The Big Question: Resolution Or Frame-Rate

Are we doing this?

Dear god we're gonna do this.

I mean the answer is pretty straight forward to me. There's a trade-off, but I definitely care more about having a stable frame-rate than a game running at a super high resolution.


There are certain types of games where I'd rather have them run at 30 frames per second instead of 60 for extra detail. A game like, say, Uncharted 4. Story driven games.

But fighters? Your Street Fighters and your Mortal Kombats and whatnot. It's pretty much essential that they run smoothly.

Your thoughts?


    Frame rate. Games feel 'wrong' if they are anything lower than 60, and even up to 120 doesn't feel quite right anymore.

    But I always buy on the bleeding edge of hardware, so I can usually at least drive it at decent fps.

    For me it all comes down to responsiveness, that and horrific flashbacks to when more than one explosion went off at the same time in GoldenEye 64.

    IMO TotalBiscuit nailed it when he suggested an option for current gen consoles where if you wanted to you could play a game at 720p for the benefit of increased FPS, or play it at 1080p\4k if you wanted the better visuals.

      It's called a PC...
      Jokes aside, Totalbiscuit is right about consoles being able to have that option as well, games like PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds on PC benefit from being able to turn down the resolution and running at a higher framerate. It also means players in fast games are less likely to be motion sick, something which I am unfortunately afflicted by occasionally.


    Sure, the extra resolution may make the image look nice but if it means the game runs like a slide slow it really defeats the purpose.

    It depends on the game. Years ago, i'd have taken a higher resolution over frame-rate, but as I'm getting older, and my reflexes aren't what they used to be, frame-rate it is.

    I need all the help I can get :P

    I want examples.

    Post Youtube videos to sway me one way or the other.

    I am fine it a game runs at 30 - Zelda BOTW runs beautifully and it's not an issue.

    Obviously other games you want to run at 60, especially fighting games.

    It really depends on the game. And it needs to be stable.

    The game I've spent the most time with in the last year is a DS title I play on a 3DS XL forced into original resolution. For those playing at home, that means I'm playing a 256x192 resolution game on a 124mm screen.

    So yeah, my vote is for frame rate.


    1080 is the lowest acceptable resolution on a tv however, dynamic resolution to maintain only 30 fps is a joke and part of the reason my console is largely only used when mates are over.

    por que no los dos?

      I agree. Once I get to a minimum frame rate of 30, my preference goes to seeing nicer resolutions. For really fast-paced games I reckon 60fps would be prefereable to resolutions over 1080p. So yeah, both (more or less).

      Absolutely. Also I don't think it's a comparison to make anymore. Modern LCD screens are not designed to look good at anything but their native pixel-count of resolution (unless they have nice built in internal low-res filters, but that's a band-aid).

      So to me, the resolution being what the technology requires is a baseline, then I'll chase ufter stable framerates.

      Because, when you increase one, the other lowers for any system. You are asking for a gear that has more torque and also goes faster.

    Consistency of Frame-rate is more important than higher and higher frame-rates. Given a specific hardware set (even PC, unless you upgrade your PC for every game that comes out), a developer can choose which frame-rate to target and decide on fidelity depending on that decision.

    Stable frame rate at a 60 minimum is more critical than resolution or graphics details. Frame rates below 60 on a PC tend to give me a headache (I can handle it on TV, I guess because it's much further away).

    I hope you've been tracking trends with the responses over these articles, I'd be curious to see if there's been much of a shift over time.

    25 January 2014: Do You Care About Resolution And Frame Rate In Games? (Kirk Hamilton)
    29 January 2014: The Big Question: Does Frame Rate Matter To You? (Mark Serrels)
    5 March 2014: The Big Question: Resolution or Frame Rate (Mark Serrels)
    6 August 2015: Tell Us Dammit: Does Frame Rate And Resolution Matter To You? (Mark Serrels)
    31 May 2017: The Big Question: Resolution or Frame Rate (Mark Serrels)

    PS: I'm disappointed you missed a 2016 data point, Mark. For shame!

      Frame rates below 60 on a PC tend to give me a headache

      I actually got a 144 Hz monitor for my work for similar reason. For some reason, staring at a screen all day at 60 Hz wasn't enough but 120 or higher seems to have addressed my eye strain.

    Join us live as Serrels, bored on a Tuesday, decides to fire up the internet with something not fairy bread or Tim-Tam related.

    Probably due to the fact that i really got into gaming with my N64 and I've never had the luxury of owning a top of the line PC, neither stress me out anywhere near most of the commenters I see here.

    As long as there's a consistent 30 fps, I have no qualms at all. I still don't own either a full HD TV or computer monitor, and I'm not planning on upgrading till a device fizzes out on me.

    I'm glad my standards are so low, as I have no issue revisiting games on any of the games on my old consoles, even games that people bang on about being 'unplayable' now.

    I trust in my ps4 to tell me what i want.

      "You do not want to play a game, why don't you sit down and watch this update download instead."

    Both are nice but frame rate is my pick.

    Frame rate. I'll take slightly pixelated visuals if it means removing screen tearing and juttering.

    I played through the witcher 3, am my 4K tv at 30fps. I have to say I was very happy with it and enjoyed every minute. But battlefield I have to play on my 120hz monitor. So what I am trying to say is that it depends on the game!


    I'm currently playing Horizon on the 'high resolution' mode (PS4 Pro) and I have no damn idea what the frame rate it. It's bloody gorgeous and smooth as silk. Couldn't care if it was 30 or 60, it just works.

    These days I genuinely don't care. Once you've hit 1080p and a smooth framerate of 30+ fps no increase is going to improve my experience much.

    Both and neither.
    Why is there no choice for high settings. As in id prefer 1080p at high or ultra than 1440p at medium (assuming that both of those worked out to running at same fps) so resolution is kind of only half of the 'nice graphics' side, and in my opinion the less important side.
    Framerate for me just needs to be a completely solid above 30, it definitely does feel nicer at 60fps plus but if there are settings i can turn up that make the game look substantially better id go with those rather than keep the 60fps.
    so probably for me it goes. Settings (as long as they are actually improving looks, not the ultra settings that do nothing but destroy performance) > framerate > resolution (as long as not below 1080p on 1080p monitor)

    Last edited 31/05/17 1:53 pm

    People that complain about frame rates less than 60 like they're getting their eyes gouged out are worse than the audiophile d-bags who reckon music is unlistenable if it's not played on vinyl. Maybe it's different on PC where frame rate drops put you at a disadvantage compared to others but for me anything's fine as long as it's steady.

    Amazing high-res visuals stay in my memory long after poor frame rate is forgotten.

      I enjoy being told the games I'm playing and enjoying are unplayable, so dramatic lol

    Both. 1080p and at least 60fps. Cut other effects until you can make it happen.

    Console devs, if you can't bring yourself to just build around less demanding tech to begin with, please provide a "the shadows and shaders look like trash and we turned off most of the lighting effects and post-processing but it runs at a sensible framerate and resolution for the current year."

    I legitimately think that MGS3 in the HD Collection on PS3 looks better overall than 90% of the games on my PS4 because it actually has a reasonable resolution and framerate.

    Frame rate. I barely see much difference between 720 and 1080, but there's a hell of a lot of difference between 30 and 60fps. Though I've taken to playing Overwatch on a virtual screen in my Rift, since in there I can force it up to 90 and it looks so much better.

    Story and gameplay

    If I have to answer, a practical balance.

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