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 Mark Rejhon

Also known as Chief Blur Buster. Founder of Blur Busters. Inventor of TestUFO. 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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Hi Blurbusters,

Just came here via HWC, and am enjoying learning all the possible tweaks. I did have once question for you guys though.

I used to hook up my tower to a 50″ 1080p Plasma via HDMI (GTX 670 FTW), and even though the Plasma specs list the refresh rate as 600 Hz (Samsung PN50B650), the PC only ever output at 60 Hz. The picture always looked good, but I would like to know if there’s a way to force or trick the GPU to outputing to a higher refresh rate. Or if for some reason, it wouldn’t make a difference in this case anyway.

Thanks much,


great new

I’am just test it it’s awesome 😉

Are planned mameui or mame plus! strobe versions ?


A test version of WinUAE now has a LightBoost compatible mode:


IMPORTANT: Remember to hit CTRL+T to disable 3D mode when game loads, otherwise it will stutter


Well, due to popular demand, this is the download link for the compiled mame ready to use.

Inside you will find common mame folder and :

– mame32_v0148_strobe.exe – mame executable 32 bit version
– mame64_v0148_strobe.exe – mame executable 64 bit version
– mame.ini – already modified ini file to be lightboost enabled. Remember to modify the paths if you are not using the default ones.

Just unzip and put some roms in the roms subfolders (don’t ask me to send you roms or ask where to find them, use internet search for that). If you have already roms in other folder just change mame.ini paths. This has been tested and configured in with my system specs, yours may differ or need some tweaks as with regular mame. Also HLSL is enabled, it may suit your taste or not, or may not work in your system (you can deactivate in ini file, just switch hlsl_enable to 0, see MAME docs). For most cases, all will go well so just launch and test.



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