Response time overdrive allows you to push the monitor’s response time speed (pixel transition time) in order to decrease the trailing/ghosting artifacts behind fast-moving objects.
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Depending on the refresh rate, too strong overdrive can cause pixel overshoot or inverse ghosting.
You will find your monitor’s overdrive settings in its OSD (On-Screen Display) menu, usually under one of the following names: Overdrive, Response Time, TraceFree, or something similar.
In order to explain what response time overdrive is on a monitor, we’ll cover what the response time speed is first.
You can visit our ‘What Does Monitor Response Time Mean?’ article for a more detailed explanation but in short, a monitor’s response time speed indicates how fast a pixel can change from one color to another.
For instance, a 60Hz monitor refreshes the image 60 times per second, so there are 16.67 milliseconds between two refresh cycles.
If a monitor’s response time is slower than that – meaning that a pixel takes longer than 16.67ms to change, it will continue changing in the next frame, and that’s how you get visible trailing behind moving objects on the screen.
For a144Hz monitor, the refresh cycle is 6.94ms, so the response time needs to be faster than that, and so on.
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This is where the response time overdrive, also referred to as RTC (Response Time Compensation), comes into play to push the pixels to transition from one color to another more quickly.
Which Response Time Overdrive Option To Use?
When using FreeSync/G-SYNC, which synchronizes the monitor’s refresh rate with GPU’s frame rates in order to eliminate screen tearing and stuttering, there are a few additional things to keep in mind concerning overdrive.
Gaming monitors with an integrated G-SYNC module have variable overdrive which allows them to change the level of overdrive according to the refresh rate for the optimal performance at any frame/refresh rate.
FreeSync monitors, on the other hand, usually don’t have this ability. So, for example, if you’re running at 144FPS with High overdrive, and your FPS drops to ~60FPS, the overdrive will be too strong for 60Hz/FPS and therefore introduce overshoot. Luckily, this doesn’t happen often.
Some FreeSync models, such as theNixeus EDG27feature Adaptive Overdrive which automatically changes the overdrive preset according to the refresh rate. Although it’s not as effective as G-SYNC’s variable overdrive, it does prevent ghosting and overshoot in certain scenarios.
On the other hand, certain FreeSync monitors cannot even simultaneously run FreeSync and the strongest overdrive option.
In this case, we recommend disabling FreeSync and using High overdrive at higher frame rates or using Medium overdrive and FreeSync at lower frame rates. This will depend on your preference as well though, whether you’re more sensitive to screen tearing or to ghosting.
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Finally, there are FreeSync monitors that have very good overdrive implementation where one mode works perfectly well across the entire refresh rate range, but this is rare, sadly.
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