For competitive, fast-paced games, motion blur reduction produces CRT-like motion clarity by strobing the backlight.Motion Blur Reduction technology, which enhances motion clarity by strobing the lighting, is available on several gaming monitors.
This function can be turned on in the monitor’s OSD (On-Screen Display) menu. Depending on the monitor, it may go by many names, including ULMB, ELMB, 1ms MPRT, MBR, DyAc, LightBoost, PureXP, Aim Stabilizer, etc.
So, despite having a quick CPU, a potent GPU, and a high refresh rate gaming monitor, you’re not happy with how well your games perform because of all the motion blur?
The best way to reduce motion blur is to use a gaming monitor that includes Motion Blur Reduction, provided that it also has a quick pixel response time.
If your computer can handle running the game at your monitor’s refresh rate, when you’re gaming, for instance, your display is actually giving you a ton of stationary “images” made up of all of the individual pixels on your screen at a rate that is equivalent to your monitor’s refresh rate.
For instance, a 60Hz monitor will show 60 frames (or “images”) every second, but a 120Hz monitor will show 120 frames per second. These images are shown so quickly that they appear to be moving to our eyes. Modern displays, however, operate in a way that prevents individual pixels from instantly changing their brightness and color. Instead, most traditional monitors have a response time of a few milliseconds. When you’re just browsing or watching a movie, this usually isn’t a major deal, but when you’re playing a fast-paced game, it can and will cause the image to blur, which may result in annoyance or poor performance.
The graphic from blurbusters.com below shows how this can be fixed by using a faster refresh rate monitor, however contemporary gaming displays also come equipped with their own solutions to reduce eye tracking motion blur.
What Is Motion Blur Reduction?
Modern game displays use Motion Blur Reduction, a technology that is now widespread. As a result of something we call “sample-and-hold,” frames remain shown until the screen refreshes (see: “framerate”) again, which can blur the image when displaying quickly moving images. Remember that this form of blur resembles ghosting more than the purposeful motion blur that is applied to most games and is an easy setting to disable.
To put it simply, turning on motion blur reduction causes the display to strobe the backlight, producing motion clarity akin to that of a CRT, which is ideal for fast-paced competitive gaming.
The OSD menu on the gaming display allows you to enable or disable motion blur reduction. The brand names of this technology vary among different monitor types, including:
- NVIDIA’s ULMB (Ultra Low Motion Blur)
- NVIDIA’s LightBoost
- BenQ’s DyAc (Dynamic Accuracy)
- ASUS Extreme Low Motion Blur (ELMB)
- LG’s 1ms Motion Blur Reduction
- Samsung’s 1ms MPRT (Moving Picture Response Time)
- ViewSonic’s PureXP
- Gigabyte’s Aim Stabilizer
While ULMB is only included in a select few G-SYNC gaming monitors, NVIDIA’s LightBoost technology is antiquated and only available on older monitors.
How Motion Blur Reduction Works
By reducing the amount of time a frame is shown, eye-tracking motion blur can be lessened. As previously indicated, increasing the refresh rate of a monitor and adding a strobing effect, achieved by turning off the backlight between refreshes rather than leaving it on the entire time, work for this. All of those Motion Blur Reduction features function in the same way.
The length of time that you are actually staring at each pixel is decreased by this effect, which is invisible to the unaided eye, shortening the time that a particular frame is displayed. This is similar to the old CRT monitors that some of your old school gamers may fondly recall because they had this built-in strobing effect that made the image they presented appear and feel more smoother to our eyes.
Visit Blur Buster’s UFO test for a good (moving) illustration of how black frame insertion, often known as “strobing,” might aid in the smoothing out of an image.
These blur-reducing capabilities are usually always optional because strobing requires a reasonably capable GPU in order to function (or at least one which can keep a steady amount of high frames). Since the screen backlight is turned off for (extremely brief) periods of time, this technology has the potential to reduce screen brightness.
When Should You Use Motion Blur Reduction?
Numerous factors, such as your computer setup, monitor, video game, and picture/driver settings, will affect the effectiveness of motion blur reduction.
The truth is that the game won’t always seem smoother if backlight strobing is enabled.
The ideal refresh rate for gaming is over or equal to your frame rate, however this might be difficult to achieve because most motion blur reduction solutions cannot operate simultaneously with FreeSync or G-SYNC.
The first MBR solution to support both VRR and MBR simultaneously was ASUS’ ELMB-Sync. Theoretically, you should not suffer tearing, stuttering, or motion blur while playing video games.
