Amd freesync monitor: Introducing AMD FreeSync™ Premium and AMD FreeSync…

How to Enable Nvidia G-Sync on AMD FreeSync Monitors

At CES 2019, Nvidia announced its software-based version of G-Sync that extended VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) support for Nvidia GPUs on AMD FreeSync monitors. However, initial impressions were a tad bit underwhelming as the company validated only a handful of FreeSync panels that can run G-Sync to its full extent, without resorting to any major compatibility issues.

Now comes the question: is it possible to activate Nvidia’s Adaptive-Sync technology on a FreeSync display that hasn’t been certified as G-Sync Compatible? Let’s find out!

How Nvidia G-Sync Works on AMD FreeSync Monitors

To maintain exclusivity of its proprietary Adaptive-Sync solution, Nvidia’s G-Sync technology has been categorized across three different tiers: G-Sync, G-Sync Compatible, and G-Sync Ultimate. While both G-Sync and G-Sync Ultimate monitors feature a dedicated module to drive VRR, G-Sync Compatible monitors are essentially FreeSync panels that have been validated by Nvidia to run G-Sync through its rigorous testing methodology.

Trait

G-Sync Ultimate

G-Sync

G-Sync Compatible

Validated for Artifact-Free Experience

Yes

Yes

Yes

Certified with 300+ Image Quality Tests

Yes

Yes

No

Certified for “Likelike HDR” (~1000 nits Brightness with HDR)

Yes

No

No

Variable Overdrive Support

Yes

Yes

No

Ultra-Low Motion Blur & Overclocking Support

Yes

Yes

No

In case you’re wondering, Nvidia’s G-Sync Compatibility program, which was introduced back in 2019, aims to certify a wide range of FreeSync monitors based on specific parameters. For starters, every G-Sync Compatible monitor should be able to deliver a baseline VRR experience without incurring any visual artifacts such as pulsing, flickering, blanking, or ghosting.

Furthermore, the retroactive program also validates whether a FreeSync display can operate across a VRR range of at least 2.4:1. Such calculations are performed by dividing the maximum refresh rate of a monitor to its minimum refresh rate within the VRR range.

For instance, if your FreeSync monitor supports a wide VRR range of 48-144Hz, which is greater than Nvidia’s recommended value of 2.4, G-Sync functionality should be enabled right out-of-the-box. However, if the minimum VRR range went up to 75Hz, which does not comply with Nvidia’s VRR threshold, the display loses an official “G-Sync Compatible” certification.

As of November 2022, Nvidia has validated over 150 FreeSync monitors that can run G-Sync at an adequate VRR range. For more information, check out Nvidia’s official list of FreeSync monitors that have been certified as G-Sync Compatible.

Although official G-Sync Compatibility has its perks on quite a few occasions, it is possible to drive Nvidia’s Adaptive-Sync solution on most non-certified FreeSync monitors, provided that you possess the right set of hardware. Since both FreeSync and G-Sync technologies support VESA’s (Video Electronics Standards Association) Adaptive-Sync protocol, any limitations that you might face are based solely on the manufacturing standards.

Nvidia G-Sync on AMD FreeSync Monitors: Setup and Compatibility

Unlike AMD’s FreeSync implementation, which works on both HDMI and DisplayPort (over USB Type-C as well), Nvidia’s proprietary Adaptive-Sync solution seems somewhat limited in terms of connectivity. For G-Sync to work on a FreeSync display, ensure that your system meets the following requirements:

  • Connection Options: DisplayPort 1.2 (or higher) for AMD FreeSync monitors. HDMI 2.0/2.1 support for G-Sync Compatible TVs and BFGD (Big Format Gaming Displays).
  • Supported Graphics Cards: Nvidia GeForce GTX 10/16-Series and RTX 20/30/40-Series GPUs.
  • Driver Support: GeForce Game Ready Driver Version 417.71 (or newer).
  • Operating System: Windows 10/11 (64-bit)

To enable G-Sync functionality on a FreeSync monitor that lacks Nvidia’s official certification, follow the walkthrough below.

First, download and Install the latest GeForce Game Ready Drivers from Nvidia’s official Driver Downloads page. Alternatively, it is possible to update your GPU drivers by using Nvidia’s own software suite: GeForce Experience.

After installing the latest GPU drivers, restart your PC and check whether FreeSync (Basic or Extended) has been enabled from the monitor’s OSD (On-Screen Display).

For G-Sync Compatible monitors, G-Sync should be enabled by default when FreeSync has been activated from the monitor’s OSD. However, if you are using a non-certified FreeSync display, you might need to change additional settings inside the Nvidia Control Panel. Right-click on the desktop and select NVIDIA Control Panel from the drop-down menu.

