Blur Busters Strobe Utility for BENQ Z-Series

First published March 16th, 2014

This app allows you to customize BENQ Blur Reduction for brighter or sharper fast motion with less motion blur (CRT clarity) and a better picture than LightBoost!
This app is a BENQ authorized 3rd party utility — see news on info.benq.us.

Supports BENQ Z-Series Monitors: XL2411Z, XL2420Z, XL2720Z with V2 firmware.
NOTE: For other utilities for different monitor models, see 120Hz Monitors List

strobe-utility

“…the utility is just AWESOME !!” — LogicElite from forums
“…Great utility Chief, thanks.” — jubaz from forums

download-40What Is This Utility For?

1. Make BENQ Blur Reduction brighter
2. Make BENQ Blur Reduction clearer with sharper-looking motion (CRT-clarity)
3. Improve double-image artifact during fast horizontal motion in bottom half of display.
4. Adjust for trade-off of reduced input lag versus reduced ghosting.
5. Make 60Hz strobe work for PC/Mac games, for consoles, and for sports video.

This utility adjusts motion quality during fast motion (e.g. panning/strafing/turning) during high frame rates. See before photo & after photo. It provides a wide persistence adjustment range bigger than LightBoost 10% vs 50% vs 100%, including the ability to go sharper/dimmer than LightBoost (10%) or brighter than LightBoost (100%).

System Requirements

  1. BENQ Z-Series Monitor (XL2411Z, XL2420Z, XL2720Z) with Version 2 firmware.
    See firmware upgrade info, or get one with V2 firmware already included:

    get-xl2411z-v2
    XL2411Z on BENQ.com
    XL2411Z on Amazon
    get-xl2420z-v2
    XL2420Z on BENQ.com
    XL2420Z on Amazon
    get-xl2720z-v2
    XL2720Z on BENQ.com
    XL2720Z on Amazon
  2. Run Blur Busters Strobe Utility from the Start Menu.
    NOTE: If Windows 8 SmartScreen pops up, click “More Info”
  3. After starting up and detecting your monitors, you will see one of the following:
util-monitorfound

Continue with steps below.

util-monitorfound

If you see this, click here

util-monitorfound

If you see this, click here

Usage Instructions

1. Enable “BENQ Blur Reduction” via your monitor menus.
2. Next, load a TestUFO Moving Photo test in full screen mode (Chrome/FireFox/Opera).
3. Bring Blur Busters Strobe Utility window to the front.

strobe-utility

Override

Enabling this checkbox activates your ability to customize Persistence and Crosstalk.
NOTE: This will cause a lot of flicker if you are running at only 60Hz. To avoid visible flicker, it is recommended you run at a refresh rate of 100Hz or higher, unless you plan to use motion blur reduction for 60Hz (e.g. video, emulators, 60fps-limited games).

Persistence

Run a TestUFO Moving Photo (via a supported web browser). This motion test creates motion similar to fast panning/strafing/turning in games. While viewing the motion test, adjust Persistence to user preference. Adjusting will affect motion clarity during fast horizontal motion. A lower setting will result in clearer motion (darker image), while a higher setting will result in a brighter image (less clear motion). You lose brightness at lower persistence settings (shorter strobe backlight flash lengths). As a general rule of thumb, the faster the motion (e.g. 1920 pixels/second), the more effective lower persistence becomes. Benefits are most visible when playing games at 120fps at 120Hz.

Crosstalk

Adjusting this will adjust the visibility of the “ghosting band”. Adjust while viewing TestUFO Alien Ivasion (via a supported web browser) with Height->”Full Screen”. While adjusting Crosstalk, you will observe the ghosting zone will shift upwards and downwards. The ideal position is to adjust until the middle of the screen has the least ghosting. (Most other strobed monitors, including LightBoost, are crystal clear at screen center, with extra ghosting only at top/bottom edges too, a normal artifact when minor). A good crosstalk setting will improve clarity of panning, strafing, and turning during high frame rates. An earlier strobe phase can also reduce input lag, with a trade-off of increased ghosting.

The TestUFO Alien Invasion test is a severe ghosting test to make adjustments easier to see. Real-world performance will be better in actual game play.

Additional Improvement In Ghosting: “Vertical Total 1350″

There is a further additional improvement possible, the Vertical Total 1350 Trick to reduce ghosting even further on BENQ Z-Series, by using larger blanking intervals via a Custom Resolution Utility. This creates more time for LCD GtG pixel transitions to complete between refreshes for strobing, resulting in cleaner motion with less ghosting (thinner ghosting band at top/bottom edges). Also, the image becomes brighter while using Vertical Total 1350. This trick is only possible at 120Hz or less.

