Q: What is “Variable Refresh Rate” (VRR)?
A: Variable Refresh Rate or “VRR” is a technology that allows the monitor refresh rate to synchronize with the framerate output of the graphics card.
Q: How does this technology benefit me?
A: It helps make your gaming experience smoother by reducing jitter and helps makes dips in framerates less noticeable.
Q: Do I need specific hardware to use these technologies?
A: Yes. You will need a monitor that supports VRR technology as well as a graphics card that is compatible with that technology. Some VRR technology is only compatible through specific video cables such as DisplayPort, while others can work with both DisplayPort and HDMI.
Q: Are all VRR monitors the same?
A: No. There are multiple implementations of VRR technology such as Nvidia’s G-Sync and AMD’s FreeSync technology. Both offer a similar experience; however, they are implemented differently and can offer additional features such as reduced motion blur or low framerate compensation. VRR monitors can also have a different VRR ranges.
Q: What is a VRR “range”?
A: All VRR monitors operate within a specific refresh rate range that can differ depending on specifications of the monitor and the implementation of the technology. For example: A monitor can have a VRR range of 30hz-144hz. This means that if you are getting 30-144fps in your game, your VRR technology will be working fine. If you go below or above this range, your VRR technology will be disabled, and you may notice jitter or tearing. You can find the VRR range on the monitor manufacturer’s website or on AMD/Nvidia’s websites:
Q: How do I avoid exceeding my monitors VRR range?
A: There are a few options to prevent your framerate from exceeding your VRR range. The easiest solution is to turn on Vertical Sync (V-Sync) as it will cap your framerate to your monitors max refresh rate and can work alongside VRR technologies. Other options include using an in-game frame limiter/cap, or third-party applications to limit the max refresh rate.
Q: What is Low Framerate Compensation (LFC)?
A: Some VRR monitors support a feature called Low Framerate Compensation which allows the monitor to communicate with the graphics card to reduce the tearing and jitter when falling below the minimum VRR range.
Q: What is AMD’s FreeSync?
A: FreeSync is AMD’s open standard VRR technology. It is based on the DisplayPort 1.2a specification and does not require special hardware in the monitor. It does require using an R9 200 series or later graphics card. AMD has recently provided support for FreeSync through the latest HDMI specification on their latest graphics cards.
Q: What is the difference between AMD’s FreeSync and FreeSync 2 technologies?
A: FreeSync 2 requires a certification process to make sure the basic FreeSync functionality works alongside additional features such as High Dynamic Range (HDR) and LFC. It also brings reduced input latency.
Q: What is Nvidia’s G-Sync?
A: G-Sync is Nvidia’s proprietary VRR technology. It uses custom hardware known as a G-Sync Module in the monitor rather than the monitors internal scaler to communicate with the graphics card. This allows the monitor to synchronize and adapt to the change in framerate that is being output from the graphics card. Nvidia laptops do not require this special hardware as laptop displays are wired directly to the graphics card with no scaler required. Despite not needing the additional hardware, laptop panels do still require certification before they are G-Sync ready. G-Sync is currently only compatible with DisplayPort and requires using a GTX 600 series or later graphics card.
Q: What is the difference between Nvidia’s G-Sync and G-Sync Ultimate technologies?
A: G-Sync Ultimate uses a more advanced G-Sync module to provide G-Sync support while using features such as High Dynamic Range (HDR), providing a wider color gamut and increased brightness. G-Sync Ultimate also provides a lower input latency.
Q: What is G-Sync Compatible Mode?
A: G-Sync Compatible Mode allows VRR monitors to work in conjunction with Nvidia graphics cards despite the lack of a G-Sync module. Monitors labeled “G-Sync Compatible” have been tested and verified to meet specific VRR standards. Like G-Sync, G-Sync Compatible displays require the use of DisplayPort, however unlike G-Sync, they require the use of a GTX 1000 series or higher graphics card.