G-Sync vs Freesync: What’s the difference?

Gaming technology has significantly evolved over the last decade, and the two most significant companies NVIDIA and AMD are dominating the market share.

Today we are going to discuss the difference between G-Sync and Freesync.

Well, both of the adaptive sync technologies primarily aims to eliminate screen tearing and enhance your gaming experience.

What Gsync or free sync basically does is synchronize the refresh rate of your monitor with that of the game’s output.

Why Adaptive Sync?

In the conventional monitors, the refresh rate is rather ‘fixed.’ Which means that regardless of the game’s output, you would not be able to eliminate the lag factor because your monitor cannot sync with the game.

However, with the launch of adaptive sync technology, this issue has been resolved, and the screen’s refresh rate perfectly aligns with the game’s output.

Have you ever been in a situation where you click the mouse, but the bullet is released some milliseconds later?

Have you ever heard the bullet sound precisely at the time of clicking, but the visual is displayed a few milliseconds later?

The experience gets annulled if you want to play 4K games, but there is a significant lag on the part of the hardware. 4K gaming requires robust hardware, and whether you go for G-Sync or Freesync, the ‘lust’ does meet a certain level of satisfaction.

Mostly, the aim of both technologies is same but the way they try to achieve their functionality is entirely different, and it is explained in a great detail in the post below.

The fun fact…

Before you head on to buy any of these technologies, you should be aware that the AMD graphics cards can only be combined if you have a FreeSync monitor, while the NVIDIA graphics card works solely with G-Sync screen.

So basically, the two market leaders for diminishing screen tearing are not cross compatible. Not at all.

What is G-Sync?

The gaming display should neither be too fast nor too slow. In fact, it should just match the refresh rate of the graphics card installed on the PC.

About a decade ago, this was unachievable, and the gamers faced a lot of trouble playing games. With the passage of time, V-sync was introduced, but even that had a fixed refresh rate.

For instance, the monitor refresh rate was fixed at, let’s say, 30Hz. So, if your game offered any alternating refresh rate, it was almost impossible to enjoy the luxury.

However, NVIDIA took an initial step toward solving this problem. They synchronized the associated hardware vice versa.

Which means that instead of fixing monitor’s refresh rate, they made it more flexible such that it could sync itself with the output of GPU. It had a tremendous effect on gaming quality.

If you have a G-Sync installed on your PC, you might already know about the benefit, but let me just throw some light on it.

While gaming, there are a lot of instances where high-quality images are involved. To handle that, your screen must sync with the refresh rate of GPU.

Otherwise, you would observe screen tearing. Have you ever seen sliced images? Yes, that is precisely what I am talking about here.

G-Sync technology gets rid of screen tearing and provides you with the best gaming experience.

This is known as dynamic refresh rate, where the refresh rate aligns with GPU’s output. It should also be noted that even if your game’s refresh rate falls into single digits, G-Sync can go down to that level and keep providing an ultimate picture quality.

G-Sync at a Glance:

G-Sync is not just about eliminating screen tearing. When you invest in their products, NVIDIA ensures that you get a little more than expectations. Therefore, the latest G-sync technology offers embellishment to 4K and HDR as well. Since you are a gamer, you must know what 4K and HDR mean for an outstanding gaming experience, because NVIDIA understands that and they offer an improved backlighting together with quantum dot technology. The later mentioned technology ensures that the color depth is increased and HDR is experienced at an optimum level, as expected. Their HDR displays are not only celebrated with the graphics cards, but you could even use them in gaming consoles.

Best G-Sync Monitors

Let us have a look at some of the best G-Sync monitors below:

1. ASUS ROG SWIFT PG27AQ

You must be aware of the reputation of ASUS when it comes to an ‘ultra’ gaming environment, and we all trust ASUS for its robust hardware. Even ASUS trust NVIDIA as they have incorporated G-Sync technology in one of their most beloved and darling monitors, PG27AQ.

This is a 4K UHD gaming monitor with a massive 27 inches display. Honestly, it satisfies the lust of gaming like nothing else. If we just talk about its display technology, ASUS has invested several bucks just in making that optimum. It does not only come with NVIDIA’s superior G-Sync technology, but the company has also laced the monitor with their Eye care technology.

So on the one hand, the G-Sync eliminates input lag and screen tearing while on the contrary, the screen gets rid of flickering and reduced blue light emission to prevent your eyes from fatiguing.

It is worth noticing that the maximum refresh rate they have to offer is 60Hz, which is pretty reasonable for a monitor of this range. Moreover, even if the GPU’s output or the game’s output falls into single digit refresh rate, even then the monitor would never disappoint you regarding screen tearing.

2. ACER PREDATOR X34

Gaming has revolutionized, and gamers want an ultimate immersion inside the gaming environment. Acer has taken a very keen lead in understanding the demand and has delivered just the right product. Predator X34 comes with a curved screen display, enhancing immersion.

Furthermore, it also provides you with an ultra-wide QHD IPS panel, on the verge of delivering unparalleled graphics.