  1. Run either one of the following utilities:
    A) NVIDIA Control Panel -> Change Resolution -> Customize… (if using NVIDIA); or
    B) ToastyX Custom Resolution Utility (if using AMD).
    nvidia-control-panel-customize
  2. Create a new Custom Resolution of 1920×1080 at 120Hz (or refresh rate below 120Hz)
  3. Change Timing to “Manual”
  4. Change Vertical Total to “1350″
    If using NVIDIA Control Panel, edit “Vertical Total”
    If using ToastyX CRU instead, select “Vertical” and then edit “Total”.
    IMPORTANT: If using ToastyX, set Horizontal “Total” to 2080.
    create-custom-resolution-1350
  5. Save the Custom Resolution
    If using NVIDIA Control Panel, Click Test, then click OK, then select 120Hz.
    If using ToastyX Custom Resolution Utility, click OK, and then reboot the computer.
  6. Switch to your newly created mode. You are now using Vertical Total 1350.
  7. With Blur Busters Strobe Utility, re-adjust by following instructions in previous sections. For 120Hz, the “Crosstalk” setting 0 is usually best with the 1350 trick.
  8. There will be only very thin bands of significant ghosting during fast smooth motion only at the very top/bottom edges of screens. The rest of the screen will be very clear motion with very faint or unnoticeable ghosting in most regular game play motion.

Troubleshooting

Q: Will It Work On XL2420T too?

A: No. Blur Busters Strobe Utility works on BENQ monitor models ending in a “Z”, not “T”. For the BENQ T-Series, you need a different app, ToastyX Strobelight, which you can download via the LightBoost HOWTO.

Q: No Z-Series Monitors Detected

util-monitorfound

A: You need a BENQ XL2411Z, XL2420Z, or XL2720Z.
Verify DDC/CI is turned on, in the BENQ menu.
Monitor Menu -> System -> DDC/CI -> ON

If this does not work:
- Exit other monitor adjusting apps (e.g. Pivot);
DDC-CI- Power cycle the monitor; disable the service menu;
- Try a different monitor port (e.g. DVI vs DP);
- Try a different cable (e.g. another DVI cable);
- Try a different port on your graphics card;
- You need Windows Vista, 7, 8 or 8.1.

Detection of monitors at startup is faster if you use monitor drivers other than “Generic PnP Monitor”.

Q: Unsupported Firmware Detected

util-monitorfoundA: Your BENQ Z-Series monitor is using the older V1 firmware. You will need to install the V2 firmware upgrade on you monitor, in order for Blur Busters Strobe Utility to work. You can do this yourself via these advanced DIY firmware upgrade instructions, or sending your monitor in for servicing by BENQ.

Q: How Do I Upgrade To V2 Firmware?

A: See firmware upgrade instructions. There are several methods of getting V2, including getting BENQ to do it, or doing the upgrade yourself.

Q: Where Can I Buy BENQ Z-Series Monitors With V2 Firmware Pre-Installed?

A: You can now obtain Z-Series monitors with Version 2 firmware already pre-installed, for out-of-the-box compatibility with Blur Busters Strobe Utility:

get-xl2720z-v2
XL2411Z on BENQ.com
XL2411Z on Amazon
get-xl2420z-v2
XL2420Z on BENQ.com
XL2420Z on Amazon
get-xl2720z-v2
XL2720Z on BENQ.com
XL2720Z on Amazon

Note: Only BENQ/Amazon USA/Amazon Canada is confirmed consistently V2 firmware.

Q: Are Multiple Monitors Supported?

A: Yes! Strobe Utility automatically detects all supported Z-Series monitors and adjusts on all of them. Adjusting settings such as “Persistence” will adjust all monitors simultaneously.

Q: Nothing Is Happening When I Adjust!

A: Blur Busters Strobe Utility adjusts clarity of motion, so you need to view fast motion (and at frame rates near refresh rate) to see the effects of your adjustments. First, make sure you enable BENQ Blur Reduction via your monitor’s menus. Next, make sure you display motion such as a TestUFO Alien Invasion (Height -> Full Screen) while adjusting.
During fast smooth motion, improvement can be seen in before photo & after photo. This affects motion clarity while panning/strafing/turning in games at high frame rates.

Q: Can I use BENQ Blur Reduction for Game Consoles and for Television?

A: Yes! You just pre-configure Strobe Utility at 1920×1080 60Hz via computer first, then switch input to the HDMI input for gaming/televison.  You can even unplug your BENQ Z-Series and move it to a different room, after pre-configuring it with Strobe Utility.  The computer is no longer needed after configuring. Currently, Strobe Utility is the only way to get “LightBoost effect” at 60Hz. This is CRT-clarity 60fps at 60Hz with no motion blur!

CAUTION: 60Hz strobing will flicker similar to a 60Hz CRT. You may get increased eyestrain. Take frequent breaks, especially if your eyes are no longer used to 60Hz CRT.

Q: TestUFO Animation Is Running At Only 60fps, Not 120fps!

A: Verify your web browser requirements at www.testufo.com/browser.html
- Try a different web browser; Chrome/FireFox/Opera instead of Internet Explorer.
- Do not use Classic Mode or Basic Mode with Windows 7; You must use Aero mode.
- Try quitting and restarting your web browser (Chrome sometimes needs this).

Q: There Is Still Ghosting (Double-Image Effect) In Fast Horizontal Motion!

