Free-Sync and G-Sync: What You Need to Know

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Free-Sync and G-Sync both are the adaptive sync or variable refresh rate for monitors. VRR prevents stuttering and screen tearing by adjusting the monitor refresh rate to the frame rate of the content on the screen.

Normally you can only use V-Sync to lock frame rates to your monitor’s refresh rates, but that presents some input lag issues and can speed up performance. That’s where variable refresh rate solutions like FreeSync and G-Sync come into play.

Free-Sync and G-Sync

Free-Sync monitors use the VESA Adaptive-Sync standard, and modern Nvidia and AMD GPUs support Free-Sync monitors. Free-Sync Pro adds HDR mode support to that list.

G-Sync uses a proprietary Nvidia module instead of the usual screen scaler and offers some additional features like Ultra Low Motion Blur (ULMB) and Low Framerate Compensation (LFC). As a result, only Nvidia GPUs are better to take advantage of G-Sync.

monitors. In early 2019, after Nvidia started supporting FreeSync monitors, it added a few tiers to its G-Sync certified monitors. For example, G-Sync Ultimate monitors feature an HDR Module and the promise of a higher nit rating, while regular G-Sync monitors only feature adaptive sync. There are also G-Sync compatible monitors, which are FreeSync monitors that Nvidia has deemed “worthy” of complying with. ng your G-Sync standards.

Free-Sync and G-SyncThe basic goal of G-Sync and Free-Sync is to reduce screen tearing through adaptive sync or variable refresh rate. This feature essentially tells the display to change the monitor’s refresh rate based on the frame rate output by the GPU, with two rates mitigating the gross-looking artifact known as a screen crack.

The improvement is quite noticeable and gives low frame rates a smoothness at the level of 60 FPS. At higher frame rates, the adaptive sync benefit is diminished by the technology, still helping to remove screen tears and stuttering caused by frame rate fluctuations.

Picking Apart the Differences

While the benefit of variable refresh rates is more or less the same between the two standards, they do have some differences outside of that unique feature.

An advantage of G-Sync is that it continuously adjusts the monitor’s overdrive on the fly to help eliminate ghosting. All G-Sync monitors come with Low Frame Rate Compensation (LFC), ensuring that even when the frame rate drops, there will be no nasty vibrations or picture quality issues. This feature is found on Free-Sync Premium and Premium Pro monitors, but it is not and is not always found on monitors with standard Free-Sync.

LFC works when the frame rate falls below the refresh rate window, typically 30 frames per second. When this happens, the refresh rate will double, so at 25fps, the monitor will run at 50Hz. This helps a lot and improves smoothness even at low frame rates.

In addition, G-Sync includes a feature called Ultra Low Motion Blur (ULMB) that flashes the backlight in sync with the display’s refresh rate to reduce motion blur and improve clarity in high-motion situations. The function normally works with high fixed frame rates at or above 85 Hz, although this is associated with a slight reduction in brightness. However, this function cannot be used in conjunction with G-Sync.

. This means users will have to choose between variable refresh rates with no stuttering and tearing or high clarity. We expect most people to use G-Sync for smoothness, while sports enthusiasts prefer ULMB for its responsiveness and clarity at the expense of tearing.

Because Free-Sync uses standard display scalers, the compatible monitors often offer many more connectivity options than their G-Sync counterparts, including multiple HDMI ports and older ports like DVI. However, this doesn’t always mean that adaptive sync will work across all of these. Instead, AMD has a self-explanatory feature called Free-Sync over HDMI. This means that, unlike G-Sync, Free-Sync allows variable update rates over HDMI cables version 1.4 or later.

However, the conversation between HDMI and DisplayPort is slightly different, so turn this option if you are talking about TVs as some G-Sync compatible TVs can also use this function via an HDMI cable.

How to Enable Free-Sync (AMD)

To use Free-Sync, you need a Free-Sync-compatible display and one of the following: an AMD graphics card or APU 2012 or later, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 10 series graphics card or better, an Xbox One S or X, or an Xbox Series X or S. For Free-Sync certified displays, make sure FreeSync is turned on through the on-screen display of the monitor.

For Free-Sync televisions, all you need to do is enable game mode, usually through the Settings menu.

for AMD Radeon -Graphics cards or AMD APUs, you can enable Free-Sync through the AMD Radeon software on the Display tab of the Settings menu. Using this recommendation, Radeon Chill will allow you to limit your maximum FPS to about three or five FPS below your monitor’s maximum refresh rate.

How to Enable G-Sync (Nvidia)

To use Free-Sync, you need a Free-Sync-compatible display and one of the following: an AMD graphics card or APU 2012 or later, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 10 series graphics card or better, an Xbox One S or X, or an Xbox Series X or S. For Free-Sync certified displays, make sure Free-Sync is turned on through the on-screen display of the monitor.

For Free-Sync televisions, all you need to do is enable game mode, usually through the Settings menu.

for AMD Radeon -Graphics cards or AMD APUs, you can enable Free-Sync through the AMD Radeon software on the Display tab of the Settings menu. Using this recommendation, Radeon Chill will allow you to limit your maximum FPS to about three or five FPS below your monitor’s maximum refresh rate.

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