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Freesync vs G-sync: What's the Difference?

FreeSync vs G-Sync: What's the Difference?

Tulie Finley-Moise
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Buying and building your perfect gaming rig means taking a careful and decisive look at several hardware specifications and integrated technologies before checking out. In order to accommodate the demanding visual and performance requirements modern video games are developed with, gaming computer manufacturers have worked tirelessly to bring ultra-compatible products to the market.
When you start looking into adaptive sync technology, two industry-leading names come to mind; AMD’s FreeSync and NVIDIA’s G-Sync. Both are among the most talked-about gaming enhancers, but there’s a bit of a gray area when it comes to their purpose and function, and whether or not there are differences between the two. Let’s take a deep dive and tackle your questions. Time to settle the debate between FreeSync vs. G-Sync.

What is AMD FreeSync?

FreeSync is the adaptive synchronization technology engineered by AMD. It enables AMD’s GPUs and APUs to directly and dynamically control the refresh rate of a monitor. First released in 2014, AMD’s FreeSync aimed to compete with NVIDIA’s G-Sync technology. FreeSync is specifically developed for liquid-crystal displays (LCD) that have super dynamic refresh rates.
With FreeSync enabled, the monitor will refresh output images in perfect synchronization with the frame rate of the game that’s being played. This allows gamers to operate specs at their maximum level and get the highest reward gameplay possible. FreeSync prevents “screen-tears,” or misaligned visuals, from interrupting or slowing down your game.

What is NVIDIA G-Sync?

G-Sync is NVIDIA’s proprietary adaptive sync technology that takes aim at optimizing the visual element of video gaming. Launched in 2013 as a fine-tuned improvement to VSync, G-Sync became a total game-changer for gamers and manufacturers across the globe. Similar to AMD’s FreeSync, G-Sync communicates with the GPU and forces it to wait to deliver visual data until the monitor is ready to receive another frame. This keeps the images you see on-screen in perfect refresh rate synchronization while eliminating screen-tearing and input lag.

What is the difference between FreeSync vs. G-Sync?

FreeSync and G-Sync effectively solve the same in-game problem: removing stutter and eliminating screen-tearing. However, because they are engineered by separate tech companies, they are implemented differently and come with a slew of contrasting benefits and pitfalls.
To best illustrate the pros and cons of FreeSync and G-Sync, we’ve broken it down for you.

G-Sync

  • Created and manufactured by NVIDIA
  • Uses a proprietary NVIDIA-manufactured scaler which is limited to two inputs: DisplayPort and HDMI. The scaler is the key piece of hardware that manufacturers must incorporate into their displays should they hope to create a G-Sync compatible monitor
  • Typically costs an average of $200 more than similar FreeSync options
  • G-Sync offers a certification program that ensures all G-Sync displays also have support for Low Framerate Compensation (LFC)

FreeSync

  • Created and manufactured by AMD
  • Open-standard technology that does not require any special hardware to be integrated into displays
  • FreeSync-enabled tech is typically cheaper than G-Sync equivalents
  • FreeSync displays offer more connectivity options than G-Sync displays, including DVI, VGA, HDMI, and DisplayPort
  • FreeSync does not yet include LFC support, though FreeSync 2, the latest AMD adaptive sync tech, does

What’s the difference between VSync vs. FreeSync vs. G-Sync?

With so many different adaptive sync technologies available to gamers, it can become confusing when you’re looking to upgrade your rig. Which technology is right for you if they all appear to achieve the same results? Before there was FreeSync or G-Sync, there was VSync.

What is VSync?

VSync technology is designed to serve one single purpose to power users: eliminate screen tearing. It accomplishes this by imposing a framerate cap on your GPU, effectively limiting the maximum frames per second (fps) to the refresh capability of your monitor, and preventing your GPU from rendering more frames than the display can smoothly accommodate. To simplify, VSync modifies the GPU output to best suit your monitor’s refresh capacity, and can only eliminate tearing at the maximum refresh rate of your display.

How does VSync compare to the newer technologies?

FreeSync and G-Sync match the monitor's refresh rate to the number of frames being drawn by the GPU instead of the other way around. FreeSync and G-Sync typically perform better than VSync for this reason alone, though it’s worth noting that both technologies build upon the functional basis of VSync. However, they are engineered to better eliminate the stuttering and input lag associated with VSync.

