How to Enable G-SYNC on FreeSync Monitors: NVIDIA’s G-SYNC Compatible Explained

AT CES 2019NVIDIA announced that it finally supported FreeSync. Well, in a way, what the company actually announced was a "G-SYNC-compatible" program. But the problem is that NVIDIA cards and drivers now work with FreeSync monitors for adaptive synchronization.

The situation is a bit confusing. Let's fix it, are we going?

Adaptive Sync, FreeSync and G-SYNC

Adaptive Sync, often referred to as "FreeSync" by AMD and its partners, is a feature that allows a monitor to pause the refresh of its screen until an entire image of the animation is ready to be loaded. This happens several times a second, faster or slower, depending on how quickly your PC and graphics card can render the frame. If the frame is slower than the refresh rate of your monitor, it will wait. This allows the movement in the game to stay smooth without tearing.

G-SYNC is NVIDIA's branded alternative to Adaptive / FreeSync synchronization. Unlike FreeSync, which does not require additional hardware, G-SYNC monitors include a tiny computer module to manage the synchronization of GPU-rendered images displayed on the screen. This module is manufactured and supplied by NVIDIA to its hardware partners. That's why G-SYNC monitors are almost universally more expensive than FreeSync monitors.

Here is a bit more technical ventilation of G-SYNC and FreeSync.

But for several years, PC players with NVIDIA cards have lamented their lack of access to adaptive synchronization / FreeSync capabilities on cheaper monitors. From NVIDIA driver version 417.71, published January 15, 2019, this is no longer a problem.

G-SYNC or G-SYNC compatible

New NVIDIA support for FreeSync monitors is via a program called "G-SYNC Compatible". NVIDIA GPUs now work with FreeSync monitors with "G-SYNC Compatible" enabled in the configuration tool. Huzzahs and Hurrahs all around.

Now, NVIDIA makes it very clear that it thinks that the more expensive option of G-SYNC, with NVIDIA hardware driving both the GPU and the monitor, is the top choice. But he also selected a few FreeSync monitors that, in his opinion, deserve to be rewarded with the blessing of G-SYNC (if not the official brand). At CES, NVIDIA engineers told us that they independently tested hundreds of FreeSync monitors and discovered that only twelve passed his rigorous tests for the quality of the panel, the consistency of the update, the color accuracy and a glove of other criteria. These twelve monitors are:

Acer XFA240
Acer XZ321Q
Acer XV273K
Acer XG270HU
Agon AG241QG4
Asus MG278Q
Asus XG258
Asus XG248
Asus VG278Q
BenQ XL2740

Despite the lack of specialized G-SYNC hardware in G-SYNC brand monitors, these monitors will automatically see that G-SYNC is enabled in the NIVIDA driver if you connect them with adaptive sync enabled by the monitor itself. It's FreeSync! This is only G-SYNC because you have an NVIDIA card.

This list will lengthen as NVIDIA will test more gaming monitors. In fact, at least one FreeSync monitor that is not yet on the market, the new Razer Raptor, will be certified for G-SYNC even before its release.

What if one of the hundreds of FreeSync monitors is not listed above? Do not worry. Although your monitor may not meet NVIDIA's stringent internal testing standards, you can still try it with the G-SYNC compatible program. You may notice a noticeable improvement in the smoothness of your games, thanks to the adaptive sync feature that eliminates rips at a lower rate. See the next section to see how.

How to enable "G-SYNC Compatible" mode on any FreeSync monitor

This is what you will need to enable G-SYNC compatible mode if your monitor is not NVIDIA certified:

A FreeSync-compatible monitor (adaptive synchronization)
An NVIDIA GTX or RTX graphics card (laptops with internal discrete cards are also suitable)
A DisplayPort cable connecting them (Mini-DisplayPort is correct)
NVIDIA GPU Drivers, 417.71 or Later

Once you have verified that your monitor is FreeSync compatible and you are using a DisplayPort cable, check the menu on your monitor screen. This is the one you activate via the physical buttons of the monitor. Go to the menu and make sure Adaptive Sync or FreeSync is enabled.

Now, on Windows, open the NVIDIA Control Panel by right-clicking on your desktop and selecting "NVIDIA Control Panel."

You can also search for a shortcut to the NVIDIA Control Panel on the Start menu or as an icon in the Windows Control Panel.

In the NVIDIA Control Panel, you should see "Configure G-SYNC" in the "View" menu on the left side. If you do not see the "Configure G-SYNC" option and you are certain that your monitor will activate it, you may need to install the drivers for your monitor manually.

In the Configure G-SYNC screen, make sure your main monitor is selected if you have more than one. Check the box next to "Enable G-SYNC, G-SYNC Compatible". Choose to enable it only for full screen mode or both in windowed mode and in full screen mode, depending on how your games are displayed.

Click "Apply" to activate G-SYNC / FreeSync. You are ready to go! Enjoy more fluid gameplay in your favorite games. Note that some games may work better or worse, depending on whether you use them in full screen mode or in windowed mode ("windowed full screen" is counted as windowed for this purpose). You can go back and change this setting in the NVIDIA Control Panel if you have problems.


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