Have you ever been playing a PC game and your screen started to tear down? You can definitely relate to how extremely annoying it can be, especially if you’re one of those players who play FPS games.
This problem, in general, affects all sorts of players, from the budget type of PCs to beast high-end PCs.
AMD and NVIDIA have a different answer to this particular problem. Both companies are solving the problem in a similar way, the only thing that is different is the hardware between those two.
NVIDIA was the first to think of G-Sync that lets your graphics card control the monitor’s refresh rate. Which resulted in a very good way.
And believe me, once you try a monitor with a variable refresh rate there is no going back. AMD’s FreeSync and NVIDIA’s G-Sync promise a unique kind of experience without any screen tearing, stuttering or input lag that VSync might bring.
But in the end, you need to be aware that both of these systems have their pros and cons, which we will be explaining in this article.
What is VSync and How it Works?
Before we get into the differences of G-Sync and FreeSync, let’s first take a quick look at VSync and the technology that stands behind.
VSync, or vertical sync, is a graphics system technology that syncs a game’s frame rate and a monitor’s refresh rate.
In other words, your graphics card is basically creating an image and sends it to your monitor that displays it as fast as it’s capable too. Most monitors have a capped refresh rate being at 60 Hertz(Hz), which means that the image refreshes every one-sixtieth of a second.
And when your graphics card is not giving enough frames per second the image starts to tear down and look ugly. It basically tries to split in two different directions and looks worse the more dynamic your game gets, it simply looks very unsatisfying for your eyes.
The VSync actually does help you a little bit but it comes along with its own problems like stuttering and input lag. The technology informs your graphics card to wait on your frame until the monitor is ready to refresh the frame for it.
FreeSync and G-Sync technologies try to solve all your problems by synchronizing the refresh rate of your monitor with the refresh rate of your graphics card up to the max refresh rate that your monitor caps too.
When your graphics card starts to send a new frame, the adaptive sync monitor displays it. So for example, if your graphics card is getting 55 frames per second(FPS), your monitor refreshes at the rate of 55 Hz. That results in clean and smooth gameplay.
What is exactly FreeSync?
FreeSync is a technology that uses the VESA’s Adaptive-Sync, developed by AMD, which allows refresh rates of a monitor to synchronize with frame rates of GPU.
Who should buy it?
People that own AMD graphics cards. This is not a must but for now, it is the best choice for your pocket.
AMD doesn’t charge a lot for it and there are no licensing costs which make the price very affordable and attractive.
There are really not many extra costs to add FreeSync option on a monitor, and because of that, you will see FreeSync on a wide range of monitors that are available on both entry-level displays and on high-end displays as well.
Advantages and Disadvantages
FreeSync’s main advantage is that it’s not costly to add on a monitor and it’s easy to find a monitor with FreeSync on it.
The cheapest monitor with FreeSync that you can find costs around $130. Which means that even a gamer that is on a small budget can enjoy the advantages of it.
G-Sync can’t compare with that. Their monitors start at about $350 and can easily go much more from that and reach a price of $500 or even more.
Being at such a low price, makes AMD’s FreeSync stand out of G-Sync because it’s so easy to afford one and that makes a huge advantage for AMD. Because of the low cost of FreeSync, it helped it to spread wide around. Today there are about 3 times as many FreeSync monitors than there are G-Sync ones.
There are some cons too though, most entry-level monitor models support a low refresh rate from 48Hz to 75Hz.
Another FreeSync’s advantage is the way of connectivity it offers. Usually, FreeSync monitors have a lot of ports that you can connect them with, while G-Sync monitors can only be connected with display port. Both FreeSync and G-Sync monitors have been connecting on display port alone, until AMD has brought a new port, HDMI. This adds a huge advantage for FreeSync over G-Sync and it’s one of the reasons why you should consider sticking with FreeSync.
What is G-Sync?
G-Sync is a technology that uses Adaptive VSync developed by NVIDIA, which allows refresh rates of a monitor to synchronize with frame rates of GPU.
