The ghosting effect. What it means and how to avoid ghosting.

Halloween was just over, however, today we still wanted to talk about a scary phenomenon nevertheless: ghosting! No, ghosting doesn’t refer to your screen being possessed by haunting spirits, but an effect that can easily be as annoying. So, keep on reading and learn how to minimize its effect!

What is ghosting?

Ghosting may occur when you make fast and sudden movements on your screen. You may have noticed this in action-packed games when you have to turn around in an instant or when you see the landscape passing by in racing games. Your display becomes blurry and it appears as if the image your screen showed just a moment ago stays for a fraction of a second after it should already be gone. Simply put, you see bits of the old image while your monitor displays the new one simultaneously, obscuring your vision.

While this is not much of a problem in slower paced scenes, games with a lot of action that lead to many changes between frames may suffer significantly from ghosting. Generally speaking, the faster your monitor has to alter the image, the more will you notice the effect and the more compromised your view becomes.

What causes ghosting?

In the majority of cases, your monitor will cause this issue. On the bright side, that means you don’t have to invest in a new CPU, GPU, or RAM to get rid of ghosting. But how does your display cause ghosting effects?

Whenever ghosting occurs, it is because your monitor isn’t able to adjust the colors of pixels fast enough. What you may perceive as the “ghosts” of old images are, in fact, pixels failing to adjust in time. If you want to reduce the frequency and impact of ghosting, it is essential to have a look at your display’s response time. The response time, not to be confused with the refresh rate, describes the time needed for the pixels of your monitors to go from black to white and back to black. The less time required, the better!

How do I get rid of ghosting?

The good news is that you don’t need to buy a new monitor right away! Sometimes one or more of these tips might help instead:

  1. Exchange the HDMI or DisplayPort cable.
  2. If there are drivers for your monitor available, check for the latest updates.
  3. Go to your monitor’s On-Screen Display (OSD) and look for the “OverDrive” option if available.
  4. Check if your GPU provides a sync option.

Besides the first three steps, you can also have a look into your GPU driver. NVIDIA video cards feature the G-Sync option, while AMD offers AMD FreeSync. Depending on your video card, try turning these features on and off and see if one of these options has any effect on your ghosting problem.

What monitors mitigate ghosting the best?

Okay, you have tried everything recommended above, but you still have these ugly blur effects. Then it might be time to consider buying a new monitor. As you might have guessed already, a low moving picture response time (MPRT) of 1ms or not overdriving your monitor’s response rate is key when fighting ghosting. However, a high refresh rate is definitely also a huge benefit if you want to enjoy modern AAA titles.

The refresh rate is a measure of how many images your monitor can produce per second. This value is gauged in Hertz (Hz). Regular monitors often come with a 60Hz refresh rate, which is not enough for faster games. Therefore, we recommend models that are capable of at least 120Hz. Also, your monitor should be compatible with NVIDIA G-Sync or AMD FreeSync. These features optimize the communication between video card and screen considerably, enhancing your experience.

As stated earlier, buying a new monitor doesn’t need to be a costly affair. Philips offers some really smooth solutions for small budgets. The Philips 242E1GAJ is a 24” full-HD monitor boasting a refresh rate of whooping 144Hz and a lightning-fast response time of 1ms. The display features AMD FreeSync to optimally synchronize your hardware for maximum output. At around €199 it is quite cheap, considering that it’s a device you will be able to use for many years to come.