NVIDIA announced G-Sync support on specific FreeSync monitors
The time has finally come for NVIDIA to get on the bandwagon and support the open-source FreeSync technology introduced by AMD. NVIDIA left everyone in awe after they announced that they would make G-Sync available to some FreeSync monitors at CES 2019. If you are unfamiliar what G-Sync and FreeSync do, take a look at this post. G-Sync and FreeSync essentially do the same job, adapting your monitor’s refresh rate to the FPS output of your graphics card.
However, NVIDIA was unwilling to support FreeSync although it would be possible with a simple driver update. Well, the driver update is here. You can download the latest driver by NVIDIA 417.71 on their website and make use of G-Sync if your monitor initially supports FreeSync.
Below, I will give you the recipe on how to enable G-Sync on a FreeSync monitor because, unfortunately, it is not plug-and-play and you probably have to do some tweaking yourself to make it work. G-Sync is not guaranteed to be working on every FreeSync monitor according to NVIDIA who are currently testing every possible FreeSync monitor to see if it fits their “G-Sync Compatible” standards.
Up to now, they have tested around 400 monitors with only 12 of them being “G-Sync Compatible.” Check out if your FreeSync monitor has passed the certification at the table below. It probably has not, considering the massive variety of FreeSync monitors on the market but it is worth taking a look anyway.
NVIDIA has promised to go through all FreeSync monitors and add more to the “G-Sync Compatible” list. But fear not. Even if your monitor is not at the table below, you can still enable G-Sync yourself by following my step-by-step guide below.
NVIDIA G-Sync Compatible FreeSync Monitors
|Model||Manufacturer||Size||Panel Type||Resolution||Refresh Rate||Variable Refresh Rate Range (VRRR) with Display Port (DP)||Display Colors||Low-Blue Light||Response Time||Backlight Technology||Screen Mode|
|XF240H||Acer||24"||TN||1920 x 1080||144 Hz||48 Hz to 146 Hz||16.7 Million||No||1 ms||LED||Full HD|
|XZ321Q||Acer||31.5"||VA||1920 x 1080||144 Hz||48 Hz to 144 Hz||16.7 Million||No||4 ms||LED||Full HD|
|XG270HU||Acer||27"||TN||2560 x 1440||144 Hz||40 Hz to 145 Hz||16.7 Million ||No||1 ms||LED||WQHD|
|Nitro XV273K||Acer||27"||IPS||3840 x 2160||144 Hz||40 Hz to 144 Hz||1.07 Billion||No||1 ms VRB||LED||4K UHD|
|MG 278Q||Asus||27"||TN||2560 x 1440||144 Hz||40 Hz to 144 Hz||16.7 Million||Yes||1 ms||LED||WQHD|
|ROG Strix XG258Q||Asus||24,5"||TN||1920x1080||240 Hz||48 Hz to 240 Hz||16.7 Million||Yes||1 ms||LED||Full HD|
|ROG Strix XG248Q||Asus||23,8"||TN||1920x1080||240 Hz||48 Hz to 240 Hz||16.7 Million||Yes||1 ms||LED||Full HD|
|VG278Q||Asus||27"||TN||1920x1080||144 Hz||40 Hz to 144 Hz||16.7 Million||Yes||1 ms||LED||Full HD|
|VG258Q||Asus||24,5"||TN||1920x1080||144 Hz||40 Hz to 144 Hz||16.7 Million||Yes||1 ms||LED||Full HD|
|AG241QG4||AOC||23,8"||TN||2560 x 1440||144 Hz||30 Hz to 144 Hz||16.7 Million||Yes||1 ms||WLED||WQHD|
|G2590FX||AOC||24,5"||TN||1920x1080||144 Hz||30 Hz to 144 Hz||16.7 Million||Yes||1 ms||WLED||Full HD|
|ZOWIE XL2740||BenQ||27"||TN||1920 x 1080||240 Hz||48 Hz to 240 Hz||16.7 Million||Yes||1 ms||LED||Full HD|
How To Enable G-Sync On A FreeSync Monitor
Enabling G-Sync on your FreeSync monitor is a straight-forward procedure. Follow the 7 steps below to see if your monitor is compatible with G-Sync. Note that you need to have an NVIDIA Pascal generation GPU or Turing to be able to use G-Sync. It is not available on older generation graphics cards.
1. Download the latest driver from NVIDIA from their website, here.
2. Use Display Driver Uninstaller (DDU) to delete traces of your previous driver. If you do not know what DDU is and how to use it, click here.
3. Once your old driver is completely removed, and the latest driver installed, right-click on your Desktop and open up the NVIDIA control panel.
4. From there click on “Manage 3D Settings” and set up “Power management mode” to “Prefer maximum performance” and “Preferred refresh rate” to “Highest Available” ensuring that your GPU will work at full capacity and that your monitor’s refresh rate will always be the highest available.
5. If you do not see “G-Sync Compatible” at “Monitor Technology” under “Manage 3D Settings”, click on “Set Up G-Sync” and make sure that the following boxes are enabled:
- Enable G-Sync, G-Sync Compatible
- Enable for fullscreen mode
- Enable settings for the selected display model
6. The “G-Sync Compatible” at “Monitor Technology” under “Manage 3D Settings” should now be visible. Click on “Apply” and restart your system.
