G-SYNC 101: G-SYNC vs. V-SYNC OFF w/FPS Limit


At the Mercy of the Scanout

Now that the FPS limit required for G-SYNC to avoid V-SYNC-level input lag has been established, how does G-SYNC + V-SYNC and G-SYNC + V-SYNC “Off” compare to V-SYNC OFF at the same framerate?

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
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

The results show a consistent difference between the three methods across most refresh rates (240Hz is nearly equalized in any scenario), with V-SYNC OFF (G-SYNC + V-SYNC “Off,” to a lesser degree) appearing to have a slight edge over G-SYNC + V-SYNC. Why? The answer is tearing…

With any vertical synchronization method, the delivery speed of a single, tear-free frame (barring unrelated frame delay caused by many other factors) is ultimately limited by the scanout. As mentioned in G-SYNC 101: Range, The “scanout” is the total time it takes a single frame to be physically drawn, pixel by pixel, left to right, top to bottom on-screen.

With a fixed refresh rate display, both the refresh rate and scanout remain fixed at their maximum, regardless of framerate. With G-SYNC, the refresh rate is matched to the framerate, and while the scanout speed remains fixed, the refresh rate controls how many times the scanout is repeated per second (60 times at 60 FPS/60Hz, 45 times at 45 fps/45Hz, etc), along with the duration of the vertical blanking interval (the span between the previous and next frame scan), where G-SYNC calculates and performs all overdrive and synchronization adjustments from frame to frame.

The scanout speed itself, both on a fixed refresh rate and variable refresh rate display, is dictated by the current maximum refresh rate of the display:

Blur Buster's G-SYNC 101: Scanout Speed DiagramAs the diagram shows, the higher the refresh rate of the display, the faster the scanout speed becomes. This also explains why V-SYNC OFF’s input lag advantage, especially at the same framerate as G-SYNC, is reduced as the refresh rate increases; single frame delivery becomes faster, and V-SYNC OFF has less of an opportunity to defeat the scanout.

V-SYNC OFF can defeat the scanout by starting the scan of the next frame(s) within the previous frame’s scanout anywhere on screen, and at any given time:

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

This results in simultaneous delivery of more than one frame scan in a single scanout (tearing), but also a reduction in input lag; the amount of which is dictated by the positioning and number of tearline(s), which is further dictated by the refresh rate/sustained framerate ratio (more on this later).

As noted in G-SYNC 101: Range, G-SYNC + VSYNC “Off” (a.k.a. Adaptive G-SYNC) can have a slight input lag reduction over G-SYNC + V-SYNC as well, since it will opt for tearing instead of aligning the next frame scan to the next scanout when sudden frametime variances occur.

To eliminate tearing, G-SYNC + VSYNC is limited to completing a single frame scan per scanout, and it must follow the scanout from top to bottom, without exception. On paper, this can give the impression that G-SYNC + V-SYNC has an increase in latency over the other two methods. However, the delivery of a single, complete frame with G-SYNC + V-SYNC is actually the lowest possible, or neutral speed, and the advantage seen with V-SYNC OFF is the negative reduction in delivery speed, due to its ability to defeat the scanout.

Bottom-line, within its range, G-SYNC + V-SYNC delivers single, tear-free frames to the display the fastest the scanout allows; any faster, and tearing would be introduced.



220 Comments For “G-SYNC 101”

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gen36
Member
gen36

Hi, I have a question about limiting frame rate at (refresh rate – 3).

My understanding is that if FPS > refresh rate, GSYNC defaults to VSYNC behavior (if VSYNC is enabled in Nvidia CP), which can result in additional input lag.

But I have some confusion on this. Example scenario:

– 144 Hz monitor.
– I’m playing an undemanding game, VSYNC OFF, and get 200 FPS.
– I turn on GSYNC + VSYNC, and get 144 FPS.
– With GSYNC + VSYNC on, is it defaulting to VSYNC ON behavior? Frame rate is not exceeding refresh rate but *would have* if vsync was off.

(My confusion is coming from the section in the FAQ saying if your frame rate exceeds refresh rate, to cap at a value lower than refresh rate, but if vsync is on, FPS doesn’t exceed refresh rate anyway)

Silver3
Member
Silver3

I was wondering if you could explain me a very persistent Frametime-Spiking-relating issue I’ve got recently with the console-emulator Cemu that I am tearing my hair out about at this time.

[… original comment modified here for length; view below comment reply for pertinent details w/follow-up…]

Sorry btw for that wall of text, but I am quite at my wit’s end by now on my way comprehending other/similar builds’ success although they probably don’t care half of that, pc-related, the way I do and I seemingly checked all of your mentioned points possibly causing frametime-spikes
and will continue with the hardware-part tomorrow.
If you have any suggestion that merely could hint in a direction I overlooked, PLEASE let me know.

Thank you for reading.

Skwuruhl
Member
Skwuruhl

On the topic of FPS limiters: Two tests have been done somewhat recently that found that RTSS provides more consistent frame times than in-game limiters do (at the expense of 1 frame of input lag)
https://youtu.be/xsXFUVYPIx4
https://www.reddit.com/r/Competitiveoverwatch/comments/9vcxz5/rtss_vs_ingame_fps_cap_or_frame_limit/
What’s your take on these?

rpate124
Member
rpate124

What value should the frame time limit be set to in rtss?

GITS_2501
Member
GITS_2501

Amazingly detailed, thanks for the guide. Is there a difference between having V-SYNC: ON versus VSYNC: Fast?

Thanks heaps.

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