If you’re a gamer, chances are you’ve probably experienced trailing or ghosting in a video game. Trailing or ghosting happens when your monitor’s refresh rate is faster than its response time. In this article, we are going to explain the concept of what is overdrive on a monitor.

Having a slow response time combined with a higher refresh rate monitors results in a smearing effect or objects leaving behind a blurry trail in the game’s visual artifacts when playing the game.

This phenomenon usually happens in fast-paced games as there is so much happening that the response time fails to match the refresh rate. Ghosting usually happens in fast-paced games. Ghosting is when your monitor pixels are still rendering a previous image when the monitor changes to another newer image.

You will be able to see a blurry trail of the object left behind as the pixels are still struggling to render a newer image. This happens especially with fast-moving objects.

What Is Overdrive On A Monitor

To combat this scenario, manufacturers have come up with a technology called Overdrive. Different manufacturers label Overdrive under unique names such as TraceFree, OD, Response time, and Rampage Response. Whatever the name, overdrive or response time compensation have the same goal, which is to speed up pixel response time. Overdrive was created in order to boost your display’s response time by a few milliseconds in order to avoid any sort of lag or delay.

You may own a 60 Hz monitor. This means that your monitor refreshes the image about 60 times per second. Hence, doing the math, there are 16.67 milliseconds (ms) between each refresh cycle.

If your monitor’s response time is slow such that it takes more than 16.67ms for the pixels to change, the monitor will move onto the next frame leaving a blurry trail of the previous image on the screen which is quite noticeable, especially if you’re an experienced gamer. Though, experiencing trailing or ghosting does not always mean that your monitor’s response time is not up to the mark.

This could also depend upon the game you’re playing such that heavy action-based games that tend to progress fast while also being visually intense would cause you to have a higher chance of experiencing trailing or ghosting.

Although, this does not mean that there is a problem with the game but that it may be time to look for a display with a faster response rate.

What Is Overdrive On A Monitor

How To Turn On/Off Overdrive

Simply, go to the On-Screen Display menu. Now, different manufacturers have come up with unique names for their overdrive settings.

Once you’ve found the overdrive option that your manufacturer has set, all you need to do is simply toggle it ON or OFF from the drop-down menu and click Apply.

How To Adjust Overdrive Settings?

Different manufacturers have varying scales for adjusting overdrive settings. You either find settings such as low, medium-high or modes such as weak, medium, strong, or options such as slow, normal, and fast. Some manufacturers provide a scale with ranges from 0 up to 100 that you can increase in increments of 20.

It is recommended that normal to medium is the best overdrive configuration you could set on your display. Although overdrive settings immensely improve your gaming experience, though, it does not always mean that having your overdrive set to the maximum settings would give you consistent performance at all times. Overdrive settings set to the max could also result in pixel overshoot.

A pixel overshoot looks similar to a blurry trail or ghosting except for the fact that the trail left behind is often white and looks more of a highlight than a smear.

Overdrive And Variable Refresh Rate

There are two variable refresh rate technologies, FreeSync and G-Sync. These variable refresh rate technologies synchronize your monitor’s refresh rate with the graphic cards frame per second.

This prevents any stuttering or screen-tearing during your gameplay.

Geforce comes with G-sync chips built inside their monitors. G-sync works by giving variable overdrive. What this means is that G-sync changes your overdrive settings accordingly to your monitor’s refresh rate. This ensures that you get optimal performance at any refresh rate and thus a smoother gameplay experience. On the other hand, FreeSync monitors do not have the whole variable overdrive thingy.

So let’s suppose you have a 144 Hz monitor with your overdrive settings set to max, in such a scenario, if your frame rate drops to let’s say 60 frames per second, then your overdrive will be too strong and would not be able to support such a low frame rate thus introducing overshoot.

Some FreeSync models do have variable overdrive capability but it is not as efficient as the G-sync models. There are some models that cannot even tolerate both FreeSync capability and maximum overdrive settings simultaneously. But in certain scenarios, it does offer enough effectiveness to prevent inconveniences such as ghosting or overshoot.

It is recommended here that you either disable FreeSync and continue to use your overdrive at the maximum settings or that you set FreeSync to work with medium overdrive settings, as this will get the job done fair enough.

Is Overdrive Meant For You?

If you are playing games that do not require overdrive, it is better if you do not use overdrive. Continuing to use overdrive in such a case would only cause you to experience pixel overshoot.

Also if you’ve bought a display with poor overdrive optimization from the manufacturer’s end, then instead of getting a fast response time you’ll be left with poorer display settings. It is strongly recommended that you use an overdrive with fast-paced action-heavy and graphics intense games as this will enhance your visual experience and your gameplay experience as well.


What Should Overdrive Be Set To On A Monitor?

Depending on the type of graphics you’re using, different monitors have different Overdrive settings. In order for your computer to display the data smoothly and without artifacts, we advise you to set it high enough. In all other cases, set it to 60 Hz or higher.

Is Overdrive Good For Monitor?

Most users prefer overdrive In their displays. Overdrive is a standard technique that enables the pixels to be pushed more forcefully, improving picture quality. It enhances the picture’s clarity by making the image clearer and more distinct.
Since overdrive is beneficial for displays, it can enhance the visual quality. When you right-click on the desktop and choose “Screen Resolution,” the settings of your monitor will appear, allowing you to modify the overdrive mode.

Does Overdrive Cause Input Lag?

There is minimal to no input lag on a typical 60Hz panel. Overdrive functions to raise the monitor’s refresh rate above 60Hz. This increase in refresh rate doesn’t create any extra input latency because the frames per second are already more than the refresh rate of the display.

Is FreeSync Good For Gaming?

AMD created a technique called FreeSync to reduce tearing and stuttering in video games. This technique operates by synchronizing a display’s refresh rate and GPU frame rate. In other words, the GPU will attempt to dynamically modify the frame rate to match the refresh rate of the display. Because frame rates frequently dip below the refresh rate of a display, this is advantageous to gamers. Screen tearing is a result of this, and it is bad for gaming since it reduces the enjoyment you get from playing. You need a FreeSync-capable display and FreeSync-capable graphics cards in order to use FreeSync with a monitor.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a gamer who holds his gameplay experience to dear heart, then it is strongly recommended that you use overdrive, as this will significantly improve your skills and competitiveness.

It is recommended that when buying a monitor, you should check the specs to see whether it is overdrive compatible or not. If you’re still experiencing blurs even with the overdrive settings turned ON, it’s time you consider an upgrade to a display that can provide you with a good response time.

Mehtab Ayyub

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