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Nvidia G-Sync unveiled as stunning new monitor syncing tech

Nvidia G-Sync unveiled as stunning new monitor syncing tech

Nvidia G-Sync is a new technology that will be integrated into monitors.

Nvidia has unveiled G-Sync, a new variable refresh rate monitor technology for eliminating tearing, lag and stutter.

The technology uses a new piece of hardware that removes control of the monitor's refresh rate from the monitor itself and hands it to the graphics card. As such it will require new monitors, with Asus, BenQ, Philips and Viewsonic already onboard.

G-Sync aims to solve one of the longest running, and thus far largely ignored, problems with PC graphics which is the asynchronous relationship between a monitor's fixed refresh rate and the variable framerate being delivered by your graphics card.

Traditionally, if your graphics card delivers frames too quickly you get tearing, where the image shown on screen is comprised of multiple frames split horizontally. Up until now, the only way to combat this is with V-Sync, which forces the graphics card to deliver complete frames at a set frame rate. However, V-Sync also has its limitations once the delivered framerate drops below that of your monitor. The result here is a stuttering effect due to the the monitor waiting for the new frame to be delivered.

G-Sync aims to solve both these problems by passing control of the monitor's framerate to the graphics card. So, if the GPU framerate drops, so does the monitor's framerate. While this may sound like a worse experience, the tolerance of the human eye is such that it feels like a smoother experience.

We were shown an extensive demo of the new technology in action and it is astonishingly good, delivering beautifully smooth imagery compared to either the tearing filled experience of using no V-Sync or the stuttering of using V-Sync.

Clearly the downside will be the requirement to buy a specifically matched monitor, but until we see how much the premium will be for these monitors it's difficult to assess how realistic a purchase it will be for many. We're also yet to find out how it will work in multi monitor situations.

Nvidia G-Sync unveiled as stunning new monitor syncing tech

Nonetheless, this is definitely one technology to keep an eye out for. Indeed Nvidia is so proud of it the company wheeled out legendary game developers John Carmack (Oculus Rift Id), Johan Andersson (DICE) and Tim Sweeney (Epic) to talk up the technology.

See Nvidia G-Sync in action below.

42 Comments

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LordPyrinc 18th October 2013, 18:41 Quote
As long as they aren't ridiculously expensive, I'd consider buying one. It's about darn time that they took a look at fixing this problem. I've always been annoyed at having to chose between great looking cut scenes/gameplay with no tearing or smoother gameplay with tearing on certain titles. I was getting tearing in Metro LL last time I played it, but when I turned v-sync on, I got a detectable performance hit. That's probably why I haven't fired the game up lately. Even small amounts of tearing annoys the heck out of me.
mi1ez 18th October 2013, 19:07 Quote
I can see this as a Good Thing but unless the technology is made available to AMD and Intel I hope it doesn't catch on.

This sort of thing should be for the Greater Good.
Tim S 18th October 2013, 20:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mi1ez
I can see this as a Good Thing but unless the technology is made available to AMD and Intel I hope it doesn't catch on.

This sort of thing should be for the Greater Good.

Surely it's for AMD/Intel to reverse engineer, not Nvidia to give out for free?

It is something that has been a problem for years and, by the sounds of what's been written in the live blogs, something that Nvidia has being trying to solve for years.

EDIT: That said, it seems Nvidia is open to possibly licensing the technology to other hardware vendors.
lp rob1 18th October 2013, 20:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Article
The result here is a stuttering affect ...

/grammar nazi :D
Meanmotion 18th October 2013, 20:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by lp rob1
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Article
The result here is a stuttering affect ...

/grammar nazi :D

Cheers. Fixed.
jcb121 18th October 2013, 20:44 Quote
sown*
XXAOSICXX 18th October 2013, 22:13 Quote
"control of the montior's framerate"

er......
forum_user 18th October 2013, 22:17 Quote
'bout bloody time!!

