Hasn’t it happened to you on old monitors that you moved the mouse very fast and everything left a kind of trail until you stopped the movements? This effect is very problematic for any player, but above all it does not allow us to be competitive, since that wake that is generated on the screen makes us be imprecise in any click.
Why is this effect generated on PC?
This effect has a specific name and is nothing more than Ghosting, colloquially translated as ghost effect. The feeling is curious, because it seems that moving the mouse more or less quickly generates a kind of pixel trail behind whatever object is being displayed.
Sometimes the user can confuse Ghosting with motion blur and logically it is not the same. In ghosting the effect is very clear and has a fairly common remedy implemented today in the vast majority of gaming monitors.
The solution to this effect is called Overdrive and what it seeks is to avoid this ghosting, thereby improving the fluidity of the monitor in conditions of rapid or sudden movements. Logically, the more rapid movements or acceleration we have in the mouse, the more visible the ghosting effect becomes, so competitive players with high FPS and Hz on their monitor have always suffered this effect more than the common mortals who are move at 60 Hz.
Does Overdrive eliminate these problems?
Overdrive is a technology specifically designed to alleviate this effect and over the years it has become configurable. The “problem” is that it is not a proprietary technology as such, but rather an interpretation of a concept that each brand of monitors has improved and included in their products to differentiate themselves from the competition.
In order not to go into too much detail but in order to understand the epicenter of this article, we have to say that Overdrive technology, regardless of the manufacturer that implements it, is based on improving the clarity of moving images.
For this reason, one of the best known is precisely ASUS Trace Free, the brand’s interpretation of this Overdrive technology that is standard on any gaming monitor today. But how does it work and what does it allow us to do?
ASUS Trace Free, a customizable Overdrive
One of the improvements that have been made over the years and the improvement of techniques and technologies is that Overdrive in any of its customized variants has managed to obtain the ability to be adjustable by the user.
Why is this important? Well, mainly because each panel, although it is manufactured in the same place and assembly line, has some small peculiarities that make it different from the rest of its brothers. What Overdrive intends is to improve the response time of the monitor in a key and specific section: the transition from white to black or from gray to gray.
This response time is responsible for the ghosting effect and normally and to date it was more pressing in monitors with panels AMVA what in TN or IPS, since the former tend to be slower in the color change in terms of milliseconds.
For this reason, ASUS implemented its own Overdrive technology called Trace Free through an advanced electronic control system that allows the monitor that incorporates it to apply a series of electrical currents that are monitored at all times and thus make the panel change color more quickly.
How to adjust Trace Free on an ASUS monitor?
The challenge was great years ago: to make the GtG times lower, since from white to black they were more than acceptable, but in gray… It was another story. With Trace Free this not only improves, it can even be mitigated to the human eye, which is precisely what we are looking for.
In a static image, we could notice it, but in motion it is much more complicated, even if we are playing a strategy game. As we have said above, Trace Free in its latest evolution can be adjusted to our liking and decide how we want our panel to update the color quickly.
To do this, we will have to enter the menu of our monitor by pressing (normally) the direction button that we have on the right / bottom and behind it. Within the menu we will have to go (as a general rule) to the Image section, where within this and moving with the small joystick we will access the Trace Free.
Once inside Trace Free we will see a vertical bar that can be configured and that goes from 0 to 100. In the vast majority of monitors the values to configure are jumps of 20 points in 20 points, the default being 60. Here it comes the controversy, since as we have said each panel is “from its mother and father”, that is, to a great extent unique despite quality controls, what we see in the reviews regarding the Overdrive / Trace Free is only indicative.
That is, we will have to select tests such as the one at www.testufo.com/ghosting and select the Middle Grays options, 960 pixels in UFO Separation, and then vary the speed of the UFOs and thus compare whether or not Ghosting occurs. In the meantime, we will have to play with the Trace Free settings, raising and lowering the percentages manually to see which one offers greater sharpness in our panel.
It takes some time, yes, but the improvement is more than remarkable and worth it, especially for those who get dizzy easily or are not at a suitable distance from the monitor. As we said, the most balanced value is usually 60, but there are monitors that need even 80, especially in the lightest gray color, where the Corona effect can occur, something that we will discuss in another article.