1. FreeSync and G-Sync are used to fix the screen tearing issues
FreeSync and G-Sync are two adaptive sync technologies that can fix your screen tearing issues. Before we explain how they work in details, you should first know why screen tearing occurs.
Why does the screen tearing issue happen?
Screen tearing usually occurs when multiple video frames are displayed at once. And this is because your computer video frame rate isn’t in sync with your monitor refresh rate.
Let’s say your monitor is using a fixed refresh rate of 60 Hz (refreshes every 1/60 second). When you are gaming, your game frame rate often goes above or under 60 frame per second (FPS). This causes the mismatch between your monitor refresh rate and your game frame rate. And sometimes you’ll have two frames shown at the same time on your monitor, which is the screen tearing issue.
How to fix the screen tearing issue?
There are two common and effective fixes for this issue: V-Sync and adaptive sync.
a. V-SyncV-Sync or Vertical Sync is a software solution to the screen tearing problem. It’s usually an option or switch you can find on your program graphics settings or your graphics driver settings. It fixes tearing by stopping the frames from being displayed when the monitor isn’t ready to refresh.
Although this is an easy fix for your screen tearing issue, it reduces the number of frames being drawn. This sometimes leads to the stuttering issue, especially when your video frame rate is lower than your monitor refresh rate.
b. Adaptive sync
To put it simply, the adaptive sync technology makes your monitor refresh at the same rate of your system output frame rate. For example, your monitor will refresh at 75 Hz if your game is running at 75 FPS. This fixes your screen issue, without reducing smoothness.
FreeSync and G-Sync are two similar adaptive sync technologies. They are developed and released by AMD and NVIDIA respectively.
2. FreeSync and G-Sync differ in features and prices
FreeSync and G-Sync have different ways to implement adaptive sync. Also the money you have to spend on them are different.
FreeSync is only compatible with some of the AMD graphics card (the list of FreeSync-enabled AMD GPUs).
FreeSync can be used over the DisplayPort and HDMI connections. Since it’s a royalty-free,open technology, there are a lot of monitors supporting FreeSync, and you can get them at a cheaper price.
But you should note that some monitors implement FreeSync poorly. And FreeSync works within a narrower range (40-75 Hz for most monitors).
Similar to FreeSync, NVIDIA’s G-Sync supports only some of their own GPU (the list of G-Sync supported GPUs).
NVIDIA charges the monitor manufacturers a premium for using G-Sync, and requires the manufacturers to have a chip installed inside the monitors. This makes G-Sync a more reliable option — it just works well as long as you get the compatible monitor. Also, G-Sync can function in a broader refresh rate range than FreeSync.
On the other hand, the premium for manufacturers to support G-Sync means you have to spend more on a G-Sync-enabled monitor. And G-Sync can work only over the DisplayPort connection, whose cable price is higher compared to HDMI.
How to choose?
The answer depends on your own requirements. NVIDIA’s technology definitely has some benefits over the AMD one, but the pricing is also a big consideration. And sometimes FreeSync has nearly the same quality as G-Sync if you have the right hardware. In all, FreeSync is the modestly priced option, and G-Sync is what you should try if you want better performance.
Hopefully, this article helped you. If you have any questions or suggestions, leave us a comment below!
Jonny, a Microsoft Certified Professional, is a technical writer and technology enthusiast who still fiddles with computers and tech toys in his spare time. He believes technology should bring users satisfaction, not annoyance, so he writes to help people overcome their tech troubles.