G-SYNC 101: G-SYNC vs. Fast Sync


The Limits of Single Frame Delivery

Okay, so what about Fast Sync? Unlike G-SYNC, it works with any display, and while it’s still a fixed refresh rate syncing solution, its third buffer allows the framerate to exceed the refresh rate, and it utilizes the excess frames to deliver them to the display as fast as possible. This avoids double buffer behavior both above and below the refresh rate, and eliminates the majority of V-SYNC input latency.

Sounds ideal, but how does it compare to G-SYNC?

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

Evident by the results, Fast Sync only begins to reduce input lag over FPS-limited double buffer V-SYNC when the framerate far exceeds the display’s refresh rate. Like G-SYNC and V-SYNC, it is limited to completing a single frame scan per scanout to prevent tearing, and as the 60Hz scenarios show, 300 FPS Fast Sync at 60Hz (5x ratio) is as low latency as G-SYNC is with a 58 FPS limit at 60Hz.

However, the less excess frames are available for the third buffer to sample from, the more the latency levels of Fast Sync begin to resemble double buffer V-SYNC with an FPS Limit. And if the third buffer is completely starved, as evident in the Fast Sync + FPS limit scenarios, it effectively reverts to FPS-limited V-SYNC latency, with an additional 1/2 to 1 frame of delay.

Unlike double buffer V-SYNC, however, Fast Sync won’t lock the framerate to half the maximum refresh rate if it falls below it, but like double buffer V-SYNC, Fast Sync will periodically repeat frames if the FPS is limited below the refresh rate, causing stutter. As such, an FPS limit below the refresh rate should be avoided when possible, and Fast Sync is best used when the framerate can exceed the refresh rate by at least 2x, 3x, or ideally, 5x times.

So, what about pairing Fast Sync with G-SYNC? Even Nvidia suggests it can be done, but doesn’t go so far as to recommend it. But while it can be paired, it shouldn’t be…

Say the system can maintain an average framerate just above the maximum refresh rate, and instead of an FPS limit being applied to avoid V-SYNC-level input lag, Fast Sync is enabled on top of G-SYNC. In this scenario, G-SYNC is disabled 99% of the time, and Fast Sync, with very few excess frames to work with, not only has more input lag than G-SYNC would at a lower framerate, but it can also introduce uneven frame pacing (due to dropped frames), causing recurring microstutter. Further, even if the framerate could be sustained 5x above the refresh rate, Fast Sync would (at best) only match G-SYNC latency levels, and the uneven frame pacing (while reduced) would still occur.

That’s not to say there aren’t any benefits to Fast Sync over V-SYNC on a standard display (60Hz at 300 FPS, for instance), but pairing Fast Sync with uncapped G-SYNC is effectively a waste of a G-SYNC monitor, and an appropriate FPS limit should always be opted for instead.

Which poses the next question: if uncapped G-SYNC shouldn’t be used with Fast Sync, is there any benefit to using G-SYNC + Fast Sync + FPS limit over G-SYNC + V-SYNC (NVCP) + FPS limit?

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

The answer is no. In fact, unlike G-SYNC + V-SYNC, Fast Sync remains active near the maximum refresh rate, even inside the G-SYNC range, reserving more frames for itself the higher the native refresh rate is. At 60Hz, it limits the framerate to 59, at 100Hz: 97 FPS, 120Hz: 116 FPS, 144Hz: 138 FPS, 200Hz: 189 FPS, and 240Hz: 224 FPS. This effectively means with G-SYNC + Fast Sync, Fast Sync remains active until it is limited at or below the aforementioned framerates, otherwise, it introduces up to a frame of delay, and causes recurring microstutter. And while G-SYNC + Fast Sync does appear to behave identically to G-SYNC + V-SYNC inside the Minimum Refresh Range (<36 FPS), it’s safe to say that, under regular usage, G-SYNC should not be paired with Fast Sync.



46 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?

vityapapa
Member
vityapapa

The Csgo input-lagg is the best g-sync off+v-sync off and fps_max 0?
i have 144hz monitor.

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?

vityapapa
Member
vityapapa

Hi,
on the 9th pages of the CSGo test, V-sync off+288fps limit
the G-sync was turn on or turn off?
thnx

Epicbeardman
Member
Epicbeardman
Thanks for this excellent guide. I now know that the most optimal configuration for my 60hz G-Sync monitor is G-Sync ON + V-Sync ON (NVCP) + V-Sync OFF (in-game) + 57 FPS limit. However, there are some games which utilize V-Sync but don’t provide an option to disable it, either in-game or via an external config file. As stated in section 14 of the guide: “…some in-game V-SYNC solutions may introduce their own frame buffer or frame pacing behaviors, enable triple buffer V-SYNC automatically (not optimal for the native double buffer of G-SYNC)…” In this scenario, should I still use… Read more »
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