Input or display lag refers to the time between when a command is inputted and when it’s displayed on your screen.
A high level of input lag can greatly impact your overall gaming experience and especially in twitch-sensitive games. We’d consider anything under 20ms as good for gaming. Options, as high as 68ms, may completely cripple your overall gaming experience. Monitors with high refresh rates that are made for gaming typically fall into this category as the time for each frame to remain on the screen is greatly diminished. However, there are many cheap gaming monitors available with extremely low latency.
How to Reduce or fix Input or Display Lag
Modern TVs and monitors are often plagued more than previous generation CRT versions as additional processing power and memory storage is is necessary in order to display a command. So most of what is determined as display lag is built-in to your device. However, if you’ve already purchased your TV or monitor, there are some ways to decrease its overall input lag.
- Change the Mode of your display.
Monitors or televisions may list it as Game Mode. Or, you may simply find that one mode is more responsive than another. For my son, this was how we went from being unable to play NBA2K, trying to make a shot was ridiculous, to achieving a good experience overall.
- Change your console settings.
For a console like the Xbox One or PS4, go to picture settings to make sure that your video settings on your RGB range is set to automatic rather than Full. Full means that there will be more color information that needs to be processed. For PS4 specifically set RGB to Auto, HDC to off, and dynamic range to off.
- Change your cord.
Try using a VGA cord rather than an HDMI cable. Some processing features are restricted to HDMI.
- Lower the resolution of the game you’re playing.
If all else fails, try this. Yes, the game might not look as good, but when you’re desperate this can be a fix that works.
How to Test Your Monitor for Input Lag
Testing for input lag has a lot of processes involved with it. The most rudimentary method we’ve seen of doing this involves recording your display and input at the same time and then trying to calculate the difference in time. There are other better ways of doing this including devices made specifically for this type of testing. These include the Video Signal Input Lag Tester from Leo Bodnar Electronics. Perhaps a more practical way of doing this is to simply go to a site where display lag is measured. Prad.de is one such site but there are many others as well.
Input lag Is Not Response Time
Many people get input lag confused with response time. Response time is the time it takes for a pixel to go from black to white and then back again. Often manufacturers will post their GTG or gray to gray response time in order to achieve a lower number. Monitors that have a below 5ms response time typically leave blur with images that move quickly.
FreeSync vs G-Sync Input Lag Comparison
Ever wondered whether G-Sync or FreeSync is better or want to know more about them? Linus over at Linus Tech Tips gives us a good comparison to look at. We found this test valuable albeit somewhat unscientific. Different panels will give different results. So, proper testing would involve using a display that is both G-Sync and FreeSync compatible.
Ultimately picking a monitor or HDTV that already comes with a low amount of display lag is the easiest way to make sure you have a smooth gaming experience. If you’ve already bought your monitor or display, try taking some of the steps we mentioned above to remedy the situation.