A: Some faint ghosting is normal on all strobe backlights including LightBoost. Blur Busters Strobe Utility is able to fix about 90% of the double-image ghosting (“strobe crosstalk”) by keeping the screen center clearest, where most of your gameplay focus is. The Utility can turn BENQ Blur Reduction from “worse than LightBoost” to “better than LightBoost” for overall motion quality. The faint ghosting also occurs with LightBoost displays (at the top/bottom edge of screen). This is because of less time for LCD GtG pixel transitions at the screen bottom than at screen center. See high speed video of a strobe backlight to understand how a motion blur reduction strobe backlight works. Blur Busters Strobe Utility allows you to adjust the strobe timing so you have almost no ghosting for the screen center, keeping minor ghosting at the top/bottom edges (much like for LightBoost).

Q: Does Refresh Rate Affect Ghosting (Double-Image Effect)?

A: Yes. Lower refresh rates (e.g. 100Hz or 120Hz instead of 144Hz) will have less strobe crosstalk. Make sure you are running at frame rate = refresh rate (e.g. 120fps @ 120Hz).

Q: I See More Stutters With BENQ Blur Reduction. Why?

This is a side effect of CRT motion clarity with strobe backlights including LightBoost, ULMB and BENQ Blur Reduction. Lack of motion blur makes microstutters easier to see.
1. Set your gaming mouse to 1000Hz (instead of 500Hz). See Blur Busters Mouse Guide for information why 1000Hz mice can have much less stutter when using Blur Reduction.
2. Run frame rate matching refresh rate (or nearly). Try capping your frame rate close to refresh rate (e.g. fps_max in Source Engine games). Alternatively, running ultra high uncapped VSYNC OFF (e.g. >300fps) can also improve fluidity. Randomly fluctuating framerates can look very “jittery”, with amplified stutters, so stutter control is important. Also, if input lag is less important (e.g. solo play), test VSYNC ON for better fluidity.

Q: Why Is The Default BENQ Blur Reduction Calibration So Bad For Ghosting?

A: The factory settings (“Crosstalk”; the timing phase of the strobe backlight flashes) are currently optimized for slightly less input lag (approx ~1-2ms less latency) but at the cost of much worse motion quality compared to LightBoost and other strobe backlights.

Blur Busters Strobe Utility allows you to re-calibrate this manually for much better motion clarity, especially for users who are used to CRTs and LightBoost, and expect something “better than LightBoost”. Some people don’t see tearing, others see tearing instantly. Some people don’t see stutters, others see stutters instantly. Likewise, many Blur Busters readers are an extremely discerning lot, and are very sensitive to motion imperfections.

Q: Which Firmware Is My Monitor Using?

A: You may check the firmware version of your monitor by going into your monitor’s service menu, by doing the following steps:
1. Turn off your monitor (tap POWER and then wait 5 seconds) if it is already on.
2. Cover the MENU touch button (4th touch button out of 5, excluding POWER button).
     Special Note: For XL2411Z users, cover 2nd touch button (from left) instead of 4th.
3. While covering MENU button with your finger, briefly tap the POWER button.
4. Nothing will happen for 3 seconds. Ignore this pause, keep covering MENU button.
5. Suddenly, all lights will flash simultaneously.
6. Release your finger off the MENU button.
7. Monitor will power up. Wait for the monitor to power on.
8. When the monitor is displaying computer desktop, tap the MENU button.
9. A blue “Service Menu” will appear, displaying the firmware version of your monitor.

V2 Firmwares will say “V002″ on-screen, and show additional settings at the bottom:
benq-service-menu-strobe

Note: If BENQ monitor touch buttons are not working reliably, make sure there is no sunlight shining onto the menu buttons, and no continuously-emitting IR sources nearby (e.g. heaters or Nintendo Wiimote bar). Make sure no objects are nearby in front or adjacent, including other monitors touching the bezel that the menu buttons are on (you may need to temporarily add space between monitors in a multiple-monitor setup).

Disclaimer

Blur Busters Strobe Utility includes NO WARRANTY; the software is provided by Blur Busters at your own risk. It is a third-party adjustment utility not affiliated with BENQ. Blur Busters disclaims all responsibility for any damage or injury caused by these instructions. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK. The Blur Busters Strobe Utility is provided for free as a public service for the benefit of BENQ Z-Series monitor users.

Questions? Feedback?

You can discuss Blur Busters Strobe Utility in Blur Busters Forums.

official-120hz-list

3 Responses to Blur Busters Strobe Utility for BENQ Z-Series

  1. ranejt says:

    Does the v2 strobe utility have noticeably more or less input lag than 10% lightboost?

  2. 4uT says:

    Im getting flickering while blur reduction on how to fix that?

  3. tekken57 says:

    Hello from France,
    I want to thank you for your exellent work on the “Blur Busters Strobe Utility for BENQ Z-Series” application
    I wonder if the “Blur Busters Strobe Utility for BENQ Z-Series” application can be activated via HDMI on a game console “PS3″
    Thank you in advance.
    Excuse me for my bad English ;)

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