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Level Up Your … Monitor Lag?

Most people in this day and age play our games on HDTV’s at home. The old days of everyone playing on a lagless CRT tv are virtually extinct and unfortunately the modern day HDTV’s all have some sort of lag.

What does this mean for you? Well if you are a casual gamer, it means nothing. Playing on your neighbor’s 50 inch plasma won’t really have an effect on you. However, if you are sitting at home in practice mode aiming to get Top 8 at the next major tournament, then lag may have an effect on your timing – in this case, the 50 inch plasma may not be the best TV to practice on. It will negatively affect how you perform your 1 frame link combos in SF, throw breaks in Tekken, just frames in Soul Calibur and other timing-strict games. Those serious gamers may want to consider investing in a new HDTV setup.

“Okay, I have a couple hundred to spare, but I don’t know which TV to buy… now what?” Well, stumbling across this thread on shoryuken.com, it gives some very informative information and a huge list of TV’s that have 1 frame or less of lag – the most popular one in the list is probably the Asus VH236H “Evo” monitor, which shows 8.3ms of lag, or roughly 1/2 of a frame [or 1/120th of a second]. Take a look at this thread here:

Sub 1 frame HDTV/Monitor Input Lag Database

A couple things to consider about HDTV’s and lag is that when a monitor advertises “Response Time”, it is NOT the same as Input Lag. If a company advertises “2ms response time”, don’t be fooled since that does NOT reflect the monitor’s lag. Another thing is that in a lot of these tests, they are testing at a certain resolution, usually 1080p. However, most games do not run in 1080p – they can only be run in 720p, such as Tekken 6, Soul Calibur 5, etc… so for some of the tests, the lag reflected in the thread will not be completely accurate [it’ll most likely be higher when playing those games]. For example, the Asus monitor running Tekken 6 in 720p is probably going to have more than 1 frame of lag. 1080p is the optimal resolution for the monitor, but since it has to down-scale the image to 720p, it requires some processing power, therefore creating lag.

With tournaments in mind, which is the recommended TV to get? Well, the Asus monitor or anything showing less than 9ms of lag is going to be ideal, just remember to keep in mind that not all of the listed monitors have speakers, if this is important to you. [some people like myself use external speakers anyway].


Speaking from my personal experience, my first real hdtv monitor was the Asus VH236H, it really felt amazing as I had not played on anything that didn’t have lag, other than the crt’s on arcade machines. I had that monitor for about 2 years or so, then I had more recently purchased a different Asus monitor – VG236HE. This is an updated 3D version with a [very nice] glossy screen, however I did notice that the VG236HE was slightly less responsive than the VH236H evo monitor.

Even more recently, I stumbled upon the sub-1 frame lag monitor thread at shoryuken and made a purchase based on the tests, which was the Dell S2330MX, which shows a very very low input lag of 3.8ms. It wasn’t too expensive at around $180 + shipping from Dell. I did some combo testing and this monitor truly feels awesome and probably the least laggy monitor I’ve ever played on – once calibrated properly. The only downsides to this monitor [which doesn’t affect me much] is that there are only 2 inputs – VGA and DVI. It does, however, come with an hdmi to dvi adapter, so you can just plug in your hdmi cable to that. The screen itself is less than 1 inch thick – very very thin, light and energy saving.

This monitor also does not have speakers, but I use external speakers anyway. Since the hdmi cable is being using just for the monitor, you can take a composite or component ps2 cable and just use the red / white audio wires from that to plug into any speaker device . Just goto the ps3 xmb and change the audio settings from hdmi to the rca audio cables and then you’re all set.


I hope this has been an informative article … so it’s time for you to … Level Up Your Monitor !





22 responses to “Level Up Your … Monitor Lag?”

  1. Targie

    Good post Kane, a lot of people are still unaware of the issues of monitor lag.
    And this my American friends is another reason why you need to be propping up your local arcade scenes!
    Has info about the monitors being used for EVO this year been released yet? I think I stumbled upon it somewhere so I might be wrong. Might be worth updating your post with this information if you can find it so people know what the ‘best’ TV would be for EVO practice.

  2. Jose

    Dear dairy,
    I just discovered SRK for the first time.
    Love, Jose

    1. reepal

      Dear dairy,
      Your milk products leave me lactose intolerant,
      Love, Rip

      1. Targie

         @reepal Dear Rip,
        You were born lactose intolerant, milk products didn’t give you lactose intolerance.
        Love, Biology
        P.S. Jose, you suck.

      2. fsgrf

        Dear Targie,
        target sucks
        hate, Walmart

  3. MaRayearth

    The best solution to this problem is… stick to our good old lagless, CRT TVs like I do!

