G-Sync vs FreeSync : Wondering which one is best for the gaming? Let’s find out..
The biggest issue when it comes to gaming, is the stuttering, the blurring, and also the latency inputs. These combined together can create an unpleasant gaming experience not just for competitive gamers but also for casual gamers.
In order to reduce tearing, stuttering, and low latency input, Nvidia and AMD have come up with an adaptive sync technology solution in a gaming monitor that lets your monitor’s refresh rate sync with your GPU rendering ensuring a smooth gaming experience.
If you’re playing a simple PC game that does not have high graphics requirement, then your GPU consistently outputs high frame rates meaning you might not need either of these technologies.
However, if you’re looking to play heavy graphics-intensive games like Assassins Creed Odyssey at 4K then you would require one of these technologies since a powerful GPU would only be able to render 40 to 50 frames per second on average which Is below the monitor’s refresh rate.
Without any of these technologies, in this situation, you might experience occasional stuttering or image tearing which might impact the visual experience.
In this article, we will take you through what both of these technologies are, their features, G-Sync vs FreeSync comparison, and some frequently asked questions.
So, let’s get started.
What is FreeSync Technology?
The worst thing that can happen to a gamer is tearing that quickly ruins the gameplay experience. Tearing happens when the monitor is not able to refresh as quickly as the game’s framerate. This means that the monitor cannot sync properly with the GPU leading to stuttering.
With FreeSync technology, tearing can be reduced or eliminated allowing your monitor to perfectly sync with the GPU rendering.
Developed in 2014, FreeSync was AMD’s response to Nvidia’s G Sync technology. The adaptive synchronization technology was released in 2015 for Window’s Microsoft, Linux, and Xbox One.
FreeSync assists AMD GPUs and APUs by controlling the monitor’s refresh rate through synchronization.
Not all AMD graphics card are compatible with the FreeSync technology. All AMD graphics cards, starting with the RX200 series that were released after 2013 is compatible with this technology.
The newer Radeon GPUs that use GCN2.0 is also compatible. You can use FreeSync if you have an Nvidia GPU, however, only a handful of the GPUs like the Nvidia GeForce 10 series and newer that support display port adaptive sync is compatible.
Monitors that are FreeSync technology compatible are put through severe testing to ensure a tear-free low latency experience.
Often times you’ll hear monitors coming in 60Hz, this means that it refreshes 60 times per second. 60Hz is a default spec for recent gaming monitors, however, you’ll be able to find 75, 120, 144, and 240Hz monitors on the market.
There are three different versions of FreeSync and they are:
This is the first type of FreeSync that was introduced in 2015 creating a base standard for all other types of adaptive sync technology.
FreeSync fights against low latency while gaming and delivers a tear-free, low flicker visual experience. As a base model, it does not have additional features like the other two have.
ii. FreeSync Premium
This is the second tier of FreeSync technology and was introduced recently in January 2020. It does all the things that come with the base standard FreeSync, fighting low latency, screen tearing, and flickering.
However, AMD kicks it up a notch with the FreeSync premium by requiring a 120Hz refresh rate or more when functioning at Full HD or 1080p resolution.
The FreeSync premium technology comes out-of-the-box with its signature feature that is known as low frame rate compensation.
If the game’s rendering fluctuates below the monitor’s minimum refresh then this feature, also known as LFC starts to display frames multiple times.
This compensates for minimum display refresh rate support and allows gamers to stay in their monitors supported refresh range delivering a seamless smooth gameplay. Currently on the market there more than 300 FreeSync premium monitors.
iii. FreeSync Premium Pro
This is also the newest addition to the FreeSync technology released in 2020, formerly known as FreeSync 2 HDR. This technology was aimed at targeting HDR content delivering an enjoyable gaming experience through low latency input.
AMD promises to deliver more than 400-nits brightness while using FreeSync premium pro.
The display also has an LFC feature that is available on FreeSync premium. Please bear in mind that not all games can be supported by this version of FreeSync.
By using open-source standards, FreeSync monitors run a lower price tag when compared to its competitor, G Sync monitors.
There is also no additional production cost for the manufacturers to implement FreeSync in monitors since any DisplayPort version 1.2a or above can support adaptive refresh rates.
FreeSync, unlike its counterpart runs on HDMI 1.4 and above.
What is G-Sync Technology?
Released in 2013, G Sync is a type of display technology and Nvidia’s take on eliminating stutter and reducing tearing through synchronizing GPUs framerate with the monitors refresh rate.
Nvidia realized early on that monitors start to judder when playing high demanding titles especially fast-paced first-person shooters.
G-Sync displays have variable refresh rates and is able to sync its refresh rate with that of a GPU’s framerate allowing users to see images right when they are rendered.
G-Sync displays are different than G-Sync compatible displays.
Monitors that only support G Sync are referred to as G Sync displays while those monitors that are FreeSync displays but are able to run G Sync with the help of drivers are referred to as G-Sync compatible displays.
