What Is G-Sync? Everything You Need to Know

When shopping for a gaming monitor, you undoubtedly display advertisements for Nvidia’s G-Sync technology. In addition to massive price increases, these monitors typically come with gaming-centric features such as a faster response time and higher refresh rates. To help you know where your money is going, we put together a guide to answer this question: What is G-Sync?

In short, G-Sync is a hardware-based adaptive refresh technology that helps prevent screen tearing and stutter. With the G-Sync monitor, you will focus on gaming, while also gaming speeds at high refresh rates.

What is G-Sync?

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G-Sync is Nvidia’s hardware-based monitor syncing technology. G-Sync primarily tears up the screen, synchronizing the refresh rate of your monitor with the frame that your GPU is ejecting every second.

Your GPU renders multiple frames every second, and when put together, those frames give the impression of smooth motion. Similarly, your monitor refreshes a certain number of seconds every second, which clears the previous image for the new frame you are providing. To keep things running smoothly, your GPU stores the upcoming frame in a buffer. The problem is that the buffer and the refresh rate of your monitor may be out of sync, stitching together a dirty line of two frames.

V-Sync emerged as a solution. This software-based feature essentially forces your GPU to hold frames in its buffer until your monitor is ready to refresh. This solves the screen tearing problem, but it introduces another: input lag. V-Sync forces your GPU to hold previously rendered frames, which causes a slight delay between what is happening in the game and what you see on the screen.

Nvidia’s first alternative to V-Sync was adaptive VSync. Like older technology, Nvidia’s driver-based solution locked the frame rate to the display’s refresh rate to prevent screen tearing. However, when the GPU conflicts, Adaptive VSync unlocked the frame rate until the GPU’s performance improved. Once stable, Adaptive VSync locked the frame rate until the GPU’s performance dropped again.

Nvidia introduced a hardware-based solution called G-Sync in 2013. It is based on VESA’s adaptive-sync technology, which enables variable refresh rates on the display side. Instead of forcing your GPU to hold frames, G-Sync forces your monitor to optimize its refresh rate based on the frame being provided to your GPU. It deals with input lag and screen tearing.

However, Nvidia uses a proprietary board that replaces the typical scalar board, which controls everything within the display such as decoding image input, controlling the backlight, and so on. A G-Sync board has 768MB of DDR3 memory to store the previous frame, so that it can be compared to the next incoming frame. It does this to reduce input lag.

At the end of the PC, Nvidia’s driver can fully control the display’s proprietary board. It manipulates the vertical blanking interval, or VBI, which represents the interval between the time a monitor completes the current frame and the start of the next frame.

With G-Sync activated, the monitor becomes a slave to your PC. As the GPU rolls the rendered frame into the primary buffer, the display clears the old image and is ready to receive the next frame. As the frame rate increases and slows down, the display presents each frame as instructed by your PC. Since the G-Sync board supports variable refresh rates, images are remodeled at widely varying intervals.

G-Sync System Requirements

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Over the years, there has always been a big caveat with a G-Sync monitor: you need an Nvidia graphics card. Although you still need an Nvidia GPU to take advantage of G-Sync – such as the recent RTX 3080 – supports the HD-variable refresh rate under the “G-Sync Compatible” banner. ) Belongs to. This means that you can use variable refresh rates with AMD cards, although not Nvidia’s full G-Sync module. Here’s what you need, outside of a display with a G-Sync banner:

The desktop

  • GPU – GeForce GTX 650 TI BOOST or newer
  • Driver – R340.52 or higher

G-sync monitor connected laptop

  • GPU – GeForce GTX 980M, GTX 970M, or GTX 965M GPU or newer
  • Driver – R340.52 or higher

Laptops with built-in G-Sync display

  • GPU – GeForce GTX 980M, GTX 970M, or GTX 965M or newer
  • Driver – R352.06 or higher

G-Sync vs G-Sync Compatible vs. G-Sync Ultimate

Because G-Sync is a hardware solution, certified monitors must include Nvidia’s proprietary board. Fortunately, most major monitor manufacturers such as Asus, Philips, BenQ, AOC, Samsung and LG offer G-Sync displays.

