by Anton Shilov
10/18/2013 | 09:40 PM
Nvidia Corp. on Friday unveiled its new G-Sync technology that solves the decades-old problem of onscreen tearing, stuttering and lag by enabling synchronization between the GPU and the display. The technology will require special monitors with integrated G-Sync module (pictured below), which will be available from companies like Asustek, BenQ and ViewSonic.
Since their earliest days, displays have had fixed refresh rates – typically 60 times a second (hertz). But, due to the dynamic nature of video games, GPUs render frames at varying rates. As the GPU seeks to synchronize with the monitor, persistent tearing occurs. Turning on V-Sync (or Vertical-Sync) eliminates tearing but causes increased lag and stutter as the GPU and monitor refresh at different rates. Nvidia G-Sync technology synchronizes the monitor's refresh rate to the GPU's render rate, so images display the moment they are rendered. As a result, scenes appear instantly, objects are sharper, game play gets smoother.
"Our commitment to create a pure gaming experience led us to G-Sync. This revolutionary technology eliminates artifacts that have long stood between gamers and the game. Once you play on a G-Sync monitor, you will never want to go back," said Jeff Fisher, senior vice president of the GeForce business unit at Nvidia.
G-Sync technology includes a G-Sync module designed by Nvidia and integrated into gaming monitors, as well as hardware and software incorporated into certain Kepler-based GPUs (GK110, GK104 and GK106). Each G-Sync module resembles MXM card and features a custom ASIC with its own memory buffer.
Many of the industry's leading monitor manufacturers have already included G-Sync technology in their product roadmaps for 2014. Among the first planning to roll out the technology are ASUS, BenQ, Philips and ViewSonic.
Leading game developers are impressed with Nvidia G-Sync technology.
"The huge gains in GPU rendering power over the past decade have enabled developers and artists to create increasingly complex 3D scenes and worlds. But even on the highest end PC, the illusion of reality is hampered by tearing and stutter. Nvidia G-Sync elegantly solves this longstanding problem. Images on a G-Sync display are stunningly stable and lifelike. G-Sync literally makes everything look better," said Tim Sweeney, founder or Epic Games.
"Nvidia's G-Sync technology is a truly innovative solution to an ancient legacy restriction with computer graphics, and it enables one to finally see perfect tear-free pictures with the absolute lowest latency possible. The resulting output really allows your mind to interpret and see it as a true continuous moving picture which looks and feels fantastic. It's something that has to be seen to be believed," said Johan Andersson, technical director of DICE, a subsidiary of Electronic Arts.
G-Sync is a yet another Nvidia’s attempt to create a proprietary ecosystem within the PC ecosystem with the aim to improve PC gaming and gain loyal customers. In the past, few display manufacturers supported Nvidia’s 3D Vision stereo-3D technology that relied on proprietary glasses. This time Nvidia asks display makers to build-in a piece of hardware directly into their products in a bid to create an additional selling point and naturally increase pricing (and/or use previous-generation panels and technologies to compensate the cost of the G-Sync module).
While the advantages that Nvidia G-Sync provides is just what the doctor ordered for many video games on the PC, the business-related complexities may not allow the technology to really take off and become mass.