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.



1462 Comments For “G-SYNC 101”

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BlackStorm82
Member
BlackStorm82

240Hz / GSYNC ON / 60FPS
240HZ / GSYNC OFF / 60FPS

Which is better in response time? Which one is better for blur?
G-Sync’s variable refresh rate function Does the screen response speed also affect it?

swaz
Member
swaz

Hi,
NVIDIA recently introduced a new “Max Frame Rate” setting in its Control Panel.
So I’m wondering if that uses the same FPS limiter tested via “Nvidia Inspector” on page 11.
If that’s not the case, when an in-game framerate limiter isn’t available, should I use RTSS or this new setting?
Thanks in advance.

DrGoku4star
Member
DrGoku4star

I’ve noticed more and more game now are ditching “Fullscreen exclusive” mode now such as Wow (World of warcraft) and Cod (Call of Duty) cold war and Rust.

One way i verify this is buy moving the volume scroll on my keyboard, and if i see the windows volume overlay appear in game, it’s not full screen exclusive?

Anyway, my main question is, with what i just said in mind, isn’t it better to leave The “Full screen optimizations” box ticked now? So that the DWM bypasses triple buffed v-sync?

Talos-LXIX
Member
Talos-LXIX

Hello there!
First i just want to say thank you so much for all the amazing work you guys do. in-depth analysis and guides like this are really helpful.

I just have a few things that I’m not entirely sure about.

1) You’ve found that G-SYNC completely bypasses the 1 frame of delay add by DWM in windowed/borderless. is that only the case if you’re within the G-SYNC range with V-SYNC enabled? could you still bypass it if you ran G-SYNC with V-SYNC off while being over your monitors refresh rate?

2) is G-SYNC+ V-SYNC off with fps over the monitors refresh rate identical to G-SYNC off + V-SYNC off?
For some reason some games (Apex Legends for example) lock their fps to my monitors refresh rate (120) when i try to disable G-SYNC via the per program settings on the NVCP.
I typically like to disable it for competitive FPS games as i can get much higher FPS than 120.

Hiram
Member
Hiram

Hello, I have read a lot, but I have a question.
In my case I play Fortnite, and if I limit the fps to 144 in the game and in the NVCP the screen tearing is not very noticeable, but it happens, otherwise if I play at limited 120 fps the screen tearing is much more noticeable, ( also putting 120hz in the NVCP).
Of course, my fps are not very stable when I get into a fight, they drop from 120 to 100 or a little less.
My question is, do I have to have V-sync activated?
I hope you can answer me

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