If you’re a gamer, chances are you’ve experienced screen tearing and stuttering on more than one occasion while you’re gaming? Annoying right?
Well, you’re not alone. In recent years gamers all over the world have been complaining about gross horizontal lines and stuttering while gaming.
There’s always the option of turning V-Sync on, but as we’ve learned through experience, doing that can have a negative impact on your overall system performance.
In these testing times, both NVIDIA and AMD have turned to adaptive refresh technology to solve this problem for their consumers while preserving frame rates.
Now, even though they’re both considered syncing technologies, there are some stark differences between the two, and for a gamer who hasn’t yet decided on a monitor or graphic card, these differences could be potentially fundamental in deciding what’s the best setup for you.
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Which is Better: FreeSync or G-Sync?
Since NVIDIA and AMD came up with G-Sync and FreeSync, respectively, numerous PC users have asked on online forums about what works better or faster.
Naturally, many new PC players want to know which syncing technology will benefit them the most as gamers.
And to them, we just have this to say, both syncing technologies work in different ways but have the same end goal, which is to reduce input lag, screen tearing, and stuttering while gaming.
Moreover, both syncing technologies run into their own set of new problems while trying to achieve that.
So, giving a concrete verdict on which technology is better is next to impossible and varies for each individual. Thus, all we can do is lay down all the facts about both syncing technologies and allow you to decide for yourself.
AMD has always chosen to do things differently from NVIDIA when it comes to tech upgrades, especially in graphic cards.
On top of that, AMD has been quite open to sharing with the public all their new advancements and how these advancements may benefit their consumers.
Keeping to these standards, AMD has also shared its approach to preventing screen tearing, reducing input lag, and providing smooth gameplay using its brand new FreeSync technology to the public.
To explain it as simply as possible, FreeSync uses the video card’s functionality to configure the monitor’s refresh rate using the Adaptive Sync Standard built into the DisplayPort Standard.
Now, even though this does manage to improve the stuttering and screen tearing problem, it also creates new problems, one of which is ghosting.
Basically, as objects move on the screen, they leave shadowy images of their last position, which is annoying to some gamers, whereas others don’t even notice it.
Does FreeSync Work with NVIDIA Cards?
A couple of years back, NVIDIA graphic cards only supported their own G-Sync monitors as they wanted more and more gamers to opt for G-Sync rather than FreeSync, or that’s at least what we think.
This was also around the time when NVIDIA and AMD first released their respective syncing technologies, so competition was pretty fierce.
However, in 2019 NVIDIA started the G-Sync Compatible initiative, also known as NVIDIA FreeSync. in this initiative, the company announced that their GeForce graphic cards would now support the FreeSync technology as well.
Which allowed G-Sync graphic cards to work with FreeSync monitors, albeit with a few limitations. First and foremost, only the 10 and 20 series of GeForce graphic cards can support this technology.
And secondly, when attaching the GPU to a FreeSync monitor, you should strictly use the display port only as the GPU won’t adapt to the FreeSync if connected through the HDMI or DVI port.
Finally, you’ll need to install the 417.71 version of NVIDIA drivers to run the GPU properly.
Do FreeSync Monitors Work with PS4?
Even though AMD is constantly trying to make their FreeSync monitors more widely accessible to different technologies, for now, FreeSync monitors cannot be used with the PS4 or PS4 Pro.
They can work with Xbox and Xbox One consoles but unfortunately not with PS4 consoles.
We mentioned before that AMD has been very open to its consumers when it came to sharing information on how their FreeSync technology works and its implementation.
Well, you can consider NVIDIA their polar opposite in this regard.
Unlike AMD, NVIDIA has kept their cards close to their vest and only disclosed a small piece of information about their G-Sync technology just recently after they were pestered continuously by their consumers.
From this piece of information, we understand that G-Sync in NVIDIA monitors works through a built-in chip in the monitor’s construction.
Performance-wise though, we have witnessed gamers praising G-Sync over FreeSync monitors due to G-Sync working better on lower frame rates.
However, after a point, even G-Sync monitors find it difficult to work at low frame rates. This should tell you that neither of these technologies is perfect, and both have some flaws.
Another thing to note is that FreeSync is free for any developer or manufacturer to use, whereas G-Sync is NVIDIA proprietary technology, and you need the company’s permission to use it.
This in short, means there are fewer G-Sync monitors than FreeSync monitors on the open market.
