The fastest gaming monitors you can buy right now sport panels with 360Hz refresh rates, and it takes one hell of a fast graphics card to take full advantage of that kind of speed. Be that as it may, even faster models are on the horizon—up to 480Hz. That's some serious speed.
It will take some time for ultra-fast monitors to reach the market, but the folks at TFT Central say both LG Display (the division that actually makes display screens) and AU Optronics have 480Hz panels on their respective roadmaps.
As it pertains to LG Display, it plans to develop 480Hz panels (1080p) before the end of 2021, and then begin producing them late next year. So in all reality, monitors equipped with 480Hz panels probably won't be out until 2023.
AU Optronics is also a major supplier of display panels, and according to TFT Central, it now lists several faster screens on its product roadmap, including ones that will push 480Hz at 1080p, 360Hz at 1440p, and 240Hz at 4K. Out of those three, 1440p screens running at up to 360Hz will go into production later this year, followed by the other two sometime next year.
By the time 480Hz gaming monitors reach the market, we should have access to even faster GPUs that might actually be able to drive 480 frames per second in less demanding games. AMD, for example, is rumored to be working on a new GPU based on RDNA 3 with triple the number of cores as its current flagship, the Radeon RX 6900 XT.
Meanwhile, there is already chatter about Nvidia's next-generation GeForce RTX 40 series, which could feature GPUs manufactured on a 5-nanometer process, with a flagship offering touting almost double the number of CUDA cores as the GeForce RTX 3090.
And let's not forget about Intel, which is planning to ship its first discrete GPU since Larrabee this year. Assuming it's not a monumental flop (and there is no reason to believe it will be), Intel will have faster GPU hardware next year as well.
Still, the prospect of a 480Hz refresh rate is fairly niche. Even 360Hz monitors are relatively uncommon, in part because it takes such high-end hardware to come anywhere close to their full capabilities. They are mainly beneficial for less demanding esports titles, where faster frames take precedence over everything else.
That said, I'm pretty stoked about seeing higher refresh rates at higher resolutions. The same principle applies—it takes some burly hardware to push faster frame rates at 1440p and especially 4K—but if you've left 1080p in the rear view mirror as I have (my daily driver is a 1440p display), you'll still have access to faster monitors in the not-too-distant future.