If we talk about its refresh rate, it offers 60Hz, which can be overclocked at 100Hz. Amazing, right? So whether you are gaming on low refresh rates or playing some of the most hardware demanding games, you would undoubtedly find this monitor promising to your needs.

The panel is quite huge (i.e., 34 inches) and the response time is also fixed at 4ms, which further brings glory to your gaming experience. The monitor is also frameless, which means that you will get absolute 34 inches (curved) to enjoy the gaming. Apart from all these state-of-the-art display features, it also comes with two built-in speakers, each powered with 7W. This is a great facility to enhance your overall gaming environment from all aspects.

3. ACER PREDATOR XB271HK

Once again, the monitor I am going to boast about belongs to the predator series, by Acer. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most celebrated monitors the company has ever produced. The Predator XB271HK offers UHD display on an enormous 27 inches IPS panel.

Just like a lot of mainstream Acer monitors, this one also comes with G-Sync technology and a dynamic refresh rate of 60Hz. Yes, of course, it goes below that in case your GPU’s output gets compromised while processing large images. But 60Hz is its maximum capacity.

If you look at its exterior, the monitor looks like a real predator with its red ‘claws-like’ padding. The overall design is excellent and is always ready to hunt you! Of course, it is the predator, and you would become its prey as soon as you look at its remarkable quality.

Just like every other hardware comes with a few cons and limitations, the luxury of availing G-Sync also comes at a few expenses. The very first and straightforward fact is that you cannot use the stated technology with AMD or any other hardware. You must have NVIDIA graphics card if you want to use G-Sync. Furthermore, if you are fond of multi-display gaming, you might face slight disappointment as the technology might not favor your environment.

What is FreeSync?

FreeSync is yet another technology by AMD that boosts up your gaming experience to a whole new level. Just like the pioneer, G-Sync, FreeSync also eliminates the choppy and sliced frames by synchronizing the frame rate of your screen with that of the GPU’s output.

Even though the purpose of both G-sync and FreeSync is same, there are some vital differences in both of them. When the FreeSync was first launched, AMD provided dynamic refresh rate, but with certain limits. For instance, a particular hardware, supporting FreeSync, was only capable of adjusting in between 30 and 60Hz. If the refresh rate of GPU was out of these bounds, the chipset was not of any significant use and was unsupportable.

However, AMD realized this constraint soon enough and released an update called LFC.

The Low Framerate Compensation catered explicitly to the issue by ensuring dynamic refresh rate if the difference between lower and upper bounds of FreeSync was 2.5 times or higher. This update allowed the users to enjoy this luxury even if their refresh rate fell below 30Hz.

It is worth noticing that not all the monitors are capable of handling the LFC update. But since the FreeSync has now been updated and FreeSync 2 is currently hovering over the heads of gamers, a lot of such issues have been resolved.

Apart from all this, there are individual domains where AMD enjoys clear superiority over NVIDIA. For instance, FreeSync does not come with any premium associated with it, unlike G-Sync, and it is inexpensive to install by the manufacturers. However, the final weight of the price falls on the consumer, whatsoever.

Best Freesync Monitors

Let us explore a few of the top 4k FreeSync monitors.

1. ASUS MG28UQ

If you are on tight budget and yet you want to enjoy the luxury of 4K gaming in UHD mode, then this monitor is your prime choice. Oh well, the value is just doubled since the monitor comes with FreeSync technology. As discussed above, the FreeSync here in this monitor will enable you to enjoy minimal choppy visuals and a seamless gameplay.

If we dig deeper into its display capabilities, the monitor comes with a wide 28 inches screen embedded on a TN panel. That provides you with an exceptional 3840×2160 resolution. As a result, you do not only get to eliminate screen tearing, but you also enjoy an immersive and full HD graphics while gaming.

The standard of hardware for external connectivity is yet another thing to be boasted about. Apart from its 60Hz refresh rate to eliminate lag, it also offers 3.0 USB ports which ensure that the input lag is always kept at its minimum if elimination is not possible in some instances.

Just like the prime NVIDIA supported monitors, this model also comes with an ability to get rid of flickering and minimize the emission of blue light. The combination of all these technologies enables you to enjoy a strain-less gaming experience.

2. SAMSUNG UE590

For the tight budget gamers, this immersive technology is one of the best options. Samsung’s darling comes with an enormous 28 inches Ultra High Definition panel, which is LED lit and of course, supports FreeSync technology. The screen supports more than one billion colors, so you get to view a very dynamic and vivid range of graphics in all scenes. On the one hand, the FreeSync technology enables you to get rid of screen tearing and on the other, 1ms response time makes sure that the input lag is kept to its minimum.

You should notice that only a few monitors falling in such an economical range offer 1ms response time. Most of the times, it is fixed at 4ms. So from that perspective, it is four times faster than the competitors.

This monitor can be connected to an array of devices for viewing in UHD mode. This feature is quite essential for gaming environment where multiple PCs are required. There are multiple HDMI ports on the back of the screen which you could use to connect the devices.