\o/
theshadow2001 18th October 2013, 23:31 Quote
Oh yes. The want is strong.
Bindibadgi 19th October 2013, 04:33 Quote
We've got a 24" monitor coming with it early next year.
wafflesomd 19th October 2013, 04:44 Quote
Um, ok. Weird product. I would have to buy a new monitor and a new gpu. I'll pass.
runadumb 19th October 2013, 06:40 Quote
As I run 3 displays I won't be replacing anytime soon this technology, however cool is of limited use to me. Now, if they throw it on an oculus...
wuyanxu 19th October 2013, 09:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
We've got a 24" monitor coming with it early next year.

But what panel is it?

I'd be interested in this technology, but would never want to look at TN screen again in my life. Problem is most gamer monitors are TN panels and marketed based on TN panel's lower refresh rate.
SAimNE 19th October 2013, 09:57 Quote
i hope amd starts using this with their apu dual graphics.... they've shown a lot of progress on micro-stuttering recently, and now the only real problem with an apu crossfire is the variable framerates.... if they can mimic this the apu will completely dominate the low-mid market on price-performance o.o
richms 19th October 2013, 10:03 Quote
Im more interested in if this will allow seemless shifts between 24/50/60 Hz modes for when playing video.

Mind you, I thought that changing the refresh rate on the fly was supposed to come with displayport...
Bindibadgi 19th October 2013, 10:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
But what panel is it?

I'd be interested in this technology, but would never want to look at TN screen again in my life. Problem is most gamer monitors are TN panels and marketed based on TN panel's lower refresh rate.

You're rating all TN's the same - they aren't. Modern TN's are practically the same as eIPS in many facets, but you won't get 120+Hz from an IPS without clear problems.

It does change refresh rate on the fly, and with GPU accelerated video it should sync the video frame rate to the monitors. I don't know the limitations though. EDIT: 2D refresh rates don't go below 60Hz, but it depends whether they class GPU accelerated video as '2D'.

I just heard Nvidia is making a modification kit for VG248QEs available by year end as well ($175). It's a custom Nvidia chip (with what looks like frame buffer), which is why it's not a cheap thing, and also why AMD/Intel won't have it without some serious reverse engineering I guess.
isaac12345 19th October 2013, 12:13 Quote
Didnt triple buffering solve this problem, only that many developers werent implementing it in game?
dyzophoria 19th October 2013, 15:39 Quote
I understand intel/amd can reverse engineer it most probably but how about onpliance? What if I had an nvida.and switches to AMD would that mean I have to replace.my.monitors as well?
DrTiCool 19th October 2013, 16:24 Quote
any word that it might be implemented into TVs as well?
Bindibadgi 19th October 2013, 17:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by dyzophoria
I understand intel/amd can reverse engineer it most probably but how about onpliance? What if I had an nvida.and switches to AMD would that mean I have to replace.my.monitors as well?

No it would still work, but you wouldn't get the benefit.

I doubt it'll make its way into TVs - how many are 'gaming' orientated in design? Plus consoles won't have it either (unless it gets reverse engineered by AMD).
Meanmotion 19th October 2013, 17:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
Plus consoles won't have it either (unless it gets reverse engineered by AMD).

Consoles already have it, at least in the sense they only ever deliver complete frames at a fixed rate (or at least they should). Gsync goes a step further by offering the option of synced frames at a higher and variable rate.
edzieba 19th October 2013, 21:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
You're rating all TN's the same - they aren't. Modern TN's are practically the same as eIPS in many facets
I've yet to see ANY TN panel come even close to the colour and contrast uniformity of even a cheap IPS panel.
Quote:
but you won't get 120+Hz from an IPS without clear problems
That's more of a controller issue. HFR IPS panels exist, e.g. the Yamasaki Catleaps. And with the various *VA panels, there's that 120Hz Eizo panel (and that's 10bit too).


What Nvidia describe seems to be an extension of the DisplayPort protocol (already packet based) to allow arbitrary vsync. While Nvidia's own implementation bay be locked to their cards in some way (though probably not, it'd make adding support for existing cards very difficult, along with all the key revocation issues that HDCP has), there's nothing to stop AMD and Intel implementing the same protocol addition, and nothing to stop other monitor manufacturers implementing the protocol without any authentication.

