How to use G-Sync on a FreeSync monitor

Your FreeSync monitor may now support G-Sync. Here's how to enable it

G-Sync monitors are expensive. If you have an Nvidia-based system, that can present a problem. Fortunately, these days FreeSync and G-Sync are more compatible than ever. Nvidia, in particular, has even made G-Sync explicitly available for certain FreeSync computers, so long as they are approved by Nvidia.

We’ll go over just what you need and how to set up G-Sync in these unique scenarios.

Step 1: Make sure you have the right monitor

Alienware AW341BDW Utrawide Gaming Monitor
Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

First, you need to make sure that your hardware setup is going to support G-Sync, or this process isn’t going to work very well. Your monitor needs to be ready, and that requires three important things.

The first thing you need is a compatible monitor. You will want to consult the GeForce list of G-Sync compatible gaming monitors, which are monitors where G-Sync isn’t built in, but is expected to perform quite well. There are currently only around 12 of these compatible monitors, but you can expect more to be added over time as Nvidia keeps testing models. If you have an Adaptive Sync monitor, these steps are also worth a try, but the results aren’t guaranteed.

Secondly, you’ll need a GTX 10-series graphics card or better. Lastly, you’ll need aDisplayPort connection from this graphics card to your monitor

With a compatible monitor at the ready, head into your monitor settings and make sure that FreeSync (or Adaptive Sync) is turned on. This is necessary for the following steps to work.

Step 2: Enable G-Sync

Set up G-Sync

With your Nvidia graphics card installed, you should have access to the Nvidia Control Panel app on your PC. Open it now. Once open, look at the left-hand menu for the Display section. Here, select the option to Set up G-SYNC.

This will open up a new window where you can enable various G-Sync features. Here’s what you need to do here:

  • First, make sure the box for Enable G-SYNC, G-SYNC Compatible is checked
  • Make sure that Enable for full-screen mode is selected. G-Sync may have problems trying to work with windows games (some to remember when setting up your gaming, too).
  • Select your display. There’s probably only one display to pick here, so this isn’t usually a problem unless you have an odd sort of multi-monitor display plan and need to make sure the changes apply to the right monitor
  • Make sure the box for Enable settings for the selected display is checked

Once finished, select Apply to get G-Sync started.

Step 3: Confirm your compatibility

Manage 3D Settings

With a good, compatible monitor, you may find that G-Sync is already up and running just fine. Congratulations! Run a few graphics tests to make sure everything looks proper, and then full speed ahead. But other monitors may still not enable G-Sync properly. This is common, and you may have to make one other adjustment to help your monitor along.

Stay in the Nvidia Control Panel, and look on the left-hand menu for the section that says 3D Settings. Here, select Manage 3D Settings, and go to the Global tab. Look for the setting called Monitor Technology, and make sure it is set to the G-Sync compatibility setting.

If you prefer to select game by game whether or not to use G-Sync, you’ll want to access Program Settings instead of Global, which allows for some extra customization if you prefer certain games on G-Sync and certain games otherwise.

Step 4: Lower your refresh rate if necessary

Nvidia Change Resolution

Still not getting G-Sync to work properly? You may need to do some serious research on your specific model type and what settings you can change to make it work. However, we will mention that many people have found success by lowering the refresh rate on their monitors. It works because G-Sync sometimes senses that its features won’t work properly with your refresh rate and will stay disabled. This depends on what refresh rate your monitor is rated for, and the actual frame rate you can reach: If you go much beyond the specified frame rate, you may find G-Sync doesn’t work.

To fix this, head over to the Nvidia Control Panel, and look for the Display section in the left menu. Here, choose Change resolution. In the window that now opens, look for the section that says Refresh rate. Try lowering it to see if this helps.

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