Studying monitor response time

Choosing a monitor requires careful study of its capabilities. Diagonal, resolution and refresh rate are undoubtedly significant parameters, but not only they affect the comfort of use. An expensive model with impressive performance may not be prepared for dynamic scenes and computer games. To do this, you need to take into account the response time of the monitor.

The screen is the link between the user and the computer, so display mismatch limits the potential of the entire system. On an old monitor, you can hardly feel the difference between top-end and mediocre hardware.

Response time – what is it
Response time is the time interval required for a pixel to change its brightness. This is the time it takes for a pixel to switch from one color to another. The parameter is measured in milliseconds (ms). The response time is also called the delay of the display matrix.

Monitors with minimal time display dynamic scenes better. Fast switching between pixel colors ensures every frame is as detailed as possible.

The video effect in computer monitors provides fast-paced frames that, unlike film, do not carry information about subsequent and previous frames. Blurring clearly demonstrates that the pixels did not have time to change the color to the desired one. Hence: the shorter the response time, the better.

27″ Monitor Acer Nitro VG270UPbmiipx black
Response time is related to screen refresh rate. At 60 frame/s, a new image is generated every 16.7 ms. There are 1000 milliseconds in one second. To find out the generation time of a new frame, you need to divide 1000 by the screen refresh rate. The longer the response time, the less time the correct image will remain on the screen. Because of this, a train and blurry movement appear. Under such conditions, it is difficult to see and determine the exact location of a moving object.

Measurement methods
The response time demonstrates the physical capabilities of the monitor matrix. Everything seems simple, but it’s not. Manufacturers use different methods and measurement conditions, and do not always publish them. The difference in readings may differ by 2 or more times. Using different measurement methods creates real chaos.

GtG (grey to gray) – shows the pixel switching time between shades of gray. According to ISO 13406-2, the standard method is to measure the amount of time it takes a pixel to go from 90% to 10% brightness. In practice, this is not always true, and manufacturers often choose their own values. For example, from 80% to 30%.

Most often, the response time is specified in GtG. The parameter is considered closest to the actual operating conditions. In reality, the response time of different semitones is different. This means that the light areas will switch at a different speed than the dark ones.

BtW (black to white) – Displays the time it takes a pixel to go from off to 100 percent brightness. This method is considered deprecated and is not currently used to indicate response time.

btb or bwb
BtB or BWB (black white black) indicates the transition time from a pixel’s off state to 100 percent brightness, and then back to off. Actively used in the past, but lost the lead to the GtG method. Reason: the image on the display rarely undergoes global transitions between colors, although this indicator most fully demonstrates the delay time of the matrix.

MPRT (motion picture response time) – the response time of a moving image, which is also called cinematic response. Some brands indicate this parameter along with GtG.

23.6″ Monitor MSI Optix G24C4 black 19 999 *
MPRT is not a pixel response time. This is the reaction of the matrix to the movement, which clearly shows the time of existence of the plume. In simple words: during such a time, the plume will disappear when the object stops abruptly. MPRT is more dependent on the refresh rate of the screen, although there is also a relationship with pixel response time.

To reduce MPRT, developers use MBR (motion blur reduction). This is a technology based on the principle of a stroboscope, which means that the backlight turns off for a short time at the end of the frame time. With the naked eye, such a transition is not noticeable, but visually dynamic scenes become clearer. True, MBR technology is incompatible with adaptive updating.

The real MPRT is longer than the GtG response time, as shown in the graph above.

Is it possible to measure the response time yourself
It has already been mentioned that the response time is a physical property of the matrix. It will be difficult to measure it yourself. Without expensive equipment and measuring instruments, the calculation error will be noticeable.

It is impossible to consider this parameter as software without a photo sensor, although the developers of TFT Monitor Test made such an attempt. The creators did not indicate exactly how the calculation is carried out. Under equal conditions, two monitors can give one result, so you should not rely on the complete reliability of the test. However, the utility has several useful modes, including a moving white square. The presence of a loop and visual distortions give out a long response time, but this is just a visual demonstration.

The Pixperan Testing utility, as well as the online tests Display Shin0by and Blur Busters UFO Motion Test , may come in handy for testing .

Monitor overclocking
To speed up the response of the matrix, use the Overdrive (OD) or Response Time Compensation (RTC) mode. Each monitor manufacturer has its own overclocking technique, but the general idea boils down to one thing: a short-term increase in voltage pulses to accelerate the rotation of the subpixel crystals. Overdrive matrix overdrive mode is safe and does not reduce the life of the monitor. The possibility of improving the response time can be indicated by the presence of a game mode in the characteristics of the model.

In everything, a measure is needed, and in overclocking the monitor too. Maximum response acceleration can cause another problem – overdrive artifacts.

Overdrive Artifacts – light shimmer.

Manufacturers offer users a set of several Overdrive mode settings, from which, empirically, you can choose the right option.

When is the minimum matrix response time important?
Gamers pay special attention to this parameter, and for a reason. High pixel switching speed in games can be a real advantage. Due to the minimum delay of the matrix, you can see important details in rich dynamic scenes and respond in a timely manner to changes in the situation.

24.5″ Monitor Acer Predator XN253QXbmiprzx [UM.KX3EE.P01]
What does it give? For example, in shooters with the help of a “fast” monitor, you can notice a sniper in a window opening earlier. Camping will also be much more comfortable, because the enemy with a “slow” monitor will not even notice the ambush.

The higher the gamer’s skill, the more benefits a “negligible” difference of just a few ms provides.

To be fair, it must be pointed out that other types of delay also affect the player’s reaction, including input lag, Internet connection stability (for online games), signal transmission time from manipulators, but that’s another story.

Demanding players can experience the difference in response time in any game, regardless of genre. Even in popular browser games like “Three in a row”. Many of them have a timer, so the speed of the player’s reaction is important. In addition, dynamic visuals look better on “fast” monitors.

Reducing the response time will make the animation detailed, clear, and therefore more attractive. It is more pleasant to play on a monitor with a minimum response time.

An exception
Creator monitors put more emphasis on color accuracy and color gamut expansion. That is why the response time in such cases is relegated to the background.35″ Monitor Acer Prosumer CZ350CKbmiiphx [UM.CC0EE.001]
It follows from this: not all models of the chosen price category are equally suitable for games or work.