G-SYNC 101: G-SYNC vs. V-SYNC OFF


Beyond the Limits of the Scanout

It’s already been established that single, tear-free frame delivery is limited by the scanout, and V-SYNC OFF can defeat it by allowing more than one frame scan per scanout. That said, how much of an input lag advantage can be had over G-SYNC, and how high must the framerate be sustained above the refresh rate to diminish tearing artifacts and justify the difference?

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

Quite high. Counting first on-screen reactions, V-SYNC OFF already has a slight input lag advantage (up to a 1/2 frame) over G-SYNC at the same framerate, especially the lower the refresh rate, but it actually takes a considerable increase in framerate above the given refresh rate to widen the gap to significant levels. And while the reductions may look significant in bar chart form, even with framerates in excess of 3x the refresh rate, and when measured at middle screen (crosshair-level) only, V-SYNC OFF actually has a limited advantage over G-SYNC in practice, and most of it is in areas that one could argue, for the average player, are comparatively useless when something such as a viewmodel’s wrist is updated 1-3ms faster with V-SYNC OFF.

This is where the refresh rate/sustained framerate ratio factors in:

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

As shown in the above diagrams, the true advantage comes when V-SYNC OFF can allow not just two, but multiple frame scans in a single scanout. Unlike syncing solutions, with V-SYNC OFF, the frametime is not paced to the scanout, and a frame will begin scanning in as soon as it’s rendered, regardless whether the previous frame scan is still in progress. At 144Hz with 1000 FPS, for instance, this means with a sustained frametime of 1ms, the display updates nearly 7 times in a single scanout.

In fact, at 240Hz, first on-screen reactions became so fast at 1000 FPS and 0 FPS, that the inherit delay in my mouse and display became the bottleneck for minimum measurements.

So, for competitive players, V-SYNC OFF still reigns supreme in the input lag realm, especially if sustained framerates can exceed the refresh rate by 5x or more. However, while at higher refresh rates, visible tearing artifacts are all but eliminated at these ratios, it can instead manifest as microstutter, and thus, even at its best, V-SYNC OFF still can’t match the consistency of G-SYNC frame delivery.



251 Comments For “G-SYNC 101”

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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!

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