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At PEPCOM’s Holiday Spectacular, a press-and-analysts-only show held last month at the Metropolitan Pavilion on New York City’s West Side, I came across the new ASUS PG278Q 2560×1440 gaming monitor. In discussing the monitor with ASUS personnel, and then with nVidia’s Bryan Del Rizzo, I learned things about the way high-performance games present their imagery to monitors I didn’t know before, and how nVidia’s G-Sync technology solves the long-standing problems of tearing and stutter that have beset gamers and their fixed-frame-rate monitors.

“The source of [these problem]s is that modern games don’t deliver a consistent frame rate due to the complexity and richness of the scenes being rendered. Some frames take longer to render than others. Frames that are rendered in 10ms will push the [frames per second (FPS)] in the game higher, while frames that take longer to render will reduce the overall FPS in the game,” according a reviewer’s guide Del Rizzo sent me.

“Currently, gamers have few options when it comes to how frames are delivered. Most gamers disable V-Sync to get the best input response they can, but this introduces some serious visual ASUS G-Syncartifacts:  Tearing and Stutter. With V-Sync enabled, you eliminate the tearing, but introduce input delay and inconsistent frame delivery as the GPU will rarely generate frame rates in perfect sync with the refresh rate of the monitor,” the guide says.

With G-Sync, a G-Sync controller built into the monitor receives a signal from the graphics processing unit (GPU) in the computer. (Currently G-Sync is supported by nVidia Series 7 and 9 GeForce graphics cards.) When the GPU has finished rendering a frame, no matter how long it takes, it sends a signal that tells the monitor to update the display. The result is a variable-rate monitor that solves the problem of tearing and stuttering. Lag between a user input and screen updating based on the input is reduced compared to V-sync.

ASUS advertises its PG278Q as the first 1440p monitor to feature G-Sync technology. Acer advertises its XB280HK gaming monitor — an example of which was in the nVidia booth — as the world?s first 4k display featuring nVidia G-Sync technology. Del Rizzo told me that G-Sync is currently available, or will soon be available, in gaming monitors from four or five different brands.

Del Rizzo said nVidia  has been developing G-Sync for several years, and that this is serious technology developed to allow gamers to have more fun. But that should come as no surprise. Gaming is a very serious business.

Posted by Ken Werner, October 24, 2014 11:52 AM

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About Ken Werner

Kenneth I. Werner is the founder and Principal of Nutmeg Consultants, which specializes in the display industry, display technology, display manufacturing, and display applications. He serves as Marketing Consultant for Tannas Electronic Displays (Orange, California) and Senior Analyst for Insight Media. He is a founding co-editor of and regular contributor to Display Daily, and is a regular contributor to HDTVexpert.com and HDTV Magazine. He was the Editor of Information Display Magazine from 1987 to 2005.