In terms of functionality and additional features beyond adaptive sync, G-Sync is clearly the superior technology. On the other hand, FreeSync is generally more affordable, making it the top choice for budget-conscious gamers. G-Sync and FreeSync are both exclusive to Nvidia and AMD graphics processing units (GPUs), respectively.
Monitors with high refresh rates, such as 144Hz or 240Hz models, almost always include one of the two technologies named in the headings, FreeSync or G-Sync.
Just what are these modern gadgets for, then? Just what are the distinctions between them? What’s more, which one serves your requirements the best?
This guide will go over everything you need to know! Okay, let’s get this party started.
What Are AMD FreeSync And NVIDIA G-Sync?
Both AMD’s FreeSync and Nvidia’s G-Sync offer an alternative to V-Sync and are therefore essential in high-refresh-rate displays.
The question now is, “What exactly is V-Sync?” To answer your question, briefly:
- The refresh rate (in Hertz) of a monitor is a measure of how many frames per second it can display. The monitor’s maximum frame rate is therefore limited by its refresh rate.
- Screen tearing occurs whenever the frame rate (FPS) is not in sync with the monitor’s refresh rate.
- This is why V-Sync limits the number of frames that can be shown in a given time period.
It is clear why V-Sync is a practical option for 60Hz displays now. If your GPU is consistently producing more than 60 frames per second, you should limit it to 60 frames per second because your monitor will only show 60 frames per second. The frame rate is capped at 30 if it cannot maintain 60 FPS consistently.
However, it’s not quite so easy when dealing with high framerates and refresh rates. When using a high-refresh-rate monitor like a 144Hz or 240Hz display, V-Sync can prevent stuttering and input lag, both of which are extremely annoying.
Adaptive sync solutions were thankfully developed independently by the two largest GPU producers. Adaptive sync technologies like FreeSync and G-Sync share many similarities despite their distinct implementations.
As was previously mentioned, V-Sync “throttles” your GPU so that it remains in sync with the refresh rate. As its name suggests, adaptive sync adjusts the refresh rate to match the frame rate (FPS) to prevent the two from being out of step with one another.
If the GPU is able to maintain 70-90 FPS, V-Sync will limit the frame rate to 60 FPS. Meanwhile, adaptive sync would maintain synchronization by resetting the monitor’s refresh rate to somewhere between 70 and 90 hertz whenever the frame rate changes.
FreeSync vs G-Sync: How Are They Different?
Now that we know the difference between V-Sync and adaptive sync, how do they differ from one another?
One problem is the GPU’s restriction on what can be done. There was a time when G-Sync monitors could only be used with Nvidia GPUs and FreeSync monitors could only be used with AMD GPUs, but both of those restrictions have since been lifted. However, you can use an Nvidia graphics card with a FreeSync display because there are G-Sync monitors available.
However, there are also the restrictions caused by the screen. In particular, both G-Sync and FreeSync screens require scaler modules to operate properly. You probably already know that Nvidia and AMD take opposite approaches to this problem.
To put it plainly, OEMs can’t make G-Sync monitors without Nvidia’s proprietary scalers. Because original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have to buy expensive scaler modules directly from Nvidia and license the technology, G-Sync monitors end up being so much more expensive than FreeSync alternatives.
AMD, on the other hand, is more accommodating, letting OEMs use any scaler modules they like without having to pay any fees. FreeSync monitors are thus a more cost-effective alternative.
FreeSync vs G-Sync – Pros and Cons
In light of the foregoing, it’s easy to see that AMD’s main benefit is the same as that of their graphics cards: they are typically less expensive and provide more bang for the buck than their Nvidia counterparts.
However, you probably won’t be able to have your cake and eat it too, as there are a few problems that may arise when using FreeSync. FreeSync, for one, typically only works within a certain “range” of framerates. As a result, FreeSync will only function within the framerate range that the manufacturer has set, which could be anywhere from 40 to 75 frames per second to 30 to 144 frames per second. Since AMD does not enforce rigorous quality control like Nvidia does, prospective buyers of FreeSync monitors should carefully examine the ranges of supported framerates on this page before making a purchase.
Because of Nvidia’s stringent quality control, you can rest assured that your G-Sync display will be properly implemented and will function as intended, without having to worry about any framerate caps. G-Sync is more than just adaptive sync; it also reduces motion blur, gets rid of ghosting, and makes it easier to overclock your monitor. The extra features and high level of quality do not come without a cost, however.
