Looking for the G Sync vs FreeSync? Read further to know more about it.
Don’t let screen tearing ruin your gaming experience! A solution that will work better than the one you’re using now is forcing a frame rate of 60 FPS. You can do this by lowering V-sync from its default settings, but be careful because doing so may affect system performance as well.
Baffled by the lack of consistency in your gaming experience? Nvidia and AMD have you covered! The two manufacturers are now both equipped with adaptive refresh technology, which can help solve this problem.
If you’re sporting an Nvidia GPU we suggest using G-Sync to maintain frame rates while still providing viewers a smooth visual quality; meanwhile, those who use AMD should consider FreeSync as it does just that for their screens–of course if they want heavy input lag then there’s always Vsync mode too (but let’s be honest: most gamers don’t).
There is no greater display for gaming than a sleek, high quality monitor. Whether you’re playing at 1080p or 1440p resolution has never mattered more in this day and age of graphics mastery! But did you know the competition between Nvidia G-Sync vs AMD FreeSync tech also matters?
It does because they both offer adaptive sync technologies which can make your screen lag free while achieving perfect frame rates without any input delays – it really pays off when gamers invest their hard earned cash into these expensive items that will last them years down the line.
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The monitor’s refresh rate is synced with the graphics card to avoid drawing new frames before current ones are done rendering.
This solves a problem that can occur when using adaptive sync–the GPU would render one frame while watching for input from your computer screen which might take too long due to changing speeds between bootloaders/processors/etc… G-Sync works perfectly well on Nvidia-based cards but there may also exist an alternative called free sync.
G-Sync and FreeSync are both designed to smooth out gameplay, reduce input lag, and prevent screen tearing. They have different methods for accomplishing these goals, but what sets them apart is that the former keeps its approach close to the vest, while the latter is shared freely.
Nvidia’s G-Sync works through a built-in chip in the monitor’s construction. FreeSync uses the video card’s functionality to manage the monitor’s refresh rate using the Adaptive-Sync standard built into the DisplayPort standard — the result is a difference in performance.
Users note having FreeSync enabled reduces tearing and stuttering, but some monitors exhibit another problem: Ghosting. As objects move on the screen, they leave shadowy images of their last position. It’s an artifact that some people don’t notice at all, but it annoys others.
Many fingers point at what might cause it, but the physical reason for it is power management. If you don’t apply enough power to the pixels, your image will have gaps in it — too much power, and you’ll see ghosting. Balancing the adaptive refresh technology with proper power distribution is hard
Both FreeSync and G-Sync also suffer when the frame rate isn’t consistently syncing within the monitor’s refresh range. G-Sync can show problems with flickering at very low frame rates, and while the technology usually compensates to fix it, there are exceptions.
FreeSync, meanwhile, has stuttering problems if the frame rate drops below a monitor’s stated minimum refresh rate. Some FreeSync monitors have an extremely narrow adaptive refresh range, and if your video card can’t deliver frames within that range, problems arise.
Most reviewers who’ve compared the two side-by-side seem to prefer the quality of G-Sync, which does not show stutter issues at low frame rates and is thus smoother in real-world situations. It’s also important to note that upgrades to syncing technology (and GPUs) are slowly improving these problems for both technologies.
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The writer also added some extra details about why there are so many available now thanks for being free instead versus having restrictions like those put upon them through purchase agreement agreements where users must agree specifically not misuse their rights, however.
You can’t mix and match between the two technologies. While monitors themselves will work irrespective of graphics card brands, G-Sync support is only available on Nvidia cards due to Freesync working best with AMD GPUs as well some Nvidia models too – but there’s a catch:
it’s only guaranteed to function correctly on FreeSync monitor approved by nVidia for certification (certified after rigorous testing). Here are current lists where you’ll find these certified products included within their ranges!
G-Sync and Freesync are both features that monitor manufacturers have to meet. While the basic specifications allow for frame syncing, more stringent premium versions of G-sync exist as well as a version of Freesync which meets these high standards if they’re met by a company.
The manufacturer who wants their product certified under those certifications then you can feel secure knowing your purchase was worth it because not only do these monitors provide top quality content but also stand up against other similar devices from competing brands in case someone else has been giving them trouble before
AMD’s premium options include
- FreeSync Premium: Premium requires monitors to support a native 120Hz refresh rate for a flawless 1080p resolution experience. It also adds low frame rate compensation (LFC), which copies and extends frames if the frame rate drops to help smooth out more bumpy experiences.
- FreeSync Premium Pro:
Previously known as FreeSeync 2 HDR, this premium version of FreeSync is specifically designed for HDR content, and if monitors support it, then they must guarantee at least 400 nits of brightness for HDR, along with all the benefits found with FreeSync Premium.
Nvidia’s G-Sync options are tiered, with G-Sync compatible at the bottom, offering basic G-Sync functionality in monitors that aren’t designed with G-Sync in mind (some Freesync monitors meet its minimum requirements). G-Sync is the next option up, with the most capable of monitors given G-Sync Ultimate status:
- G-Sync Ultimate: Ultimate is similar to FreeSync Premium Pro, a more advanced option available on the more powerful GPUs and monitors that are designed for HDR support and low latency. It used to demand a minimum brightness of 1,000 nits, but that was recently reduced to demand just VESA HDR400 compatibility or around 400 nits.
G-Sync monitors typically carry a price premium because they contain the extra hardware needed to support Nvidia’s version of an adaptive refresh. When G-Sync was new (Nvidia introduced it in 2013), it would cost you about $200 extra to purchase the G-Sync version of a display, all other features, and specs being the same. Today, the gap is closer to $100.
