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Using G-Sync on a FreeSync monitor



Two of the most common problems in PC gaming are tearing and screen stuttering. Every time your GPU renders a frame, it sends it to the screen, which updates the image at a specified interval depending on the refresh rate (a 144Hz screen, for example, refreshes the image up to 144 times per second). Screen tearing or stuttering happens when these two steps are out of alignment, either with your GPU holding a frame that your monitor isn’t ready for, or trying to refresh your monitor with a frame that doesn’t exist.

G-Sync solves that problem by matching your monitor’s refresh rate to the frame rendering rate of your GPU, providing smooth gameplay even as frame rates change. For years, G-Sync was a patented Nvidia technology that only worked with certain, very expensive displays that had an Nvidia branded module inside. In 201

9, Nvidia opened its G-Sync technology to a number of compatible FreeSync displays, providing an adaptive refresh rate for not only many more displays, but much cheaper ones too.

While there are now displays with the G-Sync compatible badge on the shelves, they don’t work with G-Sync by default. Here’s how to use G-Sync on a FreeSync monitor.

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Before you start

Alienware AW341BDW Full gaming monitor
Rich Shibley / Digital Trends

Firstly, you need to make sure your hardware installation supports G-Sync, otherwise this process won’t work very well. Your monitor must be ready and it takes three important things.

The first thing you need is a compatible monitor. You’ll want to check out the GeForce list of G-Sync compatible gaming monitors, which are monitors that don’t have G-Sync built in but are expected to perform quite well. Recent displays from Dell, BenQ, Asus, Acer, LG, Samsung and more are usually supported, although you should still refer to Nvidia’s list.

Second, you need a GTX 10 series graphics card or better. RTX 20 Series and its Super variants work just like RTX 30 Series GPUs. Likewise, the 1660 Super, 1660 Ti and 1660 also work. Finally, for most monitors you will need a DisplayPort connection from this graphics card to your monitor, although some LG models require HDMI.

Finally, you need to update your GPU drivers. Driver 417.71 brought support for G-Sync in 2019, so at least you’ll need that version, although tier versions are preferred for their improved overall performance and support.

With a compatible monitor on hand, go to your monitor settings and make sure FreeSync (or Adaptive sync) is enabled. This is necessary for the following steps to work.

Enable G-Sync on a FreeSync monitor

Set up G-Sync

With your Nvidia graphics card plugged in and recent drivers installed, you should be able to access it Nvidia Control Panel app on your PC. Open it now. Once opened, look in the menu on the left for it Screen section. Select the option to Set G-SYNC.

This will open a new window where you can enable various G-Sync features. Here’s what to do here:

  • First, make sure the box for Enable G-SYNC, G-SYNC Compatible has been checked
  • Certainly know that Enable for full screen mode is selected. G-Sync may have problems working with window games.
  • Select your monitor. There’s probably only one screen to choose from here, so this isn’t usually a problem unless you have a strange kind of multi-monitor display scheme and need to make sure that the changes apply to the correct monitor.
  • Make sure the box for Enable settings for the selected display has been checked

Select when done Apply to start G-Sync. Your monitor will turn black for a moment after you apply the settings.

Confirm your compatibility

Manage 3D settings

With a good, compatible monitor you will notice that G-Sync is already working fine. Congratulations! Run a few graphics tests to make sure everything looks right, then full steam ahead. But other monitors may still not enable G-Sync properly. This is common and you may need to make another adjustment to help your monitor.

Stay in the Nvidia Control panel, and look in the menu on the left for the section that says 3D settings. Select here Manage 3D settings, and go to it Globally tab. Find the setting mentioned Monitor technologyand make sure it is set to the G-Sync compatibility setting.

If you want to select whether or not to use G-Sync game by game, you want to have access Program settings instead of Globally, which allows for some extra customization if you prefer certain games on G-Sync and others.

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