Nvidia in 2019, started rigorous testing on displays available in the market to approve G-Sync compatible monitors.
These displays cannot be overclocked or have variable overdrive and ultra-low motion blur.
There might be monitors on the market that are not G Sync compatible displays but are able to run G Sync.
There are three different versions of G Sync and they are:
This is the first type of G-Sync that was released in 2013 and is the base standard for all the other types of G Sync. G-Sync delivers an outstanding viewing experience with no stutters, no tearing, and most importantly no input lag.
Features such as full variable refresh rate range and variable overdrive can be enjoyed by competitive and casual gamers for crisp image and seamless gameplay.
ii. G-Sync Ultimate
This is the latest version of G-Sync technology allowing for the ultimate and immersive gaming experience through its innovative G-Sync processors.
It was created with HDR content in mind, delivering over 1,000-nits brightness, vibrant colors, perfect contrasts, and extremely low latency gameplay.
iii. G-Sync Compatible
G-Sync compatible are not specially made G-Sync monitors but are those monitors or displays that are able to run G Sync with some additional drivers.
Nvidia picks out certain displays on the market and runs them through rigorous testing to finally label them as G-Sync compatible. They provide a good basic variable refresh rate delivering stutter-free gaming.
Since there is a need for additional hardware to be installed in monitors for support of adaptive refresh, G-Sync monitors can run a higher price tag relative to its competitors.
However, they come with blur reduction in the form of backlight strobe that cannot be found in FreeSync monitors.
G-Sync monitors are also able to double frame rendering if the refresh rate falls below 30Hz ensuring that you stay in the adaptive refresh range.
G-Sync Vs FreeSync: Which One Is Better?
Let’s look at the clear facts first. G Sync was released almost 2 years before FreeSync and therefore many people would expect G-Sync to deliver much more than FreeSync technology.
However, these two are almost identical and solve the stutter issue in the same way. Where they differ is the hardware used in the display units.
You require an AMD graphics card to use FreeSync while you need an Nvidia card to use G-Sync. Both these technologies are relatively similar with only two differences.
The biggest difference among these two technologies is that FreeSync works over HDMI and DisplayPort, whereas, G-Sync only works with DisplayPort.
If you’re looking towards using G Sync over HDMI, then you would need to consider buying a G-Sync compatible monitor.
Both the technologies are based on adaptive sync, however, Nvidia has a proprietary chip that needs to be purchased by manufacturers or vendors for being G Sync or G Sync ultimate certified.
FreeSync is an open standard and therefore do not require these premium chips making them cheaper than their competitor.
The need for additional hardware is not required with G-Sync compatible monitors and many FreeSync monitors on the market are also G-Sync compatible.
In terms of performance, both of them are very similar with only minute differences.
Does G Sync and FreeSync Work Automatically?
G-Sync and FreeSync will be automatically enabled by their compatible graphic card. It can also be manually controlled through the control panel of either Nvidia or AMD GPU driver.
Which One Is Better For HDR, G-Sync or FreeSync?
Nvidia has different versions of G-Sync and monitors can support G-Sync with HDR and extended color on the basic version of G-Sync.
With the G Sync ultimate monitors, these display units have more than 1000-nits of brightness with HDR and extended color.
On the other hand, FreeSync monitors must support HDR, extended color and have low frame rate compensation to be certified as FreeSync premium.
One great thing is that if there is an HDR monitor that supports FreeSync, then there is a good chance it supports G-Sync.
Is It Possible To Run G-Sync On a FreeSync Monitor?
In short, Yes. In order to run G-Sync on a FreeSync monitor, your PC needs to be updated with the latest Nvidia driver and it needs to be connected to the FreeSync monitor.
From there, you simply navigate to the Nvidia control panel and click on “Display: Set up G-sync”.
You are required to click on “Enable G Sync G Sync compatible” and select your monitor.
Click on “Enable settings for selected display model” and apply settings.
The FreeSync monitor will now be able to run G Sync using your Nvidia GPU. Even if the monitor is not G Sync compatible or officially certified as one, it will typically run since FreeSync monitors are open source.
However, it is recommended to view the list of monitors that are certified to run g-sync to guarantee running G Sync on a FreeSync monitor.
With the two technologies somewhat similar, the question that which technology is better becomes redundant. Instead, those looking to buy a gaming monitor need to look at whether their GPU is able to support the resolution or if they want HDR and extended color or if they require additional features and more.
The important thing is the combination of all the mentioned elements that makes a big impact on gaming experience and not just having an adaptive sync technology monitor since the monitor is dependent on the available hardware. Both of them are similar in performance and offer different features with different versions of the technology.
Both these technologies are why we are able to have amazing gaming experience and thus G-Sync vs FreeSync shouldn’t be gamers first concern. It all depends on the hardware and the needs of a gamer.