Where is G-Sync in the NVIDIA Control Panel?
Gamers who use NVIDIA PC components should know that you need to install the NVIDIA Control Panel to effectively run G-Sync on your monitors.
Once you’ve done that, inside the Control Panel, you’ll find the Display tab under the Navigation Pane.
After clicking that, a setup G-Sync option should be visible to you, and after you’ve gone through the entire setup and enabled it on your computer, the entire G-Sync settings will become visible to you.
Does G-Sync Work with AMD GPU?
Fortunately for all the users who prefer using AMD GPUs, the cards are compatible with G-Sync monitors and work pretty well with them.
However, one thing to note is that AMD GPUs cannot access the variable refresh rates GeForce cards can with G-Sync monitors.
Is PS5 FreeSync or G-Sync?
A couple of years ago, Sony released the new PS5, which has been rising in popularity ever since for its ridiculously smooth graphics and cutting-edge ray tracing. Sony has also shared with the general public that the PS5 contains an AMD GPU.
Which in turn has led players to wonder if the PS5 runs on FreeSync or G-Sync technology. And the short answer is, neither!
However, if you hook it up to a Tv like the LG C9, which has G-Sync VRR capabilities, you can run the system on G-Sync tech.
All in all, G-Sync and FreeSync have the same end goals, and that is to make the experience for gamers as smooth as possible by preventing screen breaks and stuttering.
However, the method in which they go about this goal is completely different.
Some consider G-Sync to be far superior to FreeSync, whereas some think FreeSync is better purely from a financial point of view as the increased supply of FreeSync supported GPUs and monitors has ended up reducing their price in the open market.
However, in our mind, most gamers can’t even tell the difference between frame rates after a certain point, so our advice would be to buy the syncing technology that’s in your budget.
We’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again, the NVIDIA G-Sync monitors have been known to perform better at lower frame rates when compared to FreeSync monitors.
On top of that, G-Sync has also introduced VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) syncing technology which allows gamers to play games at higher frame rates like 144FPS without any discernible loss in quality or any noticeable stuttering.
However, G-Sync enabled monitors are slightly pricier than FreeSync monitors but in our mind, that price is definitely worth it.
Before G-Sync technology was introduced gamers found it difficult to run games at even 60 FPS even with V-Sync turned on because they would regularly run into input lag, screen breakage, and stuttering which became a huge turn off for gamers.
With the introduction of G-Sync though and its Variable Refresh Rate technology, gamers can now play smoothly at 120 FPS or even 144FPS without noticing any considerable dip in quality.
So, to answer your question, yes you do need a G-Sync monitor to run games at 144 FPS.
The usefulness of G-Sync for you purely depends on the type of games you intend to play and the type of hardware you possess.
If you play fast-paced first-person shooting games or racing games regularly then G-Sync will perfectly reduce input lag and prevent screen breakage even at higher frame rates.
However, if you’re GPU is producing 200 FPS on games like Fortnite and if you possess only a 144Hz monitor then G-Sync will be unable to stop all the tearing because your frame rate is above the monitor’s refresh rate.
Even though G-Sync is considered superior to FreeSync in terms of pure functionality, there are a few benefits you could access with FreeSync technology.
Firstly, FreeSync monitors are much more readily available than G-Sync monitors which in turn means that FreeSync monitors are also relatively cheaper than G-Sync monitors which is a big plus point for you if you’re a budget gamer.
Secondly, G-Sync support is mostly available with NVIDIA GeForce graphic cards only, with a few exceptions.
However, FreeSync support is available with all AMD and NVIDIA GPUs which certainly presents more options when it comes to GPU and monitors pairings.
Thus, in our opinion, FreeSync is also definitely worth it.
When it comes to stuttering, FreeSync is considered to be lower in quality than G-Sync as in the past few years many gamers have voiced their complaints that FreeSync doesn’t work properly at higher FPS, for example, 120 FPS.
Some have even complained that while running graphics-heavy games like Far Cry 4 at max settings there was considerable stuttering even at 60-70 FPS.
Stuttering also depends partially on your monitor’s refresh rate, for example, if you’re using a monitor with a considerably low refresh rate and running games at extremely high frame rates then there will be stuttering and input lag regardless of whether or not FreeSync is enabled.
So, the bottom line is, that stuttering is only caused occasionally by FreeSync and for the most part the syncing technology allows you to run games at higher FPS than you would normally.