The simple answer to that is not a big difference. Think about it, 165fps is just 21 frames per second more than 144. That’s a meagre 13% increase. Most people aren’t likely to notice those extra frames, but the clincher is that if you’re getting a new monitor for gaming, you should know that 165Hz is basically the new 144Hz. So might as well go with that!
However, if you already have a good 144Hz gaming monitor that meets your needs and allows your games the room they need to fully breathe, then there’s no need to upgrade to 165Hz.
Lots of panels in recent months and looking ahead are natively clocked at 165Hz from the factory. These are very similar to panels that previously ran at 144Hz, but manufacturers like BenQ found that raising the refresh rate was possible without running into any timing, frequency, or reliability issues. And thus, 165Hz monitors have become a reality, usually without costing more than 144Hz.
In the true spirit of “why not?”, 165Hz gaming monitors offer extra headroom for higher frame rates. Because there’s no such thing as too many frames per second, an extra 21 frames compared to 144Hz can only be a good thing. And who knows, maybe for your gaming habits it could make some difference. Perhaps you’re a very capable competitive player. Having an added 13% refresh could help with general responsiveness and accuracy. It certainly won’t hurt.
This is a given, as 165Hz can display 144Hz just fine, but there’s no need to. The difference between the two refresh rates is small, so a GPU that handles 144Hz will do 165Hz with little difficulty. This applies in particular to 1080p. As a rule, while 144Hz is fine on 165Hz, it’s still better to set everything as close to the native specs of the monitor as possible. But 165Hz doesn’t have neat multipliers as do native 60Hz and 120Hz panels, being essentially a “custom” refresh setting. That allows for more flexibility, and great support for 144Hz and other refresh rates.
To reiterate, if you’re shopping for a new gaming monitor, then why not get a 165Hz one? It’s faster than 144Hz and a more recent development, meaning the 165Hz monitor is likely to have more refined tech features overall. To everyone with a 144Hz monitor you’re happy with at the moment, we say there’s no hurry to upgrade, as those 21 extra frames aren’t that big a deal.