Inside the NVIDIA Control Panel, go to Manage 3D settings and look for Monitor Technology under the Global Settings tab. Set G-SYNC Compatible as the preferred option.

On an additional note, check whether Preferred refresh rate has been set to Highest available. Doing so allows your FreeSync monitor to take advantage of its maximum refresh rate.

For an optimal G-Sync experience, we recommend using V-Sync along with G-Sync to eliminate screen tearing when the frame rate goes above the VRR range. Under Global Settings, scroll down to the bottom of the list and set Vertical sync to On. Click on Apply to save your changes.

(Note: When playing a game, ensure that in-game V-Sync has been disabled. Doing so allows V-Sync to work in tandem with G-Sync at the driver level.)

After modifying these settings, click on Set up G-SYNC under the Display tab. In case you’re using multiple monitors, select your primary display and click on the checkbox, right next to Enable G-SYNC, G-SYNC Compatible.

Since most non-certified FreeSync monitors suffer from major flickering issues when running G-Sync in windowed mode, it is advisable to enable G-Sync functionality exclusively for full screen mode. When you’re done making these changes, click on the checkbox next to Enable settings for the selected display model and then on Apply to save your preferences.

That’s it! G-Sync should now be enabled on your FreeSync monitor.

To test whether G-Sync is working properly on your FreeSync display, download and install Nvidia’s G-SYNC Pendulum demo, a handy tool that can help demonstrate the benefits of Adaptive-Sync technology. Consider switching between No Vsync and G-SYNC to better understand the purpose of G-Sync in synchronizing your monitor’s refresh rate with the frame rate of your GPU.

Now, one of the major concerns for PC gamers when using V-Sync alongside G-Sync is the introduction of input lag. Not only does it contribute to additional system latency but also affects the overall experience by a significant margin.

To reduce any V-Sync level input lag while gaming on a FreeSync display, set the maximum frame rate to three frames below the monitor’s refresh rate. For a 144Hz monitor, an FPS cap of 141 should be good enough for consistent frame pacing across the board.

If your game doesn’t include an internal FPS limiter, try using an external frame rate limiter such as RTSS (Rivatuner Statistics Server) or Nvidia’s Max Frame Rate option inside the Control Panel.

Get a Smooth, Tear-Free Gaming Experience With Nvidia G-Sync

Despite Nvidia’s claims about a suboptimal gaming experience when running G-Sync on non-certified FreeSync panels, we found little to no difference between both variants. Besides exclusive features such as ULMB (Ultra Low Motion Blur) and Variable Overdrive support, Nvidia GPUs tend to provide a similar VRR experience as AMD GPUs on most FreeSync monitors.

Instead of going for a premium G-Sync monitor, you can save a large portion of your budget by opting for a FreeSync (Premium/Premium Pro) display that will deliver the best of both worlds.

What Is AMD FreeSync? FreeSync, FreeSync Premium and FreeSync Premium Pro Explained

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 FreeSync off vs. FreeSync on (Image credit: AMD)

AMD FreeSync is a technology found on specific gaming monitors, gaming laptops and TVs to help fight screen tearing, stuttering and input latency (the time between when you move your best gaming mouse and when the cursor actually moves) during fast-paced games and video. 

Introduced in 2015, FreeSync is AMD’s alternative to Nvidia G-Sync and requires an AMD (including third-party branded) graphics card. There are over 2,000 FreeSync-certified displays as of June 2022. The feature comes in three tiers: FreeSync, FreeSync Premium and FreeSync Premium Pro.  

FreeSync vs. FreeSync Premium vs. FreeSync Premium Pro

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There are three types of FreeSync: FreeSync, FreeSync Premium (announced in January 2020) and FreeSync Premium Pro (renamed from FreeSync 2 HDR in January 2020).  

Swipe to scroll horizontally

FreeSync FreeSync Premium FreeSync Premium Pro
Tear-free At least 120Hz at FHD resolution HDR support
Low flicker Low framerate compensation (LFC) At least 120Hz at FHD resolution
Low latency Tear-free Low framerate compensation (LFC)
Row 3 – Cell 0 Low flicker Tear-free
Row 4 – Cell 0 Low latency in SDR Low flicker
Row 5 – Cell 0 Row 5 – Cell 1 Low latency in SDR and HDR

You can find a list of every FreeSync monitor here.

How Does FreeSync Work? 