The 7 Best FreeSync Monitors
We found the Samsung Odyssey G7 LC32G75T to be the best 1440p FreeSync gaming monitor. You can get this superb gaming model in either a 27- or 32-inch screen, depending on your preferences. We also tested a 32-inch version, and with the exception of the higher pixel density, the same conclusions hold. Due to the high contrast ratio of its VA panel, it is an excellent option for gaming in the dark.
It’s very good at dealing with movement. Its 240Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time make for an astonishingly fluid and responsive gaming experience. An optional backlight strobing feature is available to enhance motion clarity; however, it cannot be used when the variable refresh rate is in use. It is officially NVIDIA G-SYNC compatible and features native support for the FreeSync variable refresh rate technology. It has decent peak brightness and an acceptable overall experience thanks to HDR support, but the edge-lit local dimming is terrible.
But like most VA panels, its viewing angles aren’t great, so it’s not great for group activities like watching videos or playing games. Some gamers may also notice a flickering effect while playing certain games. In any case, it’s the best FreeSync gaming monitor we’ve tried and a fantastic option for both casual and competitive players.
MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD
The MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD is the top 1440p FreeSync monitor to buy if you want to play multiplayer games with friends. While its maximum refresh rate of 165Hz when connected via DisplayPort is lower than that of the Samsung Odyssey G7 LC32G75T, this excellent gaming monitor still provides a smooth and responsive experience for gamers.
With its wide viewing angles, the MAG274QRF-QD is a great option for multiplayer gaming with friends. This is because the picture quality is maintained regardless of where you and your companion are seated. The screen can be rotated, tilted, and adjusted in height to put you in the most comfortable position possible while using it. As for how well it performs in games, it has low input lag for a responsive feel and quick response time, so motion looks smooth at any refresh rate. It has native support for NVIDIA’s FreeSync technology and is also G-SYNC-certified.
While the colors look fine out of the box in its sRGB picture mode, the camera locks most picture settings and the colors become oversaturated if you switch picture modes. A properly calibrated monitor is essential for those who place a premium on color accuracy. If you need a monitor for online multiplayer games, it is also the best 1440p FreeSync option.
We found the ASUS VG279QM to be the best 1080p FreeSync monitor available. Despite its low native resolution, this monitor is perfect for gamers thanks to its excellent response time and low input lag at the highest refresh rate. Its native refresh rate is a speedy 240Hz, and if you want the best possible gaming experience, you can overclock it to a whopping 280Hz.
It is certified to work with NVIDIA’s G-SYNC compatible mode and has native support for FreeSync to reduce screen tearing. As the refresh rate goes up to 60Hz, the input lag is incredibly low, but only then. The craftsmanship is top-notch, and it’s also very well designed in terms of how comfortable it is to use. The IPS panel gives it excellent viewing angles, and the high brightness makes it usable even in bright rooms. Its reflection control is only adequate, though, so keeping it out of the sun is a good idea.
It has decent black uniformity, but the low contrast ratio makes blacks look gray in low-light settings. The HDR functionality works reasonably well. You can see more detail in games, especially in low-light conditions, but it won’t be bright enough to watch HDR movies. The inclusion of a USB 3.0 port means you can keep your mobile devices juiced up even as you play. In conclusion, we found this to be the best 1080p FreeSync gaming monitor overall.
According to our testing, the Gigabyte M32U is the best 4k FreeSync display currently available. Because of its fast response time across its entire refresh rate range, this monitor is perfect for gamers who want a fluid gameplay experience with minimal input lag. In addition, its low input lag makes for a quick and fluid gaming experience. In addition to being compatible with NVIDIA’s G-SYNC Compatible mode, this monitor is also compatible with the company’s FreeSync technology, despite the fact that it is not officially certified to do so.
It’s also one of the first displays to support HDMI 2.1 bandwidth, making it a great option for console gamers thanks to its compatibility with the PS5 and Xbox One X’s native 4K resolution at 120 frames per second. However, it only supports 24 Gbps of the 48 Gbps that HDMI 2.1 actually requires, so your graphics card will need to employ Display Stream Compression in order to transmit high-frame-rate signals. The 32-inch 4k screen, despite its shortcomings in terms of text clarity, provides a more engaging gaming experience.
Unfortunately, like most IPS monitors, its low contrast ratio means it doesn’t fare well in completely dark environments. Due to this, true blacks appear gray when viewed in low light. The contrast enhancement local dimming feature is terrible and does not work. Even so, it’s a great screen that will likely meet or exceed the expectations of any gamer.
