What Is Overdrive On A Monitor And How To Turn It On And Off?

A Smoother and advanced quality display screen also has some backend functionality that eventually affects the affair of your display. If you are planning to buy a display monitor for your game playing adventure you need to keep in mind a number of features and effects pertaining to how a display works to produce a better final performance.

While you may know about the resolution, display size and the best manufacturer of the monitor, you might not know the technical parts of your display screen like response time overdrive, response time, refresh rate etc

Playing a certain game with the pre-set response time can be a drive a bit more. This can be a lot more intriguing when you have total control in your hands and make it adaptive. However, if you want to give a boost up touch to the response time, that’s where the overdrive comes to help. 

Examiner overdrive is a commodity that not only sounds specialized but it’s indeed, to some extent. Thus, we brought you this article with fully brainstormed information. This article will help you out, if you are getting confused between the overdrive and response time relation.

Before knowing about the overdrive, we first need to know about some of the things that are related to overdrive such as ghosting, and response time. So, without wasting any time let’s dive into an article.

What is Ghosting?

Ghosting is known as the blurred images that you see on your LCD screen. It is caused by things – a very fast game, and slow response time. But who wants to condemn their games for causing the ghosting? Ideally, if the display’s response time is fast enough, this would not be a problem for you.

However, you can still experience a few blurs and smears here and there, when your display’s response time is slow, and the game you are playing is more of a combat-like or racing game. 

What actually happens is that the former image’s pixels have not been completely changed when the display formerly changes to the new image. In other words, fractions of the old image are still left before or are still changing.

What is Response Time?

The main reason for ghosting on displays is slow response time. Then what is response time? Response time is the time it takes for a pixel to change color, specifically, for a pixel to change to different shades of gray. The lower the response time, the faster it changes pixel colors.

It is measured in milliseconds. This is often something that manufacturers advertise while buying new displays. Generally, it ranges from 1 to 5 milliseconds for the IPS, TN, and VA panels. These three acronyms are different types of panels that have different contrast, resolution, and response time features. However, it is the TN (twisted nematic) with a response time of roughly 1 millisecond, if you ’re wondering which is the fastest.

What is Overdrive?

There are many different types of displays that have slow response times. Your screen might also have a fast response time, but not so fast that it eliminates the ghosting on your screen. That’s when you go into overdrive to boost your response time.

Overdrive is known with different names that depend on the manufacturer. It is sometimes called Response Time Compensation, Response Overdrive, OD, etc. Overdrive is considered to increase your display’s response time by a few milliseconds.

Remember the response time milliseconds for the three different displays that was mentioned a while ago? They are actually the response time generated when using the overdrive feature of the display.

Wait, what? Yes, you read that right. That means, your usual TN panel display does not have a 1-millisecond response time by default. Rather, it has a 3-5-millisecond response time which drops to 1 millisecond when you turn on overdrive.

Which Response Time Overdrive Option To Use?

You can access the monitor’s overdrive settings by opening the On-Screen Display (OSD) menu, and look for the overdrive option. You can usually find it under one of the following names: Rampage Response, TraceFree (some ASUS monitors), OD, Overdrive, or simply Response Time.

There must be at least some options to choose from. The overdrive levels will be named differently depending on the model and some monitors may have more levels than others.

Usually, these levels are written as Slow, Normal, Fast, Faster — Low, Medium, High, Highest or simply by numbers. Some monitors also have the option to turn the overdrive completely off.

Now, if you have a modern LED-backlight 60Hz/75Hz monitor, It is very unlikely that its response time is slower than the display’s refresh cycle.

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In most of the cases, you won’t even notice any prominent ghosting behind fast-moving objects even with overdrive set to Off or Low, but the Medium/Normal setting will usually work best.

Too much overdrive can introduce inverse ghosting or pixel overshoot, so do not use it unless you witness excessive smearing in fast-paced games.

Overdrive is necessary for the optimal gaming experience with higher refresh rate displays. You can test the best overdrive setting for your monitor’s refresh rate. We recommend using BlurBusters’ UFO ghosting test. It is vital that a gaming monitor has a good overdrive implementation.

Some monitors have poorly optimized overdrive. So, just looking at its response time specification while looking for a gaming monitor might not be enough.

Response Time and Overdrive: IPS vs TN vs VA

Response Time

Generally, monitor manufacturers just mention the GtG (Gray to Gray) response time speed measure, which is generally 1ms for TN panels and 1ms-5ms for IPS and VA panels.

The GtG specified response time speed is used to indicate the fastest speed at which a pixel can change from one shade of gray to another with the highest overdrive option applied under certain testing conditions.

For instance, a TN panel with a specified response 1ms (GtG) time speed will usually have a normal ~5ms response time. You will need to apply overdrive to get 1ms.

An average IPS panel has a normal response time of ~9ms, whereas VA panels generally have a response time of over 12ms.

TN panel displays are favorite among competitive FPS gamers despite their viewing angles and inferior color quality due to their quick response time. VA panels have the highest contrast ratio out of these three panel technologies.

Such a high contrast ratio allows them to produce very deep black shades out of which pixels take longer to change from. Consequently when dark pixels are involved you get visible smearing and ghosting in fast-paced scenes.

On VA panels, the amount of ghosting is too high for competitive gamers, but it is acceptable for casual gaming as you get an exceptional image quality at a great price. Although, IPS panels offer a good balance between the two technologies but they are also a bit more expensive.

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

response time and overdrive

How you turn on, off, and adjust overdrive is totally dependent on your display’s settings. The first thing you need to do is know what it is called on your monitor, laptop, or TV. When you figure it out, then all you need to do is look for it in the settings.

Go to the ‘On-Screen Display’ (OSD) option from the settings menu where you can find other adjustments for the display screen. You will find there the brightness, overdrive, and contrast settings. Unfortunately, not all monitors have overdrive settings, your monitor also might be one of them, if yes then you can’t adjust for lesser ghosting.

You will be greeted with a few overdrive levels to adjust once you have opened the overdrive menu. Many times, they’re called slow, normal, fast, faster, while some others are in numbers. Some displays have an option to completely turn it on or off, while others place it usually in normal (default).


Every display monitor has its functionalities and features, especially the recent one with multiple smart settings and options. And if you are able to understand them you certainly make use of the display monitor more fruitful, and more worthwhile.

To conclude, the overdrive is what boosts the response time in order to reduce the ghosting and trailing on screen at all. This feature makes the display ever so smooth and appreciable with the fast motion and moving object. However, you need to make sure the limit doesn’t damage any hardware while doing so. I, it is always great to keep ‘your’ personal requirements as highlighted while choosing the nice spot in overdrive option from the settings. 

Overdrive gives a push to the response time so you need to be very careful and you should only enable it if you are in need of it.

If you are still confused about what overdrive is or if you have any questions or queries related to it then you can ask us in the comment section. We will try our best to solve your confusion as soon as possible. 


Is overdrive good on monitors?

Well yes, it is good on monitors but has some restrictions. It is necessary for the optimal gaming experience along with higher refresh rate display. Also too much overdrive can leds to inverse ghosting or pixel overshoot, so don’t use it unless you have experience excessive smearing in fast-paced games.

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