FreeSync fights screen tearing.  (Image credit: AMD)

Screen tearing is an unwelcome effect (see photo above) that makes the on-screen image look disjointed. It’s the result of the game’s frame rate (the rate at which the game displays frames) failing to match the display’s refresh rate (the frequency at which the display redraws the screen). FreeSync displays have a dynamic refresh rate (also known as a variable refresh rate or VRR), allowing it to sync its minimum and maximum refresh rates with the frame rate of the system’s AMD Radeon graphics card. That refresh rate range, known as the FreeSync range, can go as high as the monitor’s maximum refresh rate. However, if you seek max frame rates that are greater than your monitor’s refresh rate, you may still see some tearing.

All versions of FreeSync are based on VESA’s Adaptive-Sync protocol, so it works over DisplayPort (which also works over USB Type-C) and HDMI ports. For a display to be FreeSync-certified, it must pass AMD’s testing process, which looks at its Adaptive-Sync support range, brightness, color range and more.

The best gaming monitors typically come with either a flavor of FreeSync or G-Sync. Some general use and professional monitors also use one of these types of Adaptive-Sync, as well as certain laptops and TVs (more on these below). 

FreeSync vs. G-Sync

FreeSync is AMD’s take on Adaptive-Sync, similar to Nvidia’s G-Sync. Just like you need an AMD GPU to use FreeSync, you need an Nvidia GPU (it could also be third-party branded) to use G-Sync.

One key difference is that in addition to DisplayPort (which also works over USB-C), FreeSync works with HDMI. G-Sync only works with DisplayPort, with the exception of LG’s G-Sync Compatible TVs, which work over an HDMI connection to a supported PC. For a look at which port is better for gaming, see our DisplayPort vs. HDMI analysis. 

Performance-wise, we’ve found negligible discrepancies between standard FreeSync and G-Sync. For a detailed exploration of the performance differences, see our FreeSync vs. G-Sync article.

FreeSync is built on an open standard, and display makers don’t have to pay AMD a licensing fee or for hardware modules to incorporate it. Contrastingly, to use G-Sync, monitor makers have to pay for Nvidia’s proprietary chip, which replaces the scaler they’d typically buy. As a result, FreeSync monitors are usually cheaper than G-Sync ones. However, Nvidia is fighting back with G-Sync Compatible monitors, which are certified to run G-Sync despite lacking the hardware as a standard G-Sync display. Many G-Sync Compatible displays are also FreeSync-certified, and we’ve found that numerous FreeSync monitors can also run G-Sync Compatibility even though they’re not certified to do so. To learn how, check out our instructions for how to run G-Sync on a FreeSync monitor. 

FreeSync Premium

While all types of FreeSync fight against screen tearing, flickering and low latency, FreeSync Premium kicks things a notch up by requiring a 120Hz refresh rate or greater when operating at FHD, aka 1080p (1920 x 1080), resolution. It also adds low frame rate compensation (LFC). With LFC, if your game’s frame rate drops below the monitor’s lowest supported refresh rate, frames automatically display multiple times. This means you’ll stay in your monitor’s supported refresh rate range and, therefore, maintain smooth gameplay. 

There are currently more than 300 FreeSync Premium monitors, according to AMD.

FreeSync Premium Pro

FreeSync Premium Pro, known as FreeSync 2 HDR until January, targets those with HDR content (for HDR recommendations, see our article on choosing the best HDR monitor). 

A FreeSync Premium Pro display should differ from a non-FreeSync HDR monitor by offering lower input latency by having games tone map directly to the display, circumnavigating large in-between steps. It also promises over 400 nits brightness with HDR. 

And like FreeSync Premium, FreeSync Premium Pro automatically activates LFC if the game’s frame rate dips below the monitor’s refresh rate.  

Gamers should note that not all games support FreeSync Premium Pro. Here’s every game that works with FreeSync Premium Pro.

What You Need to Run FreeSync

To use any form of FreeSync, you need a FreeSync-certified display and a PC with an AMD graphics card or APU. Alternatively, you can pair a FreeSync display with an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S (no PlayStations). 

For PC gamers, your system will need a DisplayPort, (which also works over USB-C) or HDMI connection, plus the compatible Radeon Software graphics driver. Supported graphics are all AMD GPUs, including third-party branded ones, from 2012 (Radeon HD 7000) and on and any AMD Ryzen-series APU. 

To use a PC monitor’s FreeSync, you have to turn it on in AMD Radeon Settings software.

To use FreeSync, you have to turn it on via software.  (Image credit: AMD)

For FreeSync TVs, you have to turn on its Game Mode by entering the Settings menu. 

