G-SYNC 101: G-SYNC Fullscreen vs. Borderless/Windowed


DWM Woes?

Requested by swarna in the Blur Busters Forums, is a scenario that investigates the effects of the DWM (Desktop Windows Manager, “Aero” in Windows 7) on G-SYNC in borderless and windowed mode.

Unlike exclusive fullscreen, which bypasses the DWM composition entirely, borderless and windowed mode rely on the DWM, which, due to its framebuffer, adds 1 frame of delay. The DWM can’t be disabled in Windows 10, and uses it’s own form of triple buffer V-SYNC (very similar to Fast Sync) that overrides all standard syncing solutions when borderless or windowed mode are in use.

To make sure this was the case, all combinations of NVCP and in-game V-SYNC, as well as the Windows 10 “Game Mode” and “fullscreen optimization” settings were tested to see if DWM could be disabled, and tearing could be introduced; it could not be, so Game Mode and fullscreen optimizations were disabled once again, and NVCP V-SYNC was re-enabled across scenarios for consistency’s sake.

The question is, does DWM add 1 frame of delay with G-SYNC using borderless and windowed mode?

Blur Buster's G-SYNC 101: Input Latency & Optimal Settings
Blur Buster's G-SYNC 101: Input Latency & Optimal Settings

Overwatch, shows that, no, with G-SYNC enabled, both borderless and windowed mode do not add 1 frame of delay over exclusive fullscreen. Standalone “V-SYNC,” however, does show the expected 1 frame of delay.

CS:GO was also tested for corroboration, and ought to have the same results, as DWM behavior is at the OS-level and should remain unchanged, regardless of the game…

Blur Buster's G-SYNC 101: Input Latency & Optimal Settings
Blur Buster's G-SYNC 101: Input Latency & Optimal Settings

Sure enough, again, G-SYNC sees no added delay, and V-SYNC sees the expected 1 frame of delay.

Further testing may be required, but it appears on the latest public build of Windows 10 with out-of-the-box settings (with or without “Game Mode”), G-SYNC somehow bypasses the 1 frame of delay added by the DWM. That said, I still don’t suggest borderless or windowed mode over exclusive fullscreen due to the 3-5% decrease in performance, but if these findings are true across configurations, it great news for games that only offer a borderless windowed option, or for multitaskers with secondary monitors.



90 Comments For “G-SYNC 101”

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pervyjutsu
Member
pervyjutsu

Should “Reduce Buffering” option in Overwatch be enabled or disabled? Many competitive/pro players suggest having reduce buffering on to get higher framerate and reduced input lag but would having this option on have a negative effect on G-SYNC?

Also I recently upgraded my system to a i7-8700k and 1080ti. I usually sit at a steady 300fps on Overwatch now and use a 240hz monitor (Asus PG258Q). Would G-SYNC be worth using in this case?

shashank066
Member
shashank066

Excellent article. Just like other on Blur Busters. It was such detailed that, I had to read it twice to understand perfectly. Thanks for this.

bcbuse
Member
bcbuse

First, this is the best Gsync/Vsync information on the internet. I appreciate the effort you put into this, well done.

I read a comment you posted somewhere that ‘technically’ the absolute least input lag would be with Gsync Off + Vsync Off + Framerate upcapped(getting at least 2x the monitor refresh rate). Can you approximate how much less input lag that would be versus Gsync On + Vsync On(NVCP) + Framerate capped 2 below monitor refresh rate?

daniel8747
Member
daniel8747

to clarify: with fps capped 2-3 fps below monitor refresh rate, do i still need to have v-sync enabled?

Abiak
Member
Abiak
jorimt please answer. 1) NVIDIA Control Panel G-Sync: Full Screen vs. Windowed and Full Screen, which one should I use for gaming? 2) Does just “full screen” work on windowed borderless? 3) Preferred refresh rate “Highest Available” or “Application controlled”? 4) Does “Highest Available” work on windowed borderless? 5) From what I understood, for a 144Hz monitor, the best options are gync + vsync on (NVCP) + in-game vsync off and frame limited to 142 fps. However I don’t get why you need vsync, why gsync + frame limiter is not enough? 6) If the game has no fps-limiter, you… Read more »
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