G-Sync: Worth the Money?

Short Answer 

If you’re running a behemoth of a computer, G-Sync is worth the extra money. It reduces input lag, takes out all traces of screen tearing, and eliminates any chance of stuttering. But if you’re working with a smaller budget, don’t worry about G-Sync, it’s really only a performance cherry to put on top of a powerful rig.

Many monitors are now being built with G-Sync (Nvidia) or FreeSync (AMD) technology.  This feature often costs hundreds of extra dollars compared to similarly equipped monitors, but is G-Sync worth it?

Monitors have a fixed refresh rate, typically in the 60-144hz range. For a 60hz monitor, the GPU sends 60 frames per second to the screen. If your GPU can’t keep up pace with the  display, you’ll get visual stuttering. Rather than working with a fixed refresh rate, Gsync technology has a variable refresh rate, ranging between 30-144hz. That means your GPU doesn’t have to keep pace with your monitor, instead your monitor keeps pace with what your GPU can provide. This prevents repetitious frames and eliminates screen tearing entirely.

In Laymans Terms

What does that really mean? Well, the visual improvements you’ll see really depend on just how demanding a game is in performance. For games that aren’t visually demanding, G-Sync or V-sync won’t add much if anything to the experience. But if you’re playing a newer title on ultra graphics settings, you’ll be able to see what G-Sync can do for you crystal clearly.

In a sense, G-sync is the next type of Vsync or vertical sync. For years, games have included VSync options, which synchronize the frame rate used by the game to the maximum refresh rate of your monitor. The end result is a more stable FPS output achieved by placing a soft limit on how much screen tearing you’ll see. (Screen tearing is especially visible at lower refresh rates like 60hz.)

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But Vssync can fall out of synchronization intermittently, which leads to annoying stuttering. it’s also known to be resource-demanding on many GPUs. Worse still, Vsync adds to input lag, which many people don’t even notice unless they’re also using triple buffering to prevent their FPS from dropping. GSync is essentially Vsync with all of these problems solved.

G-Sync  vs FreeSync

FreeSync is also an improvement over Vsync, and is generally less expensive than G-sync products. However, G-sync is generally considered to provide a slightly smoother experience, and it includes extra features like the Ultra Low Motion Blur setting. This setting doesn’t get much use because it can’t be run simultaneously with G-sync, but it is very pretty to look at.

The Bottom Line

If you want to pay for the best performance you can get, G-sync is what you want. But truthfully, it’s a luxury feature, so there’s no reason to start breaking your budget to ensure you have it. Be sure that the rest of your machine is performing up to par before you think about going for G-Sync.