What Is Ghosting On a Monitor? [How to Test]

By John Adebimitan

Whether you’re looking for a gaming monitor or a work monitor, ghosting is something you will probably have come across several times, especially when reading customer reviews.

So what is ghosting on a monitor? How do you fix and permanently get rid of it? How can you know if your work or gaming monitor is ghosting? And how do you test for ghosting? These questions are going to be answered in much detail in this article. So let’s begin with the first, what is ghosting on a monitor?

Experiencing backlight bleeding? Here are the causes and fixes.

What is ghosting on a monitor / screen?

To put it simply, ghosting on a monitor is an image artifact that is left on the trail of moving objects. You’ll easily find these trails of pixels and, in this case, “ghosts” in fast-moving scenes and fps games. When the monitor is ghosting, you will notice a discoloration of some areas of the display. It’s popularly known as screen burn, ghost image, image burn-in, and screen burn-in. So having known what ghosting is, let’s talk about what causes it.

What causes monitor ghosting?

The primary cause of ghosting is an inability for the display to move at the same pace as the images. So if you have a PC that has a lower refresh rate than the least recommended of 65Hz, or if the gaming monitor has a pretty high response time of around 10ms and above, then you could have issues with monitor ghosting as the games you will probably try to play will be moving at a faster pace.

Another cause of monitor ghosting can be backlight bleed, but you’ll find this mostly on LCD screens. Getting a more expensive or newer model of a gaming monitor is sure to solve this.

If you’re using an LCD, then your monitor ghosting issue might be caused by a static or burned-in image. Generally, simply turning your monitor off and leaving it for some time will solve this issue.

Know that if there is anything that causes the physical pixels not to update as fast as the image, you will have the monitor ghosting effect. This could even be caused by the monitor panel, as you saw in the preceding paragraph.

How to carry out a response time and ghosting monitor test?

If you are not using your monitor primarily for gaming, knowing if you have a ghosting issue is going to be harder when compared to users who are regularly gaming or engaging in high-image movement activities on the monitor. Click here to carry out a ghosting monitor test and response time test.

Monitor ghosting example

In case you’re wondering what it’s like for a screen to ghost, I found a monitor ghosting example that should tell you how disruptive this can be.

YouTube video

How to fix monitor ghosting?

When you are experiencing ghosting on a monitor, there are a couple of fixes. If you remember, we mentioned that one of the first causes is an incompatible refresh rate and response time, so the first step towards rectifying this will be to ensure you’re using the correct refresh rate and your monitor has the compatible response time.

1. Check refresh rate and response time

Your gaming monitor shouldn’t be running with anything lower than the 60Hz refresh rate. I have written this step-by-step guide that will help you with checking and changing the refresh rate. If your monitor spec shows that you have support for a higher refresh rate, changing to the higher refresh rate would probably solve the issue you’re having.

You should also check that the response time isn’t way above 10ms. 5ms and below is the sweet spot for gaming monitor response time. So having something considerably higher in this age of ever-advancing gaming PCs and consoles can cause ghosting on a monitor.

If all checks out, and you’re still having the monitor ghosting issue, then you should enable overdrive in the monitor settings.

2. Enable overdrive

Another way to fix screen ghosting is to enable Overdrive, open the On-Screen Display menu >> search Overdrive or AMA or Trace Free or Response Time>> Enable if not already done >> If enabled, check the option it’s been set to and play around with the options while monitoring if it makes a difference.

3. Check your monitor setup

Settings like ULMB (Ultra Low Motion Blur) have been found to produce ghosting. So disable that option to see if it fixes the problem.

You should also disable the Nvidia G-Sync or AMD FreeSync as some users have found that it causes monitor ghosting. If it’s already disabled, then try enabling it to see if it fixes the issue.

For the most part, while trying to get the best settings for our devices, we could inadvertently break some things. So take your time to review the settings or check the user manual either online or in print to be sure you’re using the correct settings. If you’re unsure of what’s wrong, you might revert to the default settings and see if that fixes the problem.

4. Check the graphics card

If your graphics card driver is outdated, then that could be the cause of the ghosting. If it is not, you should download the latest version, but if it is, you should check the changelog of the driver update notes to see if issues like ghosting are stated in it.

5. How old is the monitor?

To remove ghosting on a monitor, you should consider the age of your screen. If you’re using an older monitor, then you’re probably using the display for something it wasn’t designed to support, especially the demand for newer computer and console games. So the recommended fix if your monitor is older will be to invest in a new gaming monitor.

Try to get a monitor with a refresh rate of at least 75Hz for console gaming and 144Hz for PC gaming. Also, try to get a monitor that has a maximum of 5ms response time; the lower, the better. Don’t buy a VA panel when searching for a new monitor, as they have the slowest response time; get either an IPS or TN panel.

So that’s our article on what is ghosting on a monitor and how to test and fix monitor ghosting. This guide has been found to work for users with ASUS, Samsung, MSI, Dell, and many other brands of gaming monitors. Feel free to share your thoughts with us.

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