Who should buy it?
People that own NVIDIA graphics card.
G-Sync’s production requirements are much more strict than FreeSyncs. The technology that is used in G-Sync requires NVIDIA to use appropriate hardware and to pay more attention to the quality of the monitors that they produce as well as panel selection, display development, and certification.
Those kinds of things are the main factors why G-Sync costs so much more and makes them so premium for the high-end monitors. Also, it’s one of the reasons why you won’t be able to find G-Sync monitors in budget or mid-range PC builds. Though you will always know what you are paying for by buying a G-Sync equipped monitor.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Every G-Sync monitor that is produced needs to get past through NVIDIA’s strict process, which has rejected quite a lot of monitors in the past. NVIDIA hasn’t published the exact requirements, but apparently, NVIDIA works directly with panel makers like AU Optronics to make their refresh rates more optimized as well as their response times and aesthetic quality. They also work with Asus and Acer and many other display makers.
Without going into much detail, the technology prevents ghosting on G-Sync displays which is an issue that has severely affected FreeSync monitors, even though the issue is not existent now.
While G-Sync started with a focus on adaptive-sync, NVIDIA has said that they have expanded beyond that to offer the so-called ‘’high-end gaming panels.’’
A lot of monitors with G-Sync have pros like refresh rate overclocking and ultra-low motion blur, which is helping with making your text and some other things not blurry at very high refresh rates. It’s an ultimate feature, especially for Esports games.
As far as negatives go, the limited port selection could be a problem in some events, but G-Sync’s biggest con is its premium price. G-Sync offers you a special gaming experience limited to premium-priced monitors.
You will for sure get what you pay for, but adaptive sync also works very nicely with budget video cards that struggle to push the frame rate to 60 frames per second. Most GTX 1050 owners will never experience such a thing. The premium price of G-Sync displays limits NVIDIA’s tech to high-end PC build users only.
GPUs Compatibility with FreeSync & G-Sync
The biggest flaw about AMD and NVIDIA’s adaptive sync technology is that FreeSync monitors don’t work with NVIDIA’s graphics cards (except several certain models).
(UPDATE) But, NVIDIA is bringing game-changing features and confirms that future G-SYNC displays will work with AMD’s GPUs. This is a major update for all.
We have seen that NVIDIA admits defeat and that they are trying their best to get back into the race.
Except for that new update, their GPUs support a few certain FreeSync displays too.
At the beginning of 2019, they released an updated driver with support for G-Sync on FreeSync displays. Today, there are more than 40 FreeSync monitors that are compatible with G-Sync and here is the list of them:
FreeSync monitors compatible with G-Sync
Also if you want to use the G-Sync feature on your monitor, you will need a GeForce GTX 600-series or newer graphics card. While for FreeSync feature you’re going to need a Radeon Rx 200-series or newer GPU in your system. But be aware that there are some particular models that aren’t supported by it, so you will need to find out on your own to be sure that your AMD graphics card will be compatible with your FreeSync monitor.
Laptops with FreeSync/G-Sync Technology
There are a lot of laptops nowadays that have a G-Sync display feature from mostly every laptop manufacturer. Older models of those laptops were capped at 75Hz displays, but the newer models can now push it up to 144Hz.
FreeSync has mostly been neglected in the mobile space and because of that, there are not so many laptops with AMD’s FreeSync technology. And that’s why NVIDIA graphics are much more common in this area.
It all depends on your needs, budget and what you personally prefer. You will find that there is no clear winner between the two technologies. In most scenarios, your best choice would be picking the technology that works with your PC. G-Sync if you have an NVIDIA video card, and FreeSync if you have an AMD video card.
If you want to compare them directly, the most important feature works exactly in the same way on both technologies, but G-Sync seems to offer a more premium and quality platform which would mean that the high-end best monitors have G-sync technology in them, while capabilities can slightly vary between the huge range of FreeSync models found in every price range.