What does it take to be G-SYNC compatible?

What is G-Sync?

Nvidia’s G-Sync is a hardware-based technology that manages and manipulates the vertical blanking interval of a display panel in order to create a smoother gaming experience. It’s intended to reduce and eliminate a phenomenon called screen-tearing.

What is screen-tearing?

Screen-tearing is a visual artifact that occurs when your PCs video card and your monitor are outputting at different or incongruous refresh rates.

By default, many games tend to push your PC’s hardware to its limit and output at the highest possible. However, that output might not necessarily be in alignment with the output of your monitor.

Visually, the effect makes the screen look like it’s “tearing”.

Screen-tearing is most-commonly encountered during vertical movements on the screen, since most monitors refresh from the top down.

How does G-Sync fix screen-tearing?

G-Sync brings the two display components on the same page, assuming the video card in question is an Nvidia one and your monitor supports it of course.

A monitor that’s been equipped with a G-Sync board contains 768MB of DDR3 memory. This is used to store the previous frame and decrease input lag.

When G-Sync is active, the graphics card in your PC waits until the monitor is ready to receive another frame before sending it. It also allows your monitor to support variable refresh rates.

What’s the difference between this and FreeSync?

AMD has their own take on G-Sync. This is called FreeSync.

Rather than rely on separate NVIDIA-approved hardware, Freesync uses the DisplayPort interface present on most monitors to try and solve screen-tearing and enable synchronized refresh rates.

Again, the biggest difference here is that FreeSync requires no specialized hardware to be implemented by vendors - which means its found in more monitors and those monitors are often cheaper to boot.

What companies sell G-Sync-compatible hardware?

G-Sync monitors are sold through most major PC brands including ASUS, AOC, Dell, Acer, BenQ, Lenovo, LG and HP.

What does it take to be G-Sync compatible?

Speaking to PC World, an Nvidia spokesperson broke down the process of certifying a G-sync monitor into three stages.

According to them, once approached by a vendor, they have to examine the specs (refresh-rate, flicker properties, response time, contrast, color) of the monitor to make sure that it can meet the requirements for G-Sync support.

Then, they go through a process referred to as Display Development. Here, Nvidia work in tandem with the vendor to tune the panel and OSD experience to incorporate G-Sync.

Finally, Nvidia run the monitor through a gamut of tests and assessments reviewing the quality and performance of not just the monitor itself but also the on-screen display and how well it reproduces the G-Sync experience.

Following this, the monitor is given an Nvidia-approved G-Sync badge and the company’s stamp of approval.

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Fergus Halliday
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