If you’ve bought a new monitor in the past few years, there’s a very good chance it supports a technology called G-Sync. Developed by Nvidia, G-Sync is a technological feature of many monitors that aims to reduce tearing, stuttering, and input lag – all things that can seriously impede the fun of playing a game, and even the performance of the player!
If you’re new to this, or you’re just not sure how it all works, you might have a very simple question on your mind – is G-Sync worth it? Well, don’t worry – this article will tell you what you need to know about enabling G-Sync, and if it’s something you should have on your mind. If you want to know more about G-Sync, then this article is for you – so read on to find out more!
What Is G-SYNC?
If you’ve got a relatively new monitor, then there’s a good chance that it’s already G-Sync compatible – or, if not, it could well be FreeSync compatible, which is a similar technology that can still use G-Sync – style features, but at a lower cost.
G-Sync is a technology that is great at a number of things – one of which is screen tearing. Screen tearing is a problem that’s been around in computer displays pretty much since the beginning – certainly, whenever moving images have been displayed on screen, there’a always been a risk of tearing!
But what exactly is tearing? Well, to start with, we have to understand how a game and monitor interact in order to display images from the game. Your monitor will display a certain amount of images per second – the same amount every second,a t the same timing intervals. A game, however, may not be as consistent with the delivery of these images.
As the speed that a game runs at is directly related to the power and technology level of the hardware that it’s running, and games can change their state extremely quickly, putting instant stress on the components responsible for actually powering the game – it’s possible, and in fact extremely common for games to have inconsistencies in their frame rates.
These can be minor, just losing a small amount of frames per second, or they can be far more noticablem – for instance, walking into a room full of enemies in a badly optimized game could easily see your frame rates cut in half in an instant!
If the frame rate of the game doesn’t match up with the display rate of the monitor, then (particularly at refresh rates below 120hz) it’s possible for this to have negative effects on the displaytoo, called screen tearing.
This manifests itself extremely noticably, as a very obvious horizontal line running all the way across the image, as well as images above and below this line not seeming to match each other, despite one being just one frame behind the other.
Traditionally, the way to solve this problem was with something called V-Sync (Vertical Sync), typically enabled within the options of the game itself. V-Sync synchronizes the frame rate of your GPU and the vertical refresh rate of your monitor.
It does this, however, at the expense of both input lag, and possible frame rate loss. As the graphics card has to wait until the monitor is ready to display a full frame, this can mean a loss of 50% of your frame rate in order to ensure that the two pieces of hardware are in complete sync with each other.
G-Sync, and FreeSync, aim to tackle the problem of screen tearing, with the use of specialized hardware inside the monitor itself. This extra hardware and technology, of course, doesn’t come for free – and it’s not uncommon to find that G-Sync compatible monitors can be quite a bit more expensive than a monitor without the technology.
However, the advantages of G-Sync are huge – not least that, unlike V-Sync, you won’t find your computer cutting its frame rate in half in order to synchronize with a display!
Do I Need It?
This is, of course, completely down to personal preference – but on the whole, no. G-Sync is a great technology, that’s for sure – but it shouldn’t be a huge concern for most people.
In fact, one of the problems with G-Sync is that it is obviously more effective at lower frame rates – but those running at lower frame rates are the least likely to spend the extra money on a monitor that can actually do G-Sync!
As an addition to a system, it’s not so much that it’s a bad idea – in fact, it’s great technology, and if it’s not going to break the bank, it’s certainly not going to be a negative. However, for the price, there are many other things that will improve the performance of your pc.
The irony is that those who would get the most out of G-Sync – those with less powerful systems, which run games at lower frame rates and see the most screen tearing – are the least likely to be able to afford it! If it’s a feature in a monitor you’re looking at, and it won’t break the bank, then by all means, go for it!
However, those with high end systems and really nice, expensive G-Sync monitors – well, they’re hardly likely to be getting these low frame rate issues in the first place – meaning that the people most likely to afford it are also the least likely to get any real benefit out of it!
Is G-Sync Worth It?
If money were no issue, then sure – G-Sync is a great technology. And, as monitors can often outlast the system they were bought for, it could well be a good investment.
However, for the most part, it’s better to consider spending money elsewhere. If you need a new monitor, and the one you want is G-Sync compatible, then that’s great, of course – but if you’ll get better bang for your buck by avoiding G-Sync, then by all means do so.
Unless, of course, you’re so sick of screen tearing and V-Sync that you don’t care how much extra a G-Sync monitor costs!
G-Sync is a great technology, but it still might not be worth the extra money, if there’s anything else you can use that money for to squeeze some more out of your system. Still, if screen tearing is a huge issue for you, then G-Sync could well be the way to solve it – just bear in mind, it won’t be cheap!