G-Sync is a proprietary adaptive sync technology developed by Nvidia aimed primarily at eliminating screen tearing and the need for software alternatives such as Vsync. G-Sync eliminates screen tearing by allowing a video display’s refresh rate to adapt to the frame rate of the outputting device (graphics card/integrated graphics) rather than the outputting device adapting to the display, which could traditionally be refreshed halfway through the process of a frame being output by the device, resulting in screen tearing, or two or more frames being shown at once. In order for a device to use G-Sync, it must contain a proprietary G-Sync module sold by Nvidia. AMD has released a similar technology for displays, called FreeSync, which has the same function as G-Sync yet is royalty-free.
FreeSync is an adaptive synchronization technology for liquid-crystal and OLED displays that support a variable refresh rate, aimed at avoiding tearing and reducing stuttering caused by misalignment between the screen’s refresh rate and the content’s frame rate.FreeSync was developed by AMD and first announced in 2014 to compete against Nvidia’s proprietary G-Sync.It is royalty-free, free to use, and has no performance penalty.
G-Sync has been around longer and is generally regarded as being more mature tech. There are a few essential advantages it has over the competition:
Though both technologies perform very similarly at higher frame rates, G-Sync does appear to have an advantage at rates below the display’s stated minimum refresh. FreeSync monitors in this scenario tend to have issues with frame stutter.
Since G-Sync is compatible only with NVIDIA cards and NVIDIA currently holds a large market share advantage over the competition, it’s more likely that a G-Sync monitor will be more applicable to you and your current gaming PC.
With the required display module, G-Sync tends to require less hardware power on the PC side. The difference isn’t major, but it does mean a lesser NVIDIA graphics card will provide similar adaptive refresh performance to its AMD counterpart.
Because of the openness of AMD’s model, FreeSync’s primary advantage is the wider availability of compatible displays. While G-Sync is usually relegated to the most high-end gaming monitors only, FreeSync monitors come in mid and entry level options too.
Which of the two is better – G-Sync or FreeSync?
With very little differentiation in the technologies, the choice really comes down to brand preference. Remember, though any monitor will work regardless of the graphics card, support of G-Sync or FreeSync requires NVIDIA or AMD graphics respectively. The choice of which is really up to you.