We found the Gigabyte M34WQ to be the best ultrawide FreeSync monitor available. It’s not just a great gaming monitor; its many features make it useful in a variety of settings. An ultrawide screen’s extra horizontal real estate is useful for viewing more of a game at once for a more immersive experience or for placing multiple windows side by side.
It has a native FreeSync support that helps reduce screen tearing and a refresh rate of 144 fps. The 144Hz refresh rate is great for making motion look smooth, and even the 60Hz refresh rate is acceptable. The 3440×1440 resolution aids in presenting sharp visuals, and the lack of lag in response time makes for responsive gaming. If you want to use a second source and display an image from it while gaming, you can do so with the KVM switch and its Picture-in-Picture and Picture-by-Picture modes. USB Type-C is accepted, and it has DisplayPort Alternate Mode input.
The IPS panel’s wide viewing angles are great, but the low contrast ratio makes blacks appear gray. Colors don’t pop as intended because of its lack of local dimming and mediocre HDR peak brightness. We found it to be one of the best monitors for standard dynamic range (SDR) gaming.
Acer Nitro XF243Y Pbmiiprx
We found the Acer Nitro XF243Y Pbmiiprx to be the best FreeSync monitor under $200. This 24-inch monitor is ideal for gamers and is both affordable and space-saving. It’s perfect for watching movies or playing video games with friends thanks to its wide-angle screen and flexible stand. In bright light, the IPS panel’s low contrast ratio makes for clear viewing, but in the dark, it can be difficult to make out the screen.
It has a 144Hz refresh rate that can be overclocked up to 165Hz, making for silky smooth motion, and a response time that is second to none. It works with G-SYNC and has native support for FreeSync to reduce tearing on the screen. The backlight can be strobed to increase contrast and make moving objects more visible, but this feature is inaccessible during VRR and only operates within a specific frequency range. Remarkably low input lag is maintained even when High Dynamic Range (HDR) is activated.
While it does support High Dynamic Range (HDR), the monitor’s limited brightness and color gamut prevent it from providing a genuine HDR experience. Flicker-free backlight, a blue light filter, and on-screen options for displaying a virtual crosshair or frame rate counter all contribute to a more comfortable viewing experience. Overall, it may not have the most bells and whistles, but the quality of its gaming performance means that the vast majority of users will be satisfied.
If you need a large 27-inch screen at a low price, look no further than the Gigabyte M27Q. With its 1440p resolution, it outperforms the Acer Nitro XF243Y Pbmiiprx in terms of image sharpness. It’s great for gaming thanks to its high refresh rate of 170 hertz and is flexible enough to serve a variety of purposes.
The M27Q’s quick response time at both its maximum refresh and lower refresh rates contributes to its excellent motion handling. It also has an optional backlight strobing that operates in tandem with the VRR feature, though it is buggy and should only be used if your game’s frame rate is consistently high. In addition, you won’t experience any delays in response time due to input lag. The picture is sharp right out of the box, and it’s bright enough and has adequate reflection control for use in bright rooms without sacrificing picture quality.
The main drawback of this display is that the panel employs a BGR subpixel layout. While this has no effect on the picture quality as a whole, it does make some text appear hazy in applications that do not support the BGR subpixel layout. If this doesn’t bother you, then it’s the best 27-inch FreeSync monitor we’ve seen in this price range.
The 5 Best G-SYNC Monitors
ASUS ROG Swift PG279QM
We found the ASUS ROG Swift PG279QM to be the most impressive G-SYNC display available. It’s a fantastic display that provides an outstanding gaming experience. There is no discernible blurring of fast-moving objects thanks to the fast response time at any refresh rate, made possible by the monitor’s high refresh rate. In addition, the input lag is incredibly low, keeping you perfectly in step with what’s happening on screen at all times.
Sharing the screen with a friend is a breeze thanks to the monitor’s brilliant color reproduction, wide viewing angle support, and low glare when displaying SDR content. It’s HDR-compatible, and despite having a low contrast ratio, it displays bright game highlights accurately. Your favorite games will look vivid and lifelike thanks to its extremely wide color gamut, which covers nearly the entire DCI-P3 color space used by most modern HDR content.
Unfortunately, the local dimming feature is poor, and the gray, patchy blacks make this a poor choice for a completely dark room. Surprisingly, it doesn’t have a strobe effect for the backlight, either. In general, the screen is excellent for any purpose.
