Most gamers want to get the best PC hardware to make their gaming as immersive as possible. Nevertheless, most inexpensive hardware can have issues like; screen tearing, sharp frame rate drops or stutters that can ruin the experience. So what does vsync do? It is a technology developed by GPU developers to help fix all these issues.

In this article, we will learn more about vsync technology and better understand how to use it for gaming pc.

What is VSync, and What does it do?

Vsync is also commonly referred to as vertical synchronization. It is a syncing technology specially designed for monitors, graphics cards and video games. The vsync technology was developed to help tackle your gaming hardware issues could have. GPU manufacturers introduced it to help with visual artifacts or screen tears.

The visual artifact or screen tear usually occurs when your graphics card sends more frames per second to the monitor than it can handle. This can result in two or multiple frames being displayed during one monitor refresh. Therefore the vertical sync synchronizes the monitor refresh rate to the frame rate output of the graphics cards. To have an even better understanding of what vsync does, let's first look at how graphics are processed in your gaming computer.

The PC has a way of generating graphics to a monitor or screen, which will either be integrated graphics in an independent graphics card or within the processor. For example, when you command your graphics processor to generate a 3D scene, it will quickly process full drawings or frames, which are then given to your screen to process. The rate at which the processor can display the frame is known as FPS or frames per second. The more frames a processor can output, the more enhanced your gaming experience.

You should also know that there are two elements to Vysnc: the input and the monitor's refresh rate. The monitor refreshes severally every second, even though it doesn't show. So if your screen does not refresh, you will see a static image even when not playing games. Usually, the screen's refresh rate is measured by the number of times each pixel on the monitor refreshes.

The refresh rate is usually measured in Hz or hertz, and the higher the refresh rate, the better the experience. Also, remember that the CPU, storage, memory and GPU will contribute to the game's frame rate and output based on the software and hardware environment.

Does it make a big difference?

Yes, the vsync is very helpful when the PC can render more FPS than the monitor can display. The screen tearing caused by outrageous frames per second/FPS is as bad as having too few. However, you will find people who prefer using Vsync technology while others don't.

Fundamentally, Vsync forces the graphics processor unit / GPU and the monitor to work together with fine-tune cohesion. So, if your screen can not keep up with the FPS of most games, then Vsync will make a difference.

It is necessary to note that the vsync synchronizes the GPU and monitor, but it does not improve the color, resolution or brightness levels. Essentially, it is a technology that will focus on stopping issues rather than improving the display. However, it is worth noting that the performance lag or input delay is greatly reduced by enabling triple buffering.

Two Main Types of Vsync

As we have mentioned earlier, Vsync aims at tackling the issues that your gaming PC may encounter while displaying. Basically, it helps your monitor to load many things at the same time without screen tearing. We will have a look at the two major types of vsync: AMD and Nvidia

1. Nvidia G-Sync

NVIDIA's Adaptive Sync is a smart type to VSync that permits you to generate frames using the NVIDIA Control Panel software. A few years ago, this technology was introduced to synchronize the monitor's refresh rate and games frame rate, giving a smooth experience without sharp frame rate drops, stutters, or screen tearing.

The Nvidia g sync is precisely tested for the highest standards providing a smooth tear-free experience. It also provides gamers with advanced game-changing technology with a high refresh rate for unbeatable gaming. Additionally, you will get ultra-responsive performance to remove performance lag boosting visual performance.

The Nvidia g sync will not improve the image quality, but you are guaranteed to have the most realistic images without flickers or artifacts while using it. The only downside is that you will require a G-Sync-capable monitor and Nvidia GPU to use it.

2. AMD FreeSync

The AMD FreeSync is another vsync type developed by AMD as a direct answer to Nvidia G-Sync. It has great results, but it will require a Freesync that enables a monitor and an AMD GPU to use it. In addition, the AMD FreeSync goes through a strict certification process to provide low latency and a tear-free experience.

The AMD FreeSync will help match the game frame rate and refresh rate each playing to provide effortlessly smooth gameplay. In addition, this vsync will take your gaming to the next level since you will get a high-quality image with reduced screen tearing.

What are Other Alternatives of Vsync?

VSync is a direct reference to the most fundamental synchronization technology that has been around for a while. Both AMD and Nvidia have sync technologies that work analogously or equivalently to VSync. Most of them are even built-in at the hardware level, meaning you will need to purchase a specific monitor. Let us look at the different Vsync alternatives:

1. Adaptive-Sync technology

The adaptive sync is a great alternative to the vsync if you use a GT 600-series Nvidia graphics card or a newer option. It essentially functions just like the basic Vsync by synchronizing the FPS output to match the monitor's max refresh rate.

This adaptive sync comes in handy when playing, and the frame performance drops or tends to jump around. However, whenever the FPS drops below your dip level, it will temporarily shut off until the frame per second rate spikes above the refresh rate. This way, the adaptive vsync can eliminate the large performance hit caused by vsync.

2. Fast Sync

This is another awesome alternative to vsync from Nvidia. It is a perfect option if you use a GTX 900 or 10-series GPU. It will also work perfectly if your system can render frames that are 3x and above the monitor's refresh rate.

The fast sync will effectively eliminate tearing, sharp frame rate declines, and stutters. Additionally, it will get rid of input lag more effectively than other sync technologies. As a result, it performs more consistently than vsync and is ideal for any fast-paced game.

