A year ago, NVIDIA stunned the whole gamer community by finally presenting a solution to tearing, stuttering problems and the like. This technology, called G-Sync, enables you to synchronize the graphics card to the monitor, through a dedicated GPU chip that could control update times and adjust the screen refresh rate of images per second that are generated.
This way you can eliminate the annoying visual defects without requiring solutions such as V-Sync, which often produces input lag and performance penalties. While this technology has struggled to take off, in recent months we have seen new models from several manufacturers that have adopted this technology, such as the new ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q. However, one of the main disadvantages of G-Sync is the need to purchase a compatible monitor, which often means having to pay between another 150 or 200 dollars, than what the monitor itself costs without this technology.
In addition, there’s also the fact that shortly after the presentation of G-SYNC, AMD countered by presenting FreeSync, a similar technology that doesn’t require any additional chip, and was based on a defined and open standard that did not require the payment of license fees, nor it is limited to any vendor.
Later we would know the name of the technology on which it was based: the Adaptive Sync that VESA defined for the DisplayPort 1.2a standard and DisplayPort 1.3. The advantages were clear, as being an open standard, this technology is not limited to any graphics card brands, nor does it require any special chip and therefore, this would not increase the price of the monitor, as it only required a monitor that would be compatible with DisplayPort 1.2a or with 1.3.
This made it difficult for the Nvidia G-SYNC version. However, it’s true that today the only way to access this technology is getting a monitor with the G-Sync chip and a GeForce GTX 650 Ti graphics card or superior.
But though it is true that the company has not announced it yet, G-SYNC is not compatible with laptops, so despite being based on the latest Maxwell Nvidia architecture, the new GTX 970M and GTX 980M may not make use of this technology on any laptop screen nor external monitor.
The reason for this is found in the Nvidia Optimus technology system, in which laptops are able to switch between integrated Intel processors and Nvidia dedicated ones, so that when no graphics power is required, the computer will consume much less energy. The problem originates in the moment that when the video output, both on the laptop screen and on the video output itself (be it HDMI, DP, DVI, etc.), has to pass through the integrated graphics card, even though we are accelerating the dedicated one. Therefore G-Sync can’t be used in laptops, and it is even disabled by default on Nvidia drivers.
This not only affects laptops, there are compact desktops that use desktop graphics cards such as the new ASUS ROG GR8 that we have reviewed and a number of Steam Machines that won’t be able to make use of this technology by using this integrated graphics card through Optimius technology.
Right now, Nvidia is working on a passthrough to bypass this limitation; meaning to work out on a way in that video output does not depend entirely on integrated graphics, so G-Sync can be compatible with both laptops and monitors, but today there is no access to this technology for laptop’s graphics cards.