What is VSync; Does it work?



If you explore the video game settings, you will find the option to turn VSync on or off. Not many people know what this option is. So, they are not sure if they should turn it off or on. VSync or also known as vertical sync was developed to fix the screen tearing. In this article, I will explain everything you need to know about VSync.

Before you learn about VSync, you need to understand screen tearing.

Screen Tearing

Screen tearing is a visual distortion in the game’s graphics that happens when the graphics card’s fps and screen refresh rates don’t sync. It appears when the graphics card has high fps while the monitor’s refresh rate is low or when the monitor has a high refresh rate but the graphics card sends low fps.

Here’s a photo showing the screen tearing effect on a game’s graphics.

To prevent screen teasing, Vsync was introduced.

What Is VSync?

Vsync is the graphics improvement technology that synchronizes the monitor’s refresh rate with the frame rate of the game. VSync limits the frame rate output by the graphics card to the monitor’s refresh rate. It means if your monitor’s refresh rate is 60Hz, VSync will limit the graphics card fps to 60 tor avoiding screen tearing. VSync uses a combination of double buffering and page flipping for limiting GPS frame rates.

VSync just prevents screen tearing. It cannot improve the display’s resolution, improve your resolution of the graphics.

How to VSync on your PC?

To enable the VSync in your system, you need a graphics card that supports VSync. Both Nvidia and AMD have options to enable VSync in their gaming drivers

Is VSync a good solution to screen tearing?

No, VSync isn’t and can also have a negative impact on your gaming experience. Many times, VSync lowers frame rate significantly while trying to sync GPU’s FPS and monitor’s refresh rate. This increases stuttering and leads to input lag. This is the reason, VSync isn’t a good solution. Triple buffering was also introduced to reduce some of VSync’s problems but that also doesn’t solve issues much.

To solve issues of VSync, some methods were introduced including Adaptive VSync, Fast Sync, and Enhanced Sync.

Adaptive VSync: Adaptive VSync is NVIDIA’s improvement to fix issues of VSync. It keeps monitoring the monitor’s max refresh rate. If the game’s FPS is higher than the monitor’s refresh rate, it enables VSync. As soon as FPS falls below the refresh rate, it disables the Vsuync to prevent input lag.

Fast Sync: Fast Sync is the advanced form of. Adaptive VSync that enables VSync when necessary and also adds automatic triple buffering to pick the best fps possible for gaming.

Enhanced Sync: Enhanced Sync is AMD’s version of Fast Sync. It works in the same way as Fast Sync to prevent Vsync issues.

What’s the better alternative to VSync?

Nvidia’s G-Sync and AMD’s FreeSync aim to solve issues of VSync. Both the GPU technologies work to sync GPU frame rates and monitor’s refresh rate. Both the techs are more effective versions of VSync.

I have written a few guides on G-Sync and Free Sync in the past. Use the links added below to learn more about G-Sync and FreeSync.

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