3. Enhanced Sync

The enhanced sync is a new technology from AMD that will effectively reduce screen tearing, just like the vsync. This AMD's enhanced sync will also help reduce issues like stuttering and increased latency that vsync can add.

Like most Nvidias sync technologies, the AMDs enhanced sync will require you to have a compatible AMD Radeon card like the RX 400-series or newer. However, with this AMD enhanced sync, you will not need to replace th vsync since they work together. When you use vsync and the enhanced sync, you will reduce stuttering and input lag. Also, it can boost the overall capability and performance consistency.

4. Smooth VSync

Smooth sync is another technology from Nvidia that has been in the market for a while. However, this smooth sync is only run in Scalable Link Interface/SLI setups in a situation where two or more graphic cards are operating together.

Most SLI setups promote the processing power by parallel processing GPUs, and when smooth sync is enabled, it will help reduce tearing, stuttering and sharp FPS drops. The Scalable Link can connect four GPUs to render games at high FPS. Smooth vsync reduces stuttering and tearing while gaming

5. Freesync

The Freesync is another perfect alternative to the vertical sync developed by AMD. This AMD's Freesync is perfect if running an R7/R9 200-series AMD graphics card or newer. Also, some AMD APUs or CPUs with inbuilt graphics can be run using Freesync. However, you should know that you cannot run the R9 270/X, R9 280/X, and R9 370/X with the Free sync.

Both Nvidia's g sync and Freesync reduce stuttering and tearing while gaming. However, it is important to know that th Freesync is open-source, which means the monitor does not need to be a proprietary module from the developers themselves.

Should You Turn VSync On or Off?

Many gamers usually have a question: if they should turn the Vsync on or off. Generally, it will depend on your system and your vsync settings. For example, if your graphic processor generates more frames than your monitor displays, you will need the vsync turned to prevent excessive heating and tearing. Turning the vertical sync is usually done via the graphics processor setting or the software.

If the game's frame rate is inferior to the monitor's maximum refresh rate, then there is no need to have the vsync on, and you can turn it off. Mostly in cases where the monitor refresh rate is higher than FPS, there will be no overprocessing, sharp rate drops, stutters or tearing, so you can turn the Vsync off. Otherwise, the vsync can potentially worsen the FPS causing input or performance lag.

Consequently, you must use tha vsync properly to help keep the graphics processor running smoothly and efficiently. Now that you understand when to turn vsync on and off let's look at how you should turn it on and off.

How To Enable And Disable VSync

Turning the vsync on and off is a very straightforward process. If you have the NVIDIA graphics cards, you can turn them on and off by following the simple steps we have discussed below:

  1. Open the Windows Start menu
  2. Navigate to the Nvidia control panel from the windows search bar
  3. Click on the Manage 3D settings
  4. Then select Vertical Sync in the left-hand panel.
  5. Then you can click on disable or enable vsync depending on what you want.

If you are using the AMD graphics cards,  Enabling VSync  is a straightforward procedure, and you can use the following simple steps:

  1. Open the Windows Start menu
  2. Navigate to the AMD Radeon settings
  3. Select gaming from the top menu bar
  4. Select the wait for vertical sync refresh
  5. Select disable or enable Vsync

If you are using the internal graphic processor chip like the Intel HD graphics, enabling and disabling vsync is also straightforward, and you can use the following steps:

  1. Open the Windows Start menu
  2. Click on IntelHD Graphics Control Panel, which is also accessible via a try iconic the notification area.
  3. Under control panel, select 3D general setting
  4. Go to the custom setting
  5. Then click on the vertical synchronization option
  6. Then select either on or off

Advantages of VSync

One of the main advantages of the vsync is that it eliminates screen tearing providing a pleasurable gaming experience. In addition, the Vsync will help bring the graphics processor and your monitor's refresh rate to the same level allowing them to work in unison.

The Vsync is perfect for new and pro gamers who want to play older games on their PCs through emulators. Primarily, the vsync tech will lower the FPS to match the aspects of your older games.

Most syncs are integrated with the GPU, meaning you will not spend extra bucks if you are new to gaming and don't already have a GPU. Furthermore, the vsync is compatible with both Nvidia and AMD graphics cards, meaning you will have exceptional gameplay if using either. Plus, using the vsync will also reduce excessive straining on the GPU, which improves your pc gaming experience.

Disadvantages of VSync

The vsync can cause slower operation on the operational front because they function by waiting for thr screen to push the next screen. Another issue is that many gamers who use sync experience input lag or lack input responsiveness.

If your game has a graphically intense moment, the vsync can cause an even bigger drop in the frame rate. This can also lead to advanced visual and performance lag. However, it is worth noting that the performance lag or input delay is greatly reduced by enabling triple buffering.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does high FPS cause screen tearing?

Having a high FPS than the monitor's refresh rate is a problem most gamers overlook, but it could potentially cause screen tears, which is very annoying. Although in most cases, monitor tearing is caused if the refresh rates are higher than the frame rates.

2. Which games should I use vsync for?

You should know when to disable and enable vsync. Enabling vsync for graphically demanding games is necessary, but if your game is playing perfectly, there will be no need to have the vsync on. Also, you can use vsync if you are playing very old games that cause the frame rates to go higher than the monitor's refresh rate.

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About the Author Jacky Chou

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