I can see this being adopted in the mobile space with eDP and Panel Self Refresh, in addition to 'dirty region' rendering. Lowest possible latency (and therefore responsiveness) without needing to jump between idle and full-power to hit 60fps.
Tim S 19th October 2013, 21:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by isaac12345
Didnt triple buffering solve this problem, only that many developers werent implementing it in game?

No :)
Gradius 19th October 2013, 21:19 Quote
I saw the little board, the REAL price should be below $50 bucks, not $175!
edzieba 20th October 2013, 11:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gradius
I saw the little board, the REAL price should be below $50 bucks, not $175!
The iphone is tiny, it shouldn't cost more than 20 quid!
jimmyjj 20th October 2013, 11:27 Quote
Sounds amazing.

The only problem is I do not have a great deal of money, so I can not see me getting rid of a lovely 24" 16:10 IPS monitor to buy a 16:9 TN job.

I am guessing a fair few people may find themselves in a similar quandary.
law99 20th October 2013, 11:56 Quote
So the advantage is I pay more for a monitor with G-Sync than I do a GFX card with the grunt to sync with the monitors native hertz?

If so, I'm not sure what I think.
ch424 20th October 2013, 11:59 Quote
It's a shame they've made this proprietary - it wouldn't be much of a step to add this to DisplayPort on top of the panel self-refresh stuff, and get it available to everyone
Deders 20th October 2013, 12:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordPyrinc
As long as they aren't ridiculously expensive, I'd consider buying one. It's about darn time that they took a look at fixing this problem. I've always been annoyed at having to chose between great looking cut scenes/gameplay with no tearing or smoother gameplay with tearing on certain titles. I was getting tearing in Metro LL last time I played it, but when I turned v-sync on, I got a detectable performance hit. That's probably why I haven't fired the game up lately. Even small amounts of tearing annoys the heck out of me.

I just use D3DOverrider to enable triple buffering and I get no tearing whatsoever with the same framerates I would get if Vsync was off.
AlienwareAndy 20th October 2013, 13:36 Quote
If there's one thing Nvidia are the best at it's definitely making cool demos lol.

I have a choice between a 1080p 60hz monitor or a 1440x900 75hz one and I opted for the latter as it gives me higher frame rates when used with Vsync. I just use AA to offset the lack of resolution.
Bindibadgi 20th October 2013, 13:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ch424
It's a shame they've made this proprietary - it wouldn't be much of a step to add this to DisplayPort on top of the panel self-refresh stuff, and get it available to everyone

They have said they are willing to license it. It's not surprising since the cost of developing a dedicated chip is how many million?
law99 20th October 2013, 14:12 Quote
Tbf, my next card will be nvidia. So I will take this as a plus. I sure hope they do licence this and AMD and Intel just swallow it up and go... Otherwise expletive deleted.
ch424 20th October 2013, 14:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
They have said they are willing to license it. It's not surprising since the cost of developing a dedicated chip is how many million?

I just read on anandtech that it is actually DisplayPort with a bit of fiddling going on.

Given how much it costs to make a chip, I'd say it's more surprising that they did, rather than working with one of the existing eDP device manufacturers to add this capability to the next generation/revision of an existing chipset
law99 20th October 2013, 15:40 Quote
I'd imagine it is because they want money off licencing. Which is fair enough if you are investing the time making the damn thing. Although it kind of opens the floodgates for others to do so and confuses everyone with patents.
Bindibadgi 20th October 2013, 15:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ch424
I just read on anandtech that it is actually DisplayPort with a bit of fiddling going on.

Given how much it costs to make a chip, I'd say it's more surprising that they did, rather than working with one of the existing eDP device manufacturers to add this capability to the next generation/revision of an existing chipset

He goes onto describe the PCB is a dedicated chip with 'significant' frame buffer. DP has a ~1MB/s 'side-baidwidth' (I can't remember the correct term) where the display and display device can talk to each other (we use it in the PadFone too), but this seems to have been expanded so you can no longer have DP audio even with G-Sync.

