G-SYNC 101: G-SYNC vs. V-SYNC OFF


Beyond the Limits of the Scanout

It’s already been established that single, tear-free frame delivery is limited by the scanout, and V-SYNC OFF can defeat it by allowing more than one frame scan per scanout. That said, how much of an input lag advantage can be had over G-SYNC, and how high must the framerate be sustained above the refresh rate to diminish tearing artifacts and justify the difference?

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

Quite high. Counting first on-screen reactions, V-SYNC OFF already has a slight input lag advantage (up to a 1/2 frame) over G-SYNC at the same framerate, especially the lower the refresh rate, but it actually takes a considerable increase in framerate above the given refresh rate to widen the gap to significant levels. And while the reductions may look significant in bar chart form, even with framerates in excess of 3x the refresh rate, and when measured at middle screen (crosshair-level) only, V-SYNC OFF actually has a limited advantage over G-SYNC in practice, and most of it is in areas that one could argue, for the average player, are comparatively useless when something such as a viewmodel’s wrist is updated 1-3ms faster with V-SYNC OFF.

This is where the refresh rate/sustained framerate ratio factors in:

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

As shown in the above diagrams, the true advantage comes when V-SYNC OFF can allow not just two, but multiple frame scans in a single scanout. Unlike syncing solutions, with V-SYNC OFF, the frametime is not paced to the scanout, and a frame will begin scanning in as soon as it’s rendered, regardless whether the previous frame scan is still in progress. At 144Hz with 1000 FPS, for instance, this means with a sustained frametime of 1ms, the display updates nearly 7 times in a single scanout.

In fact, at 240Hz, first on-screen reactions became so fast at 1000 FPS and 0 FPS, that the inherit delay in my mouse and display became the bottleneck for minimum measurements.

So, for competitive players, V-SYNC OFF still reigns supreme in the input lag realm, especially if sustained framerates can exceed the refresh rate by 5x or more. However, while at higher refresh rates, visible tearing artifacts are all but eliminated at these ratios, it can instead manifest as microstutter, and thus, even at its best, V-SYNC OFF still can’t match the consistency of G-SYNC frame delivery.



1456 Comments For “G-SYNC 101”

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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

ZaDDy StEvO
Member
ZaDDy StEvO

For the best system latency performance using GSYNC for no screen tears with Reflex, should the setup be GSYNC + VSYNC + Reflex + No FPS Cap, or add an FPS Cap under what Reflex auto caps under monitors refresh rate?

IAm2Epic4This
Member
IAm2Epic4This

Is this advice for specific programs using the “Program Settings” or for the entire system using the “Global Settings” tab of the NVCP? Is there a downside to setting this up using the optimal g-sync settings section system wide? Sorry if it is a dumb question but I don’t know if it has any impact one way or the other and it wasn’t clear to me. Appreciate the guide, it is really helpful!

CG2X
Member
CG2X

Say I have a 144hz GSYNC monitor, gsync and vsync are enabled in nvcp, and I can only reach 80 fps consistently in this game, should I set the maximum fps to 141 or to 80 to get the best tear-free experience with minimum input lag?

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