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G-Sync Vs V-Sync Vs Free-Sync Vs No-Sync: Complete comparison
V-Sync vs G-Sync vs Free-Sync explained
Building a custom gaming PC can be a huge headache. Choosing between the CPU, GPU, RAM, Storage, Motherboard, PSU or a Cooling unit plays an important role in building a custom PC. However, most of the users go wrong with the display, which is a fundamental aspect of a gaming PC. The right monitor can actually showcase the power your PC beholds. Here, we will compare monitors, which pack in different technology and features, which results in an elevated gaming experience.
As this is a game-centric post, we will compare displays, which are gaming-centric. For a gamer, the frame rate is one of the most important aspects. Higher the frame rate, better the gaming experience. A typical monitor comes with 60 Hz refresh rate, which means the screen refreshes itself up to 60 times per second and a high-end gaming monitor, in this case, Acer Predator XB2 (24.5-inch with FHD 1920 x 1080px) which offers up to 240Hz refresh rate with Nvidia's G-Sync technology. There are other types of monitors with V-Sync and Free-Sync.
In this context, sync means synchronization, where two are more components work together to offer optimal performance. In this case, graphics card or a GPU will synchronize with a monitor to offer a smoother gameplay without tearing frames.
What is frame tearing?
Frame tearing is a process, where the display will have a fixed refresh rate, say 60Hz and in some cases, the GPU might send a signal with 61 or 120 frames, which will cause a slight glitch in the game. As the display support is limited to only 60Hz. This results in the tearing of the frame.
V-Sync or Vertical Sync
V-Sync is a technology, which restricts the number of frames that a GPU can push per second. For a monitor which supports 60Hz refresh rate, the GPU will be capped to send a signal with 60 Hz refresh rate. However, this also has a drawback, as the GPU cannot push 60 fps every time. Even if there is a slight frame drop, say 58fps or 59 fps there will be an input lag, as your display will be waiting for an additional frame and the game will stutter at that given V-Sync setting. So, in a nutshell, both AMD and Nvidia GPU users can use V-Sync to reduce frame teardown. But, the V-Sync will reduce the frame tearing.
G-Sync and Free-Sync
G-Sync is the technology that has been developed by Nvidia. The G-Sync only works for the Nvidia GPUs, whereas the Free-Sync works on the AMD GPUs. A monitor manufacturer has to pay a certain amount of money to Nvidia to make a G-Sync certified monitor, whereas the Free-Sync works more like an open source and any manufacturer can implement the Free-Sync technology by including appropriate hardware that is required to support Free-Sync.
How G-Sync works?
A G-Sync enabled monitor will come with a dedicated chipset and only works with Nvidia GPU. This makes the G-Sync enabled monitors to cost more than a Free-Sync enabled monitor. In this case, the GPU communicates with the monitor (using the chip on the monitor) to make sure that the GPU sends out the signal when the monitor is ready to display the signal. The first generation of G-Sync worked only through the display port and the 2nd Gen G-Sync monitor now supports HDMI. Not only that, every monitor OEM needs to get a certification from Nvidia by paying a certain amount of fees to get G-Sync certification. G-Sync works well in the full-screen mode and windows-less environment, which mean the G-Sync can improve your PC navigation experience, even when a user is using a PC while navigating through an OS.
When the fps goes below the monitors refresh rate (say 240 Hz on the Acer Predator XB2), the G-Sync switches back to V-Sync, which then limits the GPU to send 240 frames per second. G-Sync will use both software and hardware to optimize the gameplay.
How Free-Sync works?
The approach that a Free-Sync enabled monitor takes to offer an optimal gaming experience is similar to the G-Sync. In this case, the Free-Sync only works with the AMD GPUs. Free-Sync uses the VRR mode (Variable refresh rate) where the monitor will sync with the frame rate that a GPU sends out. When the frame rate goes above the monitors refresh-rate, the Free-Sync switches back to V-Sync, which will restrict the fps (frame rate per second) of the GPU to the monitors refresh rate. Ex: If the GPU is offering more than 150 fps and the monitor is capped at 120 Hz, then the Free-sync will cap the GPU to send a 120Hz signal.
Free-Sync can work with either DisplayPort or an HDMI port. A monitor OEM has to get a Free-Sync enabled controlled and there are no fees that the OEM has to pay for AMD, which makes the Free-Sync enabled displays to cost less than the G-Sync enabled monitor.
One can use V-Sync to get a stable game-play. However, it might result in display-lag. Choosing between a Free-Sync enabled or the G-Sync enabled display depends on the GPU. Our Acer Predator XB2, the 25-inch FHD monitor with 240 Hz refresh rate offered a stellar gaming performance when it was paired with the Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti. We did not experience any kind of display-lag, as games like NFS Pay Back or the Crisis 3.