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What Is Input Or Display Lag?

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PUREVPNGamingWhat Is Input Or Display Lag?

Do you play first-person shooter games? Then you might have been through a situation where you failed to make a kill even though you pushed the kill button at the perfect time. That may be because you experienced a lag at the worst possible time. Depending on what the reason for that lag was, it can be classified under two categories: input lag (otherwise known as display lag) and network lag.

What is Input Lag?

A simple definition for input lag is the delay it takes between pushing a button and seeing the result on the screen. It is usually measured in milliseconds and ranges from 10ms to 170ms. In an ideal scenario, there wouldn’t be any lag in the first place. But even the most advanced technology hasn’t reached that level yet.

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A lag of 10ms is considered ideal in any gaming environment. Even if the lag is 50ms, you can still enjoy a pretty good game. It gets more frustrating if the lag rises to 100ms or more. In that scenario, you’ll find the game pretty much unplayable. In fact, a lag of over 170ms even causes many games to fail.

What Causes Input Lag?

There are plenty of factors that might cause input lag. But network performance is not one of these factors. A lag caused by a slow network is referred to as network lag, not input lag.

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Input lag is usually caused either by the hardware or software of your PC. In most cases, the culprit is either your monitor or the resolution you’ve set before playing the game. A high-definition game at high resolutions requires numerous steps, especially if the game is fast-paced. Upscaling, motion smoothing, and high dynamic range (HDR) are just some tools that offer amazing visual appeal but are very bad for lag.

Moreover, your monitor can also be the cause of high input lag. The refresh rate, measured in hertz, is the number of times your monitor refreshes an image per second. If the refresh rates are high and the frame rate quick, then you usually see very precise and smooth motions while playing. But if they are slow, then that would become a reason for a display lag.

How Does Input Lag Affect Gamers?

Input lag affects each gamer differently. It is more visible if you’re playing games that require accurate response times. You’ll feel it more when playing a first-person shooter game or a fighting game. Even classic games like Super Mario have more visible input lag because you often need to time your jumps accurately.

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However, if you play a game that doesn’t require accurate response times, then you won’t feel input lag that much. Games like World of Warcraft won’t be affected if the input lag is too high.

How input lag affects gamers also depends on the gamers themselves. Some gamers are susceptible and can even notice lags of less than 100ms. Others aren’t very sensitive and are only affected if the lag is frustratingly high.

How Do You Know That You Have Input Lag?

As explained above, lag is of two types. One is input lag. The other is network lag. Now you might be suffering from one of these lags, or maybe even both. It is important that you first identify what’s causing all the lag.

Detecting network lag is easy. You only need to run a speed test, and you can immediately check if the latency is high or not. If the latency is too high, then that might be causing network lag.

However, if the latency is normal and you’re still experiencing lag, that might be due to input lag. One way to detect input lag is by recording yourself while playing the game with a high-speed camera. Once recorded, you should carefully check the recording and see how long it takes for the action to occur on screen after you’ve pushed the button. It’s best if you use a stopwatch to record the difference to have a precise idea.

Even if you’re not up for such a lengthy process, you can trust your gut feeling. If you constantly feel the image lagging, or experiencing problems at aiming and accuracy, then the chances are that the input lag is very high.

How to Reduce Input Lag

Once you’re sure that the input lag is high, we suggest that you follow the steps below to enjoy a perfect gaming experience:

  • Turn off motion blur. Add-ons like these can cause serious display lag.
  • You can turn on game mode on your TV screen if there’s an option available. This improves the refresh rate and frame rate by removing all excess visual features.
  • It’s best if you buy a gaming monitor. These are designed to offer you the best refresh and frame rates with very little input lag.
  • Make sure to check your monitor’s settings. Make sure to turn off anything that might interfere with the speed. Features like ambient lighting, CEC, and post-processing options lead to high input lag.
  • Also, make sure to check your controller. Try changing its batteries and see if it works better now. Or you can try a different controller and check if that improves performance.
  • Try using a wired controller. Wireless controllers are easy to use, but the lack of wiring often creates a delay from which your computer receives signals from your controller.


Input or display lag is very infuriating for any player. Too much lag can easily ruin your gaming experience. It can also have a terrible impact on your gaming scores. We hope that this guide helps you identify and solve any input lag issues that you might be facing.




June 20, 2023


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