G-SYNC 101: G-SYNC vs. Fast Sync


The Limits of Single Frame Delivery

Okay, so what about Fast Sync? Unlike G-SYNC, it works with any display, and while it’s still a fixed refresh rate syncing solution, its third buffer allows the framerate to exceed the refresh rate, and it utilizes the excess frames to deliver them to the display as fast as possible. This avoids double buffer behavior both above and below the refresh rate, and eliminates the majority of V-SYNC input latency.

Sounds ideal, but how does it compare to G-SYNC?

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

Evident by the results, Fast Sync only begins to reduce input lag over FPS-limited double buffer V-SYNC when the framerate far exceeds the display’s refresh rate. Like G-SYNC and V-SYNC, it is limited to completing a single frame scan per scanout to prevent tearing, and as the 60Hz scenarios show, 300 FPS Fast Sync at 60Hz (5x ratio) is as low latency as G-SYNC is with a 58 FPS limit at 60Hz.

However, the less excess frames are available for the third buffer to sample from, the more the latency levels of Fast Sync begin to resemble double buffer V-SYNC with an FPS Limit. And if the third buffer is completely starved, as evident in the Fast Sync + FPS limit scenarios, it effectively reverts to FPS-limited V-SYNC latency, with an additional 1/2 to 1 frame of delay.

Unlike double buffer V-SYNC, however, Fast Sync won’t lock the framerate to half the maximum refresh rate if it falls below it, but like double buffer V-SYNC, Fast Sync will periodically repeat frames if the FPS is limited below the refresh rate, causing stutter. As such, an FPS limit below the refresh rate should be avoided when possible, and Fast Sync is best used when the framerate can exceed the refresh rate by at least 2x, 3x, or ideally, 5x times.

So, what about pairing Fast Sync with G-SYNC? Even Nvidia suggests it can be done, but doesn’t go so far as to recommend it. But while it can be paired, it shouldn’t be…

Say the system can maintain an average framerate just above the maximum refresh rate, and instead of an FPS limit being applied to avoid V-SYNC-level input lag, Fast Sync is enabled on top of G-SYNC. In this scenario, G-SYNC is disabled 99% of the time, and Fast Sync, with very few excess frames to work with, not only has more input lag than G-SYNC would at a lower framerate, but it can also introduce uneven frame pacing (due to dropped frames), causing recurring microstutter. Further, even if the framerate could be sustained 5x above the refresh rate, Fast Sync would (at best) only match G-SYNC latency levels, and the uneven frame pacing (while reduced) would still occur.

That’s not to say there aren’t any benefits to Fast Sync over V-SYNC on a standard display (60Hz at 300 FPS, for instance), but pairing Fast Sync with uncapped G-SYNC is effectively a waste of a G-SYNC monitor, and an appropriate FPS limit should always be opted for instead.

Which poses the next question: if uncapped G-SYNC shouldn’t be used with Fast Sync, is there any benefit to using G-SYNC + Fast Sync + FPS limit over G-SYNC + V-SYNC (NVCP) + FPS limit?

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

The answer is no. In fact, unlike G-SYNC + V-SYNC, Fast Sync remains active near the maximum refresh rate, even inside the G-SYNC range, reserving more frames for itself the higher the native refresh rate is. At 60Hz, it limits the framerate to 59, at 100Hz: 97 FPS, 120Hz: 116 FPS, 144Hz: 138 FPS, 200Hz: 189 FPS, and 240Hz: 224 FPS. This effectively means with G-SYNC + Fast Sync, Fast Sync remains active until it is limited at or below the aforementioned framerates, otherwise, it introduces up to a frame of delay, and causes recurring microstutter. And while G-SYNC + Fast Sync does appear to behave identically to G-SYNC + V-SYNC inside the Minimum Refresh Range (<36 FPS), it’s safe to say that, under regular usage, G-SYNC should not be paired with Fast Sync.



1873 Comments For “G-SYNC 101”

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blaskovic
Member
blaskovic

Hi jorimt. I have a question for you. Sometime in older games (2011 – 2013) I have a drop frame from 144 to 140 or 144 to 135 and I notice this microstutter with G-sync but in other games if I have this drops (for example in Dirty Rally) I don’t see anything. My question is this: Why in some case (games) G-Sync seems works but in other circumstances (games) i see this microstutter? G-Sync shouldn’t avoid Microstutter? Thank you

stadiofriuli
Member
stadiofriuli

I’ve got a question. Got the Dell S2721DGF(A) which is G-Sync compatible, I’m running the monitor at 165Hz.

So what I basically did is to set a FPS cap @161 with RTSS.

Enabled G-Sync fullscreen in NVCP.

Enabled V-Sync in NVCP.

According to the guide V-Sync within the G-Sync range should still act like for native G-Sync monitors when it’s an official supported G-Sync compatible monitor.

What happens for me though is.

When V-Sync is enabled FPS cap at 158, not 161 as set in RTSS.

When I then disable V-Sync and have only G-Sync running it’s capped at 161 again.

So my question really is why this weird behaviour?

Should I activate or deactivate V-Sync in my case?

SvenL
Member
SvenL

Hi,
First of all, thank you so much for creating such an amazing guide. After reading through a few more questions arose.

I’m playing Warzone (FPS game) on a 1080p 144hz free sync monitor with an RTX 2080Ti graphics card. (I achieve 170-180 fps in game uncapped, which is above the refresh rate of my monitor)

My goal is to have a 100% tear-free gaming experience with the least amount of input lag to achieve the best possible accuracy.

First, I took over the following settings from you
NVCP: G-Sync & V-Sync: On

But when it comes to the FPS limiter, I’m still unsure which is best in my case. (Warzone also supports reflex)

In-Game FPS Limiter (141 FPS cap)
Reflex: On / On + Boost
RTSS / NVIDIA’s Max Frame Rate (141 FPS cap)

The question is which of these options has the lowest input lag and at the same time the most constant possible frame time. (I assume these 2 factors are especially important for FPS games)
Or what you think would be the best sweet spot out of all of these options.

With reflex activated (On + Boost), I noticed that the frame rate varies (around 138 fps). I’m not sure whether this will have a negative impact on my frame time or input delay, as I could easily achieve a constant 141 FPS with my graphics card. Should I then prefer the in-game FPS limiter or RTSS / NVIDIA’s Max Frame Rate over reflex?

Thank you very much

RoseGoldCrobat
Member
RoseGoldCrobat

I signed up here since you seem to know a lot about this. I have a very strange issue.

I have a monitor that is Gsync compatible and Gsync is on in fullscreen mode.

When I play certain games, the current ones I’ve seen it in are Red Dead Redemption 2 and Hitman 3 I would like to have gsync on and vsync on. The problem is when both settings are on at the same time my FPS caps to 72 fps, half of my monitor’s refresh rate. I don’t understand why this is happening. Could I be missing a setting?

Zehdah
Member
Zehdah

Hello. I have a new monitor, it’s a Samsung G7 Odyssey which is 1440p 240hz with Gsync. I’m wondering what you would recommend for optimal performance/gaming with that setup since it’s unlikely I will hit 240hz in a game at 1440p with a 1080ti, should I still follow the above instructions and cap to 237 along with vsync on in CP, off in game? Curious if there’s any extra things I need to do.

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