What is an Overdrive on a Monitor

Most people do not know what is overdrive on a monitor and what it is used for. It is a term well known to gamers and video developers. It comes with a variety of names for different manufacturers with all of them serving the same purpose. It is sometimes referred to as response time compensation, response overdrive, OD, etc. Before getting into a discussion about what is overdrive on a monitor is and how it works, we will first describe a few associated terms to get a better understanding, in the following sections.


The term “ghosting” refers to the appearance of fuzzy images on your LCD panel. It’s due to two factors: a slow response time and a fast-paced game. For example, you are playing a combat-style or a racing game and the response time of your display is slow then some blurs or smears will be caused. When the display switches to the new image, the pixels from the old image aren’t totally transformed. To put it another way, remnants of the old image have been left behind or are still evolving. Due to this reason, the image looks so smudgy and messy resulting in visual distortion.

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Response Time:

The main cause of ghosting on screens, as you may know, is poor response time. The time that is taken by the pixel to change its colour specifically to different shades of grey, is called response time. It’s measured in milliseconds and often ranges between 1 and 5 milliseconds. The speed of changing pixels colors is inversely proportional to response time i.e, the faster the speed smaller the response time. Response time should be smaller in order to avoid ghosting.

Does Overdrive Increase Response Time?

Overdrive is a feature that pushes the monitor’s capabilities in order to compensate for ghosting and motion blur, reducing their effects. To put it another way, you go into overdrive when you want to improve your response time. It aids in the sharpness of moving objects and ensures that trailing and ghosting effects are removed, resulting in a clearer vision. Furthermore, the primary goal of overdrive is to speed up the response time in order to make the moving image and fast-paced motion smooth and sleek.

How Overdrive Works: Is LCD Overdrive Bad?

There are microscopic crystals, in LCD monitors, which allow light to pass through them depending on the voltage applied to them. And it’s at this point that we notice the colors on the monitor. Since these crystals are actual, therefore, they must relocate from one location to another, which takes time. When the overdrive setting is enabled, crystals receive a voltage that is much faster. Because of it, the color of the pixel changes at a faster rate. This is also referred to as ‘overvolting.’ And that’s how ‘overdrive’ improves your monitor’s response time. Overdrive is a must to improve the response time.

Overdrive Settings and Usage:

There are different options for OD settings for different manufacturers. Some manufacturers use 3 mode settings of Strong/High, Medium, or Weak/Low. Some manufactures use OD levels ranging from 0 to 100. And some manufacturers use modes such as slow, normal, fast, faster. Some monitors even come with an option of disabling OD settings.

The key goal here is to set the overdrive level such that the monitor can display excellent colors as rapidly as possible while minimizing trailing and ghosting while preventing ‘overshooting.’ When you set your overdrive settings too high, you have a phenomenon known as ‘overshoot’, which negatively impacts visual performance. Extreme high OD settings can cause inverse ghosting effects or inverse OD artifacts, whereas very low OD settings can cause ghosting and trailing effects. That is why we need to set the overdrive in a moderate manner to make it work accurately according to our requirements.

Should Overdrive be Used?

For smooth gaming, one should take advantage of this feature if he wants to reduce trailing, ghosting and motion blur, etc along with the fast pixel transitions. Enabling OD with low rates however might not be beneficial but again, it depends upon one’s requirement and monitor. For example, if a monitor does not have ghosting or trailing effects by default, then there is no need to enable OD. While some monitors have very poor OD settings or less optimization options. Simply expressed, it is dependent on your monitor and your needs.

Final Thoughts & Tips: what is Overdrive on a Monitor?

Every display monitor has its own set of features and functions, particularly the more modern ones that offer a variety of smart options and settings. And if you can comprehend them, you will undoubtedly make your use of the display monitor more worthwhile and successful. To summarize, the overdrive is what increases the response time, which is why you don’t see any ghosting or trailing on the screen. This function makes the display ever so smooth and perceptible with the fast motion and moving object. Make careful, however, that the limit does not damage any hardware in the process.

It’s worth noting that, while a monitor’s Overdrive grey-to-grey reaction time may improve, the black-to-white transition of the pixels improves only somewhat. Video noise is known to be caused by overdrive, especially when there is a small color change. Because the shades of the colors involved in the transition are so similar, Overdrive settings that create a considerable change in the value of the pixels cause the pixels to behave erratically, affecting color reproduction.

While overdrive is a wonderful way to speed up response time, you should avoid utilizing it on games that don’t have any ghosting. If you buy a display with poor overdrive optimization, you’ll end up with bad display settings rather than a higher response rate.

If you’re still getting blurs despite the overdrive settings, it’s time to upgrade your monitor to one that can provide you with the response speed you need for your games and movies. Fortunately, since the response time is clearly available in the unit’s specifications, you can always ask the manufacturer about the main reason behind it.

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