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.



251 Comments For “G-SYNC 101”

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most liked
Savatgy
Member
Savatgy

NO matter how I configure G Sync, it appears to cause input lag in Overwatch.

Chief Blur Buster
Admin

Which monitor model? And G-SYNC native or G-SYNC compatible (FreeSync)?

Karker
Member
Karker

so functionally and properly setup, gsync and quite possibly gsync-compatible* should have lower input lag than even an uncapped frame rate?

if this is the case, why arent competitive gamers doing this?

ivandudude
Member
ivandudude

should i cap it to 141 if i have a 144hz monitor with v sync on or off? also i dont have g sync but im looking to get the less input lag. this is for fortnite and this game called smite.

bioinfinite121818
Member
bioinfinite121818

Hi, I was wondering I recently bought a g sync 240hzmonitor and I have g sync and nvidia v sync on, should I lower the refresh rate of my monitor 237 or is okay if I can keep it at 240?

rayjays1986
Member
rayjays1986

Was wondering, do you have any advice on State of Decay 2? I seem to be having major stutter/lag issues with that game and G-Sync. It’s hard to explain, it’s almost as if there’s some sort of asset loading going on while I’m driving especially, and it looks quite laggy/stuttery. I have seen numerous others talk of this, and numerous others who say it runs smooth as butter. I change over to fixed refresh and vsync, and it seems to help a little, but it’s not totally gone. BUT, using fixed refresh w/ fast sync, it almost (not quite but almost) eliminates the effect, with the lag much less apparent. I experimented a bit and G-sync plus fast sync seems to help too, though here it says not to do that. I wouldn’t think of doing that in anything else, I just seen several posts that it had something to do w/ that game/engine in particular w/ G-sync and laggy/stuttery moments on occasion. Did you (or anyone else here) happen to experience any of this with State of Decay 2? If so, anyone know how to fix it? I actually really enjoy the game, but that lag is incredibly annoying for me (seems to happen most when I’m driving). Thanks in advance for any answers!

wpDiscuz