What are the benefits of adaptive sync tech?

1. Performance power

The most notable advantage of upgrading to FreeSync or G-Sync is leaving screen-tearing and laggy gameplay in the past. Not only will you be able to experience your favorite gaming titles as they were meant to be played, but you’ll be able to do so without any frustrating tech setbacks. As long as your adaptive sync technology of choice is enabled, you can rest assured that your gameplay will be smooth, fluid, and faultless.

2. Modern game support

Video game developers continue to release increasingly impressive gaming titles with every passing year. Characterized by higher frame rates, more detailed, lifelike graphics, and GPU-power consuming specs, new releases require top-end tech for full in-game functionality. With a FreeSync or G-Sync-enabled monitor, you won’t have to worry about a demanding game burdening your PC or monitor’s specs.

3. Adaptable refresh rate

Monitors are engineered with fixed refresh rates whereas GPUs come with variable refresh rates that change according to the particular image being rendered. This mismatch of refresh rates is the root cause of screen-tearing, input lag, and glitchy performance. FreeSync and G-Sync effectively synchronize the refresh rates and deliver the most fluid gameplay possible.

4. Low latency

The lower the latency, the smoother your gameplay. FreeSync and G-Sync both work to keep latency rates as low as possible to eliminate any data processing slowdown. This makes room for more responsive playtime - a crucial factor for Fortnite, Grand Theft Auto, and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds players.

What FreeSync and G-Sync compatible monitors are available at HP?

We’re glad you asked. HP® is home to several FreeSync and G-Sync powered monitors. Choose from a selection of top-end machines that will transform your rig into a gaming powerhouse. While there are a number of options to choose from, we’ve narrowed it down to three FreeSync monitors and three G-Sync monitors.
For additional options, browse through our online store and check out our other available adaptive sync technology-enabled monitors.

HP FreeSync monitors

1. HP OMEN 32-inch display

The HP OMEN 32 display challenges you to bring on your toughest game title and put this machine to the test. Offering a sprawling 32 inches with a vibrant Quad High Definition (QHD) 2560 x 1440 resolution screen, this monitor does anything but disappoint. Built with high-end gaming in mind, the HP OMEN 32 monitor delivers 77% more pixels than the average FHD display.
For powerful performance seekers, the HP OMEN 32 packs a serious punch. The perfect balance between speed, detail, and efficiency, this AMD FreeSync-enabled monitor will satisfy the power-users every need.
  • Display type: WVA+
  • Screen size: 32 inches
  • Native resolution: QHD (2560 x 1440 at 75 Hz)
  • External I/O Ports:
    • 2 HDMI
    • 1 DisplayPort™ 1.2
    • 3 USB 2.0
  • Brightness: 300 cd/m²
  • Contrast ratio: 3000:1 static / 10000000:1 dynamic

2. HP OMEN 25-inch gaming monitor

Power on with blazing performance speed and gorgeously saturated images with the HP OMEN 25-inch gaming monitor. You’ll be in awe as you enter a brilliant world of dynamic colors and detailed graphics that this monitor delivers with every single power-on. Backed by a 1920 x 1080 native resolution and AMD FreeSync technology, this monitor is the ultimate gaming rig upgrade. Focus your gameplay without any distractions or visual artifacts and climb the leaderboards with unbreakable confidence.
  • Display type: TN w/LED backlight
  • Screen size: 25 inches
  • Native resolution: FHD (1920 x 1080 at 144 Hz)
  • External I/O Ports:
    • 2 HDMI 1.4
    • 1 DisplayPort™ 1.2
    • 3 USB 3.0
    • 1 audio output
  • Brightness: 400 cd/m²
  • Contrast ratio: 1000:1 static / 10000000:1 dynamic