    1. reepal

       @MaRayearth problem is that CRT’s dont have the correct aspect ratio, so you get weird issues on different CRTs like spacing not feeling the same in fighting games

  4. SridharsVs

    Good info… I have been playing T6 on a super laggy acer monitor for about 1 and half years now without even realizing that it had lag. The only thing I could notice while playing is that Throw breaks were super harder in T6 and lows nearly impossible to see especially Laws d/b+4. I thought that it was how T6 actually was. Much faster than T5. 
    Later that week, I had the chance to play T6 at my friends place on his LG 3D monitor. To my surprise I found that lows are much easier to spot and block, throw breaking was waay easier than what it was in T5. 
    Are there any standard ways to test lag on a monitor or HD TV??
    I usually use defensive training trying to block Laws d/b+4 and U/F+4 set to FAST interval cause I know that it is IMPOSSIBLE to do so on my acer monitor. If I can block them, it is lagless, otherwise the monitor has SHIT LAG. I also use Laws staple bound ender 43~DSS f+3 as cue for lag. If I can land it it is lagless otherwise LAGGGGG. I know that it sounds stupid, but that works for me.
    Besides are CRT 100% LAGLESS??

    1. Pane

       @SridharsVs well .. Lars db4 is impossible to block on reaction .. it is too fast.
      but, something ganryu’s df2+3 or julia’s b3 should work. just remember that actual gameplay isn’t practice mode and it is more difficult to block those in an actual match. try assigning like 6-7 moves [including throws] and see if you can block those lows on reaction.
      there are monitor lag tests you can perform if you have a crt and a splitter. and yes, most of them are 100% lagless.
      chances are that if your friend’s 3d LG monitor isn’t on the list, then it’ll have more than 1 frame of lag. google “[monitor model] input lag” and more likely than not, someone has done an input lag test on it somewhere.
      sizzle – ttt2u’s resolution is 1024×720, upscaled to 1280×720. in times of heavy processing, the resolution drops to having an interlaced picture at 1024×360 [x2].

  5. Sizzle

    Good stuff. Any word yet on to resolution of ttt2U?

  6. abner

    aww man and i thought plasmas were close to no lag at all like crts were. well good thing i skipped on buying an hdtv until now.

  7. Asim GL Ali

    buy a new tv just 2 play a game seriously? lol

  8. Loukas Liaskos

    I must add this. Lag is not introduced only because the monitor downscales from its native resolution (1080p) to 720p. Lag is also introduced when you set the PlayStation 3 or your Xbox to display 1080p using the upscaling decoder inside the machine from the 720p game resolution

  9. LevelUpYourGame

    loukas: you are wrong. for ps3’s, the game will NOT run in 1080p mode for tekken6, soul calibur 5, sf4 or any of the other fighting games even if you try to force 1080p through the display settings.

    for xbox, it has a dedicated hardware upscaler [google it], so it does not add any lag.

    in either case, most monitors have a 1080p native resolution … so running 1080p on a 1080p monitor does not add any lag. the problem would be running 720p games on a 1080p monitor, such as sf, sc5, sf4, etc.

  10. Loukas Liaskos

    You are right and I am right. I just forgot to mention that only Xbox upscales and the PlayStation 3 still runs in 720p. Are you sure the dedicated upscaler does not produce lag? This is very interesting …

    I always keep up with monitors and input lag. Some good websites that test input lag are:

    prad.de (select English language)


  11. pluto

    Hope you all well.
    ” the least laggy monitor I’ve ever played on – once calibrated properly”
    I am going to buy this monitor based on your article :-)…. Can you please advise how you calibrated it to get the optimum response?

    1. Pane

      currently I have my monitor set to “game mode”, 93 brightness, 75 contrast, hue / saturation 50, sharpness 80, dynamic contrast off.
      the thing with the dell monitor is that it does not have speakers and only has a dvi input. for best results, get an “hdmi to dvi” cable and use that. for sound, use the regular ps1 / ps2 yellow,red,white cables [only using the red/white for sound] and plug those into some external speakers. depending on your speakers, might have to get an 3.5mm headphone adapter … which usually run less than $2 on ebay

      1. pluto

        Cool, thanks for your quick response, will follow these settings…
        One last question please, if you were going to buy a monitor now, will you get this one or a different one?

      2. Pane

        if I was looking for one for the least lag, I’d still get the dell

      3. pluto

        Thanks for the advice man…
        Really appreciate it…
        Will be getting this monitor soon 🙂

      4. Pane

        cool. what monitor / tv are you using now?
        let us know how the monitor is when you test it out

      5. pluto

        Sure, once I get the monitor will come back and update you guys…
        Might have to leave for a business trip, so have to wait till I get back…
        Either way, will come back and post here…