Nvidia currently lists three monitor classes: G-Sync Ultimate, G-Sync and G-Sync Compatible. Here is a breakdown of each:

G-sync compatible

  • 24 to 88 inches
  • No artifacts valid

Zee Sync

  • 24 to 38 inches
  • No artifacts valid
  • Certified +300 test

G-Sync Ultimate

  • 27 to 65 inches
  • No artifacts valid
  • Certified +300 test
  • Best quality hdr
  • 1000 nits brightness

For the G-Sync Ultimate display, you’ll need a heavier GeForce GPU to handle HDR visuals at 4K. They are certainly not cheap, but they provide the best experience.

For G-Sync compatible, this is a new category. These displays do not include Nvidia’s proprietary G-Sync board, but they support variable refresh rates. These panels typically fall under AMD’s FreeSync umbrella, a competitive technology for Radeon-branded GPUs that do not rely on a proprietary scalar board. Nvidia does not test these displays to guarantee “no artifacts” when connected to a GeForce-branded GPU. Consider these displays as an economical alternative to G-Sync and G-Sync Ultimate displays.

Overall, resolutions range from Full HD to 4K while refresh rates range from 60Hz maximum to 240Hz maximum. Nvidia provides a complete list of compatible monitors on its website. Prices range from around $ 100 to well over $ 1,000, such as Asus’ ROG Swift PG279Q 27-inch monitor selling for 698.

G-sync tv

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Since G-Sync launched in 2013, it has always been exclusively for monitors. However, Nvidia is expanding. Last year, Nvidia partnered with LG to certify recent LG OLED TVs as G-Sync compatible. To get started you’ll need some drivers and firmware that Nvidia locates on their site. Here are currently available TVs that support G-Sync:

  • LG BX 2020 (50-, 65-, and 77-inch)
  • LG CX 2020 (50-, 65-, and 77-inch)
  • Lg gx 2020 (50-, 65-, and 77-inch)
  • LG B9 2019 (50- and 65-inch)
  • LG C9 2019 (50-, 65-, and 77-inch)
  • LG E9 2019 (50- and 65-inch)

FreeSync: G-Sync Options

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Bill Roberson /

As we mentioned earlier, AMD’s FreeSync derives from VESA’s adaptive-sync technology. One of the main differences is that it does not use proprietary hardware. Rather, FreeSync-certified displays use off-the-shelf scalar boards, which reduces costs. FreeSync requires only AMD hardware which is a Radeon-branded GPU. AMD introduced AdaptiveSync support in 2015.

FreeSync has more freedom in supported monitor options, and you don’t need additional hardware. So, FreeSync is a budget-friendly alternative to G-Synch compatible hardware. Asus’ MG279Q The above is about $ 100 less than the ROG Swift Monitor.

No matter what you choose, each technique has its advantages. There are also several graphics cards and monitors to enhance your gaming experience. FreeSync covers graphical glitches due to monitor and GPU synchronization issues.

Some downside

One downside is the price. Whether you are looking at a laptop or desktop, G-Sync requires both a capable monitor and a graphics card. While there are many G-Sync compatible graphics cards, which offer you plenty of budgetary options, G-Sync monitors are almost always more expensive than their AMD Friskin counterparts. Compatible laptops can be more expensive.

In addition, users point to a lack of compatibility with Nvidia’s Optimus technology. Optimus, implemented in many laptops, adjusts graphics performance on the fly to provide the necessary power to graphics-intensive programs and optimize battery life. Because the technology relies on an integrated graphics system, frames move across the screen at a set interval, not as they are seen with G-Sync. One can buy an Optimus-enabled device or a G-Sync-enabled device, but no laptop exists that can do both.

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