What is NVIDIA G-Sync and how does it work?

Nicholas Sakadelis

NVIDIA G-Sync is a powerful tool for users of NVIDIA graphics cards to have smoother experiences. Here’s how it works.

Back in 2013, NVIDIA announced the release of a new type of technology that would change PC gaming forever, creating much smoother game experiences for players. This technology is called G-Sync, and works to ensure players never experience screen tearing while gaming on high frame rates.

What is screen tearing?

Screen tearing is an issue that occurs when your GPU (Graphics card) processes frames faster or slower than the refresh rate of your monitor. For instance, if your monitor is 60Hz, and your GPU is rendering at 110 FPS, you will get screen tear, as your GPU will push frames so quickly, previous frames will not display in their entirety, instead of hopping to the next frame in an effort to “catch up”.

On the opposite side of the issue, if your monitor is 144Hz and your game is rendering at 80 FPS, your monitor will show the next frame before its completely rendered, also creating screen tearing.

How does G-Sync resolve this?

G-Sync works by giving the monitor the ability to operate at a variable refresh rate to match the GPU’s output. If a game is pushing 80FPS, the monitor will adapt to also operate at 80Hz to compensate. If the FPS drops lower as well, the monitor will also adapt to the lower frame rate. Since the technology is built into the display, you will never have a situation where the GPU is pushing too many frames for the monitor to keep up with.

How do I get G-Sync?

In order to use this technology, you’ll need a G-Sync enabled monitor (you can check on the box or amazon listings), and an NVIDIA GPU. Once you have both, you can enable G-Sync through the NVIDIA settings on your desktop. (Right click desktop, NVIDIA Control Panel).

What if my monitor says “Freesync”?

If your monitor says freesync, it means it was designed to work with AMD cards. However, in a 2019 update, these monitors now work with NVIDIA graphics cards, so you can enjoy similar benefits on these monitors. If your monitor says “G-Sync” and you have an AMD graphics card, you will not be able to utilize G-Sync.