7. Under “Manage 3D Settings”, change “Vertical Sync” to “Fast.” G-Sync works brilliantly well with FastSync as the former activates when your FPS output is under the monitor’s refresh rate and the latter when your FPS exceeds your monitor’s refresh rate. To learn more about all the sync technologies, check out this link.
Your monitor might go black two or three times every time you start it. Do not worry though as it enables G-Sync automatically. To ensure that G-Sync and FastSync are working in-game, set your Maximum frame setting to 200 and allow FPS monitoring. Your FPS should not exceed your monitor’s refresh rate.
Additionally, your gaming experience should feel much smoother with tearing and stuttering completely gone. Sometimes stuttering can be caused if you have DX12 enabled in games like in BFV and BF1, but that is normal as DX12 is still not as polished as DX11. For the best gaming experience use DX11 although some games can see an FPS increase depending on the hardware. Compare DX11 and DX12 in your favorite games and see if DX12 is worth using over DX11.
NVIDIA does not officially admit supporting FreeSync
NVIDIA granted the gaming community a big gift by allowing G-Sync compatibility on FreeSync monitors. They probably grasped that customers understood that their G-Sync monitors were unjustifiably more expensive than FreeSync monitors without offering any real benefit. Both FreeSync and G-Sync do the same job, but G-Sync monitors still require a $200+ premium price on top.
NVIDIA has strict protocols on what monitors are eligible to pass their G-Sync Compatible test, which would be fine if they did not imply that the other monitors were not working with G-Sync because FreeSync is an inferior monitor technology. They also showed live-gameplay footage showing a FreeSync monitor that is not “G-Sync Compatible” flickering and stuttering and said that this is because FreeSync is an open source technology.
The truth is that FreeSync is open-source and most monitors, TVs, and laptops have adopted FreeSync due to the lower cost, which is the primary reason why NVIDIA was forced to support FreeSync. Many gamers aim to buy AMD GPUs due to their compatibility with FreeSync and avoid NVIDIA GPUs. Now that Pascal and Turing graphics cards also support FreeSync there is no reason why a gamer should wait for the next high-end GPU by AMD, able to antagonize the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080Ti.
But stating that those monitors are not working correctly because of FreeSync is a straight-up lie, and NVIDIA knows that. If I do, NVIDIA certainly does.
The reason why many monitors will not pass the NVIDIA certification test is that they are poor quality and it is the manufacturer’s fault. A crappy monitor with supposed FreeSync support will work neither with FreeSync nor with G-Sync. So be careful what monitor you choose as not all are of the same quality.
Make no mistake, NVIDIA is still aggressively selling their G-Sync monitors and praising them for being of higher quality than FreeSync, therefore justifying the inflated price tag on those monitors. They also published a 3-tier monitor list on their website with G-Sync Compatible monitors being the low-tier category followed up by “G-Sync” and “G-Sync Ultimate.”
The truth is that you can combine your NVIDIA GPU with any quality FreeSync monitor to have an excellent lag-free gaming experience. The only criteria you should pay attention to when buying a new FreeSync monitor are the reviews on sites like Amazon or Newegg. If your monitor does not work with G-Sync, it will 99% not work with FreeSync either.
By following my 7 steps above, you will undoubtedly get G-Sync working on your FreeSync monitor, and there is no reason to spend more money on G-Sync or G-Sync Ultimate monitor. Ultimately, NVIDIA is a company wanting to make money, but you should not pay more than necessary for no reason.
If you want to know more about this matter, take a look at the video below by Hardware Unboxed and see for yourself why NVIDIA is screwing with us:
The announcement that NVIDIA officially supports FreeSync is great news for the PC community. While this can be seen as a gift from the green team, we should not forget that they were forced to support FreeSync due to the majority of displays on the market supporting FreeSync because of its lower cost. That will not stop NVIDIA, though, from pushing their G-Sync monitors and labeling them as a better product than FreeSync ones. Supporting FreeSync is a move that NVIDIA should have done a long time ago.
You can try out your monitor’s G-Sync support by installing NVIDIA’s latest driver and following the steps that I laid out above. If your FreeSync monitor is of good quality, there is no reason why it should not be G-Sync Compatible. All you have to do is try it out for yourself. Moreover, if you had been holding off of buying a new FreeSync monitor, due to the incompatibility with NVIDIA GPUs, now is the time to do it.
Whatever marketing tricks and manipulation tactics NVIDIA will use, the truth is that combining an NVIDIA Turing or Pascal GPU with any quality FreeSync monitor will save you a lot of cash, and there is no reason to wait any longer to get that combo. An overpriced “G-Sync Ultimate” monitor will not offer you a better experience by any means, and there is no reason to overspend on a G-Sync monitor anymore for the same kind of experience.
Are you excited to see that NVIDIA finally supports FreeSync monitors with their latest driver? Do you own a FreeSync or G-Sync monitor and has it changed your gaming experience? I would like to hear your opinion in the comment section below.