If you have an NVIDIA graphics processing unit and want a monitor with a fast refresh rate, G-Sync is a must-have.
Many high-refresh-rate monitors, including those with rates of 144Hz and 240Hz, include a feature called G-Sync, which can improve performance.
But what exactly is G-Sync and, more importantly, is it worth the additional cost? Are there any viable alternatives?
It’s about to be revealed to you.
What Is G-Sync?
Let’s get down to first principles.
So, let’s start with V-Sync so we can get to G-Sync. As a quick summary, consider the following:
Screen tearing is an unpleasant visual effect caused by a mismatch between your monitor’s refresh rate and the framerate produced by your graphics card. V-sync is designed to prevent this by limiting the maximum number of frames that can pass between them.
While this may be adequate for 60Hz displays and low framerates, entering 144Hz territory can cause V-Sync to cause stuttering and input lag, neither of which you want in a monitor purchased for its performance. This is where adaptive sync comes into play.
Adaptive sync is a feature that allows the computer to talk to the display device in order to keep the refresh rate in sync with the game’s natural framerate fluctuations. This prevents the two from getting out of sync without limiting the frame rate. When it comes to G-Sync, all it is is Nvidia’s implementation of adaptive sync.
G-Sync system requirements
As has been the case for a long time, using a G-Sync monitor necessitates an Nvidia graphics card. Newer G-Sync displays support HDMI variable refresh rate under the “G-Sync Compatible” banner (more on that below), but you still need an Nvidia GPU like the recent RTX 3080 to fully benefit from G-Sync. You can use variable refresh rate with an AMD card, though not the full G-Sync module found in Nvidia cards. If your TV doesn’t have a G-Sync banner, you’ll need these other things:
- Video Card: GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST or later
- Transport Operator: R340.52 or higher
Laptops connected to G-Sync monitors
- Hardware Acceleration Unit: GeForce GTX 980M, GTX 970M, or GTX 965M GPU or later
- The minimum required salary for a driver in the United States is R340.52
Laptops with built-in G-Sync displays
- Graphics Processing Unit: GeForce GTX 980M, GTX 970M, or GTX 965M, or a later model
- A driver with at least R352.06
G-Sync vs. G-Sync Compatible vs. G-Sync Ultimate
Due to the hardware nature of G-Sync, only monitors with Nvidia’s proprietary board can be used to achieve certification. Thankfully, a wide variety of popular monitor brands, including Asus, Philips, BenQ, AOC, Samsung, and LG, all produce screens with G-Sync support.
There are currently three types of monitors that Nvidia recognizes: G-Sync Ultimate, G-Sync, and G-Sync Compatible. What follows is an explanation of each:
- 24-88 inch range
- Artifacts not validated.
- 24-38 inch range
- Artifacts not verified.
- Authentic 300 exams
- Varying from 27 to 65 inches
- found no artifacts to validate
- Authentic 300 exams
- highest resolution HDR
- 1000-nit radiance
If you want to enjoy 4K HDR on a G-Sync Ultimate display, you’ll need a powerful GeForce GPU. Although they are not inexpensive, they offer an unparalleled quality of service.
In contrast, G-Sync Compatible is a relatively new subcategory. Although these screens don’t feature Nvidia’s G-Sync hardware, they are capable of displaying frames at a variety of frame rates. AMD’s FreeSync is a competing technology for Radeon-branded GPUs that doesn’t require a proprietary scaler board, and it covers most displays that meet these criteria. When coupled with a GeForce GPU, Nvidia verifies that “no artifacts” appear on the screen. You can think of these screens as less expensive alternatives to G-Sync and G-Sync Ultimate screens.
Generally speaking, maximum refresh rates can be anywhere between 60 and 240 frames per second, with resolutions ranging from Full HD to 4K. You can find a comprehensive list of Nvidia-compatible displays on the company’s website. Prices can range from under a hundred dollars to more than a thousand, with the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q 27-inch monitor costing $698.
