If you have a powerful computer rig, then the premium features of the Nvidia G-Sync will be well worth the money. It will reduce the input lag and eliminate screen tearing and stuttering giving you the smoothest gameplay experience possible. If you’re tight on budget and have a common computer equipment, then you should upgrade your gear first or consider a more affordable alternative, the FreeSync.
If you’re looking to buy a good gaming monitor, you will notice that there are some with and without the adaptive sync technology such as the Nvidia G-Sync or the AMD FreeSync. After seeing that some monitors cost extra $100 to $400 just for the G-Sync feature, the main question is whether you’d benefit more from the G-Sync or a computer hardware upgrade for that money. Well, it all depends on your computer equipment and what kind of game you’re playing.
First of all, let’s compare a regular monitor to the G-Sync one, and how the video card functions in both cases. Regular monitors have fixed refresh rates, usually at 60Hz, 120Hz, or 144Hz. The graphics card’s GPU sends that number of frames per second to the screen. If the GPU isn’t powerful enough to do so all the time, it will repeat the previous frame instead which results in a stuttery performance. If it is, then you will have a smooth gameplay performance. So, if you have a powerful enough GPU that delivers smooth performance on a 144Hz monitor, would that performance be even better if the monitor had G-Sync? Yes, but the amount of visible improvement depends on just how the demanding the video game is.
Monitors with the G-Sync adaptive technology have a variable refresh rate between 30Hz and 144Hz which provides a more stable FPS rate in games. In this case, the GPU doesn’t have to keep timing with the monitor. Instead, the monitor refreshes at the rate that is set by the GPU. By doing so, there are no repetitions of the frames as the GPU dynamically controls the refresh rate and thus eliminates screen tearing. Screen tearing happens when your GPU sends frames faster or slower than the monitor’s refresh rate. This is solved by the synchronized framerate between the GPU and monitor thanks to the G-Sync.
What is Vsync?
G-Sync can be considered as the next generation of the Vsync (Vertical Sync). If your monitor has no adaptive sync technology, you can still enable the Vsync option which exists in some video games. Vsync synchronizes the frame rate to the maximum Hz rate of your monitor. It provides you with a more stable FPS (Frames Per Second) rate and eliminates screen tearing to some extent. But, once the Vsync falls out of the synchronization even by a few frames per second, you would experience stuttering which is really annoying. G-Sync takes care of that as well.
Moreover, Vsync adds the cost of input lag. Most people don’t even notice the increased input lag that Vsync creates unless you enable the Triple Buffering, which is an option sometimes found along with the Vsync. This option prevents FPS from dropping but causes noticeable lag. The question is whether you should enable both Vsync and the G-sync features? In fact, Vsync is intended to work with G-Sync and should only be disabled if you notice significant input lag which shouldn’t happen as G-Sync reduces it. But first, be sure to disable options such as the triple buffering as the adaptive sync takes care of the FPS drops on its own.
Nvidia G-Sync vs AMD FreeSync
Although both adaptive sync technologies offer almost equally good performance, there is sometimes a significant difference in the cost of these monitors. Alas, this difference in the price is justifiable as G-Sync does offer a bit smoother experience, more steady performance, and less ghosting. The main reason G-Sync is more expensive is that it offers yet another feature besides the adaptive sync, the Ultra Low Motion Blur. However, the ULMB cannot be used at the same time as the G-Sync and it can only be used at fixed Hz rates of 85Hz, 100Hz, and 120Hz. Therefore, this feature is great for video games that already run smoothly on their own with a steady FPS rate.
G-Sync at 144Hz
Since 144Hz monitors have already a fast refresh rate on their own, people often wonder whether the adaptive sync technology is necessary. It is. At 144Hz the monitor refreshes the screen 144 times per second. If your GPU sends either more or less frames than that, it will result in screen tearing. The screen tearing will be less visible on a 144Hz monitor than on a 60Hz monitor since the image stays shorter on screen, but it will still be present. With the G-Sync on, the frame rate will always be synchronized.
If you’re a gamer who is looking for the smoothest performance possible then the G-Sync is definitely worth the money, but keep in mind that you will be purchasing a feature that is beneficial only to gaming. The G-Sync will keep the synchronized framerate ranging from 30Hz to 144Hz between your monitor and the GPU thus eliminating screen stuttering, tearing, and reducing lag.
Although opinions on whether G-sync is worth the money may vary, you should consider that people have different computer equipment, play differently optimized video games, and don’t perceive things such as the input lag the same way. In the end, people give bad credits to G-Sync as they don’t understand what it’s supposed to do, and blame it instead of poorly optimized video games or their outdated computer equipment. In order to have the smoothest gaming experience, the Nvidia G-Sync is the way to go – if you can afford it.