It’s easy to get caught up with buying the latest monitor that gives the highest resolution– or buying the CPU or GPU with the highest specs.
But what many people forget when building their gaming PC is the cables that connect all their equipment.
And the cables that you need happen to be HDMI.
We can’t blame you – understanding these terms can be very confusing. And if it fits the port, what’s there to worry about?
But it isn’t always that simple, so we’re here to help you understand the basics of the HDMI models and which ones you need if you have a 240Hz monitor.
What is a refresh rate?
Before we look at HDMI cables compatible with certain refresh rates, let’s talk about what a refresh rate is first.
A refresh rate, denoted as Hertz (Hz), is the number of times your monitor changes the display in one second.
So, for example, if your monitor has a 240Hz refresh rate, it means that it refreshes the image 240 times in one second.
But keep in mind that your monitor alone shouldn’t be the only equipment having this refresh rate.
If you want to reap the benefits of a monitor that has 240Hz, then your CPU, GPU, and HDMI cables should be able to support it too.
If not, the refresh rate you’ll have is the lowest common denominator supported by these four computer parts.
Does HDMI 1.4 support 240Hz?
Unfortunately, HDMI 1.4 isn’t built to support 240Hz.
This HDMI model is part of the first generation of HDMI cables that are still popular because they are cheaper, and many television models still operate at 30-60Hz.
But as you’ve seen, it wasn’t able to adapt as fast with the increasing specs of gaming desktops (which reach 240Hz).
Based on the capabilities of HDMI 1.4, it can only reach up to a maximum of 144Hz for non-4K displays like 1080p and 1440p. For 4K displays, it can only support up to 50Hz.
So if your gaming monitor has a refresh rate of 240, then your HDMI 1.4 cable won’t be able to support it.
In effect, what you’ll experience in your monitor is just the max capability of the HDMI cable, which is either 144Hz or 50Hz.
We know it’s a great waste for the features of your monitor!
Does HDMI 2.0, 2.1 support 240Hz?
The beauty of the new generation HDMI cables is that they can support 240Hz.
HDMI 2.0, which is the first new-generation HDMI cable, can support 240Hz at 1080p.
This is a big jump from its predecessor HDMI 1.4 that can only do 144Hz at 1080p.
On the other hand, the HDMI 2.1 can do 240Hz for both 1080p and 1440p resolutions.
This simply means that the 2.1 version can support higher refresh rates on monitors with higher resolutions among the two HDMI cables.
If we were to choose, we would always go for the higher HDMI version as it offers the least compression, faster refresh rates, and higher bandwidth capability.
However, if your monitor only supports 1080p, HDMI 2.0 is a more compatible option.
This is because the 2.1’s additional capabilities will just be wasted on a monitor that will not show 1440p.
What HDMI cable do I need for 240Hz?
There are two HDMI cables that you can use if you have a 240 refresh rate – 2.0 and 2.1.
The HDMI 2.0 can give a 240 refresh rate if you’re using a 1080-pixel monitor. But if you’re only using a 1200-pixel monitor, expect to have up to 200Hz only.
On the other hand, HDMI 2.1 allows a refresh rate of more than 480Hz on a 1080-pixel monitor (or 2K monitors). This is twice as much as the refresh rate an HDMI 2.0 can do.
If you’re using a 4K monitor, however, it’s only up to 240Hz. Nonetheless, this is already a very fast refresh rate that is suitable for gaming.
But even if the HDMI 2.1 can be used in 4K monitors, there’s no harm in using it for a 1080-pixel monitor.
Just don’t expect it to perform at a 240Hz refresh rate as a 1080p only has a max refresh rate of 240Hz.
What we’re trying to say here is to prepare to waste the 240Hz capacity of your HDMI 2.1 if you only have a 1080-pixel monitor.
Is 240Hz better than 144Hz for gaming?
When it comes to refresh rates, the higher, the better, so you should only be considering 144Hz and 240Hz.
Besides, these two refresh rates, although both high, have slightly different performances.
Let us put it this way.
A 144Hz only changes frames 144 times in one second. If you’re playing regular multiplayer, table-top games, this refresh rate is already excellent.
But if you’re going to the major leagues, 144 frames per second is not enough.
Aside from the fact that your competition will have 240Hz monitors, there are certain movements you won’t be able to catch when you have a relatively low refresh rate.
What does that mean?
When what you see on your screen changes 144 times per second, you will be slower to react than someone who sees their graphics change 240 times.
This is why people say that changing from a 240Hz monitor to a 144Hz can affect your gameplay.
But only ever so slightly.
For some people who are coming from a 144Hz, the change to a 240Hz is very subtle. It’s more obvious if you’re coming from a 60Hz monitor to a 144Hz.
So if you don’t notice the difference between a 144Hz and a 240Hz just yet, it’s okay. The differences will be more obvious if you play fast-paced role-playing games.
Yes, HDMI cables support 240Hz refresh rates.
If you have this type of refresh rate for your gaming monitor, look for either an HDMI 2.0 or an HDMI 2.1 cable since these are the only HDMI cables supporting 240Hz.
Having these two cables will allow you to maximize the features of a high refresh rate because your cable can support the bandwidth needed for your monitor.
Vance is a dad, former software engineer, and tech lover. Knowing how a computer works becomes handy when he builds Pointer Clicker. His quest is to make tech more accessible for non-techie users. When not working with his team, you can find him caring for his son and gaming.