• Home
  • PC
  • Top Picks
More

    AMD FreeSync vs NVIDIA G-Sync: Best Adaptive-Sync Technology?

    - Advertisement -

    Screen tearing and input lag are two of the most dreaded issues in PC gaming. What do they mean though? Screen tearing occurs when parts of multiple frames are displayed simultaneously, resulting in something like this:

    It looks as though the frame has been stretched and torn into three parts, thereby the name “tearing”. Input lag is rather straight-forward: you press a key and there’s a delay before you see the result. These two problems, although, may not seem like much, can be the cause of victory or defeat in fast-paced eSports games and first-person shooters.

    - Advertisement -

    The technology that tackles them is called Adaptive Sync. NVIDIA and AMD have their own respective versions of it, namely G-Sync and FreeSync. How do they differ and which one is better? That’s what we’ll explore in this post. But before we dive into the specifics:

    What is Adaptive-Sync

    Traditional monitors come with a fixed refresh rate. The most common is 60 Hz. This is the rate at which the monitor refreshes the screen, displaying the next consecutive frame. It tells you how many frames your monitor can display per sec without tearing. However, as I’m sure you already know games don’t always run at a fixed frame rate, there are inconsistencies, sometimes the GPU ends up rendering more frames than your monitor can display, sometimes less. This results in screen tearing and lags, respectively.

    The easiest way to tackle this is to either drop some of the more intensive graphics options or enable V-Sync. However, the latter can cause input lags as it basically puts brakes on your GPU pipeline, limiting the frames to 60 (if your monitor is 60Hz) per sec.

    What G-Sync and FreeSync compatible monitors do is that they vary the refresh rate according to your GPU. Say you are running a game at 50FPS, then if your monitor supports adaptive sync, it’ll scale down the refresh rate to 50. However on the flip side, if you’re getting more frames per sec than your monitor can display, then this technology can’t help you.

    AMD FreeSync vs NVIDIA G-Sync

    Price:

    One of the main differences between FreeSync and G-Sync is that the former like most of AMD’s technologies is OpenSource. It leverages the VESA Adaptive-Sync that comes along with Display Port 1.2a. As such, there are no penalties or royalties that need to be paid to implement FreeSync, allowing OEMs to integrate it into even the cheapest of monitors. The lower end FreeSync models cost less than 10K INR.

    G-Sync, on the other hand, is NVIDIA’s own proprietary technology. Earlier there was only one version that required a PCB from Green team to enable it. However, recently NVIDIA embraced the VESA standard, dubbing the monitors that support it as “G-Sync Compatible”. What you need to know is that G-Sync compatible displays are essentially FreeSync monitors vetted and tested by Jensen and Co. All this requires manpower and resources, and so the G-Sync monitors, even the third-tier G-Sync Compatible ones are quite expensive. The cheapest ones cost around 25K INR twice as much as some of the entry-level FreeSync monitors.

    Quality:

    When it comes to quality, G-Sync monitors take the cake, of course, they cost more than most modern graphics cards and there’s the drawback. Low-end FreeSync monitors “get the job done”. Not to say that they are inferior, but most of the cheap ones only support Adaptive Sync between 48Hz and 75Hz. Basically, if your frame rate goes below 48, it’ll result in unbearable lagging.

    AMD announced something called Low Framerate Compensation (LFC) to deal with this, however only the higher-end models come equipped with it. What LFC does is that it duplicates frames to push up the average frame rate to the minimum supported by your monitor. Say you’re getting 25 FPS in a game and your monitor supports 50 FPS for FreeSync to work. Then LFC will create an identical copy of every frame and render it between constant intervals to increase the average frames per sec to 50.

    Looking at G-Sync displays. There are three tiers: G-Sync Compatible, G-Sync and G-Sync Ultimate.

    • As already mentioned, G-Sync Compatible is NVIDIA’s FreeSync equivalent but keep in mind that these are on par with the more expensive models, the ones that come with LFC. Of course, NVIDIA claims that these monitors undergo several dozen tests but this is the main advantage.
    • G-Sync is the good old proprietary variant that NVIDIA charges a premium for. These monitors although feature the best implementation of Adaptive Sync, cost more than a pretty penny. They start from around 35K INR and often come with top-spec monitors. As such, if you are buying a G-Sync monitor, you can be sure you’re buying a top-end screen.
    • Lastly, there’s FreeSync 2 and G-Sync Ultimate. These basically come with advanced features such as HDR, LFC and often with monitors with a brightness rating higher than 1000 nits. They are the best monitors in all the land. However, they will cost you an astronomical amount, and that goes doubly for the G-Sync Ultimate ones.

    Connectivity:

    As far as connectivity goes, AMD has got another advantage. Traditional G-Sync monitors only work over Display Port. Many G-Sync compatible monitors support HDMI as well, but the more expensive ones are largely limited to DP. Both FreeSync and FreeSync2 monitors come with HDMI as well as DP support, providing wider connectivity options.

    Conclusion

    So there you have it, G-Sync vs FreeSync. Earlier, the main difference was that FreeSync was somewhat inferior but much cheaper while the opposite applied to the G-Sync monitors. The differences are more subtle now. FreeSync2 is improved and older screens with LFC are mostly on par with G-Sync compatible models, but often can’t be had for cheap. With NVIDIA’s adoption of the VESA standard, the playing field has somewhat leveled. However, you can still find FreeSync monitors much cheaper than rival G-Sync screens. They’re not the best, but considering the dirt cheap prices, they’re more than what you can expect.

    Further reading:

    - Advertisement -
    Areej
    I love computer hardware and RPGs, and those two things are what drove me to start TechQuila. Other than that most of my time goes into reading psychology, writing (and reading) dark poetry and playing games. Lead Editor at Techquila and HardwareTimes.com

    Recent Articles

    Asus launches Ryzen-powered Zenbook 14, Zenbook Flip, Rog Strix G Laptop and GL10DH Desktop

    Asus is launching a whole raft of Ryzen-powered ZenBooks in India at pretty interesting price-points. We've got the Zenbook 14 and Zenbook...

    Best Graphics Card for Gaming at 1080p: NVIDIA vs AMD

    More than half of the gamers worldwide still game at 1080p. It's the resolution you'll be looking at in the recommended settings...

    Best Gaming PC Build Under Rs. 55,000 for Playing PUBG & Fortnite at 1080p...

    At present, the Battle Royale genre is at its peak, with games like PUBG overtaking giants Counter-Strike and DOTA within months of...

    Best Gaming PC Build Under Rs. 1,00,000 (1 Lakh) for 4K: November 2019

    Building a 4K gaming PC under 1 lakh (Rs. 1,00,000) can be quite challenging. It's hard to settle for a good graphics...

    Red Dead Redemption 2 PC Performance Optimization Guide: AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT beats...

    Rockstar's hit title, Red Dead Redemption 2 has finally come to PC, but there's a catch. The game doesn't run all that...

    Related Stories

    Leave a Reply

    Stay on Top - Get the daily news in your inbox