However, FreeSync monitors can be also certified as G-Sync Compatible. The certification can happen retroactively, and it means a monitor can run G-Sync within Nvidia’s parameters, despite lacking Nvidia’s proprietary scaler hardware. A visit to Nvidia’s website reveals a list of monitors that have been certified to run G-Sync.
You can technically run G-Sync on a monitor that’s not G-Sync Compatible-certified, but performance is not guaranteed. For more, see our articles on How to Run G-Sync on a FreeSync Monitor and Should You Care if Your Monitor’s Certified G-Sync Compatible?
There are a few guarantees you get with G-Sync monitors that aren’t always available in their FreeSync counterparts. One is blur-reduction (ULMB) in the form of a backlight strobe. ULMB is Nvidia’s name for this feature; some FreeSync monitors also have it under a different name.
While this works in place of Adaptive-Sync, some prefer it, perceiving it to have lower input lag. We haven’t been able to substantiate this in testing. However, when you run at 100 frames per second (fps) or higher, blur is typically a non-issue and input lag is super-low, so you might as well keep things tight with G-Sync engaged.
G-Sync also guarantees that you will never see a frame tear even at the lowest refresh rates. Below 30 Hz, G-Sync monitors double the frame renders (and thereby doubling the refresh rate) to keep them running in the adaptive refresh range.
FreeSync has a price advantage over G-Sync because it uses an open-source standard created by VESA, Adaptive-Sync, which is also part of VESA’s DisplayPort spec.
Any DisplayPort interface version 1.2a or higher can support adaptive refresh rates. While a manufacturer may choose not to implement it, the hardware is there already, hence, there’s no additional production cost for the maker to implement FreeSync. FreeSync can also work with HDMI 1.4. (For help understanding which is best for gaming, see our DisplayPort vs. HDMI analysis.)
Because of its open nature, FreeSync implementation varies widely between monitors. Budget displays will typically get FreeSync and a 60 Hz or greater refresh rate.
The most low-priced displays likely won’t get blur-reduction, and the lower limit of the Adaptive-Sync range might be just 48 Hz. However, there are FreeSync (as well as G-Sync) displays that operate at 30 Hz or, according to AMD, even lower.
But FreeSync Adaptive-Sync works just as well as any G-Sync monitor. Pricier FreeSync monitors add blur reduction and Low Framerate Compensation (LFC) to compete better against their G-Sync counterparts.
And, again, you can get G-Sync running on a FreeSync monitor without any Nvidia certification, but performance may falter.
Which Is Better for HDR?
To add even more choices to a potentially confusing market, AMD and Nvidia have upped the game with new versions of their Adaptive-Sync technologies. This is justified, rightly so, by some important additions to display tech, namely HDR and extended color.
On the Nvidia side, a monitor can support G-Sync with HDR and extended color without earning the “Ultimate” certification. Nvidia assigns that moniker to monitors with the capability to offer what Nvidia deems “lifelike HDR.”
Exact requirements are vague, but Nvidia clarified the G-Sync Ultimate spec to Tom’s Hardware, telling us that these monitors are supposed to be factory-calibrated for the HDR color space, P3, while offering 144Hz and higher refresh rates, overdrive, “optimized latency” and “best-in-class” image quality and HDR support.
Meanwhile, a monitor must support HDR, extended color, hit a minimum of 120 Hz at 1080p resolution and have LFC for it to list FreeSync Premium on its specs sheet. If you’re wondering about FreeSync 2, AMD has supplanted that with FreeSync Premium Pro. Functionally, they are the same.
Here’s another fact: If you have an HDR monitor (for recommendations, see our article on picking the best HDR monitor) that supports FreeSync with HDR, there’s a good chance it will also support G-Sync with HDR (and without HDR too).
And what of FreeSync Premium Pro? It’s the same situation as G-Sync Ultimate in that it doesn’t offer anything new to the core Adaptive-Sync tech. FreeSync Premium Pro simply means AMD has certified that monitor to provide a premium experience with at least a 120 Hz refresh rate, LFC and HDR.
Chances are that if the FreeSync monitor supports HDR, it will likely work with G-Sync (Nvidia-certified or not) too.
The G-Sync from Nvidia and the Freestyle feature from AMD both come with amazing features that can improve your game levels. Personally, when you compare the two, the G-Sync monitors come with a feature list that is slightly better, especially for the products rated at the G-Sync Ultimate level.
That said, the difference between the two isn’t so great that you should never buy a Freesync monitor. Indeed, if you already have a decent graphics card, then buying a monitor to go with your GPU makes the most sense (side note for console owners: Xbox Series X supports FreeSync and PS5 is expected to support it in the future, but neither offer G-Sync support).
If you eliminate the price for any additional components, you can expect to shell out a few hundred dollars on a G-Sync monitor, at least. Even our budget pick is available for about $330. Unfortunately, due to product shortages, prices can vary significantly for a compatible G-Sync graphics card.
Mid-range options like the RTX 3060 are releasing shortly and will offer fantastic performance for around $400, but they’ll also be in short supply. Any other new generation cards will also be tough to find and could set you back at least $500 when available.
If you need to save a few bucks, FreeSync monitors and FreeSync-supported GPUs cost a bit less, on average. For example, the AMD Radeon RX 590 graphics card costs around $200.
That said, all of the power-packed graphics cards were pretty difficult to find in the early part of 2021. It may be best to wait a few months and then buy a new RX 6000 card for a more budget-friendly price instead of buying MSRP right now.