As Fast As Possible
Some gaming monitors offer motion blur reduction technology which can increase motion clarity by backlight strobing. You can enable this feature in the OSD (On-Screen Display) menu of the monitor; you will find it under different names according to the monitor model, the most common ones are ULMB, ELMB, 1ms MPRT, DyAc, LightBoost, etc.
Update: Added information about Blur Busters’ Certification Program.
So, you’ve got yourself a fast CPU, a powerful GPU, and a high refresh rate gaming monitor yet you’re not satisfied with the gameplay performance due to prominent ghosting or trailing of the fast moving objects on-screen.
The single best solution is a gaming monitor with motion blur reduction technology such as Ultra Low Motion Blur, LightBoost, BenQ DyAc, ASUS Extreme Low Motion Blur, 1ms MPRT, etc.
What Is Motion Blur Reduction?
In short, enabling motion blur reduction makes the display strobe the backlight in order to create CRT-like motion clarity which is perfect for competitive fast-paced games.
You can enable/disable motion blur reduction in the OSD menu of the gaming monitor. Different monitor models have different brand names for this technology including:
- NVIDIA’s ULMB (Ultra Low Motion Blur)
- NVIDIA’s LightBoost
- BenQ’s DyAc (Dynamic Accuracy)
- ASUS Extreme Low Motion Blur
- LG’s 1ms Motion Blur Reduction
- Samsung’s 1ms MPRT (Moving Picture Response Time)
NVIDIA’s LightBoost technology is outdated and only available on older monitors whereas ULMB is featured only in certain G-SYNC gaming monitors.
When Should You Use Motion Blur Reduction?
The quality of motion blur reduction will depend on many things including your system rig, monitor, video game, and picture/driver settings. In truth, enabling backlight strobing won’t always make the gameplay look smoother.
Games will look the best when your refresh rate is over or equal to the frame rate which can be difficult to achieve since most motion blur reduction technologies cannot work at the same time as FreeSync or G-SYNC.
ASUS’ ELMB-Sync is the first MBR technology that can simultaneously run VRR and strobe the backlight. In theory, you’re supposed to get a gaming experience without tearing, stuttering, or motion blur.
However, on most monitors, the technology is not properly tuned as you get a lot of strobe crosstalk (or double images).
Consequently, if you want the best motion clarity, you’ll have to use MBR only, and if you wish to eliminate screen stuttering and tearing with minimal input lag penalty, you’ll have to use FreeSync/G-SYNC.
Many gamers opt to use V-Sync to synchronize the monitor’s refresh rate with GPU’s frame rates for the best results when using backlight strobing.
In order to decrease the added input lag of V-Sync, you should cap your frame rate to 1FPS below your monitor’s maximum refresh rate (143FPS for 144Hz monitors, for instance).
The downside to using MBR (besides not being able to use VRR on most monitors) is the reduced picture brightness.
Some backlight strobing techniques will have additional settings available such as ULMB ‘Pulse Width’ which allow you to manually adjust the backlight strobing frequency.
This way, you can find the best ratio between how much picture brightness is sacrificed for improved motion clarity.
Some gaming monitors can remain quite bright even when MBR is enabled while others become too dim for a comfortable gaming experience. Unfortunately, monitor manufacturers usually don’t state the display’s maximum brightness when MBR is enabled, so you will have to rely on monitor reviews.
Finally, note that when backlight strobing is enabled, screen flickering is introduced which is invisible to the human eye, but those very sensitive to it may experience headaches after prolonged use.
Response Time Speed
Basically, VA panels have the slowest pixel transition speed from dark pixels to bright pixels of all panel types, so even if a VA gaming monitor has a high refresh rate and motion blur reduction, fast-paced games will have prominent motion blur in dark scenes.
TN panels, on the other hand, have the fastest response time speed, usually only 1ms GtG which is why they are the most popular choice for competitive gamers.
IPS panels are somewhere in-between the two when it comes to the pixel transition time, though newer IPS monitors have just as fast response time as some TN models!
Lastly, OLED panels have even faster response times than TN panels since they don’t use a backlight to produce the picture; individual pixels change instantaneously which makes for very smooth motion.
Unfortunately, OLED gaming monitors are quite rare and very expensive at the moment.
Now, monitor manufacturers may sometimes misleadingly only state the display’s backlight strobing response time speed i.e. ‘1ms MPRT’ (Moving Picture Response Time) without quoting the GtG pixel response time of that monitor which can be up to ~5ms. So, make sure you check out both MPRT and GtG response time measures in reviews!
Blur Busters Approved Certification
Gaming monitors carrying the ‘Blur Busters Approved’ certification are tested and tuned by Blur Busters and thus ensure high-quality performance of the monitor’s backlight strobing technology. The certification indicates the following:
- Better color quality when MBR is enabled
- Less strobe crosstalk (double-images)
- Manually adjustable backlight strobing frequency
- Upgradable via firmware
- More refresh rate options at which MBR can operate
- Better MBR operation at lower refresh rates for monitors with higher native refresh rates
The ViewSonic XG270 1080p 240Hz IPS display is the first gaming monitor to receive Blur Buster’s certification for their PureXP MBR technology.
Many people are comparing the motion clarity of ViewSonic XG270 to the old (but gold) CRT displays such as the Sony FW900 when the display is set to strobe at 120Hz (and the FPS rate capped and kept at 120FPS).