Many people talk about G Sync and everyone wants it. However, does everyone know what it really is? Nvidias’ non-secret weapon in the gaming arms race is now cheaper than it was a couple of years ago, so now is a good time to think a bit and ask if it is finally worth buying. Do you need G Sync? Everything you need to know about Nvidia technology
How G-Sync works
To understand G-Sync, we must first understand V-sync and its limitations.
You are probably familiar with something called V-sync. (We wrote an entire article about it.) It limits the frame rate in the game to the refresh rate of your monitor. Therefore, if you have a 60, 75, or 120 Hz monitor, the frame rate in the game will be the maximum.
This is crucial to prevent intermittent screen tearing, which appears on the screen during games when the GPU plays frames at a different speed than the monitor buffering them.
Nevertheless, there is a tradeoff for V-sync. These days, computers line up images to send to the monitor using double and triple buffering, essentially preparing one or two frames while the other displays on the screen.
To prevent screen tearing, v-sync causes tiny delays in the buffering process to make sure the monitor is ready for the next frame, which can cause input delays.
Also, if you only use double buffering (as in most games), you may see big FPS drops. (This is only a problem if your video card is not capable of outputting video at a constant high frame rate in a given game.)
Well, that was a long preamble, but it makes explaining G-Sync a lot faster.
A monitor with G-Sync support is able to output VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), constantly adapting to the frame rate of your Nvidia graphics cards (G-Sync is an Nvidia technology, so it is exclusive to Nvidia graphics cards).
This completely eliminates screen tearing because the GPU’s frame rendering rate never exceeds the monitor’s refresh rate, negates the sudden FPS drops you see with vsync, and reduces input lag because the monitor no longer retains buffering.
Is G-Sync worth it?
First, it depends on how hardcore a gamer you are and what kind of games you make. G-Sync creates the perfect combination of low input latency and performs without tearing, but you probably do not really suffer from these issues anyway.
If you have a top-of-the-line graphics card with regular vsync If you turn it on, you’ll get the performance you want and stable frame rates even on a monitor without G-Sync.
You may suffer from increased input lag / latency, but the extent of this depends on your monitor. Manufacturers do not usually report input lag for their displays, but this handy website can help you determine the lag on your monitor.
G-Sync is now compatible with FreeSync monitors
Nvidia recently made a welcome move to make G-sync more accessible to gamers. In January 2019, Nvidia announced that it would release a driver update that would allow its GPUs to work with the FreeSync monitor. FreeSync is equivalent to AMD G-sync, but now that this patch is out, you do not have to use an AMD GPU to take advantage of a monitor that contains FreeSync adaptive refresh rate technology.
For business, it makes sense for Nvidia to do this, since consumers does not want to buy AMD GPUs for their FreeSync monitors. However, it is also good news for consumers because FreeSync monitors tend to be much cheaper than G-Sync monitors are, so the entry point to set yourself up with G-Sync becomes cheaper.
Nvidias has only announced 12 existing FreeSync monitors so far that are officially G-Sync compatible, but that number should increase very quickly. Keep an eye out for the G-Sync compatible label from now on.
The availability of G-Sync has increased significantly over the last year or so.Even Nvidia’s low-end low-end GPUs (if it is a GeForce GTX 650 Ti or later with G-Sync) are capable of G-Sync, and the fact that more and more FreeSync monitors are becoming G-Sync compatible. Which makes it a great time to keep an eye on the market.
If you have a high-performance graphics processor that can consistently max out your monitor’s refresh rate, you’re surrounded by people will notice a difference when you upgrade to G-Sync.
If, however, you have a G-Sync-enabled GPU and still want to upgrade to your monitor, a G-Sync (or FreeSync) monitor is absolutely no problem.
The question of whether G- Sync (or its AMD cousin, FreeSync) is worth the moot point for gamers in a couple of years. All new graphics processors made by Nvidia now have the technology built in. In addition, monitors that use this technology are getting cheaper and cheaper.
If you are a dedicated gamer, own an Nvidia GPU and want to improve this quality. Vital problems, such as screen tearing and input lag, and then it is a good time to jump on a board.