Dell Alienware AW2721D
The Dell Alienware AW2721D is a good alternative to the more expensive ASUS ROG Swift PG279QM. It’s a lot like the ASUS, but it’s not as flexible due to poor reflection handling and a slower 60Hz response time. With its low input lag and quick response time at the native refresh rate, it provides an excellent gaming experience. It’s got great connectivity, with a built-in USB hub for hooking up your gaming peripherals, two HDMI ports, and a DisplayPort for hooking up your computer and your consoles.
The ASUS is the best option for most people because it has more features, but the Dell is a great budget option that will also please most gamers.
Dell Alienware AW2521H
We found the Dell Alienware AW2521H to be the most impressive 360 Hz G-SYNC display available. With the optimal settings, it provides an excellent gaming experience, with minimal blur behind fast-moving objects and no distracting overshoot at the maximum refresh rate. Backlight strobing is an additional feature that can be used to create the illusion of movement.
The relatively low resolution isn’t great for multitasking or office use, but it’s perfect for fast-paced competitive gaming because it places less strain on your computer’s hardware. Naturally, it also supports G-SYNC variable refresh rate technology (VRR) natively, but in contrast to the vast majority of monitors, it is not compatible with FreeSync sources at all, making it a poor option for gamers using AMD graphics cards or consoles.
While it does support HDR, the overall quality isn’t great due to a lack of a wide color gamut and average HDR brightness. It also lacks local dimming and has a mediocre contrast ratio, so blacks look gray when viewed in the dark. NVIDIA Reflex is a proprietary feature that evaluates input latency and suggests fixes. This monitor is excellent for gaming and is sure to please even the most demanding esports competitors.
From our testing, the LG 34GP950G-B emerged as the best ultrawide G-SYNC display available. As a member of LG’s UltraGear family of gaming displays, it provides a top-notch gaming experience thanks to its ultra-low input lag, fast response time regardless of refresh rate, and G-SYNC compatibility. It works with AMD graphics cards and other FreeSync-compatible devices. Although it looks great on PC and mobile devices, console gamers will have to deal with black bars on the sides because their devices do not support the ultrawide aspect ratio.
You can see more of what’s going on in the game thanks to the ultrawide 21:9 aspect ratio, which also provides a more immersive viewing experience. Unfortunately, it does not have black frame insertion (BFI), which is a feature that strobes the backlight. Since it has such crisp motion to begin with, this isn’t too much of a letdown.
The monitor includes a USB hub with two USB 3.0 ports, allowing you to connect your various accessories, including wireless dongles, directly to the display. The black stabilizer feature improves visibility of objects in low-light environments, and a virtual crosshair or frame rate indicator can be superimposed on the screen. In general, this is a top-notch gaming monitor that will satisfy the needs of its intended audience.
To save money, you can look into the Dell Alienware AW3420DW instead of the LG 34GP950G-B. It’s also a 34-inch model, but the maximum refresh rate is lower, making motion less fluid. The resolution is the same (3440×1440), and the aspect ratio is the same (21:9). In addition to supporting G-SYNC variable refresh rate technology, its fast response time at maximum refresh rate, low input lag, and wide viewing angles all contribute to an excellent gaming experience. It works with FreeSync sources, such as an AMD graphics card, guaranteeing a nearly tear-free gaming experience from almost any source.
The LG is the superior option because of its higher refresh rate, faster response time, and support for high dynamic range (HDR). If you’re on a tighter budget, however, and can live with a few compromises, the Dell is a good option.
After considering everything, would you say that FreeSync or G-Sync better suits your requirements?
To put it plainly, you get what you pay for.
FreeSync’s primary benefit is that it’s included in monitors across the price spectrum, which is great news for gamers on a tight budget. As was previously mentioned, AMD graphics cards are the best option if you’re looking for a mid-range or budget option. Gamers on a tight budget would benefit greatly from a combination of a Radeon GPU and a FreeSync 144Hz monitor.
However, those who have invested in an Nvidia GPU will need to spend a little more to maximize the performance of their hardware. Although some Nvidia GPUs are compatible with FreeSync monitors, not all FreeSync monitors will function without issue when paired with an Nvidia GPU. However, if you’re an Nvidia user and don’t mind spending a little extra, G-Sync monitors are still your best bet.
Finally, while FreeSync is less expensive, it does not perform as well as G-Sync and lacks several features that G-Sync has. Having a high-quality G-Sync monitor is great if money is no object, but FreeSync is still a great option for those on a tighter budget, even if it isn’t always implemented as flawlessly as G-Sync is.