In the ever-evolving world of display technology, NVIDIA’s G-SYNC has emerged as a game-changer. However, the introduction of NVIDIA’s G-SYNC Compatible program has led to some confusion, with monitor manufacturers using it for advertising purposes. This has resulted in ‘NVIDIA G-SYNC’ stickers appearing on monitors that don’t have dedicated G-SYNC modules, and monitor product pages claiming ‘G-SYNC Compatible’ status without official certification from NVIDIA. This article aims to clarify the difference between G-SYNC and G-SYNC Compatible monitors, and how to verify a monitor’s G-SYNC status.

What Is G-SYNC?

G-SYNC monitors have a special chip installed that replaces the regular scaler. This allows the monitor to change its refresh rate dynamically according to the GPU’s frame rates (Hz=FPS), eliminating screen tearing and stuttering as long as your FPS doesn’t exceed the monitor’s maximum refresh rate. Unlike V-Sync, G-SYNC does not introduce a significant input lag penalty.

G SYNC
G SYNC

A dedicated G-SYNC module offers variable overdrive. Gaming monitors use overdrive to push their response time speed so that the pixels can change from one color to another fast enough to prevent ghosting/trailing behind fast-moving objects. Most monitors without G-SYNC don’t have variable overdrive, but only fixed modes; for instance: Weak, Medium, and Strong. Different refresh rates require different levels of overdrive.

G-SYNC’s variable overdrive can change on the fly according to your refresh rate, thus removing ghosting at high frame rates and preventing pixel overshoot at lower frame rates. Some G-SYNC monitors with a very wide range, such as the ASUS PG27AQN that goes up to 360Hz, require you to change its overdrive – below 100Hz in this case for optimal performance.

G-SYNC Module

Another advantage of having a dedicated G-SYNC module is a wide variable refresh rate (VRR) range. All G-SYNC monitors support VRR down from 30Hz up to their maximum refresh rate. Below 30Hz/FPS, the frame rate gets multiplied (for instance, 29FPS -> 58Hz, 14FPS -> 42Hz, etc.) in order to keep tearing at bay.

In contrast, most monitors that use Adaptive-Sync have their VRR range start at 40Hz or 48Hz. They also support frame rate multiplication via the AMD LFC (Low Framerate Compensation) technology, but only if the maximum refresh rate of a monitor is at least double the lower end of the VRR range.

Which Monitors Have Native G-SYNC Support?

If you want a gaming monitor with an integrated G-SYNC module, you have to be careful when buying one. Some monitors, like the popular LG 27GL850, have NVIDIA’s G-SYNC sticker, but this monitor does not have a dedicated module installed, NVIDIA just certified it as ‘G-SYNC Compatible’.

G SYNC Support
G SYNC Support

The best way to ensure you’re getting a native G-SYNC monitor is to visit NVIDIA’s website and check their list of G-SYNC monitors. We also have a buyer’s guide for the best G-SYNC gaming monitors currently available, where you can check out which models are actually worth considering over the G-SYNC compatible, that is, FreeSync counterparts.

What Does G-SYNC Compatible Mean?

Just like AMD’s FreeSync technology, NVIDIA’s G-SYNC Compatible mode relies on the open standard Adaptive-Sync protocols that exist in DisplayPort, HDMI, and USB-C (using DisplayPort Alternate Mode) connection.

Freesync vs Gsync
Freesync vs Gsync

A G-SYNC compatible monitor is essentially an Adaptive-Sync display that’s been validated by NVIDIA to work without any issues (such as flickering and other visual artifacts) through their testing.

However, Adaptive-Sync or FreeSync monitors that aren’t certified by NVIDIA as ‘G-SYNC Compatible’ can also utilize VRR if you have a compatible NVIDIA graphics card, but smooth performance is not guaranteed.

Which Monitors Are G-SYNC Compatible?

Monitor manufacturers may claim that a monitor is G-SYNC Compatible on their website or on a product page of an online retailer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the monitor has been officially validated by NVIDIA as such.

To be sure, you’ll have to visit NVIDIA’s official list of G-SYNC compatible monitors — if a monitor isn’t there, then it’s not officially certified (or at least not yet).

Conclusion

The difference between G-SYNC and G-SYNC Compatible monitors lies in the presence of a dedicated G-SYNC module in the former, offering certain advantages such as a wider VRR range, marginally lower input lag, and variable overdrive. However, G-SYNC Compatible monitors, validated by NVIDIA, can also provide a smooth, tear-free gaming experience. When choosing a monitor, it’s essential to consider these factors along with your specific gaming needs and budget.

For more information on G-SYNC and G-SYNC Compatible monitors, or to explore potential collaborations with HeyKD, please visit our official website.

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