Since its inception in 2013, G-Sync has only been intended for use with monitors. The good news is that Nvidia is growing. As of last year, all LG OLED TVs manufactured after that date have been officially certified as G-Sync Compatible thanks to Nvidia’s collaboration with LG. For initial setup, Nvidia provides all the drivers and firmware you’ll need on its website. The following televisions are currently on the market and are G-Sync compatible:
- 50-, 65-, and 77-inch LG BX 2020.
- The 50-, 65-, and 77-inch LG CX 2020.
- 50-, 65-, and 77-inch LG GX 2020
- 50- and 65-inch LG B9 2019 models.
- The 2019 LG C9 comes in three sizes (50″, 65″, and 77″).
- The 2019 LG E9 comes in two different screen sizes, measuring 50 and 65 inches.
FreeSync: the G-Sync alternative
We’ve already mentioned that Adaptive-Sync was the inspiration for AMD’s FreeSync. Not using proprietary hardware is a key distinction. In its place, FreeSync-approved monitors use commercially available scaler boards to keep costs down. Besides a Radeon-branded GPU, no other AMD hardware is required to take advantage of FreeSync. In 2015, AMD included AdaptiveSync support.
FreeSync gives you greater flexibility in your choice of supported monitors without requiring any additional hardware. Therefore, FreeSync is an inexpensive option to devices that support G-Synch. The MG279Q by Asus costs about $100 less than the aforementioned ROG Swift monitor.
Each technological option has benefits, so it’s up to you to decide which is best. Various monitors and graphics cards are also available to improve your gaming experience. Discrepancies between the monitor and graphics processing unit are the cause of graphical hiccups, which FreeSync fixes.
Why Are G-Sync Monitors Expensive?
If you’ve done any research on G-Sync displays, you know that they’re almost always quite costly. However, why is that the case?
It’s important to note right off the bat that G-Sync is a hardware-based solution. A proprietary Nvidia scaler module must be installed in the monitor for this technology to function. This, of course, means that Nvidia has a monopoly on G-Sync, forcing monitor makers to charge more to cover the additional expenses associated with incorporating the technology.
In any case, this level of oversight is not always a bad thing to have. However, Nvidia’s hands-on approach and rigorous quality control guarantee that every G-Sync monitor is properly implemented and functions without a hitch.
What Other Choice Do You Have?
You may have noticed that AMD has its own version of adaptive sync, called FreeSync, if you’ve been looking at any of the cheaper 144Hz monitors.
By comparison, OEMs can save a lot of money by switching to FreeSync. Reason being, it is compatible with any third-party scaler module, and its installation necessitates a physical scaler module just like any other. There are, therefore, FreeSync monitors that cost less than G-Sync models, as well as other affordable models.
However, this also implies that there is less stringent quality control than with G-Sync. This means that quality can vary, and FreeSync typically only functions within a framerate range that is specified by the monitor manufacturer. If you decide to go with a FreeSync monitor instead, then you can find one that supports AMD’s FreeSync technology on their list.
Also, it’s worth noting that G-Sync and FreeSync are only compatible with Nvidia and AMD GPUs, respectively, and that not all GPUs from either company support adaptive sync.
Best G-Sync Monitor 2022
1. Viewsonic XG270QG
The Elite XG270Q from Viewsonic is a top-notch G-Sync gaming display. There’s a 27-inch 1440p display and a genuine G-Sync module that supports refresh rates from 1 to 165 hertz. As a result, playing the game is a breeze.
The image and construction quality of the monitor are also noteworthy. It employs a Nano IPS panel, which boasts a wide color gamut, excellent color accuracy, and high peak brightness (though it doesn’t support HDR). It’s a great monitor that doesn’t scream “I’m a gaming monitor!” like some of its competitors do. Up to three wired USB-A devices can be connected to the monitor and used as a hub.
Among high-end G-Sync monitors, the ViewSonic Elite XG270QG is one of the more reasonably priced options. The XG270Q, which is nearly identical but costs about $200 less, may be the better option for shoppers on a tight budget. However, the monitor is only G-Sync compatible and lacks a Nano IPS display.
