VSync is a visual-enhancement technology that helps improve gaming experience, especially on games that run on heavy graphics.
Despite new and more advanced options like G-Sync or FreeSync, VSync is still an essential feature for gamers everywhere.
Read through this guide as we answer some of your burning questions including ‘what is VSync in games; what does it do’ and ‘should I turn it on or off.’
VSync, also known as vertical sync or vertical synchronisation, is a feature that attempts to sync your monitor’s refresh rate to the image frame rate of the game. It is used to provide a smooth gaming experience, particularly on 3D graphics-heavy games.
V-Sync was originally developed to resolve the issue of screen tearing.
Screen tearing, as the name suggests, is a glitch that occurs if your screen is out of sync with your GPU, i.e. when the game runs at a higher frame rate than the monitor itself can handle.
This causes the screen to display a new image before the old one is rendered fully, giving a “tearing” effect as one image overlays the other.
Screen tearing can ruin gameplay instantly and pull you out of the immersion experience. It can also cause you to compromise your strategy as you will get a distorted image instead of the full picture.
The monitor’s refresh rate basically measures how many times per second the display shows a new image. It is measured in Hz (hertz), so if your screen’s refresh rate is 60 Hz, then your monitor displays up to 60 frames per second (fps). In general, higher refresh rates deliver a better gaming experience.
However, if you have a game that runs at 114 fps on a 60HZ monitor (the refresh rate of most screens), you might experience screen tearing.
Vertical-Sync eliminates this issue by syncing the refresh rate and frame rate of the monitor so that the screen shows each frame the GPU renders. It achieves this by limiting the GPU’s refresh rate to frame rate.
Ultimately it’s up to you, your unique situation and your gaming needs.
VSync can work great if you use the tech as intended. As VSync technology aims to solve a particular problem, it doesn’t make any improvements on resolution, colours, or brightness level.
If your GPU is rendering more fps than your monitor can handle and you are experiencing screen tearing often, turning VSync on is a good idea.
Some other advantages of VSync in games include:
However, if the frame rate of the game you are playing is lower than your screen’s refresh rate, there is really no need to enable VSync.
Also if you are seeing serious input lag (the amount of time your monitor needs to display the received signal) or dropped frames while VSync is on, you should disable it.
This happens because VSync reduces the frame rate until it reaches the perfect balance, which could lead to input lag and game stuttering. While this effect is common in all types of games, fans of fighting and shooter titles will notice it more than others. This is also one of the reasons why serious gamers tend to disable VSync on their devices.
Want to learn how to reduce lag, ping and jitter in gaming? Here is an article that will tell you everything you know.
Developed by NVIDIA, Adaptive VSync allows you to render frames by using the NVIDIA Control Panel software.
Adaptive VSync works in the same way as traditional V-Sync. It limits the fps output and syncs it to the refresh rate. However, here performance lag caused by dropped refresh rates is reduced, so you get improved visual performance without tearing of game stuttering.
The downside is that Adaptive Sync is only available on NVIDIA’s GT 600-series graphics cards or newer.
Fast sync is a more advanced version of Adaptive VSync. It is one of NVIDIA’s more recent developments and is only compatible with 10-series GPUs, GeForce 900 series or newer. Fast sync keeps latency at the lowest possible levels and is more reliable than VSync, making it a great alternative to VSync for FPS games.
As the name suggests, this is an enhanced version of VSync, developed by AMD. It doesn’t actually replace Vertical Sync but builds up on to reduce both lag and game stuttering when the fps drops below the refresh rates. If performance suffers, Enhanced Sync will turn off. It may not resolve all the issues of Vsync but it is more consistent and better at improving performance.
However, as is the case with NVIDIA’s tech, Enhanced Sync only works with AMD Radeon graphics cards.
Screen tearing has been an issue for gamers for years, so it’s only natural that manufacturers have tried to come up with their own solutions that would improve Vsync’s capabilities.
G-Sync works by adapting the game’s framerate to the screen’s refresh rate, leading to a smooth gaming experience with zero latency, tearing, or stuttering. The only disadvantage is that you need to have NVIDIA hardware, like NVIDIA GPUs and G-sync-compatible monitors or TVs.
This technology is similar to NVIDIA’s G-Sync.
Instead of adjusting frame rates, it delivers dynamic refresh rates that sync the Radeon GPU frame rate with the monitor’s fps rate, thus reducing input lag and resolving the issue of screen tearing. It only works with an AMD GPU and FreeSync-enabled monitor, though.
Turning VSync on and off is a straightforward procedure. Here are the steps to follow, depending on your GPU.
Enabling VSync in NVIDIA graphics cards is done by following these steps:
In order to enable or disable AMD Enhanced Sync or AMD FreeSync (depending on which is available) on your computer, you need to use the AMD Radeon App.
Vertical Sync or V-sync can be a great solution for resolving screen tearing. That said, it is not without disadvantages. Severe input lag and dropped frames could be a real issue, especially for competitive gamers in fighters and shooters.
So, weigh out the pros and cons of VSync before you decide to turn it off or on, or maybe take a look at some of the alternatives offered by NVIDIA and AMD.
V Sync tech helps by coordinating the refresh rate with the frame rate, once your processor starts to output more frames than your monitor can handle, such as 100 fps on a 60Hz monitor.
Turning VSync on will cap the fts according to the screen’s refresh rate, thus preventing screen tearing as well as protecting the GPU from excessive strain.
While VSync creates input lag, it eliminates unnecessary load off your GPU, so that your frame rate can match the monitor’s refresh rate.
Vsync is tech that eliminates the issue of screen tearing. Turning it off or on is optional and depends on whether you are experiencing tearing during gaming or not. However, competitive gamers tend to disable VSync as it can lead to input lag and dropped frames, both of which can seriously impact the overall gaming experience.
As someone who grew up gaming and always had a love for random facts, being able to write about gaming and technology for a living has been an absolute treat. Whenever I’m not researching my next topic for Don’t Disappoint Me, I am deflecting the attacks of Bosses in Sekiro, investigating a murder in Disco Elysium, helping Zagreus escape the underworld in Hades, or flanking enemies in Call of Duty with my squad. Having studied English language and literature has helped me merge these two worlds of random facts and gaming into a fulfilling career.