What Is Overdrive On A Monitor (And How Can You Activate It?)

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Written By: Lorenzo • Updated: 02/03/2022

Have you ever noticed that some monitors tend to have some ghosting and blurring effects while others don't?

Not all monitors are created equal; slower response times on monitors tend to generate more ghosting and blurring effects.

As a result, overdrive settings were introduced as a way to increase your monitor's response time even more.

As a Alienware AW2720HF owner, setting my overdrive to "Super Fast" was the game-changer needed to significantly reduce the ghosting that I had seen on my screen.

But what is overdrive on a monitor? Do you have an overdrive option on your gaming monitor?

Forcing your monitor to run at a response time that's "too" fast can cause pixel overshoot, so you will want to balance this out.

So how would you approach this? Well, let's find out!

What Is Overdrive On A Monitor, And How Does It Work?

Put simply, "overdrive" is a way of speeding up the response time on your monitor.

Overdrive allows you to push your monitor's response time into Overdrive by increasing response time by a few milliseconds to reduce trailing and ghosting in fast-moving objects.

Ghosting usually occurs when your monitor has a slow response time, so having overdrive turned on will eliminating ghosting effects and will increase performance.

In the end, it is up to you whether or not you want to use overdrive on your monitor - be sure to understand what it does and how it can affect your image before making a decision!

Here is an example of ghosting/trailing in real-time:

Overdrive has other names, such as OD, Response Time Compensation or Response Overdrive.

Which Overdrive Settings Should You Use?

There are three different "overdrive" options to choose from on most monitors:

Bear in mind your monitor may have other names and a different number of Overdrive options.

  • Off
  • Standard
  • Fast
  • Ultra-Fast


Off is self-explanatory - it turns off Overdrive.


Standard is the default setting for most monitors, and it usually provides a good mix of quality and performance.


Fast is what you would want to use if you're looking for the best image quality and performance.


Ultra-Fast may completely counteract ghosting/trailing, but you will find that quality suffers elsewhere, so ensure you test this option before you start playing games.

Keep in mind that Fast can sometimes introduce overdrive artifacts (AKA pixel overshoot or inverse ghosting) into your image, so it's not always the best choice.

It's best to use Overdrive for its sole purpose - to reduce trailing and ghosting, but without having any side effects like pixel overshoot or inverse ghosting.

So keep testing and find the setting that works best with your PC.

Response Time And Overdrive Settings: IPS vs. TN vs. VA

When adjusting your overdrive setting, one thing to keep in mind is the type of monitor panel you are using.

Different panels have varying response times, and the overdrive feature can affect these response times differently.

For example, TN monitors - typically used for gaming - tend to have faster response times than IPS or VA monitors.

So turning on overdrive for slower panels may be an excellent way to increase performance.


IPS (In-Plane Switching) monitors are known for their excellent color reproduction and wide viewing angles.

They also have a relatively long response time, which can be an issue for gamers or anyone who wants a sharp, clear image.

The overdrive feature can help to speed up the response time on IPS monitors, making them a better choice for gamers or anyone who wants a high-speed, responsive image.

In recent years, IPS panels have significantly increased their response times to the point where they are comparable to TN panels even without overdrive being turned on.

So if you want the best balance of vibrant colors, image quality, and performance, IPS are the way to go.


TN (Twisted Nematic) monitors are the most common type of monitor, and they are known for their fast response time.

They are not as good in color reproduction or viewing angles, but they remain a popular choice for gamers because of their speed.

Overdrive can help to improve the response time even further, making TN monitors an excellent choice for gamers who need the absolute fastest response time possible.

No matter what type of monitor you have, overdrive is sure to help improve your image quality by eliminating ghosting and trailing effects!

Just be sure to experiment with the setting to find what looks best for you.

If you value performance over everything, then a monitor with a TN panel should be a suitable choice.


VA (Vertical Alignment) monitors are a happy medium between TN and IPS monitors.

They have sound color reproduction, viewing angles, and contrast but have the slowest response time of all three-panel types.

Overdrive can help improve the response time by cutting it down by a few margins, making VA monitors an excellent choice for gamers and anyone who wants a sharp image.

MPRT Vs. GtG Response Time Speed

Now that we've talked about the different types of monitors, let's talk about your monitor's response time speed.

