Software-based black frame insertion improves motion clarity in MAME on 120 Hz displays

It is possible to do software-based black-frame insertion in 60 fps software (e.g. emulators) for 120 Hz LCD computer monitors.

A source code modification completely eliminates MAME motion blur! (Credit: Calamity and cpharlock; from suggestion made by Blur Busters) Success: HardForum and Arcadecontrols Forum.
Also see the announcement.

Although this benefits most 120 Hz setups (including 31.5 KHz arcade CRT’s), this completely eliminates LCD motion blur when using emulators on compatible LightBoost 120 Hz LCD monitors!  LightBoost, originally designed for 3D, is manufacturer-limited to work only at above 100 Hz (an unfortunate artificial manufacturer restriction). Fortunately, simply blacking out every other refresh (black frame insertion) provides the zero motion blur effect on LightBoost displays (LightBoost HOWTO) at 60 frames per second!

– 120Hz also reduces input lag compared to 60Hz. Good for Street Fighter style games!
– See ArcadeControls Forum Thread.
– See forum thread.
– Latest source code patch available by cpharlock!  Very small patch. See below.
– For a web-based animation of black frame insertion, see Blur Busters Motion Tests.

– If you prefer to compile, download source code diff of black frame insertion.
– If you prefer to install, download MAME 0.148 with black frame insertion.
– Unzip into a folder, put your legal ROMS in the ‘roms’ subfolder, and run the executable (32-bit and 64-bit versions included). For 31.5KHz arcade CRT’s, run using 240p @ 120Hz. For ASUS/BENQ 120 Hz monitors, enable LightBoost first. For Samsung 700D/750D/950D, follow the Samsung HOWTO first.
Command Line:
mame.exe romname -nomultithreading -nothrottle -video d3d -syncrefresh -strobe

– You must have native 120 Hz, such as a LightBoost monitor.
– Will NOT benefit 60 Hz displays
– Will NOT benefit HDTV’s; most don’t accept 120 Hz from computer (some exceptions).

About Chief Blur Buster

Mark Rejhon, the founder of Blur Busters. Read more about him on the About Mark page.

25 Comments For “Software-based black frame insertion improves motion clarity in MAME on 120 Hz displays”

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Noticia importante para mejorar la calidad de imagen de un tft | My Daily Feeds – Games


im glad to ear that moders know how to rock !!

so this new tweak its about 120hrz or 60hrz with nonm strobe»?

i have 2411t with lightboost on and its amazing.. this tweak its for zero motion blur like totaly zero?

or its for 60hrz..

srry for all the questions..


This change makes 60 Hz MAME motion look much better during 120 Hz.

With this change:
There is now 2x less MAME motion blur on regular 120 Hz LCD’s
There is no visible MAME motion blur on LightBoost 120 Hz LCD’s

LightBoost is a strobe backlight that make everything look like a CRT. There is up to 12x less motion blur on LightBoost than a 60 Hz LCD, which is an order of magnitude better than common LCD monitors. That’s 90% less blur = 10x reduction in blur trail length = practical elimination. So if the blur trail length during playing fast horizontal panning — was 5 pixels of ghosting — then with LightBoost (plus this new MAME feature) there’s now half a pixel of ghosting (no longer visible to human eye).

If you own a 120 Hz LCD:
— If you know how to modify source code patches and compile, download the patch and apply it.
— If you prefer an easy installer, keep tuned: It’s coming soon!

Best LCD’s to buy for MAME is the BENQ XL2411T or the ASUS VG248QE. These 1ms monitors perform much better with strobe backlights than the 2ms monitors. This is because pixel persistence needs to fit inside a vertical blanking interval, for strobe backlights to work best. In this special situation; 1ms makes a big difference over 2ms.


Excellent, thanks!

The only thing I would do is to add the phrase “Black Frame Insertion” somewhere — it’s a widely used phrase (google that) … Either in the command line description or renaming “strobe” to “black_frame_insertion”. But if it’s too late, no biggie 🙂
I’ll make a new page once there’s an ready made easy-install.


Well friends, here you are the patch and instructions to make it working (you can update this post or make another for better readability).

First, download the 0.148 Mame source. Then download the patch from here:

Apply the patch and build source. Wait some minutes (or more…) and you will have your shiny mame.exe ready for action. Run with these options:

mame.exe romname -nomultithreading -nothrottle -video d3d -syncrefresh -strobe

Note the last option -strobe, that is what we added. It is also important to put all the options as shown as it is mandatory for properly smooth action. This will cause to mame redraw another extra black frame, so voilá, we have it. You can generate and change mame.ini as usual to avoid writing all commands everytime and configure all other options like folders or HLSL filter.

This funcionality will be added to GroovyMame soon, but meanwhile if anyone needs a compiled executable to test it you can contact me at harlok(nospam)

Tested succesfully in this system:

Sandy Bridge i5 OC at 3800 Mhz
2x GeForce 660 SLI
Windows 7 x64
BENQ 2411T
Lightboost patch enabled and properly working


– You get perfect clear, astonishing scrolls with no ghosting, blur… like CRT but without X-Rays!
– Flickering is not noticeable in my 2411T. This monitor is fast as speedy gonzalez with 1ms gtg, but I think all lightboost enabled monitors will be equally flicker free. That’s my eyes however, I see no flicker. Others may see it, who knows.
– No need for those big, old CRT tubes anymore (well, if you are ok with the HLSL or others rescalers 🙂 )


– You need a lightboost monitor (obvious, and not cheap)
– Brightness is halved (but at least in 2411T you can tweak controls/control panel and it is not a problem at all)
– You may get hooked playing all day long those MAME oldies and forget to eat or sleep, beware!!

Thanks all people that helped me in achieving the dream of properly playing arcade games with a TFT monitor. Special thanks to Mark Rejhon, without him I could not even start thinking about it.

Credits to Calamity of for his help and finally arranging all modifications in a proper diff file. You rule mate!!

I hope soon we will have more emulators and games updated. One specially interesting would be Amiga emulator WinUAE, I hope devs will add that feature to it soon, as Amiga was my mother computer and loved the fast action games and demos.



I am not a programmer.
I am a simple user.
Can I ask for a better “how to – step by step” writing.
I tried what you wrote, but I got stucked at this point: “Apply the patch and build source.” 🙁



Keep tuned for the easy install method.
EDIT: binaries posted!


Good news, just in;
…”GroovyMame is now being patched to support it in command line/ini (-strobe 1 -redraw 1). I will send you the details along this weekend and you can post it on blur busters,including the diff filel. By the way, credits should really go to Calamity of Groovymame for showing me what I had to change in mame code.”