Furthermore, the Easy Multitasking PIP technology allows you to split the screen in two, where you could enjoy gaming at one side of the screen, and let’s say, a movie in the other one.

3. ASUS MG278Q

It is worth re-emphasizing that ASUS leads the World of gaming when it comes to computer display manufacturing and this robust monitor, falling at such an affordable price, proves the theory.

MG278Q comes with a 27 inches panel with a powerful FreeSync chip incorporated to give it a boost. While the screen tearing is eliminated, the input lag has significantly been reduced to almost zero. The credit goes to its 1ms response time which enables all the external hardware to communicate with the monitor much efficiently.

Hold on, you are more interested in its refresh rate, right? Oh well, I get it. Brace yourself then, because the monitor offers a truly exceptional refresh rate of 144Hz. It is indeed incredible for a robust monitor falling in such a slim and decent price range.

It comes with all the latest monitor features such as tilting, swiveling, height adjustment and a few other to give you an optimum viewing angle.

FreeSync is indeed a great technology, mainly if you are a gamer who is over conscious of the budget.

G-Sync Vs. Freesync

FeaturesG-SyncFreeSync
AffordabilityLowHigh
Cross compatibilityNoNo
Ease of availabilityLowHigh
Elimination of Screen TearingYesYes
GhostingNoYes

I have shed light on six monitors which are considered to be the best 4K and HD gaming monitors by most of the people. Until now, you must have realized that NVIDIA has been around for a very long time if we compare it with AMD.

Therefore, the earlier one enjoys a very observable market lead regarding customer base and specifications. But, FreeSync technology is no less than G-Sync.

As we have seen in the post above, two of the three FreeSync monitors offer 1ms response time, which is simply incredible. When we talk about the price justification regarding robust technology, FreeSync certainly enjoys the edge. But if you are not that budget conscious and want to fill up your backpack with the most reliable and fine-tuned technology then you should go for G-Sync.

Since FreeSync is quite easily obtainable (by the manufacturers from AMD), you would see more Freesync monitors available in the market. That is because the feasibility of G-Sync is far less regarding price. Even though the later mentioned offers a great deal of gamer satisfaction. If the manufacturer wants to incorporate G-Sync into any of its models, permissions, and support from NVIDIA are required. But the case is unique with FreeSync.

Statistics and user reviews show that if you buy a G-Sync monitor, you would never be disappointed by its performance.

In most cases, it is seen that the monitor delivers beyond your ‘boxed’ expectations. However, as we discussed that upon the launch of FreeSync, even the dynamic refresh rate was fixed within the bounds. The case was very different with G-Sync where monitors had the capability of handling even single digit refresh rates if the graphics were so dense.

Over the years, G-Sync has significantly polished its robust technology, but AMD struggled in the initial years to remove bounds from their refresh rates. They achieved that via LFC update, but since every PC at that time did not support the update, you might still be having an issue if you have an old monitor.

If you are a monitor enthusiast, you might already know that NVIDIA puts a lot of efforts for research and development. They do not just roll out a product to counter their competition. They invest a lot of time and money to evaluate the user demands and then craft a product which is perfect for you.

Moreover, they do not put any bounds on any of their technologies, and this is one of the reasons why their technology is significantly expensive than any other competitor. But those who want a sheer customizability with an utmost level of satisfaction regardless of the price, certainly go for G-Sync.

Unfortunately, the public does not understand the value of research and development before launching such products. Therefore, these products sell less, and the inexpensive ones take up the market value. But here is another thing to notice. FreeSync might not have invested much for research, but since people prefer to buy inexpensive products, there is an indirect burden on their engineers to deliver the quality.

Even though people have started adopting FreeSync in the last few years, we cannot undermine the fact that G-Sync has been around for years and is run by the leader of GPU manufacturer. It is a perk which most of the gamers do not want to lose at any cost.

Another major factor to consider is that the two technologies are not cross compatible. So if you are going to buy a G-Sync monitor, you should be aware that you cannot install a FreeSync graphics later on, or the two won’t work simultaneously. Generally, NVIDIA graphics card are expensive, so you should keep the price factor of additional hardware in mind.

Not only that, but there are some issues regarding performance as well. A lot of FreeSync users have mentioned that even though screen tearing has been eliminated, there is a ghosting effect on the screen. Which means that once a character has moved from one place to another on the screen, it leaves behind a shadow which looks like an artifact. Well, for some users, it is not even observable but the ones who are keen observers, are pissed off by the ghosting effect. A lot of guesses have been floating around the internet for this issue, but the most obvious one seems to be poor power management on the part of AMD. Had they provided sufficient power to the control of pixels, the issue might have been avoided.

And The Winner is….

So it is quite evident that G-Sync enjoys a clear and distinct position when it comes to quality and automatic customizability to the needs of specific gaming monitors. If you are not so concerned about the budget and can afford a few extra hundred bucks to afford the luxury, there is no point for you to relax with FreeSync.

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Imran Aftab
 

Hello, I'm Imran Aftab, a tech enthusiast, using Android and Windows. Live simply, give generously and dream high.