What Is Overdrive On A Monitor? (Explained)

When we opt for a monitor or any device as a matter of fact we want and need something out of it.

The basic of them all is a clear picture and some sharpness to what we view. Especially while gaming on a monitor, that’s something that we look for.

These things can be easily achieved by using the overdrive feature. But what is overdrive?

This sharpness that we talk of is achieved through a great response time. The response time of a monitor is the time pixels take to change from one color to another.

This does take time which is usually in milliseconds, which is not quite noticeable while generally using or watching but quite noticeable while gaming. To fix this issue, the concept of an overdrive monitor is introduced.

Quick Answer:

Overdrive in monitors helps to ensure that the monitor reaction time and the monitor speed are increased on decreased by the refresh rates of the monitor.

It also helps to eliminate the trailing of the fast-moving objects appearing on the monitor screen. Having the overdrive on the monitor helps to play fast-moving games flawlessly.

However, If you are planning to purchase a new monitor, then I recommended you check out our buying guides on the best vertical monitors and best monitors for AutoCAD and office use.

What Is Overdrive On A Monitor? (Explained)

What Is Overdrive?

Though overdrive sounds like something very complicated you can just call it an enhancement tool for your monitor.

Even the smoothest monitor ever might have some functionality that may cause it to ghost and affect the output of your display.

Overdrive is used to enhance the response time that pixels take to change from one color to another. With the use of overdrive, you can enhance your monitor’s response time.

What Is Ghosting & How It Is Related To Overdrive?

When playing any game with high graphics or something which is very fast-paced, many might notice this sort of blurring especially on slower processors or monitors with lower resolution.

Ones with a higher resolution that does not have the capacity to withstand such high resolutions and cause this kind of disorienting and blurry images. This is known as ghosting.

Ghosting is these blurred visuals on your monitors.

screen ghosting

It is caused due to low response time of your monitor and your game of choice being too fast for the monitor to catch up.

The pixels on your screen move too slowly and your screen has already shifted to a whole new picture and the pixels are trying to keep up with it.

Even if your monitor has a very fast response time and a great processor it doesn’t mean that you won’t experience this phenomenon of screen ghosting.

But however, you can overcome this problem with something known as ‘Overdrive’.

Overdrive is known by its other names called ‘Response Overdrive’, ‘Response Time Compensation’, ‘OD’, etc.

overdrive monitor

It can be adjusted according to the user’s preference according to what is displayed or what he wants to be displayed.

Overdrive particularly in monitors makes sure to boost the monitor’s response time and increase its speed by giving a boost to its refresh rate.

It enhances the refresh rate and the already existing response time of the monitor.

Is Overdrive Good For Gaming?

While especially gaming this extra boost gives the user a proper gaming experience and makes sure that they don’t experience any delay or lag of any sort.

In fast-paced games with fast-moving objects, overdrive shortens the monitor’s response time in order to reduce the ghosting of these images and prevent something called “screen tearing”.

Your gaming monitor usually has a response time ranging between 3-6 milliseconds and turning on overdrive reduces it to 1 millisecond on most occasions.

This reduction provided by overdrive will help you achieve the performance you want.

How To Turn On And Off Overdrive?

Overdrive can be turned on, or off and can be adjusted according to your display preference. On most monitors, overdrive settings can be found in the settings menu.

After landing on the settings menu, you will find an ‘On-Screen Display’ (OSD) option.

On some monitors, this option may be called by some other name. The main thing is finding and knowing by what name this option is called in your monitor.

Once you go to the OSD option, there you will find other options too for your display screen. Along with overdrive, you will find options like brightness and contrast.

After reaching the overdrive menu, you will find some overdrive levels that can be adjusted.

On most monitors, these levels are called:

  1. slow
  2. normal
  3. fast
  4. faster

The same option on other monitors may be in the way of numbers. Again, these names depend upon your monitor, and getting to know these names is important.

Aside from these levels, some monitors allow you to switch on and off your overdrive setting completely, while some don’t let you switch it off but keep it at a default setting, which is the normal level.

Now since your monitor’s overdrive setting cannot be switched on and off, your level would be normal.

You are playing a fast-paced game and experience ghosting so you increase the overdrive level from normal to maybe a little faster to overcome this ghosting and reduce the response time of your monitor and enjoy the game.

What Is Inverse Ghosting?

Now you are still playing this extremely fast-paced game and even after increasing the overdrive to reduce the response time, you’re still experiencing ghosting so you again increase the overdrive level to the highest possible level so that you don’t have to interrupt your game to worry about a slow response time.

What Is Inverse Ghosting?

But wait, no one said that overdrive doesn’t come with its set of flaws, or that using too much of it will not have some or the other side effect.

Well, it does. Increasing the levels of overdrive too high can cause a phenomenon called ‘Overshoot’ or ‘Inverse Ghosting’.

Inverse Ghosting is when a shadow of the opposite colors is displayed instead of the colors of the moving object on your screen.

Overshoot or Inverse Ghosting does exactly the opposite for which overdrive was made. Too high levels of overdrive will cause your display pixels to overshoot.

The overall display gets affected when the overdrive settings are too high.


It is recommended that in case you have no option or level between high and medium, then it is in your best interest to stick to medium to avoid inverse ghosting.

Overdrive is a great tool, especially for gamers. But like anything in this world, too much of anything will be harmful and the same applies to overdrive.

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