What is Response Time for a Monitor | What is the Best Response Time For Gaming?

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Sharp and clear images with enhanced colors and added functionalities are generally what’s in our mind when we are up to buy a new monitor. While everyone seems to be aware of the general specifications of monitors, like the size and resolution, contrast ratio, more technical details are often overlooked, which are directly tied to the performance of the monitor you intend to buy.

One such factor is the Monitor response time. Keep in mind that response time is different from Input lag. If you are buying the monitor for gaming purposes, then it becomes more important that you understand the nitty-gritty of the monitor response time as it can directly affect your gaming experience. Read along to understand the technicalities of the response time, how it is measured, and why it is essential.

Table of Contents

What is Monitor Response Time?

How colors appear on the monitor is what response time relates to, and in its most simple definition, it’s the time taken by the monitor to shift from one color to another. At the level of pixels, it’s the time taken by the pixel to change from black to white or to a different shade of gray.

Response time is the factor that determines how coherently the image will appear on the screen and whether it will have ghosting, blurring, or any other disturbance. A good monitor with an optimum response rate must be capable of handling these disturbances and should be able to minimize them to the extent that they are not perceivable by the viewers—a quality highly vital to gaming.

How is Monitor Response Time Measured

Ok, when we talk about a factor that includes time, then the question naturally arises that how we measure it. While there is no fixed way to measure the response time of a monitor, there are two most agreed-upon methods.

One is the old tried and tested perimeter called the GTG (Grey to Grey) that’s been around for two decades now. And the other is the more sophisticated and newer addition called the MPRT or Moving Picture Response time. Let’s have a look at each of them in more detail.

Grey to Gray(GTG): Simple and Accurate

Grey to grey is considered to be the most accurate measurement of response rate as it is closer to the actual hardware-level values of the response rate. Why so? You see, GTG measures the time taken by a pixel to change from one grey shade value to another.

The pixel at the hardware level is just the assembly of transistors and other processing hardware with multiple layers. The lowest layer of this assembly, also called the basic layer, controls the greyscale. Being closest to the monitor’s processing, measuring the grey to grey response rate gives the most accurate value.

Moving Picture Response Time (MPRT)

MPRT stands for moving picture response time or motion picture response time. The MPRT method measures the timescale for which the pixels remain visible on the screen. The more time a pixel takes to disappear from the screen, the more disturbance like blurring or a trail it will cause.

For a moving object on a screen, it represents the ability of how quickly the pixels activate and deactivate as the object moves across the screen. A good monitor with low MPRT will be efficient at handling the activation and deactivation of the pixels, thereby minimizing the disturbance and residual effects, which results in a high-quality viewing experience. MPRT is fully dependent on framerate, whereas GtG has far less to do with framerate.

Why is Response Time Important?

By now, you must have understood that the response rate directly affects the quality of what appears on the screen. If the monitor you are buying is not capable of handling the response rate efficiently, it will result in ghosting and blur, which will directly affect the overall quality of the display.

However, whether you consider it before buying the monitor depends on the purpose you intend to use the monitor for. But for the recommendation, you should always go for the lower value of response rate. If you need a monitor for casual use like surfing or watching videos, a monitor with a response rate between 5 to 10ms is good. But if it’s a gaming monitor you are considering, the response rate can make or break the whole experience. That brings us to our next question.

What is the Best Response Time For Gaming?

As it’s becoming quite evident that response time is quite crucial for a flawless gaming experience, the question arises, what is the best response time for gaming? Well, everything we have seen so far points out to a lower response rate, and one should definitely go for the lowest response rate. Still, there are some factors to consider.

Two of the most widely used panel in monitors today are the TN (Twisted Nematics) and the IPS(In-Plane Switching). TN gives the lowest response rate, as low as 1ms, while with IPS, the lowest response rate you can get is around 4 milliseconds.

The catch is that going lower than 5ms response rate is barely perceivable by most of the users and does not affect the gaming experience. So if you are a casual gamer, a response rate anywhere around 5ms will feel great. However, a response rate of 1ms is only good if you are into competitive gaming. That way, you must aim for the lowest possible value. 

Apart from that don’t chase the lowest value of response rate. A change from 5ms to 2ms won’t significantly affect the overall gaming experience.

Still, for casual gaming, a response rate of up to 4 ms is not bad at all, and with IPS monitors, you are also getting better visuals and superior picture quality.


So, is a lower response rate really worth it? The answer is definitely yes. If you are not a gamer, going for the lowest response rate may not be wise, but still, a low number is highly recommended for a balanced quality and performance. A lower response rate will make sure of reduced disturbance like ghosting, a factor quite critical in competitive gaming.

A good IPS display with a response rate of four milliseconds and superior quality visuals is suitable for casual gamers, while hardcore games will be better off with a TN panel display with a response rate as low as 1ms.

That’s all we have for you with the response time in a monitor and how important it is to consider before buying a monitor. We hope this guide helps you to purchase your dream monitor and use it to the fullest. 

Rohit is a software engineer. A pro lover of Technology and tech gadgets. I am a gamer too. Our team is here to help you find the best monitor products to decide which one is best for you.

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