3. HP 27b curved monitor

Human peripheral vision allows us to see to the side of our main line of sight. A curved monitor plays to your advantage by positioning the edges of the screen so they’re more easily captured by a peripheral eyeshot. Competitive and strategy-based gamers will see their gameplay transformed with the extra screen real-estate backing their rig.
Light up your life with a new spectrum of colorful expression and high-end performance. Experience brighter whites, deeper blacks, and an impressive color contrast that delivers incredible tonal accuracy. And with AMD FreeSync tech onboard, you can say goodbye to worries of screen-tearing or frustrating lagging.
  • Display type: VA
  • Screen size: 27 inches
  • Native resolution: FHD (1920 x 1080 at 75 Hz)
  • External I/O Ports:
    • 1 HDMI 1.4
    • 1 DisplayPort™ 1.2
    • 1 audio output
  • Brightness: 300 cd/m²
  • Contrast ratio: 3000:1 / 10000000:1 dynamic

HP G-Sync Monitors

4. HP OMEN X 35 curved display

Tune into an experience far from typical. Witness every single detail with pristine sharpness, level-up with keen, responsive gameplay, and blur the line between fact and fiction with the sleek HP OMEN X 35 curved display. Delivering 34% more screen real estate than the average 16:9 display, this standout G-Sync-enabled monitor is a total game-changer.
Heighten the senses and hone your in-game strategy better than ever before. The HP OMEN X 35 curved display caters to the human peripherals, allowing you to see beyond a straight-on view.
  • Display type: AMVA+ w/LED backlight
  • Screen size: 35 inches
  • Native resolution: WQHD (3440 x 1440 at 100 Hz)
  • External I/O Ports:
    • 1 HDMI 1.4
    • 1 DisplayPort™ 1.2
    • 3 USB 3.0
    • 1 audio output
  • Brightness: 300 cd/m²
  • Contrast ratio: 2500:1 static

5. HP OMEN X Emperium 65-inch big format gaming display

First in its class to prove that bigger is better, the HP OMEN X Emperium big format gaming display packs a powerful punch. 65 inches of stunning edge-to-edge 4K high definition resolution visuals will take your breath away. Step into your game scape without lag or tear - this massive display is equipped with NVIDIA G-Sync technology that keeps your game snappy and responsive.
Enjoy the fruits of integrated NVIDIA Shield technology. This Android-based streaming service supports major streaming providers like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, HBO Now, and more. NVIDIA Shield also comes with free and subscription-based channels, so when you’re not gaming, you can still entertain with larger-than-life visuals and sound at your fingertips.
  • Display type: MVA with LED backlight
  • Screen size: 65 inches
  • Native resolution: 4K UHD (3840 x 2160 at 144 Hz)
  • External I/O Ports:
    • 1 DisplayPort™ 1.4
    • 3 HDMI 2.0
    • 3 USB 3.0
    • 1 audio output
  • Brightness: 750 cd/m²
  • Contrast ratio: 4000:1 static

6. HP OMEN 27 Quad-HD G-SYNC gaming display

Enjoy the heightened benefits of stutter-free, ultra-responsive visuals that are beautifully delivered by the G-Sync-enabled HP OMEN 27 monitor. Bring your fantastical imagination to life with this impressive gaming display. Engineered to deliver 27 inches of QHD, the HP OMEN 27 does not disappoint.
Whether you’re a Sims 4 loyalist or a Fortnite champion, your game scape of choice will look refreshed and refined the moment you load it up on this high-end monitor.
  • Display type: TN w/LED backlight
  • Screen size: 27 inches
  • Native resolution: QHD (2560 x 1440 at 165 Hz)
  • External I/O Ports:
    • HDMI cable
    • USB 3.0 cable
    • DisplayPort™ 1.2
  • Brightness: 350 cd/m²
  • Contrast ratio: 1000:1 static / 10M:1 dynamic

FreeSync vs. G-Sync: the verdict

Settling the debate between FreeSync vs. G-Sync is a matter of personal preference. The two effectively solve the same problem and heighten gameplay in a similar way. For gamers looking to upgrade their in-game experience and wave goodbye to screen-tearing and laggy performance quality, either adaptive sync technology will suffice and satisfy.
To help with your decision-making process, take another look at our pros and cons list. Even better, find gaming buddies with each tech and give them a test drive. Your screen-tearing will be solved by either tech, but your gameplay is all about you.
About the Author: Tulie Finley-Moise is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Tulie is a digital content creation specialist based in San Diego, California with a passion for the latest tech and digital media news.

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