On most monitors, though, the technology is not properly adjusted, so you get a lot of pixel overshoot and/or strobe crosstalk, like with the ASUS VG259QM.
Therefore, if you want the best motion clarity, you must utilize MBR alone, and if you want to get rid of screen tearing and stuttering with the least amount of input lag cost, you must use FreeSync/G-SYNC.
On supported displays, backlight strobing can also be used concurrently with FreeSync/G-SYNC thanks to Gigabyte’s Aim Stabilizer Sync and MSI’s MPRT-Sync technology.
For the greatest results while employing backlight strobing, many gamers choose to use V-Sync to synchronize the monitor’s vertical refresh rate with the GPU’s frame rates, however this causes input lag.
You should use RTSS to cap your frame rate at your maximum refresh rate less 0.01 to lessen the additional input lag caused by V-Sync (Rivatuner Statistics Server).
You must first determine the precise fractional refresh rate of your monitor.
Your actual refresh rate on a 144Hz panel might be closer to 143.992Hz, in which case you should limit your frame rate to 143.982. (143.992 – 0.01).
Use this webpage to determine your precise refresh rate.
Keep in mind that this technique only functions if your GPU is able to keep a constant frame rate close to your refresh rate. So, reduce your frame rate to 120Hz if you are unable to maintain 144FPS.
In actuality, backlight strobing will function best at a refresh rate lower than the maximum refresh rate of your display (120Hz strobing on a 144Hz monitor, 144Hz strobing on a 240Hz monitor, etc).
In addition to not being able to use VRR on most monitors, utilizing MBR has another drawback: a less brilliant picture.
There may be extra settings available for some backlight strobing methods, such as “ULMB Pulse Width,” which enables you to manually change the frequency of the backlight strobing.
This will allow you to determine the ideal trade-off between picture brightness and better motion clarity.
When MBR is enabled, certain gaming monitors can continue to be extremely bright, while others become too dark for enjoyable gameplay.
You will have to rely on monitor evaluations because, regrettably, monitor manufacturers typically don’t specify the display’s maximum brightness when MBR is enabled.
Finally, take note that screen flickering, though undetectable to the human eye, is added when backlight strobing is activated. However, those who are extremely sensitive to it could get headaches after using it for a while.
Response Time Speed
The type of panel will also affect how much motion blur is there (IPS, TN, or VA). Specifically, on the speed of its gray-to-gray (GtG) pixel response time.
Fast-paced games can exhibit noticeable smearing in dark situations even on VA gaming monitors with high refresh rates and motion blur mitigation. This is because VA panels often have the slowest pixel transition speed from dark to bright pixels.
Contrarily, TN panels have a quick response time, often about 1ms GtG, making them the most popular option for competitive gamers.
Although some more recent IPS and VA monitors have exactly as quick a response time as some TN models, IPS panels fall somewhere in the middle of the two in terms of pixel transition time!
Finally, because OLED panels don’t require a backlight to create the image and instead change individual pixels instantly, they have even faster response times than TN panels. This results in incredibly smooth movements.
Now, sometimes misleadingly, monitor manufacturers will just list the display’s backlight strobing response time, i.e., “1ms MPRT” (Moving Picture Response Time), without mentioning the monitor’s GtG pixel response time.
So be sure to read reviews for both MPRT and GtG reaction time metrics!
Blur Busters Approved Certification
Gaming displays with the “Blur Busters Approved” accreditation have undergone testing and tuning by Blur Busters, ensuring the monitor’s backlight strobing technology operates at a high level. The certification demonstrates that:
- When MBR is enabled, the color quality is improved.
- decrease in strobe crosstalk (double-images)
- manual control over the strobing frequency of the backlight
- updated through firmware
- More choices for refresh rates at which MBR can function
- For monitors with higher native refresh rates, better MBR performance at lower refresh rates (for example a 144Hz monitor strobing at 120Hz)
Blur Buster has certified the ViewSonic XG270 1080p 240Hz IPS panel as the first gaming monitor with PureXP MBR.
When the display is configured to strobe at 120Hz, many people contrast the ViewSonic XG270’s motion clarity with that of vintage (but still gold) CRT displays like the Sony FW900 (and FPS capped and kept at 120FPS).
Blur Busters Approved 2.0
The second iteration of Blur Busters Approved Programme enhances the first by adding blur reduction utility software to let you fine-tune your settings and allowing strobing (including single-strobing) to work at any custom resolution/refresh rate, starting at 60Hz up to the monitor’s maximum refresh rate.
They also make an effort to minimize input lag.
The first monitor with this certification is the ViewSonic XG2431, which has excellent performance.