In the battle of AMD FreeSync vs G-Sync by Nvidia, which performs better?

Choosing the right monitor for your gaming rig is no simple task. When in the midst of battle and the pressure is on, the last thing you want is screen tear and lag! Fortunately, AMD and Nvidia have come out with fantastic solutions for truly adaptive displays.

This article will give you a detailed look inside FreeSync vs G-Sync monitors, as well as some tips for choosing the perfect fit for you.

But first let’s take a look inside monitors themselves.

How Do Monitors Work?

To put it simply: monitors display your computer’s inner workings by translating the complex formula of hardware and code into a picture-like format.

How Do Monitors Work

Most monitors come equipped with a display screen, outer shell, power supply, and unique circuitry. The circuitry connects with your computer and displays the output, typically on an LCD screen with LED backlighting.

Depending on the monitor you choose, you’ll also find that it’s capable of performing a variety of additional tasks and functions.

When it comes to gaming, choosing the right monitor is very important! Since modern computer games involve intensive graphics that draw lots of resources from your system, having a monitor that keeps up is a big deal!

Two popular types of gaming monitors are known as FreeSync and G-Sync monitors. In the battle of FreeSync vs G-Sync, you’ll find that they both perform similar functions while allowing for a superior gaming experience.

But why are they so popular among gamers?

Gaming Monitors and Screen Tear

The reason FreeSync and G-Sync monitors are so popular is because they both actively reduce screen tear!

Example of Screen Tearing

Example of Screen Tearing

Screen tear is an anomaly that occurs when your display tries to show information from multiple frames at the same time. This happens when there’s a discrepancy between the computer’s video output and the number of frames per second your monitor is set to display.

While most monitors show a fixed number of FPS or frames per second, graphically intensive applications and games require more flexibility in their display output.

Think about it.

If your computer can only render your favorite game at 50 FPS, but your monitor is fixed at 60 FPS, the result is extensive lag and screen tearing. This makes it near impossible to play your favorite titles without an incredibly expensive gaming pc!

Or what if your computer outperforms your monitor by a huge margin? You’ll get the opposite effect, and your monitor still won’t display your game properly! Either way, this is a huge issue for gamers who depend on stellar performance frame by frame.

The solution? Adjusting frame rates by using adaptable displays. Instead of being locked into a fixed frame rate, FreeSync and G-Sync monitors both offer an immersive experience that adjusts according to your needs.

Let’s take a look at what each one does and see how it performs in the field.

What is a Freesync Monitor?

FreeSync monitors adapt to your experience by dynamically adjusting the variable refresh rate, or VRR. This is achieved by continuously scaling the frame rate up or down according to the demands from the computer.

Freesync Technology Logo

The result? Smoother frame transitions that nearly eliminates screen tearing. A huge boon for any gamer!

FreeSync monitors are designed to work specifically with AMD computer systems and graphic cards. You’ll also need a DisplayPort connection, as FreeSync piggybacks on the AdaptiveSync technology that comes standard with the DisplayPort connection. HDMI, VGA, and the other players won’t cut it here.

DisplayPort Interface

DisplayPort Connection

If you’ve got an AMD gaming rig, a FreeSync setup could be the best gaming monitor for optimizing your experience.

Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of FreeSync monitors:

PROS

  • Price. FreeSync monitors are usually less expensive than their G-Sync counterparts. This is largely due to the fact that FreeSync is freely distributed.
  • Flexibility. By using the functionality of the video card to achieve better performance, AMD helps users achieve superior performance without throwing on extra costs.
  • Perfect for AMD setups. FreeSync is designed and built to work specifically with AMD computers!

CONS

  • Ghosting. It’s been reported that FreeSync monitors can suffer from ghosting at lower frame rates or during high intensity moments. While not typical, it’s something to be on the lookout for!

What is a G-Sync Monitor?

G-Sync by Nvidia reduces screen tear by forcing the display monitor to adapt to the output from the GPU. This is done via a chip built into the monitor which provides the necessary software for G-Sync.

The software is configured with a screen tearing avoidance feature that detects and avoids frame collison. It does this by manipulating the system’s VBI or vertical blanking interval. VBI is the time frame between the completion of one frame and the start of a new one.

G-Sync No Tearing

To create a cohesive experience, G-Sync software anticipates any new frames by storing the previous frame in the on-board DDR3 memory. This allows the software to calculate and maximize the best rendering for your monitor.

What does this mean for gamers?

Instead of relying on third party software such as Vsync for resolving screen tearing issues, the technology is baked right into the monitor itself! This saves on resource space and reduces lag and clutter.

Let’s take a closer look:

PROS

  • Consistency. Nvidia is a major leader in gaming stations and high performance tech, and G-Sync monitors are no different. Expect smooth, consistent gameplay.
  • Built-in memory. Monitors include a built-in 768MB of memory that stores each frame, allowing for a perfectly calculated user experience.
  • Great for Nvidia rigs. If your computer utilizes Nvidia tech, G-Sync monitors will provide stellar performance!

CONS

  • Proprietary. While keeping the technology a closely guarded secret can be a boon for profits, it’s not great for the consumer. Expect to pay extra for a G-Sync monitors since manufacturers have to pay a premium to integrate the tech into their products.

Freesync vs G-Sync: Adaptive Gaming

FreeSync and G-Sync both utilize adaptive refresh technology to achieve smoother gameplay, and they both take a similar approach to get there.

G-Sync vs Freesync Monitors

So which is better for gaming, FreeSync vs G-Sync?

Perhaps the biggest reason for choosing one over the other comes down to what type of computer you’re using. You’ve really got to choose one or the other since the technologies don’t mix.

FreeSync works with AMD rigs and G-Sync works for Nvidia.

While there are a few workarounds, you’ll generally want to stick with the one that works with your rig. This is especially true considering the quality of the monitors are very similar.

FreeSync is offered to monitor manufacturers free of charge, and is geared more towards helping gamers get better performance without having to spend a ton extra money.

On the other hand, G-Sync monitors provide slightly superior performance- at a price. As a proprietary solution that costs extra money, Nvidia is better equipped to deliver performance updates and create a more cohesive product.

It’s up to you to decide which one works best for your needs! They both have their pros and cons, and it’s definitely a toss up when deciding which to use. And if you already have your rig built, you’re pretty much locked in.

No matter which option you choose, you’re sure to eliminate screen tear and achieve stellar gaming performance!

Making a Choice

There you have it! A breakdown of FreeSync vs G-Sync monitors for gaming. It really comes down to finding the right fit for your setup and budget. While there is a lot to factor in, it’s true that both will take your gaming to the next level. Pick a side and stick with it!

And if you still need help deciding on the perfect monitor, check out this guide for some of the best monitors of 2018.

Good luck with your decision, and happy gaming!

Further Reading: