If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re wondering what “overdrive” on a monitor means.
You’re not alone! A lot of people have no idea what it is, and even those who do often don’t understand how it works or what its benefits are.
In this post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about overdrive on monitors so you can make an informed decision about whether or not it’s something you need in your workflow. Stay tuned!
What is overdrive?
Overdrive, often referred to as “OD” or “OD Mode” in monitor manuals, is a feature that enables an enhanced pixel response time for LCD monitors.
It was originally developed to reduce the amount of motion blur you see when playing video games.
For this to work properly, it requires special hardware (in the form of an additional chip inside the monitor) that is not standard in monitors today.
The benefits to you as a professional designer, photographer, or image editor are obvious: reduced motion blur means everything on your screen looks sharper and more detailed.
Overdrive can also help with ghosting or streaking artifacts that happen when you have very quick color shifts on a screen.
With overdrive enabled, you won’t see any of those annoying visual errors, even when working at high refresh rates (120hz or more).
These days, there are lots of budget monitors are available in the market that comes with overdrive features.
What Is The Pixel Response Time?
Pixel response describes how quickly a single color change can happen on an LCD monitor.
It’s measured in milliseconds and is often listed as GTG (grey-to-grey), which refers to the amount of time it takes for a pixel to transition from grey to grey. The lower the number, the better your monitor will be at reducing streaking artifacts and ghosting.
Because overdrive is essentially forcing your monitor into an enhanced pixel response mode, it requires more power than typical monitors.
This is often why it requires a special chip inside the monitor to function. For that reason, overdrive isn’t standard in all monitors today. You’ll only find it on higher-end models, usually those with high refresh rates (120hz or more).
Benefits Of Enabling Overdrive
There are several benefits to enabling overdrive on your monitor, assuming it’s equipped with the feature.
1. Sharper Image Quality:
With a lower pixel response time, you’ll see a sharper image on your screen. Your fonts will appear cleaner and the text should be much more readable as well. Need to read those tiny channel numbers?
You won’t have any problems with an overdrive-enhanced monitor. This is arguably the biggest benefit to overdrive, as it makes everything look better on your screen.
2. Reduced Motion Blur:
When you have a fast response time for pixels, there’s less chance of motion blur as you move around Windows or as images transition from one color to another.
Images will look sharper and cleaner, especially when reading text. This isn’t a huge benefit for most professional designers, but it’s certainly noticeable enough to make the purchase worthwhile for any gamer who’s on their computer all day long.
3. Increased Contrast Ratio:
With overdrive enabled, some monitors (especially newer LED-backlit models) will increase the contrast ratio, giving you deeper blacks and brighter whites. This can help to increase saturation in your photos and images and will give movies and games a more vibrant look overall.
4. Low Input Lag:
Many overdrive monitors also have very low input lag (the time it takes for your computer to send an image or animation to your monitor and have it appear on screen).
This isn’t a key feature for most designers, but gamers will certainly appreciate the consistently low input lag.
5. Decreased Ghosting:
Ghosting occurs when there’s a very quick color change on your screen and the pixel response time is not quick enough to keep up with it.
This can cause a trail to follow objects as they shift from one color to the next. With overdrive enabled, you’ll see a much lower amount of ghosting on your screen, as long as you have a low response time for pixels.
So we have discussed what is overdrive and its benefits as well as how it works.
If you are looking for purchasing a monitor that gives you good color with low ghosting, then having an overdrive-enabled monitor is certainly recommended. And if the monitor has minimum input lag, then it will be a double plus in your list.
Thanks for reading!