simple.

Enjoy watching movies, playing slower paced games like MMORPGs, or binge Netflix daily? Get yourself a 4k monitor.

Enjoy playing fast paced games like shooters, MOBA’s, racing games or anything slightly competitive? Get yourself a 144hz monitor.

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Article by Jake

Hey I'm Jake! Writer for various gaming and technology blogs. I also enjoy a little bit of golf in my free time as well as gaming. I really enjoy competitive games and I hate to admit it, but I have really been enjoying Wild Rift on my phone as I get the League experience without the rage. Usually you'll find me on Steam though exploring the many competitive options out there, whether that is a Battle Royale game or a MOBA game.