2. Asus VG248QG
The Asus VG248QG demonstrates that a high-quality gaming experience does not require a astronomical price tag. To keep the price of this 23.8-inch, 1080p, 165Hz TN panel monitor under $200, it uses a cheaper TN panel. To put it another way, it costs only slightly more than a standard 24-inch, 60Hz office monitor.
This screen meets the minimum requirements of the G-Sync standard, so you can use it with this monitor. The monitor, however, allows for frame rates anywhere from 48 fps to 144 fps. Most games can run smoothly with a graphics card as fast as the Nvidia GTX 1650.
What’s the catch? The image isn’t very clear, and you can only see so much of the screen at once. However, low-income competitive gamers won’t care because they care more about motion clarity than visual fidelity.
3. Acer Predator XB253Q GW
For a reliable and affordable 1080p gaming monitor, we continue to recommend the Acer Predator XB253Q GW. Because of the high standard of its pictures, it easily wins our recommendation. The monitor has excellent color fidelity, smooth motion, and decent contrast (for an IPS panel).
This display is G-Sync compatible, meaning it is capable of running at the bare minimum requirements of the G-Sync specification. G-Sync compatibility is guaranteed for refresh rates between 50 and 240 Hz. Unfortunately, only the priciest 1080p monitors feature the necessary dedicated hardware modules to support G-Sync, limiting your options. Running games at 1080p isn’t particularly demanding, so the 50Hz minimum on G-Sync compatibility shouldn’t be an issue for most games.
This screen is as solid as a tank and comes with a sturdy base. Two USB Type-A ports are located on the side bezel, and two more are located on the back, for a total of four USB ports.
4. Alienware AW2721D
The Alienware AW2721D is a great gaming monitor that came close to dethroning the Viewsonic XG270QG. Although the AW2721D is a fantastic alternative, the Viewsonic won out due to its lower price.
This screen has been tested and verified as Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate compliant. It’s HDR-ready and works with G-Sync at refresh rates from 1 to 240 Hz. All games, at all times, will have fluid gameplay thanks to this. Although having HDR support is a plus, the monitor’s performance in HDR is subpar due to its low peak brightness of 450 nits.
Image quality still appears excellent and is on par with that of the Viewsonic XG270QG. The Alienware stands out visually and performs admirably for its price range. Two USB Type-A ports can be used with wired gaming accessories.
5. Asus ROG Swift PG32UQ
The Asus ROG Swift PG32UQ is one of the few great 4K monitors that is in stock, affordable, and officially certified by G-Sync. The image quality of this 32-inch 4K monitor is extraordinary, both in terms of sharpness and brightness and color saturation. The monitor’s high maximum brightness and impressive color performance make HDR gaming more exciting.
This is a G-Sync-ready display with a refresh rate of between 48 and 144 hertz (Hz). When playing at low framerates, this monitor’s high native resolution makes it more likely that you’ll notice problems. Luckily, this is avoidable by investing in a far superior monitor, such as the Asus ROG Swift PG32UQX.
This monitor has a massive, sturdy stand and a high standard of construction. There are only two USB Type-A ports for wired gaming peripherals, which is a bit on the bare side.
6. Samsung Odyssey G7 27-inch
A player can use either AMD FreeSync or Nvidia G-Sync without compromising on framerate. The Odyssey G7 from Samsung demonstrates that it is possible to have both in a single high-quality screen. This monitor’s image quality is top-notch for its class, and it works flawlessly with AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.
This display supports G-Sync. able to work with a refresh rate of anywhere between 60 and 240 Hz without any issues. A fast video card is recommended alongside this monitor due to its relatively high minimum spec. Fans of Nvidia will want to know that the 32-inch model has a higher minimum of 80Hz, but the smaller monitor is better suited for use with G-Sync.
The Odyssey G7 from Samsung is a screen that stands out even when it’s turned off. Aside from its attractive design and sturdy construction, its aggressive curve makes for an immersive gaming experience. Two USB Type-A ports are available on the monitor for use with wired devices.
7. Alienware AW3821DW
If you need an ultrawide G-Sync display, look no further than the Alienware AW3821DW. This ultrawide monster monitor is 38 inches in size and features 3,840 by 1,600 resolution, good color performance, a bright maximum brightness, and smooth motion for a display of this size.
