Adaptive sync is a hot selling point for gaming monitors. FreeSync this and G-Sync that and monitors will sell like cupcakes. The problem is that many gamers have a hard time to grasp this technology and really understand how it works. There are restrictions on this technology and important that you fulfill the criteria’s if you want to use it. For a gamer who simply want to game, a question that comes up is if FreeSync works with Nvidia G-Sync? The short answer is no.
How Does Adaptive Sync Work?
To better understand adaptive sync and answer the question, we first must talk about the technology itself.
An image on a monitor will update at a different speed. The standard speed, or refresh rate which it is called, is 60hz. This means that your monitor is refreshing the image 60 times per second. If your graphics card is putting out 60 frames per second, this is fine.
The problem comes when your graphics card is putting out more frames than the monitor can refresh. This is when you can start seeing screen tearing. Screen tearing can make part of your monitor to show one thing, while another part of it shows something else. The game feels laggy and you are not getting a good gaming experience.
A solution to this problem was a software setting called V-Sync. If you have been in any game setting ever, I am sure you have seen it before and wondered what it does. The good thing about V-Sync is that it will remove the screen tearing, but the problem is that it will instead introduce delays. This is because V-Sync will wait to output the next frame on your monitor until the display is ready, thus the delays.
To solve this problem, Nvidia launched G-Sync in 2013. This gave the graphics card the ability to control the refresh rate of the monitor. With G-Sync, the graphics card can tell the monitor to only update 36 frames per second if that is what the graphics card is putting out. The graphics card and the monitor is in constant talk and the monitor will refresh as many times as the graphics card is telling it.
In 2015, AMD released their own adaptive technology called FreeSync. This is doing the same thing as G-Sync but on a software level instead. For G-Sync to work, the manufacturers will need to have a controller card from Nvidia in their monitors, making G-Sync more expensive to implement. When it comes to FreeSync, AMD is letting manufacturers use it for free and since it’s software-based, it’s easier for the manufacturers to implement.
This is why many FreeSync monitors are much cheaper than G-Sync monitors.
How It Can Help You in Gaming
So why would any manufacturer use G-Sync or why would anyone purchase a monitor with G-Sync? That is because the restrictions that Nvidia and AMD have on their respective technology. When Nvidia launched G-Sync, it worked only very few graphics card, all of them being from Nvidia. Since then, all graphics card Nvidia has released in the gaming section, have supported G-Sync.
Graphics cards from AMD could not support this feature, after all, Nvidia and AMD are both graphics card manufacturers who want to make money. So, AMD had to develop their own technology, which they called FreeSync. FreeSync only works with graphics cards from AMD. Thus, purchasing a monitor with FreeSync when you have a graphics card from Nvidia is pointless since you will not be able to use the feature at all. You will have to spend a few extra dollars to get a monitor that has G-Sync instead.
If you have a graphics card from AMD, you’re in luck. Because FreeSync is so easy to implement and doesn’t cost anything extra, many manufacturers are implementing the technology as a “nice to have”-thing. Because of this, AMD owners have much more monitors to choose from than owners of Nvidia cards.
However, most manufacturers are still focusing heavily on G-Sync because of the market dominance that Nvidia has. Also, many gamers are willing to spend an insane amount of money to get the perfect monitor and the manufacturers are taking advantage of that by raising the price, thus purchasing the G-Sync controller card from Nvidia is not such big of a deal in the end.
So, Does FreeSync Work with Nvidia G-Sync?
It’s a simple question that I decided to give a longer answer too, simply because a “no” isn’t good enough. It’s sad that Nvidia has so much power over the market that they can get away with this. I very much prefer the way AMD does it; give it away for free so that manufacturers can implement it in as many monitors as they can. It’s much better for us consumers instead of having to pay extra for this technology.
On the other hand, I could have bought a graphics card from AMD, but I didn’t so maybe I am supporting Nvidia in this. All that I know is that Nvidia has been making a lot of money from me with the purchase of a GTX 1080 Ti and a gaming monitor with G-Sync enabled.