G-SYNC 101: In-game vs. External FPS Limiters

Closer to the Source

Up until this point, an in-game framerate limiter has been used exclusively to test FPS-limited scenarios. However, in-game framerate limiters aren’t available in every game, and while they aren’t required for games where the framerate can’t meet or exceed the maximum refresh rate, if the system can sustain the framerate above the refresh rate, and a said option isn’t present, an external framerate limiter must be used to prevent V-SYNC-level input lag instead.

In-game framerate limiters, being at the game’s engine-level, are almost always free of additional latency, as they can regulate frames at the source. External framerate limiters, on the other hand, must intercept frames further down the rendering chain, which can result in delayed frame delivery and additional input latency; how much depends on the limiter and its implementation.

RTSS is a CPU-level FPS limiter, which is the closest an external method can get to the engine-level of an in-game limiter. In my initial input lag tests on my original thread, RTSS appeared to introduce no additional delay when used with G-SYNC. However, it was later discovered disabling CS:GO’s “Multicore Rendering” setting, which runs the game on a single CPU-core, caused the discrepancy, and once enabled, RTSS introduced the expected 1 frame of delay.

Seeing as the CS:GO still uses DX9, and is a native single-core performer, I opted to test the more modern “Overwatch” this time around, which uses DX11, and features native multi-threaded/multi-core support. Will RTSS behave the same way in a native multi-core game?

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

Yes, RTSS still introduces up to 1 frame of delay, regardless of the syncing method, or lack thereof, used. To prove that a -2 FPS limit was enough to avoid the G-SYNC ceiling, a -10 FPS limit was tested with no improvement. The V-SYNC scenario also shows RTSS delay stacks with other types of delay, retaining the FPS-limited V-SYNC’s 1/2 to 1 frame of accumulative delay.

Next up is Nvidia’s FPS limiter, which can be accessed via the third-party “Nvidia Inspector.” Unlike RTSS, it is a driver-level limiter, one further step removed from engine-level. My original tests showed the Nvidia limiter introduced 2 frames of delay across V-SYNC OFF, V-SYNC, and G-SYNC scenarios.

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

Yet again, the results for V-SYNC and V-SYNC OFF (“Use the 3D application setting” + in-game V-SYNC disabled) show standard, out-of-the-box usage of both Nvidia’s v1 and v2 FPS limiter introduce the expected 2 frames of delay. The limiter’s impact on G-SYNC appears to be particularly unforgiving, with a 2 to 3 1/2 frame delay due to an increase in maximums at -2 FPS compared to -10 FPS, meaning -2 FPS with this limiter may not be enough to keep it below the G-SYNC ceiling at all times, and it might be worsened by the Nvidia limiter’s own frame pacing behavior’s effect on G-SYNC functionality.

Needless to say, even if an in-game framerate limiter isn’t available, RTSS only introduces up to 1 frame of delay, which is still preferable to the 2+ frame delay added by Nvidia’s limiter with G-SYNC enabled, and a far superior alternative to the 2-6 frame delay added by uncapped G-SYNC.

273 Comments For “G-SYNC 101”

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Why is it, that in most games, borderless fullscreen + gsync, gives worse results then exclusive full screen mode? (uneven frametimes, micro stutters)
Using a frame limiter to set the framerate -3 below the refresh rate makes it even worse when using borderless fullscreen.

I did find that G-sync + Fast sync + borderless fullscreen seems to give better results in some games. Still limiting the frame rate in borderless fullscreen, introduces microstutters.

Why is borderless fullscreen so unreliable with gsync enabled?


Hey, so I didn’t know about turning on V-sync in NVCP only, but before I did that I was getting the occasional stutter even though the action on screen wasn’t that intense. I have RTSS showing a graph of FPS and I notice there are several little dips happening every second. The game moves smooth but then I get the stutter occasionally. I’ve closed everything unnecessary but maybe there’s more to close…not sure what other processes I can close in Windows 10 and I haven’t done any optimizations like in Windows 7.

Fast forward to setting it up as recommended here (141 FPS limit in game for my 144Hz monitor, G-sync on, V-sync ON in NVCP only, V-sync OFF in-game) and I noticed that the dips on the graph are even deeper…however I haven’t seen a stutter yet and the game plays very smooth with no lag. Any explanation for those dips in the graph though?


Hi hi, Just a quick heads up for users with several displays of varying refresh rates. Windows will sometimes only report the lowest refresh rate monitor as the system-wide V-Sync target. After testing on driver ver 436.02, with 3 different monitors, here are my findings. I testeed with 3 games, all had similar behaviour. I used the recommended settings as per the guide.
NVCP V-sync ON
Gsync Enabled
Ingame FPS Limiter or RTSS used
Ingame Vsync/buffering disabled

Main monitor :G-Sync, 144hz.
Second Monitor 60 Hz
In game Framerate 60~

Main monitor :G-Sync, 144hz
Second monitor 75 Hz
In game Framerate 75~

Main monitor G-sync,144hz
Second monitor, 60hz
third monitor, 75hz
In game framerate 60~

Only main monitor: G-Sync 144hz
In game frame rate 140~

There’s probably a way to disable this, but for now I’ve resorted to just unplugging my other monitors. Just a note for any multi monitor users. I wish I could test more, but I just wanna play games.


Should we use the “Low Latency Mode” On or Ultra with G-Sync?

Chief Blur Buster

Possibly beneficial for uncapped GSYNC + VSYNC ON. Will need to be tested.

This will reduce lag differential of below-Hz (GSYNC behavior) versus match-Hz (VSYNC ON behavior).


Hello Guys, really Intresting Article/Guide but i wanna know something from you.

i Playing Games since 20 Years i know in Old Times with 60 HZ Monitors i play Competitive Games with VSYNC off to get most FPS ingame.

So back to 2019.

Im Using a Nvidia Geforce 1080 TI and my Monitor is 240 HZ DELL Alienware AW2518HF with GSYNC on Displayport Cable.

i wanna Optimizing all to Play Competitive. Actual i play with Ingame Fortnite Framerate Limit 240 HZ because see this by a lot of People.

When i wanna get less Inputlag i set in Nvidia Inspector Framerate Limiter to 245,244 ( more FPS than HZ or less and than which one is best? )

thanks for Answering