Some gaming monitors offer Motion Blur Reduction technology, which increases motion clarity by backlight strobing.
You can enable this feature in the OSD (On-Screen Display) menu of the monitor. It can be found under different names depending on the monitor, such as ULMB, ELMB, 1ms MPRT, MBR, DyAc, LightBoost, PureXP, Aim Stabilizer, etc.
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 gaming performance due to all the motion blur?
The most effective solution to combat motion blur is a gaming monitor with Motion Blur Reduction, assuming it also has a fast pixel response time speed.
What Is Motion Blur Reduction?
In short, enabling motion blur reduction makes the display strobe the backlight to create CRT-like motion clarity, which is perfect for fast-paced competitive 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 (ELMB)
- LG’s 1ms Motion Blur Reduction
- Samsung’s 1ms MPRT (Moving Picture Response Time)
- ViewSonic’s PureXP
- Gigabyte’s Aim Stabilizer
NVIDIA’s LightBoost technology is outdated and only available on older monitors, whereas ULMB is featured only in certain G-SYNC gaming monitors.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 game look smoother.
Games will look the best when your refresh rate is over or equal to your frame rate, which can be challenging to achieve since most motion blur reduction technologies cannot work at the same time as FreeSync or G-SYNC.
ASUS’ ELMB-Sync was the first MBR technology capable of simultaneously running VRR and MBR. In theory, you’re supposed to get a gaming experience without tearing, stuttering, or motion blur.
However, on most monitors, the technology is not adequately tuned as you get a lot of strobe crosstalk (or double images) and/or pixel overshoot, like it’s the case with the ASUS VG259QM.
Consequently, if you want the best motion clarity, you’ll have to only use MBR, and if you wish to eliminate screen stuttering and tearing with minimal input lag penalty, you’ll have to use FreeSync/G-SYNC.
Gigabyte’s new Aim Stabilizer Sync technology will also allow their Aim Stabilizer MBR technology to be used at the same time as FreeSync/G-SYNC on supported monitors.
Many gamers opt to use V-Sync to synchronize the monitor’s vertical refresh rate with GPU’s frame rates for the best results when using backlight strobing, but this introduces input lag.
In order to decrease the added input lag of V-Sync, you should cap your frame rate to your maximum refresh rate subtracted by 0.01 using RTSS (Rivatuner Statistics Server).
First, you’ll need to know the exact fractional refresh rate of your monitor.
If you have a 144Hz display, your exact refresh rate might actually be around 143.992Hz, in which case you should cap your FPS rate to 143.982 (143.992 – 0.01).
You can use this website to check your exact refresh rate.
Note that this method only works if your GPU can maintain a steady frame rate that’s close to your refresh rate. So, if you can’t maintain 144FPS, lower your refresh rate to 120Hz.
In fact, backlight strobing will work best at a lower refresh rate than your monitor’s maximum refresh rate (120Hz strobing on a 144Hz monitor, 144Hz strobing on a 240Hz monitor, etc).
Another 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 allows you to adjust the backlight strobing frequency manually.
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, though invisible to the human eye. Still, those very sensitive to it may experience headaches after prolonged use.
Response Time Speed
VA panels usually have the slowest pixel transition speed from dark to bright pixels, so even if a VA gaming monitor has a high refresh rate and motion blur reduction, fast-paced games can have prominent smearing in dark scenes.
TN panels, on the other hand, have a fast response time speed, usually around 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 some newer IPS and VA 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.
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 (for example a 144Hz monitor strobing at 120Hz)
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 FPS capped and kept at 120FPS).
Blur Busters Approved 2.0
The second version of Blur Busters Approved Programme improves upon the original by allowing strobing (including single-strobing) to work at any custom resolution/refresh rate – starting at 60Hz up to the monitor’s maximum refresh rate, as well as by adding blur reduction utility software to fine-tune your settings.
They also strive to keep input lag as low as possible. The upcoming ViewSonic XG2431 23.8″ 1080p 240Hz IPS display will be the first monitor to achieve the new certification.
For more information, check out Blur Busters’ press release.