Skip to main content

Goodbye, V-sync! Nvidia G-Sync synchronizes monitor refresh rates with GPU render rates

Audio player loading…

The standard display refresh rate is 60Hz—that's 60 images per second—but fancy GPUs can render way more than 60 frames per second. We like more frames. More frames means more responsive input—and screw compromise!—but when out-of-sync rendering traps multiple frames in a single refresh, the Horrible One emerges: screen tearing . The best we can do now is tame the beast with V-sync, but in Montreal today, Nvidia unsheathed a new weapon which it claims will put tearing and stuttering down for good.

V-sync forces the GPU to spit out 60 frames in time with the monitor's refresh rate, and is totally gross and inelegant. Nvidia's new tech, called G-Sync, flips that concept around. Instead of syncing the GPU's output to the monitor's refresh rate, it syncs the monitor's refresh rate to the GPU's output. Crap, why didn't I think of, research, develop, and manufacture that idea?

The G-Sync module will be installed in displays and works with Nvidia's Kepler GPUs. It kills the fixed 60Hz monitor refresh rate and instead begins a monitor refresh cycle every time the GPU has finished rendering a frame. As your game's framerate rises and falls, the monitor refresh rate follows along. This means "no more tearing, no more stuttering," promises Nvidia's announcement .

G-Sync capable displays will be available early next year, and Asus, BenQ, Philips, and ViewSonic are on board.

Tyler Wilde
Tyler Wilde

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley alongside Apple and Microsoft, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on the early personal computers his parents brought home. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, Bushido Blade (yeah, he had Bleem!), and all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now. In 2006, Tyler wrote his first professional review of a videogame: Super Dragon Ball Z for the PS2. He thought it was OK. In 2011, he joined PC Gamer, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. After work, he practices boxing and adds to his 1,200 hours in Rocket League.