In addition to supporting G-Sync at refresh rates between 1 and 144 Hz, this monitor also features High Dynamic Range (HDR). The monitor performs admirably in High Dynamic Range (HDR) and gives HDR-compatible games a vivid appearance.
The legendary Alienware build quality shines brightly here. Depending on the layout of your desk or gaming sanctum, you may need to make some adjustments to accommodate this massive and heavy monitor. Disappointingly, the monitor only has two USB ports, but they support the faster and more powerful USB 3.2 Gen 1 standard (most monitors use USB 3.0 or 3.1).
8. Asus ROG Swift PG259QN
When it comes to 360-hertz gaming monitors, nobody does it better than Asus and their ROG Swift PG259QN. This 24.5-inch 1080p display offers excellent picture quality and a lightning-fast refresh rate of 360 hertz. The end result is like having something permanently fastened to your head.
Since G-Sync is supported at all refresh rates (1-360 Hz) on this monitor, it is safe to say that it is a true G-Sync display. If you’re looking for a monitor that works with G-Sync, that’s the most flexible one you’ll find. The end result is buttery-smooth gameplay that reliably puts your Nvidia graphics card to its maximum potential.
The PG259QN may be small, but it is unmistakably a high-quality display. The stand is big and sturdy, and the overall construction is top-notch. Two USB ports are included in the monitor for use with wired accessories, but they are located at the back and may be inconvenient for some users to reach.
9. Asus ROG Swift PG32UQX
In 2021, the pricy Asus ROG Swift PG32UQX was widely considered to be the best monitor for video games. Its Mini-LED backlight improves on previous IPS gaming monitors’ dark scene performance and contrast ratio. When compared to rival HDR solutions, it also excels far beyond them. Playability in motion is fine but not spectacular. The emphasis of this screen is on immersive visuals rather than instantaneous response.
The G-Sync Ultimate certification means that the monitor will work with any refresh rate from 1 to 144 Hz, and it also supports High Dynamic Range. This is crucial, as the 4K resolution of this monitor is beyond the capabilities of the vast majority of video cards. The PG32UQX is able to take advantage of HDR, which is not the case with most G-Sync Ultimate displays. You can’t buy a better HDR gaming monitor right now.
The ridiculousness of the quality of the construction cannot be overstated. It’s a big, bulky monitor with a secondary, tiny screen that shows stats like GPU temperature and framerate. One of the three USB ports is located at the top and is designed to accommodate a webcam.
10. LG C2 OLED Evo
For video gaming, the LG C2 OLED Evo has essentially replaced all others. The strong support for the newest gaming standards and the high quality of the displayed images are two major factors in this popularity. LG’s C2 OLED is compatible with HDMI 2.1, as well as Adaptive Sync, FreeSync, and G-Sync.
The screen is G-Sync-ready. There is official support for refresh rates between 40Hz and 120Hz when using G-Sync. Even though true G-Sync would’ve been preferable, this still gives you a lot of flexibility in your refresh rate settings. True G-Sync on a display as large as the LG C2 OLED Evo’s is extremely unusual and, when it is found, usually comes at a much higher price.
The LG C2 OLED Evo’s connectivity options are different from the other displays here because it’s a television and not a monitor. It has four HDMI ports that are compatible with HDMI 2.1, but no DisplayPort. There are only two USB ports, but they’re for input rather than output.
Conclusion – Is G-Sync Worth It?
Given this, would you recommend spending the extra money on G-Sync?
You’re pretty much out of luck if you’re an Nvidia user who has their heart set on a 144Hz or 240Hz display. FreeSync is the cheaper option, but it’s only compatible with AMD GPUs (just like G-Sync is only compatible with Nvidia GPUs), and G-Sync generally performs better and has no framerate caps.
If you’re looking to upgrade your monitor or purchase a new graphics card but are limited financially, we recommend an AMD GPU and a FreeSync monitor for the best 144Hz gaming experience.
If you’re willing to spend some cash, the best gaming experience you can get right now involves a more powerful Nvidia GPU and a G-Sync monitor.