FreeSync Laptops

Some laptops running AMD graphics have FreeSync built into the display. They’ll say so on their spec sheet. 

In addition, any laptop with an RX 500-series or newer GPU supports external FreeSync monitors. 

Here’s a list of every FreeSync laptop

FreeSync TVs

Samsung has dozens of TVs with FreeSync. Of course, you could pair these displays with a gaming PC, but they primarily target those with an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S, which both also support FreeSync (sorry, PlayStation fans). 

You turn on a TV’s FreeSync function by activating the Game Mode in its Settings menu. 

Here is every FreeSync TV currently available.  

This article is part of the Tom’s Hardware Glossary.

Further reading:

  • AMD FreeSync vs. Nvidia G-Sync
  • Best Gaming Monitors
  • Best 4K Gaming Monitors
  • PC Monitor Buying Guide

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Scharon Harding has a special affinity for gaming peripherals (especially monitors), laptops and virtual reality. Previously, she covered business technology, including hardware, software, cyber security, cloud and other IT happenings, at Channelnomics, with bylines at CRN UK.

Playing Nvidia G-Sync on an AMD FreeSync

Monitor How Nvidia G-Sync Works on AMD FreeSync Monitors

To maintain the exclusivity of its own Adaptive-Sync solution, Nvidia G-Sync technology has been divided into three categories: G-Sync, G-Sync Compatible, and G-Sync Ultimate. While G-Sync and G-Sync Ultimate monitors feature a dedicated VRR control module, G-Sync compatible monitors are essentially FreeSync panels that have been validated by Nvidia to run G-Sync through a rigorous testing methodology. In case you’re wondering, Nvidia’s G-Sync Compatibility program, which was introduced back in 2019year, aims to certify a wide range of FreeSync monitors based on certain parameters. First, every G-Sync compatible monitor must provide a base level of VRR without any visual artifacts such as ripple, flicker, blanking, or ghosting. In addition, the retroactive program also checks if the FreeSync display can operate in a VRR range of at least 2.4:1. Such calculations are made by dividing the monitor’s maximum refresh rate by its minimum refresh rate in the VRR range. For example, if your FreeSync monitor supports a wide VRR range of 48 to 144Hz, which exceeds Nvidia’s recommended value of 2.4, G-Sync should be enabled right after installation. However, if the minimum VRR range reaches 75Hz, which does not meet Nvidia’s VRR threshold, the display loses the official “G-Sync Compatible” certification. As of November 2022, Nvidia has tested over 150 FreeSync monitors that can run G-Sync in an adequate VRR range. For more information, check out the official list of Nvidia FreeSync monitors certified as G-Sync compatible. While there are benefits to official G-Sync compatibility in many cases, Nvidia’s Adaptive-Sync solution can be used on most non-FreeSync certified monitors, provided you have the right hardware set. Because FreeSync and G-Sync support the VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association) Adaptive-Sync protocol, any limitations you may encounter are based solely on industry standards.

Nvidia G-Sync on AMD FreeSync Monitors: Setup and Compatibility

Unlike AMD’s FreeSync implementation, which works over both HDMI and DisplayPort (including USB Type-C), Nvidia’s own Adaptive-Sync solution seems somewhat limited in terms of connectivity. For G-Sync to work on a FreeSync display, make sure your system meets the following requirements:

  • Connection options: DisplayPort 1.2 (or higher) for AMD FreeSync monitors. HDMI 2.0/2.1 support for G-Sync compatible TVs and BFGD (Large Format Gaming Displays).
  • Supported graphics cards: Nvidia GeForce GTX 10/16 series and RTX 20/30/40 series GPUs.
  • Driver support: GeForce Game Ready driver version 417.71 (or later).
  • Operating system: Windows 10/11 (64-bit)

Follow the step-by-step guide below to enable G-Sync on a FreeSync monitor that is not officially certified by Nvidia.

First, download and install the latest GeForce Game Ready drivers from the official Nvidia driver download page. Alternatively, you can update your GPU drivers using Nvidia’s own software suite: GeForce Experience. After installing the latest GPU drivers, restart your computer and check if FreeSync (Basic or Advanced) is enabled in the monitor’s OSD menu.

For G-Sync compatible monitors, G-Sync should be enabled by default when FreeSync is enabled from the monitor’s OSD menu. However, if you’re using a non-FreeSync certified display, you may need to change advanced settings in the Nvidia Control Panel. Right-click on the desktop and select NVIDIA Control Panel from the drop-down menu. In the NVIDIA Control Panel, go to “Manage 3D Settings” and find “Monitor Technology” under the “Global Settings” tab. Set G-SYNC Compatible as your preferred option.

