Nvidia G-Sync: Everything you need to know
Nvidia is the most well-known name in the graphics card market, but the manufacturer is also synonymous with another term: G-Sync. G-Sync, introduced back in 2013, is a piece of Nvidia technology implemented in computer monitors or gaming laptops to improve the performance of the latter, with a focus on reducing input lag and eliminating frame tearing.
If you’re looking for a new PC monitor or gaming laptop with G-Sync, you’ll want to learn about the benefits of the technology, as well as make a reasonable comparison with the alternative AMD FreeSync solution.
What are frame breaks?
One of the main advantages of a G-Sync monitor or laptop screen is the technology’s ability to solve a problem known as frame tearing. In some cases, the graphics card’s video signal is being output to the monitor at a rate faster than the screen can handle, resulting in a horizontal line or “tear” on the screen.
As a rule, enabling V-Sync (vertical sync) in the game settings menu helps to solve the problem in order to match the output of the video card in accordance with the monitor’s frequency in order to eliminate tearing. However, turning on vsync can cause input lag and increase the load on the graphics card, which in turn affects the overall performance during the game.
How is G-Sync better than V-Sync?
While vertical sync (V-Sync) forces the graphics card to change output to work better with your monitor, G-Sync works by directly controlling the screen to properly process the video signal from the graphics card. This solution fixes the shortcomings of V-Sync, but also solves the problem of screen tearing.
Because monitors have a fixed refresh rate and graphics cards deliver inconsistent output based on software rendering, problems arise when graphics cards output cards to the monitor too quickly or too slowly. G-Sync changes the refresh rate of the monitor to work better with graphics card data, including real-time prediction of graphics card output based on performance.
Does G-Sync work with 4K?
Previously, G-Sync was limited to 1080p panels only, then it became limited to 60 Hz. Nvidia has steadily improved this technology, raising the refresh rate from 60 to 120 and 144 Hz within a resolution of 1080 pixels, while preparing the technology to support 4K panels (3840 x 2160). The refresh rate is currently capped at 60Hz for 4K, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Nvidia is working on increasing the refresh rate.
What are the best laptops with G-Sync support?
Nvidia introduced G-Sync support to gaming laptops in 2015, giving them all the benefits of G-Sync monitors. Interestingly, Nvidia uses its G-Sync technology without relying on the same chip used by PC monitors, instead using a graphics card with an add-on to control the output.
Read: Best gaming laptops
The Alienware Area-51m retails for $2,549 ($191,000 + VAT), and remains one of the best gaming laptops around. In the base configuration, the laptop supports G-Sync with RTX 2070 graphics cards and Intel Core i9-9700K processors, but you can overclock the configuration further up to the RTX 2080 GPU with Core i9-9900K processor, but you will have to pay $5149 (386000r + VAT) ). Both configurations offer 1920 x 1080 resolution panels with a 144Hz refresh rate.
But if you’re looking for a 4K screen, check out the MSI GT75 Titan (starting at $2,299 / £172,500 + VAT). In addition to a 4K G-Sync panel with a 60Hz refresh rate, the laptop offers an Intel Core i9-8950HK processor with an RTX 2080 graphics card.
What are some good G-Sync monitors?
Among the list of the best PC monitors, we have reviewed three G-Sync screens worth considering.
The Dell 24 S2417DG retails for a surprisingly low $469 (35000r + VAT) for a 24-inch 1440p screen with G-Sync support. But you can go higher with the $1,290 Acer Predator X34 (97,000+ VAT), a 34-inch 1440p curved screen that covers your entire field of vision.
If you want a 4K display with G-Sync support, our choice is the Acer Predator XB321HK. This 32-inch screen costs $1399 (105000 + VAT) and is a high-performance gaming monitor equipped with a variety of software and powerful built-in speakers.
How is G-Sync different from FreeSync?
Nvidia’s G-Sync and AMD’s FreeSync work in the same direction, but in different ways. Both technologies counter frame tearing by using “adaptive sync” technology to reduce classic V-sync input lag. However, G-Sync has the advantage of dealing with low frame rates, which can be a problem during the game’s graphic-intensive moments.
Lowering the frame rate will cause a FreeSync monitor to drop classic V-Sync methods, which will bring back issues with input lag or tearing if you decide to disable V-Sync. The G-Sync monitor does not rely on vertical sync algorithms, instead solving problems on its own in low frame rate conditions.
Another major difference is the proprietary nature of G-Sync, which requires a dedicated Nvidia chip in the monitor and laptop. Nvidia calls their chips G-Sync Ultimate. At the same time, AMD FreeSync is an open standard that uses existing DisplayPort technology to help keep costs down compared to equivalent G-Sync monitors.
However, Nvidia recently said it will start working well with all monitors thanks to adaptive sync (even with FreeSync) by running its “G-Sync Compatible” tester. The new initiative is essentially Nvidia’s endorsement for monitors that the company has actually tested, getting acceptable baseline variable refresh rates with 10-series GTX graphics as well as the new RTXs. If you buy a G-Sync compatible monitor, your graphics card will automatically enable VRR, allowing you to optimize your gaming experience and even increase the number of monitors eligible for G-Sync.
What does G-Sync mean for 4K and HDR?
When you opt for a new G-Sync monitor, you don’t just get a screen that can handle problematic frame rates, frame tearing, and input lag. According to Nvidia, you also get important benefits in 4K and HDR gaming, including faster refresh rates, motion blur removal, and a wider color gamut.
The new G-Sync monitors offer a range of enhancements to maximize the 4K and HDR (high dynamic range) experience, as well as features such as backlight enhancement and quantum dot technology to enhance the depth of colors implemented with the latest HDR standards. The company’s 65-inch BFGD monitors, such as the HP Omen X Emperium, average 1,000 nits, as do TVs with Nvidia Shield integration. The company’s G-Sync HDR screens aren’t just useful in combination with the latest graphics cards; they will fit well on HDR capable consoles like PS5 and Xbox Series X/S.
Should I use G-Sync?
If you’re looking for a screen that won’t compromise visual fidelity or gaming performance, you should go for a monitor or laptop with G-Sync. This solution will help you optimize the performance of your entire hardware while avoiding trade-offs such as input lag. For competitive gaming looking for better visual fidelity, a G-Sync enabled screen becomes an essential part of the package.