G-SYNC 101: G-SYNC Fullscreen vs. Borderless/Windowed


DWM Woes?

Requested by swarna in the Blur Busters Forums, is a scenario that investigates the effects of the DWM (Desktop Windows Manager, “Aero” in Windows 7) on G-SYNC in borderless and windowed mode.

Unlike exclusive fullscreen, which bypasses the DWM composition entirely, borderless and windowed mode rely on the DWM, which, due to its framebuffer, adds 1 frame of delay. The DWM can’t be disabled in Windows 10, and uses it’s own form of triple buffer V-SYNC (very similar to Fast Sync) that overrides all standard syncing solutions when borderless or windowed mode are in use.

To make sure this was the case, all combinations of NVCP and in-game V-SYNC, as well as the Windows 10 “Game Mode” and “fullscreen optimization” settings were tested to see if DWM could be disabled, and tearing could be introduced; it could not be, so Game Mode and fullscreen optimizations were disabled once again, and NVCP V-SYNC was re-enabled across scenarios for consistency’s sake.

The question is, does DWM add 1 frame of delay with G-SYNC using borderless and windowed mode?

Blur Buster's G-SYNC 101: Input Latency & Optimal Settings
Blur Buster's G-SYNC 101: Input Latency & Optimal Settings

Overwatch, shows that, no, with G-SYNC enabled, both borderless and windowed mode do not add 1 frame of delay over exclusive fullscreen. Standalone “V-SYNC,” however, does show the expected 1 frame of delay.

CS:GO was also tested for corroboration, and ought to have the same results, as DWM behavior is at the OS-level and should remain unchanged, regardless of the game…

Blur Buster's G-SYNC 101: Input Latency & Optimal Settings
Blur Buster's G-SYNC 101: Input Latency & Optimal Settings

Sure enough, again, G-SYNC sees no added delay, and V-SYNC sees the expected 1 frame of delay.

Further testing may be required, but it appears on the latest public build of Windows 10 with out-of-the-box settings (with or without “Game Mode”), G-SYNC somehow bypasses the 1 frame of delay added by the DWM. That said, I still don’t suggest borderless or windowed mode over exclusive fullscreen due to the 3-5% decrease in performance, but if these findings are true across configurations, it great news for games that only offer a borderless windowed option, or for multitaskers with secondary monitors.



2231 Comments For “G-SYNC 101”

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Vasko
Member
Vasko

Hello,

Would you please recommend the lowest latency setting for my pc in COD Cold War? I have the 360Hz Asus monitor and get between 280-310 fps during game play. I currently have the monitor set at 240Hz with unlimited fps, V-Sync and G-Sync off and it is very smooth. Would it be better to change the refresh rate to 300 or 360Hz even though the fps most likely average around 280? Does it make sense to turn G-Sync on?

Your help is highly appreciated!

Thank you,
Vasko

Tonaway
Member
Tonaway

Hello, I have a weird question.

Does G-SYNC still work if you lower the refresh rate (to something inside G-SYNC range) and use V-SYNC on in order to lock the FPS? Instead of running max refresh rate + V-SYNC on + -3 FPS lock.

For example: set refresh rate from 144hz to 120hz and activate V-SYNC so the game runs at 120 FPS and hz. In this case, will G-SYNC still be active? Or do you still have to set a FPS limiter to 117 FPS?

Will these settings have G-SYNC working as intended or will there be detriments to running games like this (except for running it at 120hz and 120 FPS, instead of 144hz and 141 FPS). If it works, does locking the FPS this way have any benefit over other ways of locking the FPS, and does it introduce normal V-SYNC latency if it hits 120 FPS?

fatehasfans
Member
fatehasfans

Hi there, is there an optimizing guide for Free-sync?

gaxode9376
Member
gaxode9376

what if a game only let you cap at a fixed refresh rate or unlimited rather than a custom value

DerConnor
Member
DerConnor

So what actually causes the tearing from “Upper & Lower Frametime Variances”? Is it because G-Sync is somehow unable to respond to a quick change in frametime (I read somewhere it uses a fixed polling frequency to update the current refresh rate)? And in the Valorant clips with the FPS capped to 142, shouldn’t this result in a constant frametime or is there some problem with how the FPS limiter works (introducing inconsistent frametimes)? I also can’t for the life of me see any tearing in the second Valorant clip.

Thanks a lot for this article, it was a super interesting and informative read.

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