What is gaming monitor response time

We’ve come a long way from the days when we hooked our 8-bit gaming consoles up to the family TV to enjoy a bit of Pac Man. Indeed, in today’s high-tech world, gamers are able to bring their gameplay to a whole new level, enjoying the fresh, exciting and vibrant visuals offered by high-tech gaming monitors. While there are many factors that play a role in selecting the perfect gaming monitor, such as resolution, aspect ratio, viewing angle, screen size, and refresh rate, it’s response time that stands out for many competitive gamers.

Monitor Response Time: What is it and Why is it Important?

As a gamer who wants to gain the best gameplay advantage over other competitive players, purchasing a monitor that is the perfect match for the type of games you play is crucial. We all know the feeling of glancing at a monitor such as the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ, with it’s expansive, 27 inch screen, refresh rate of 144Hz and response time of 4ms, and thinking how cool that monitor is, but you excel at first-person shooters, and the thought of your screen being the host to irritating artifacts, ghosting or blurring due to a low 4ms response time is too much. In short, for some gamers, it’s all about monitor response time. But just what is gaming monitor response time, and why does it matter?

Monitor response time, also known as pixel response time, refers to how quickly a pixel can switch from black to white, or change from different shades of gray. In fact, the intensity of the color you see on your monitor during gameplay is due to the transition of these different shades of gray. If you look at the spec sheet for a monitor, you may see the letters, GTG and BTB. GTG 2ms refers to ‘gray to gray’ in 2ms. Similarly, if the monitor has a BTB 2ms, it means that it takes 2ms to go from black to white to black again.

Gaming monitor response times are given in milliseconds such as 1ms, 4ms or 5ms. To put it into perspective, if you have a standard, 60 Hz monitor, one frame is visible to the human eye for around 17 milliseconds. This means that the monitors pixels must make the transition quickly, so you can to see the next fame clearly, without distortion or ghosting.

Ghosting refers to any remnants of a previous fame which remain visible on the screen, while you play. Ghosting is the direct result of longer monitor response times. This is all due to the extended time it takes the pixels to transition from different shades of grey. For those who simply use their computer to casually surf the net, this is no big deal. However, if you’re a gamer or enjoy watching fast-paced, action packed videos, this ghosting, can become annoying.

The Twisted Nematic Panel

The OLED gaming monitors, with their theoretical response time of just 0.01ms, are still in development, and may stay there for quite some time, so if you’re a gamer looking to get into fast-paced gameplay, the TN should be first on your list. Monitors manufactured with TN panels are those you should consider first if you intend to be a professional eSport gamer, as they come with the quickest response times available, at just 1ms. Not only do these monitors afford you the best response time, but they are also among the most affordable. If the TN has a flaw, it’s definitely the color presentation. With the TN panel, expect to get colors which are less vivid than the IPS panel. But if we’re talking first person shooters? Then we can let color slide, in favor of the affordable price and low response time of 1ms.

In-Plane Switching Panel

If you’re into both gaming and creating game art, utilizing programs such as Photoshop and Blender, then the IPS monitor might be a better choice. The IPS panel is designed to generate vibrant colors, allowing you to enjoy the gaming environment’s full potential. If you’re the type of gamer who enjoys exploring worlds, then this is definitely the one to consider. Just be aware that you may experience motion blur and ghosting, as IPS panels can only go as low as 4ms.

Vertical Alignment Panels

Like the IPS panels, VA panels also have a response time of around 4 to 5 ms. However, VA panels have a high static contrast ratio. This means that users who are prefer high contrast between blacks and whites will prefer this type. But, this is also where the ghosting comes in. Because of the darker panels, the pixels will take longer to transition from the dark black shades, so you’re bound to experience ghosting, motion or visual artifacts during any fast-paced game play.


There you have it, a basic introduction to monitor response time. While you’ll see response time stats listed in manufacturer spec sheets, we strongly recommend that you find a way to view and test a monitor in person before you purchase. No matter what claims a manufacturer makes, it all boils down to the type of gamer you are, and the kind of games you enjoy playing the most. Only you know what you want in a monitor when it comes to screen size, resolution, color capability, viewing angel and response time. But, in the end it’s a good bet that if you’re a competitive gamer, one who wants to win, a low response time may suit you best.