Screen tearing is a visual artifact in video display where a display device shows information from multiple frames in a single screen draw. It’s a common issue that can occur when the frames per second (FPS) output by a graphics card either exceeds or falls below the refresh rate of a monitor. This discrepancy can result in an image that appears to be split along a horizontal line, or “torn,” because different parts of the screen are displaying frames from different points in time.

What Causes Screen Tearing?

Screen tearing primarily occurs when the video feed to the device isn’t in sync with the display’s refresh rate. This can happen if the FPS is higher than the monitor’s refresh rate, causing the monitor to display parts of multiple frames in a single screen draw. Conversely, screen tearing can also occur if the FPS is lower than the refresh rate, resulting in stuttery performance that can be more bothersome than the occasional tearing.

How to Fix Screen Tearing

There are several methods to fix screen tearing, depending on the features your graphics card and monitor support. Here are some of the most common solutions:

VSync (Vertical Synchronization)


VSync was the first solution to eliminate screen tearing. It synchronizes the vertical refresh rate of your monitor with the GPU’s frame rates. However, because it makes your graphics card wait until the monitor can display a full frame, you get higher input lag. If you have a 60Hz monitor, and you’re getting 120FPS, enabling VSync will cap your frame rate to 60FPS – you’ll get higher input lag, but no screen tearing. Without VSync, you’ll get tearing, but the input lag will be lower.

NVIDIA Adaptive VSync

Adaptive VSync is a solution for those whose FPS often dips below the monitor’s maximum refresh rate. This technology allows VSync to be enabled as long as your FPS is equal to or higher than your refresh rate. Once it drops below the refresh rate, Adaptive VSync will turn off VSync, replacing stuttering with slight tearing until your FPS recovers.

NVIDIA Fast Sync & AMD Enhanced Sync

Fast Sync and Enhanced Sync are technologies that don’t limit your frame rate to the maximum refresh rate of your monitor. Instead, they simply show the most recently completed full frame, preventing tearing without introducing as much input lag. The higher your frame rate is, the lower the input lag will be.


FreeSync or G SYNC
FreeSync or G SYNC

G-SYNC and FreeSync technologies allow the monitor to change its refresh rate dynamically, according to GPU’s frame rates, as long as your FPS is within the monitor’s supported variable refresh rate (VRR) range. This eliminates screen tearing and stuttering at an imperceptible input lag penalty.


Screen tearing can be a nuisance for gamers and video enthusiasts, but there are several ways to fix it. Whether you choose to use VSync, Adaptive VSync, Fast Sync, Enhanced Sync, G-SYNC, or FreeSync will depend on your specific hardware and personal preferences. By understanding the causes of screen tearing and the solutions available, you can enjoy a smoother, more visually pleasing gaming or video viewing experience.

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