What is input lag and how to get rid of it?

WRITTEN BY Johnny Chang : abcd8069@gmail.com

Posted on August 16 2018

When it comes to monitor, input lag refers to the time (lapse) between the moment video signal comes into the monitor and the moment the image appears on the monitor. If input lag is high, it can be really detrimental to players' performances on fast-moving games such as CS GO, fortnite or twitch style games like Super Mario Maker. Imagine you have a monitor with a severe input lag, that enemies always pop into your screen a few milliseconds later than they should and kill you before you even notice them, how annoying will that be? Thus, on professional gaming tournaments, both the hardware and software are often optimized to reduce input lag, allowing gamers to fully demonstrate their skills.

Input lag is an inevitable nature of all devices. For monitors, the tasks of their chips to process signals, adjust the contrast and saturation of the graphic and scale the image to proper size for the display panel, are the main cause of input lag. TVs are especially bad with input lag since they are designed to provide stunning visuals with their rather complex signal processing. Some TVs have functions like “game mode” or “fast mode,” which eliminates parts of their visual processing in order to achieve lower input lag - at the expense of image quality. On the other hand, gaming monitors are often designed for different uses such as graphics designing, gaming and word processing, resulting in less graphic processing design, and less input lag.

How does input lag disrupt gaming experiences?

*What would happen if the real position of Mario is on the edge of the platform, but your monitor only shows where he was a few milliseconds ago? He dies.

How exactly does input lag interfere players' performances? In combat games, it could delay the display of your opponents’ movement, giving you no time to properly react- you think you've pressed the defense button the moment you saw your opponent's ult, but you ended up taking the blow. Or in shooting games, you saw an enemy and start firing endlessly towards him, only to find out later that, due to the input lag, your opponent was always one step ahead of the place you spotted him, and you’ve missed all the shots. Or in Super Mario Maker, you finally stepped onto a small platform thinking you've finished half of the level, but your lagged monitor tricked you into thinking that you should press one extra step forward, and you fall into the endless misery. Thus, it is no wonder that pro gamers often avoid input lag like a plague. They would spend extra money on their devices and lower their visual settings in exchange for less input lag.

How to lower input lag for your monitor?

When you suspect that your monitor has high input lag, or you are using a TV to play games, there are several ways you can do to lower the input lag. First, check if you have some special modes like HDR or dynamic contrast on. When under these modes, monitors would take up extra times to further process the signals. So it’s better to turn them off. Next, you want to make sure that you set the refresh rate in your computer as high as possible, meaning that there will be more frames showing up on your screen in same amount of time than before. And by doing so you reduce the time between each frames, letting everything on the screen closer to real time. You should also disable fps limitation in games or any software, because having higher FPS means that your screen will have a more recent frame to pick from once your screen refreshes, resulting in more accurate image. And turn off V-Sync as it will lock your FPS to a low point. If you’ve tried all the options above and still find your monitor not showing what’s really happening on time, it might be that your monitor just has a really long native input lag, and you should be considering changing your monitor instead.

If you are looking for a monitor with low input lag, check this website for details on most of the monitors on the market and their respective input lag. Unfortunately, it is yet to have any information on MSI's gaming monitors.

Zero Latency in MSI's gaming monitors

MSI has always strived to create best gaming experiences for gamers. From gaming laptops to gaming desktops, we‘ve designed numerous award-wining models. But to create an all-around best gaming experience, we have to think beyond computers. We’ve created several gaming monitor lines to match all the top-tier gaming standards. All of our monitors have been fine-tuned to reach below 10ms input lag, featuring all the best gaming qualities written in this article.

To further address the issue of input lag, our monitors have a built-in function called “Zero-Latency” to minimize the input lag. You can simply use the joystick behind to monitor to turn on Zero-Latency in the control panel, or find it within our gaming OSD app. (Note that the response time in the setting should be set below “fast”, as Zero-Latency won’t work while the response time is on “fastest” mode)

Input lag is one of the most neglected factors for the quality of gameplay among manufacturers and gamers. With the Zero-Latency function on, you will be able to conquer those sloppy enemies in CS:GO, PUBG, and Overwatch. And we also hope this article will be helpful for you on selecting your future monitor.




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