One of the big surprises at CES came when Nvidia announced it would be bringing G-Sync support to FreeSync monitors with an upcoming driver update for GeForce graphics card owners. Well, that driver (version 417.71 WHQL) is now available.
This is a big deal because there are far more FreeSync monitors than there are G-Sync ones. FreeSync displays also tend to be less expensive than similar G-Sync monitors. Part of the up-charge is to account for the G-Sync hardware, though Nvidia contests that G-Sync monitors undergo more stringent testing.
For that reason, only a dozen specific FreeSync monitors carry the "G-Sync Compatible badge." They include Acer's XFA240, XG270HU, XV273K, and XZ321Q; Asus's MG278Q, XG248, VG258Q, XG258, and VG278Q; AOC's G2590FX and Agon AG241QG4; and BenQ's XL2740.
"We tested about 400 [adaptive sync] monitors and 12 of them passed," Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said at the company's CES press conference last week. "We're going to test every async monitor the world has made, and for the ones that pass, we're going to certify them, and we're going to optimize the software to support them, and we're going to turn it on in our software so that whatever Geforce customer enjoys that panel can now enjoy it as if they purchased a G-Sync monitor."
On compatible displays, the variable refresh rate (VRR) feature is enabled automatically with the latest driver, as well as future driver releases. If your FreeSync monitor is not among the dozen listed, you can still manually enable VRR from within Nvidia's Control Panel.
"It may work, it may work partly, or it may not work at all," Nvidia says (opens in new tab).
Of course, Nvidia still recommends buying a G-Sync monitor. It's also being careful to avoid using the term FreeSync, which is basically AMD's marketing term for its implementation of adaptive sync, which is an open standard.
In addition to expanded G-Sync support, the 417.71 driver release adds support for Nvidia's recently launched GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card.
Follow this link to download the latest driver.