G-Sync is a technology developed by Nvidia that appears in certain computer monitors and gaming laptops to help increase their performance. Its main focus is to deliver the smoothest and fastest gaming experience ever by helping to eliminate screen tearing, minimizing display stutter, and reducing input lag.
Unless you are not a heavy PC gamer or developer, you might have never experienced times when your graphics card and monitor appear to be out of sync. This happens when the graphics card sends a frame in the middle of a monitor’s refresh rate and the monitor ends up drawing parts of multiple frames on the display at the same time.
Some computing programs, most especially games, require systems (graphics card) and hardware (monitor) that are able to handle heavy tasks that they are given. At times, you might even have some of the latest and high-quality systems and hardware but still experience these problems; screen tearing, display stutter, and input lag. Screen tearing, in particular, refers to a visual artifact in video display where two or more frames are shown in a single screen draw. The artifact occurs when the video feed to the device is not in sync with the display’s refresh rate. This is where American technology company Nvidia was able to step in by developing a tool called G-Sync which eliminates the problem.
What Is G-Sync?
G-Sync is a new display technology that delivers the smoothest and fastest gaming experience ever. The groundbreaking hardware-based tech works by manipulating the display panel’s VBI (vertical blanking interval). VBI represents the interval between the time when a monitor finishes drawing the current frame and the beginning of the next frame. Thanks to the use of G-Sync, no screen refresh data is sent to the monitor during this interval, thereby eliminating screen tearing, minimizing display stutter, and input lag. The graphics card in your PC inadvertently waits until the monitor is ready to receive another frame before sending it. It further stores the previous frame so that it can be compared to the next incoming frame. It does this to decrease input lag. This keeps everything going on smoothly to the delight of the user.
An alternative to using G-Sync is enabling V-Sync which also performs about the same thing, however, with a few drawbacks. V-sync makes the Graphics Processing Unit send frames to the screen in sync with the monitor’s refresh rate which is usually at about 60Hz or 60 times per second. While this can help maintain sync and eliminate tearing, it can introduce stuttering, as well as input lag.
Following the success of the technology, most of the major monitor manufacturers, including Asus, LG, Philips, BenQ, AOC, and Samsung have implemented G-Sync on some of their displays. Note that you will also need a G-Sync-enabled Nvidia graphics card to take advantage of this new technology. Luckily, most newer and powerful Nvidia cards like the GTX 10 series and GTX Titan Black, are all G-Sync-ready.
Monitors that can operate smoothly with G-Sync technology support 120Hz or 144Hz refresh rates, have resolutions ranging from 1,920×1,080 to 3,840×2,160, and usually range in sizes between 20 and 30-inches. Their prices can range from anywhere between $100 to well over $1,000.
Is G-Sync Worth It and Do You Need It?
If it boils down to you wanting to have the best gaming experience ever, then G Sync is a no brainer and is definitely worth it. However, this is not the only factor to have in mind when deciding if the technology is worth as they might be some other things that could be a drawback.
The first is the price. Regardless of whether you are using a laptop or desktop, you would have to part away with a huge amount of money to use G-Sync because it requires both a capable monitor and graphics card. For example, laptops that incorporate both components cost at over $1,000 while purchasing each separate component for a desktop would cost over $500.
Another drawback to it is that if you are already using Nvidia’s Optimus technology, you might find it hard finding compatibility with G-Sync. Optimus, which is implemented in many laptops today, adjusts graphics performance to provide the necessary power to graphics-intensive programs and optimize battery life. Because the technology relies on an integrated graphics system, frames are passed to the screen at a set interval and not as they are created as it would happen in the case of G-Sync. The only way to go by this challenge is to either use an Optimus-capable device or a G-Sync-capable device, as there is no laptop that can use both technologies.
How to Enable G-Sync
Before being able to enable G Sync, there are a few things that have to be in place, one of which is making sure that your hardware setup is going to support the technology. The process is not going to work well if you do not have a compatible monitor, a GTX 10-series graphics card or better, and a DisplayPort connection from the graphics card to the monitor.
If all these things are readily available, use the following steps to enable G Sync.
1. Access the Nvidia Control Panel app on your PC and open it. Look at the left-hand menu for the Display section and select the option to ‘Set up G Sync’.
2. When the ‘Set up G Snyc’ window opens, make sure the box for Enable G Sync, G Sync Compatible is checked. Also, make sure that enable full-screen mode is selected.
3. Select your display if you have an odd sort of multi-monitor display plan and need to make sure the changes apply to the right monitor.
4. Make sure the box for Enable settings for the selected display is checked. Once finished, select Apply to get G-Sync started.
If you have a good compatible monitor, the above steps will help G-Sync get started without any hassle. However, if your monitor is not as good, you will need to make one more adjustment. On the left-hand menu of the Nvidia Control panel in the section that says 3D Settings, select ‘Manage 3D Settings’ and go to the Global tab. Look for the setting called Monitor Technology, and make sure it is set to the G-Sync compatibility setting. For extra customization on a game by game basis, access ‘Program Settings’ instead of ‘Global’ to make the necessary changes.