As a side note, check if the Preferred Refresh Rate is set to Highest Available. This allows your FreeSync monitor to use its maximum refresh rate.

For optimal G-Sync performance, we recommend using V-Sync in conjunction with G-Sync to eliminate screen tearing when the frame rate exceeds the VRR range. In the Global Settings section, scroll down to the bottom of the list and set Vertical Sync to On. Click “Apply” to save the changes.

(Note: Make sure the in-game V-Sync is disabled while playing. This will allow V-Sync to work in tandem with G-Sync at the driver level.)

After changing these settings, click “Configure G-SYNC” in the “Display” tab. If you’re using multiple monitors, select your primary display and check the box next to Enable G-SYNC, G-SYNC Compatible. Since most uncertified FreeSync monitors suffer from serious flickering issues when running G-Sync in windowed mode, it is recommended that you enable G-Sync for full screen mode only. When you’re done making these changes, check the box next to “Enable settings for the selected display model” and then “Apply” to save the settings.

That’s it! G-Sync should now be enabled on your FreeSync monitor.

To test if G-Sync is working properly on your FreeSync display, download and install Nvidia’s G-SYNC Pendulum demo, a handy tool that can help demonstrate the benefits of Adaptive-Sync technology. Consider switching between No Vsync and G-SYNC to better understand the purpose of G-Sync in synchronizing your monitor’s refresh rate with your GPU’s frame rate.

Now one of the major issues for PC gamers when using V-Sync with G-Sync is the introduction of input lag. This not only contributes to additional system latency, but also greatly affects the overall experience. To reduce any V-Sync level input lag while playing on a FreeSync display, set the maximum frame rate to three frames below the monitor’s refresh rate. For a 144Hz monitor, an FPS cap of 141 should be enough for consistent frame rates across the board. If your game does not have an internal frame rate limiter, try using an external frame rate limiter such as RTSS (Rivatuner statistics server) or the Nvidia Max Frame Rate setting in the control panel.

Get smooth, tear-free gaming with Nvidia G-Sync

Despite Nvidia’s claims of suboptimal gaming experience when using G-Sync on non-Certified FreeSync panels, we found little to no difference between the two options. Aside from exclusive features such as ULMB (Ultra Low Motion Blur) and Variable Overdrive support, Nvidia GPUs tend to provide the same VRR functionality as AMD GPUs on most FreeSync monitors.

Instead of a premium G-Sync monitor, you can save a significant chunk of your budget by opting for a FreeSync (Premium/Premium Pro) display that provides the best of both worlds.

AMD FreeSync technology can be used with NVIDIA GeForce

graphics cards

3DNews Technologies and IT market. Video card news AMD FreeSync technology can be used…

The most interesting in the reviews


08/28/2018 [13:55],

Andrey Sozinov

Despite the fact that NVIDIA has already introduced GeForce RTX graphics cards and will start selling them very soon, their Pascal generation predecessors still show interesting features that were previously unknown. For example, it turned out that GeForce GTX 10-series graphics cards support AMD FreeSync frame rate synchronization technology.

Of course, GeForce cards themselves only support NVIDIA G-Sync. However, Reddit users have figured out how to get “green” video cards to work with competitor technology. To do this, in addition to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10-series graphics card itself, you will need a FreeSync-enabled monitor, as well as an AMD graphics processor. Moreover, it can be either a separate video card or a graphics processor built into the APU. For example, the creator of the guide relied on the integrated Vega GPU of the Ryzen 3 2200G APU.

And then everything is relatively simple. You must connect the monitor to a Radeon graphics card or motherboard if using an APU, and in the BIOS, in the graphics settings, select the AMD graphics processor as the main GPU. Next, you need to launch FreeSync through Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition, and then go to the NVIDIA control panel and “force” the game or application to use the GeForce graphics card by default.

And the next time you start the game, it should use the NVIDIA graphics card, but the FreeSync technology should ensure that the picture output is smooth. In essence, this approach assumes that the NVIDIA graphics card is responsible for processing all the graphics, and the AMD graphics processor is responsible for the FreeSync function.

Our western colleagues have already checked this trick, and they note that despite the use of the GeForce video card “through” the Radeon video card for FreeSync operation, this does not significantly affect the performance in games. Although there are occasional compatibility issues, such as Unigine’s Valley and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, FreeSync “works great” in “a number of other games.”

This feature will be of interest not only to owners of AMD hybrid processors using NVIDIA discrete graphics, but also to many other users.