It was just over a week ago that Trace reviewed the new ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q monitor, a new display from ASUS that fuses the world's of a 2560x1440 panel, with NVIDIA's new refresh rate technology, G-SYNC, together. The results? A kick-ass new gaming monitor, a monitor that all gamers should be paying attention to right now. Today, we're going to talk about G-SYNC, what it's about, why it's an amazing technology, and how it feels to be playing games with it enabled, and disabled.
Since we've already had Trace review the monitor itself, this is more of a deep dive into NVIDIA's G-SYNC technology, and a deeper run into gaming on the new ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q display. First, let's talk about G-SYNC, and explain to you what it does exactly.
NVIDIA's G-SYNC technology was unveiled at the NVIDIA Editor's Day last year in Montreal, Canada. We were on-hand when it was unveiled, with it really blowing me away that NVIDIA had this technology and had sat on it, without a leak getting out. Once I had seen it in person, I had to have one of the displays, but was disappointed with the resolution of just 1080p. Well, obviously we're past that now, and right up to 2560x1440, or 1440p, with the new ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q display.
NVIDIA wanted to solve the problem of screen tearing, reducing display stutter and input lag in order to provide the best gaming experience possible. But, you can't do that without doing some serious changes to the way a monitor refreshes, and that's where G-SYNC comes into play.
Rewinding the clock back to when CRT monitors dominated, where the 60Hz standard was born - the 60Hz refresh rate came about because the United States power grid is based on 60Hz AC power, so monitor manufacturers matched TV refresh rates with the 60Hz power grid in order to have early electronics easier to build, with less power interference on the screen. 60Hz with fixed refresh rates became a total standard by the time the PC started to enter the home, but then we moved onto LCD, and then LED. Since then, we haven't seen a company change outside of the 60Hz mantra, except for TN-based 120Hz and 144Hz gaming monitors.
The problem here is that VSync is the center of all of these stuttering and screen tearing issues, so NVIDIA developed Adaptive VSync. Even still, the issues associated with VSync are still there, and they are a big problem. This is where NVIDIA's G-SYNC technology steps in to save the day for gamers, and many other users who are sick of the input lag, stuttering and screen tearing associated with VSync.
What Is G-SYNC?
First, G-SYNC isn't software, it is a piece of hardware that comes in two forms: a board that can be installed into a compatible monitor, or you buy a G-SYNC capable monitor, like the ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q that we have here today.
A monitor that is powered by NVIDIA's G-SYNC technology allows the monitors to synchronize with the output from the GPU, instead of the other way around. This provides an experience that is tear-free, faster, and much smoother than traditional setups that rely on VSync. Thanks to this increase in smoothness, and the lack of screen tearing, professional gamers can enjoy a seriously powerful display, making them game at an even higher level than previously thought.
What makes G-SYNC special is that it provides the best of both world's: an untethered frame rate, with no screen tearing. Normally gamers had to choose one or the other, the benefits of high FPS, but having to experience screen tearing by disabling VSync. Alternatively, enabling VSync and being locked to the monitors refresh rate, which is normally 60Hz. This has plagued PC gamers forever, but this all changes with G-SYNC.
The way this works is that G-SYNC allows the monitor to display refresh rates that aren't locked to the usual refresh rates offered by monitors: 60Hz, 120Hz and 144Hz. It does this without having to put the user through tearing, something that rips your eyes apart when you disable VSync. The problem is, these are all just words... you really need to see NVIDIA's G-SYNC in person to truly appreciate what the company has on offer with this new technology.
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