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NVIDIA Graphics Cards Now Compatible with FreeSync/Adaptive-Sync

January 29, 2019

Each year, top technology companies around the globe congregate at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) to announce the latest in tech innovations and breakthroughs. CES 2019, in Las Vegas, NV, was no different with a monumental number of announcements.

NVIDIA Founder, President and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang at CES

NVIDIA Founder, President and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang at CES

There is, however, one announcement, in particular, we’d like to shed a little more light on. This announcement came from NVIDIA regarding G-Sync compatibility on gaming monitors. NVIDIA’s graphic card will now support numerous FreeSync and Adaptive-Sync monitors with their new driver update.

After passing NVIDIA’s rigorous testing, select monitors will become validated and join the “G-Sync compatible” list. Few have made the cut, but that doesn’t mean that your monitor won’t be able to run G-Sync technology, or that you have to wait for the final testing results to come out. Thankfully, NVIDIA has allowed users to test this out on their own as NVIDIA evaluates more monitors and updates their list.

So, what does this mean for your monitor? How do you enable “G-Sync compatible” manually?

First, let’s begin with a few key points about this announcement:   

1. NVIDIA announced that on January 15, 2019, they were going to release a GeForce Driver 417.71 that would be able to take advantage of the DP (DisplayPort) protocol of VRR (Variable Refresh Rate).
2. Using the DP protocol for VRR, VESA’s DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync Protocol enables G-Sync across almost all monitors that have the DisplayPort’s Adaptive-Sync.

(To download the GeForce Driver 417.71, please go to the GeForce Website.)

In simple terms, NVIDIA announced that a new driver for their GTX 10 and 20 Series Graphics cards will enable G-Sync on almost all Adaptive-Sync monitors.

In the past, you had to choose between NVIDIA G-Sync monitors (with a chip) OR an Adaptive-Sync (non-chip) monitor—which are mostly FreeSync certified. Here’s the list.

The specialized chip, produced by NVIDIA, increased the cost of G-Sync monitors.

This cost was unfortunately then passed down to gamers.

In a spectacular 180, the chip will no longer be required for G-Sync to be enabled on Adaptive-Sync (FreeSync) monitors. This means, most FreeSync monitors will be able to run G-Sync via your NVIDIA GPU and the new driver update!

A more technical takeaway of the announcement:

1. Most monitors with Sync Capabilities will be able to work with the G-Sync Driver Version 417.71
2. The ones that NVIDIA validates will be enabled with G-Sync by default.
3. Compatible monitors that are not validated just need the function to be turned on in the control panel after download.
4. The driver only supports G-Sync on DisplayPort Connections (DP Cable, no HDMI support)
5. There is only driver support on GTX 10 and 20 Series Graphics cards

For an advanced explanation on how the technology works, as well as a list of ViewSonic monitors that work with the Driver update, keep reading below. (Or click here to go to the list)

Benefits of Sync Technology Driver

G-Sync from NVIDIA, FreeSync from AMD, and Adaptive-Sync from DisplayPort, pretty much follow the same principles when implementing Variable Refresh Rate technology. VRR tech slows down or speeds up parts of the screen to make sure that the complete image will appear at once - avoiding image tearing or artifacts while in game.

For immersive games that do not need particularly high frame rates, sync technology allows for reduced image tearing.

However, this comes at a cost.

Slowing down images can reduce your frame rate, and in scenarios where you need as many of your frames as possible, Sync capabilities can affect speed.

Which is why it is never used in professional level competitive gaming situations. (Pros turn sync tech off).

ViewSonic Support from NVIDIA Graphic Cards

ViewSonic carries both FreeSync and G-Sync products, so how should you navigate our product pages?

We at ViewSonic have done in-house testing on our products and welcome the community to test our monitors as well!

ViewSonic Elite XG240R gaming monitor

ViewSonic Elite XG240R Gaming Monitor

If you currently own a ViewSonic Gaming Monitor, we appreciate the support!  If your monitor is not listed below, it does not mean G-Sync will not work on your monitor. Follow the instructions below and most likely you may be able to enable G-Sync if the monitor has FreeSync or Adaptive-Sync.

Below are the XG Series monitors that we have confirmed to work with the driver update:

XG350R-C

XG3240C

XG2401

XG2701

XG2402

XG2730

XG240R

XG3220

XG2530

To enable G-Sync, follow these steps:

1. Require a 10-series graphics card or higher.
2. Install the new GeForce Driver Version 417.71 from the GeForce Website.
3. Make sure you are using a DisplayPort Connection.
4. Enable the Adaptive Sync or FreeSync in monitor's OSD settings.
5. Select the NVIDIA Control Panel -> Display -> Setup G-Sync -> Enable G-Sync, G-Sync Compatible and then click apply. Now, G-Sync is available!

G-SYNC-Settings

Different Levels of NVIDIA G-Sync Experiences

NVIDIA G-Sync Driver Support can be broken down into four segments each of which will be supported by the new driver to different extents.

a.       Non-Validated: Sync-Capable Monitor that NVIDIA hasn’t approved yet but can work with their driver

        i. Variable Refresh Rate

        ii. Flicker-Free, Little Blanking, Little Artifacts

        iii. Default Off

b.      G-Sync Compatible: Non-G-Sync monitor that NVIDIA has approved to work with their Driver

        i. Variable Refresh Rate

        ii. Flicker-Free, Little Blanking, Little Artifacts

        iii. Default On

c.       G-Sync Premium: Monitor that is developed using NVIDIA Chipset

        i. 300+ Image Quality Test

        ii. Variable Refresh Rate

        iii. Variable Overdrive

        iv. Factory Color Calibration

        v. ULMB & Overclocking

        vi. NVIDA G-Sync Processor

d.      G-Sync Ultimate HDR: Monitor Capable of at least HDR600 and would require NVIDIA R3 Chipset

        i. 1000+ Nits Max Brightness

        ii. Very High Resolution + Very High Hertz Refresh Rate

        iii. Ultra Low Latency

        iv. Multi-Zone Backlight

        v. Wide Color Gamut

        vi. NVIDA G-Sync Processor

To see a list of G-Sync and G-Sync compatible monitors, please visit NVIDIA’s website.

ViewSonic-ELITE-with-NVIDIA

Here at ViewSonic Elite, we appreciate what NVIDIA has done with the driver update, opening up support, as this is finally introducing a wider range of monitor features for those customers who are already using GTX Series 10 & 20.