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.
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.