What Is a Monitor’s Response Time, and Why Does It Matter?

Game monitors have the fastest refresh rates.Alienware

When shopping for a new monitor, you will be overwhelmed with many technical specifications. And while things like screen size and resolution are pretty obvious, there's another important factor that's not the same: the response time. Here is how it works.

The response time is the time it takes for your monitor to switch from one color to another. Usually this is measured in milliseconds, from black to white to black. The typical response time of an LCD is less than ten milliseconds (10 ms), some being as fast as a millisecond.

The exact method of measuring this statistic has not yet been agreed: some manufacturers express it in terms of black to white, black to white or more commonly gray to gray on an LCD screen. full spectrum, but beginning and ending with finer and more difficult gray values. In any case, the response times are better because they reduce image problems such as blur or "ghosting".

The datasheet of a Dell monitor. Note the difference between the refresh rate and the response time.The datasheet of a Dell monitor. Note the difference between the refresh rate and the response time. Dell

The response time should not be confused with refresh rate of a monitor. They look similar, but the refresh rate is the number of times a screen displays a new image every second, expressed in Hertz. Most monitors use a refresh rate of 60 Hertz, although some go higher – and the better it is. On the other hand, for a lower response time, it's better.

Why do you want a short response time?

Most computer users are not even aware of the response time of their monitor or monitor because most of the time it does not matter. For web browsing, writing an e-mail or Word document, or editing photos, the delay between color changes on the screen is so fast that you will not even notice it. Even video, on modern computer screens and TVs, is generally not long enough for the viewer to notice.

Fast multiplayer games like Street Fighter have reduced response times.Fast multiplayer games like Street Fighter have reduced response times. Steam

The exception is the game. For players, every millisecond counts – the difference between winning and losing a fight match, reaching a long-range shooter or even getting that perfect line in a racing game can indeed be from one millisecond. Thus, for players looking for all the possible competitive advantages, a low refresh rate of between 1 and 5 milliseconds is worth the expense of a more expensive, game-oriented monitor.

What types of monitors are the fastest?

For your laptop or phone, you generally do not have a choice of a short response time on the screen, although there are exceptions. But if you buy a new monitor for your gaming computer, you'll need the fastest panel you can afford.

At the time of writing this article, there are three types of LCD panels that cover 99% of the monitors sold today.

TN (Nematic Twisted) Display Panels: Inexpensive, but usually have a mediocre color gamut. They are among the fastest in the market in terms of response time, and game monitors often choose less colorful TN panels to be faster.
IPS (In-Plane Switching) Display Panels: More expensive and with more precise colors, the IPS screens are appreciated by graphic designers, photographers, video editors and all those for whom precise colors are important. Their response times are higher than those of TN screens. They are therefore rarely marketed as "gaming" monitors.
VA display panels (vertical alignment): A new model that attempts to match the fast response time of TN and the more accurate and vivid color of IPS. It's a bit of common ground, but many gaming monitors are now made with VA panels with refresh rates of no more than a millisecond.

If you want a monitor that can track even the fastest games, get one with a TN or VA display. IPS game monitors exist, but they are rare and expensive and are not as fast as the alternatives. You will usually find the panel type in the monitor specifications on the online list or on the box in a store.

What are the disadvantages of a fast response time?

To reduce response time, game monitors often give up more complex image processing between the computer signal. This includes areas for correcting the color of the monitor itself, increased brightness, blue light filters that reduce eyestrain and similar functions. If you choose a game monitor and set it to the fastest response time possible, you'll probably see reduced brightness and duller colors.

Should you buy a monitor with a low response time?

Is it worth it? For a lot of games, not really. If you're playing in single player mode and the only enemy you face is a computer, that occasional blurry or ghost image may not be worth the aesthetic drive you take to buy a gaming monitor and set it to the fastest mode . . More casual games like Minecraft simply do not benefit from this extremely low frame rate, even when reading online.

Speaking of the internet: If the connection to your multiplayer game is bad, the time it takes for your computer to send information to the game server and retrieve it is probably much longer than your response time. Even on a "slow" monitor with a response time of 10 ms, if your game has a 100 ms ping on the server (one-tenth of a second), the image delay problems do not will not be a determining factor of your victory. .

Game monitors have special modes of low response time.Game monitors have special modes of low response time. Michael Crider

But if you have a fast Internet connection and frequently play fast multiplayer games like Fortnight, Overwatch, Rocket League or Street Fighter, you'll want to enjoy the last millisecond you can. The same goes for game consoles and TVs (many of which have a "Game Mode" that reduces response time) and remains true if you connect a console to the monitor on your computer.


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