What Is Overdrive On a Monitor

The most common question is What Is Overdrive On a Monitor? So basically, monitors (and TVs) use a technology called “overdrive” to help reduce ghosting and streaking on the screen. Essentially, overdrive is a method of speeding up pixel response times by sending more voltage to the pixels.

Monitors that include this feature can shorten image display time and will generally be rated as having faster refresh rates.

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The important thing to remember is that not all overdrive settings are the same. Different manufacturers use different types of overdrive, and some are better than others. How well an over-driven monitor performs will depend on how it is designed, so there can be significant differences in quality between models from different companies. You will need to decide what level of overdrive quality is acceptable to you. Some people don’t mind mild streaking or ghosting, while others will not tolerate it at all.

Some models are better than others in this regard, however, so be sure to investigate thoroughly before buying!

Overdrive technology should not be confused with other marketing terms such as response time, the response time of a pixel, gray to gray response time, or refresh rates. These terms are sometimes (incorrectly) used interchangeably in various advertisements and can be very confusing.

overdrive monitor

I will break down the main terminologies that you should know for overdrive on a monitor.

What is Ghosting?

Blurred images that you see on your monitor screen are ghosting. Ghosting is the result of lag, which occurs when something (such as your mouse) passes by your monitor’s refresh rate. The Overdrive setting on your monitor might fix it for you, but if you are facing this problem so drastically even after enabling the overdrive feature. Then probably the best solution would be to wait out till it’s the time of the year for a monitor upgrade.

Basically, overdrive is the feature that was introduced in the early 2000s to fix this ghosting issue on monitors. We know that now there is more than one type of technology available right now to fix this issue. So if you are facing any sort of difficulty with your monitor then before upgrading your computer hardware first update your monitor with the latest drivers and enable Overdrive.

What Is Response Time?

The time required to react to the signal. If the pixels in your monitor require 21ms before starting to change the color, you would say that it has a 21ms response time.

Good response times are around 8-9ms and if it’s much lower than this, in general, they can cause ghosting images in fast-moving images in video games.

What is Overdrive?

Overdrive is a technology used in G-Sync and FreeSync monitors that allow for variable refresh rates. It’s based on the behavior of CRTs, which could display variable frame rates without any problems. With LCD’s (and to a degree, with current G-sync/FreeSync implementations), this isn’t possible; hence why we’re stuck with fixed refresh rates.

Overdrive aims to solve this problem by temporally tricking the monitor into believing it has a variable refresh rate signal. It does this by applying very brief alterations in voltage, over and over again at an extremely high speed (this is how “over-” comes into play). The monitor’s internal logic then adjusts its own refresh rate to match.

How Do You Turn On, Off, or Adjust Overdrive?

Some monitors offer a feature which they call ‘overdrive,’ and in some cases, it is the same as over scan (here’s another article about that) or pixel orbiter. Both of those articles describe how to use the monitor’s on-screen menu system, if available, to turn them off or adjust their behavior when turned on.

Several people have asked us about overdrive, so we decided to take a look at how it works on some of the displays we own.

How It Works

To understand what overdrive does, you first need to know that almost all LCD panels use something called ‘display lag’ to handle transitions between images. There are countless types of display lag, but the main thing to understand is that they are all bad for gaming.

Display lag occurs when pixels are allowed to remain black or unchanging for a certain amount of time after their corresponding pixels have changed on-screen. There are many sources of display lag depending on how the monitor refreshes and scans out data with its various electronics, but the end result is always a blurred image with objects displaying odd colors and incorrect motion. This is what we mean when we say that LCDs do not handle motion well.

The simplest type of overdrive function simply forces pixels to change as soon as data arrives from the graphics card. In many cases, this means that they will switch immediately from one color to another, or quickly go from black to white. What this does are force pixels to stay black or white long enough that they are actually on for at least part of each refresh cycle.

Relevant Read:Is 60hz Enough For Gaming?

Which Overdrive Settings Should You Use?

Choosing an overdrive setting is a matter of personal preference. Some people really like the look of crisp, sharp images without any overshoot artifacts. Others prefer to trade off some level of ghosting for less brightness and sharper-looking colors. If you are not sure which one you want, start with the Minimum or Medium setting first and experiment from there.

Make sure to disable overdrive if you notice any image quality problems or are bothered by flicker, even from the Minimum setting. You can also try enabling ULMB (Ultra Low Motion Blur), which is a strobe backlight feature that further reduces motion blur and helps to clear up moving images. This tends to be more effective at reducing ghosting that overdrive.

Note: Some monitors do not offer any user control over the overdrive setting and simply use the factory default setting. If you cannot change the overdrive setting on your monitor, don’t worry because that simply means that no overdrive is applied, and the default setting will be used.


Hope this article helped you, if you still have any queries you can comment down below or have any feedback do let me know. If you like this article, do share it with your friends.

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James Robert

James is a tech blogger, and he is in the blogging industry for a very long time. He is very passionate about the gaming industry, that’s the reason James only focused on gaming pcs, monitors, and their components. He has full expertise in this niche, which makes him the best blogger in the tech niche. The only key to success for him is to be up-to-date with all the latest updates in technology (gaming industry).

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