NVIDIA 'The Way It's Meant to Be Played' 2013 Press EventClayMeow - October 24, 2013
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When Day Two began, Jen-Hsun Huang promised something none of us had ever seen before. He was referring to G-Sync. Stutter, lag, and tearing are what he called the "bane of existence of gamers" – he likened it to hemorrhoids, foot fungus, and well, I'll spare you the details. Needless to say, whether you're a PC gamer or console gamer, you've more than likely experienced lag, stutter, and tearing at some point in your life. That is because, up until now the monitor and GPU have operated independently from one another. The GPU controls the drawing of the frames, while the monitor controls the refreshing of the screen (or scanning).
In a perfect world, the monitor refreshes when the frame is drawn and last frame updated, with no variation. Unfortunately, in most games your frame rate will be highly variable. If you turn v-sync on, the GPU will wait to draw the next frame until the current scan is complete, which can introduce lag and stutter when your FPS dips. If you turn v-sync off, you'll improve lag and stutter, but then you'll suffer from tearing. The charts below, provided by NVIDIA, illustrate these situations.
G-Sync is the game changer – quite literally! NVIDIA designed a module that communicates directly with Kepler GPUs. Monitors equipped with this G-Sync module have their timing controlled by the GPU – once the frame is done drawing, the Kepler GPU tells the G-Sync module to update the monitor. No stutter, less lag, and no tearing! Whereas current monitors have fixed refresh rates, G-Sync modules effectively have variable refresh rates. Four major gaming monitor manufacturers have already signed up: ASUS, BenQ, Philips, and ViewSonic.
Since the G-Sync monitors are designed to refresh with your frame rates, dips in FPS no longer affect your experience – it's all buttery smooth through and through. Words only go so far though. Seeing it in person was truly eye-opening. We were shown a live demonstration comparing a regular monitor to a G-Sync monitor with both an NVIDIA-made demo and the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot. You can watch a video I recorded of the whole thing, but keep in mind that the video is impacted by the limitations of my camera. While you'll be able to notice some clear differences during certain points of the demo, particularly when rotation is enabled on the pendulum demo, the difference was even more striking in person.
If you were considering getting a new monitor, I highly recommend holding off until these are available. According to a recent press release by ASUS, G-Sync monitors only have a $100 price premium over standard monitors.