I think if they released more technical details we'd be able to undo some animosity towards it. I'll try and talk to our PM tomorrow as I'm interested in an upgrade kit myself. They have no spare kits in house cause I asked last week, but if they can give me some info and NV OK it I'll post it up.
ch424 20th October 2013, 15:59 Quote
Well, yeah, but the iPad LCD has a displayport chip with an embedded frame buffer too - and they retail for $40 including the 2048x1536 LCD and the backlight.

Haswell already supports eDP out of the box, and the TI/NXP displayport chips with panel self-refresh are <$5 in volume. Seems bonkers to expect people to pay $175 for this when it's not a million miles away from what's achievable now! I guess it's just a bit of product differentiation and hopefully the rest of the industry will catch up soon
SimoomiZ 20th October 2013, 21:13 Quote
Display port only
Any GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST or higher
requires Microsoft Windows 7, 8 or 8.1

From FAQ here: http://www.geforce.co.uk/hardware/technology/g-sync/faq
edzieba 21st October 2013, 01:04 Quote
Remember that current panel controllers can treat displayport almost identically to scanline interfaces (e.g. DIV/HDMI). To create a flexible controller that can accept arbitrary updates at a significant framerate means new ASICs to drive the panel. When you're fabbing chips, an order of 100,000 constitutes a small order, and carries a price premium. Add to that the cost of developing very high speed electronics (image capture and output are the fastest chips you'll find outside of CPUs and GPUs) and costs for a new controller aren't going to be small.

Personally, I'll be waiting for an IPS panel to be wedded to the controller though.
GregTheRotter 21st October 2013, 02:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
You're rating all TN's the same - they aren't. Modern TN's are practically the same as eIPS in many facets, but you won't get 120+Hz from an IPS without clear problems.

It does change refresh rate on the fly, and with GPU accelerated video it should sync the video frame rate to the monitors. I don't know the limitations though. EDIT: 2D refresh rates don't go below 60Hz, but it depends whether they class GPU accelerated video as '2D'.

I just heard Nvidia is making a modification kit for VG248QEs available by year end as well ($175). It's a custom Nvidia chip (with what looks like frame buffer), which is why it's not a cheap thing, and also why AMD/Intel won't have it without some serious reverse engineering I guess.

w00 h00, I've got that monitor and the GTX 670 supports G Sync. $175 you say? More like £200 for us here in the UK.
Taniniver 21st October 2013, 13:23 Quote
Looks good, my only concern is what monitors will integrate it. I can forsee it only being put into "gamer" branded monitors, with crappy TN panels. I'm not going to downgrade from a quality IPS to TN for the sake of this technology.
Alecto 21st October 2013, 14:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by richms
Im more interested in if this will allow seemless shifts between 24/50/60 Hz modes for when playing video.

Mind you, I thought that changing the refresh rate on the fly was supposed to come with displayport...

Nowadays interfaces are still stuck with the paradigm of of screen refresh stemming from how CRT monitors functioned. There is absolutely no reason why panel control should be implemenetd this way other than backwards compatibility. The rest are just downsides: higher power consumption, higher latency, visual artifacts (a result of crappy GPUs but would not be visible if GPU was to control the panel directly), inability to sync to any framerate (bandwidth permitting) etc.

I'm amazed that nobody in the industry has thought of this before (apart from mobile gadget makers who are going for self-refreshing displays, which is fundamentally the same as this NVidia's "invention").
damien c 21st October 2013, 17:38 Quote
Not going to be cheap

http://rog.asus.com/267372013/gaming/nvidia-announces-g-sync-for-monitors/
Quote:
Since it’s both a software and hardware update, it requires a new monitor – however Nvidia will also make ASUS VG248QE modification kits available (currently $175) for those who already own one with a GTX 600 or 700 series (Kepler-based) graphics card. ASUS will also have a G-Sync enabled gaming monitor available in Q1 2014 – so stay tuned!
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