MPRT (Moving Picture Response Time) is the most important type of response time for gamers, as it measures the amount of time it takes for a new image to appear on the screen after being input.

GtG (Grey To Grey) is a less important type of response time, as it only measures the speed at which you can display different shades of gray or for how long a pixel takes to change colors.

Most monitors report their response time in MPRT, but some may list it as GtG.

Either way, you can be sure that Overdrive will help to improve your response time!

Overdrive And Variable Refresh Rate

If you are a gamer, you may have heard of G-SYNC (NVIDIA) or FreeSync (AMD) - these are examples of "variable refresh rates."

Variable refresh rate is a feature that allows your monitor to match the framerate of your graphics card, which can help to eliminate screen tearing and stuttering.

G-SYNC's gaming monitors allow you to change the overdrive level depending on the refresh rate you're operating at, which makes it optimal for performance.

Gaming monitors with FreeSync don't have this ability. Your overdrive may be too strong for the refresh rate you are running at, which may cause pixel overshoot.

Although this doesn't happen too often -- it's best to test both G-SYNC/FreeSync options with overdrive to see any side effects.

How To Change The Overdrive Settings

Now that you know what overdrive is and what it can do for your monitor, let's look at how to change the setting.

Every monitor is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all answer - you'll need to explore your monitor's menus to find the option.

However, most monitors will have an "Overdrive" or "Response Time" setting in the menus which you can access via your on screen display.

If you can't find it, just Google "[Your Monitor Model] overdrive setting," and you should be able to find what you're looking for.

Once you've found the option, change overdrive on your display screen, and experiment with it until you find a setting you like!

Overdrive is a great way to improve the image quality on your monitor, so be sure to give it a try.

Remember to experiment with the setting to find what looks best for you. And if you're a gamer, don't forget to try increasing the overdrive setting if you're experiencing screen tearing or stuttering!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Overdrive Cause Input Lag?

Overdrive can help to reduce input lag by reducing the time it takes for a new image to appear on the screen.

Is Overdrive Bad For Your Monitor?

Overdrive can help improve the image quality and performance on your monitor by reducing ghosting and blurring.

However, if you set the Overdrive setting too high, it can cause "overshoot," where the pixels display a color that is too bright or too dark.

If you notice this happening, reduce the overdrive setting until it disappears.

For cheaper, unbranded monitors, with overdrive settings that are unoptimized, you may experience poor display settings.

So it's important to ensure you buy a high-quality monitor. You can check out some white gaming monitor recommendations here.

Does Overdrive Work With HDR?

Overdrive can work with HDR, but ensure you test both settings running simultaneously and see if there are any side effects.

What Is The Best Overdrive Setting?

The best overdrive setting is the one that reduces ghosting/trailing the most without causing pixel overshoot.

Your monitor will be different from others, so it's best to test all settings and see which one has the best balance.

For my Alienware AW2720HF, the best overdrive setting is "Super Fast," which is a step lower than the highest level - "Extreme."

Just experiment with the setting until you find what looks and feels the best.

And if you're a gamer, don't forget to try increasing the overdrive setting if you're experiencing a lot of ghosting.

No one-size-fits-all answer exists for the best overdrive setting on your monitor – it will vary.

Should I Turn Overdrive On Or Off?

If you notice ghosting or blurring on your monitor, you may want to turn Overdrive on to help improve the image quality.

However, if you set the too much overdrive, it can cause "overshoot," where the pixels display a color that is too bright or too dark.

The Bottom Line

Overdrive is a great way to improve the image quality on your monitor.

It can help reduce ghosting and blurring, and it can also help to reduce input lag.

Remember to experiment with the setting to find what looks best for you.

If you have any questions about Overdrive, be sure to contact us directly, and we can help you out!

If not, please check out our setup gear recommendations or find out more about monitors below.

Happy gaming!

Article written by Lorenzo
Since the age of 6, Lorenzo has enjoyed gaming on computers. Having grown up in the digital age, the technology revolves around him. He enjoyed growing up gaming throughout his high school years and is now a young adult who does most of his work on his computer. Lorenzo's mission is to make buying products and building PC's an easy and fun experience for all.

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